Perhaps from growing up in a frugal household – my father a Yorkshireman, my mother a Scot- I get inordinate pleasure from the process of choosing. I remember standing awed outside the matriarchal circle while my grandmother and aunts discussed the best tweed to use for a skirt, and they knew their tweeds, right down to the island the wool came from – I seem to remember it was Bute? Someone kindly showed me the colours, both from natural wool and the dyes from lichen and traditional, local plants, I was allowed to touch the materials and feel that one was too loose and mightn’t hold its shape, a firm weave was a little too stiff, and the final choice: soft, flexible, bright and subtle.

the tweed they chose was like this one~

By the time they had mulled over every aspect of that length of tweed I felt I knew the sheep and the bright grass they grazed on, the weaver who chose the fleece (to have a length made from ‘one wool’ was valued), the foraging for seaweed, onion skins and mushrooms, the winter weaving, pounding and washing in an icy peat stream to bring the fibres close. A ‘good tweed skirt’ wasn’t just a garment, it was an absolute, and a woman held her head high when she wore it.

Maybe because of this I am not much of a shopper. I prefer the generic over the novel, and I always want to dig down to know more about things. Real chocolate, not a bar. Butter. Oats rather than granola. I have one set of plain white china, and my husband laughed at me for buying three sets of identical trousers when I found the perfect pair. I wish I had bought more, for I wore them out. My closet is three feet by eight feet, has everything I need and isn’t crowded. I am not at all deprived, for this way of living brings me intense pleasure. More stuff would swamp me, and I can’t handle it.

So the following items are my personal creme de la creme. I am awful to buy presents for.

L’Ombre Dans L’Eau by DiptyqueStrange, subtle, almost masculine, the best perfume I have ever had.


These dishes are rustic yet fine, unadorned, slightly rough on the outside, glazed inside, with colour which goes right through the clay. I even love the colours. The next time I am in Sydney I am buying some because I can’t hold out any more.

Ian Mankin fabrics – natural fibre, in plains, stripes and checks. I loved them then, I love them now.

David Austen Roses my London garden was full of them.

Surf living water, nothing else like it.

La Brea Whole Grain

Olivina’s Classic OliveI don’t know how, but it smells exactly like frangipani

Real ink, in a bottle, to be used with a fountain pen

I could go on and on – straw hats, beeswax candles, Mrs Meyer’s products, iTunes. Big white shirts. I have enjoyed making this list, but I would be so curious to hear yours! What do you stand by?

About Tricia Rose

Not distracted by shiny objects.
This entry was posted in Family, the meaning of life. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Choosing

  1. Delores says:

    I love vintage wool paisley, linen–old & new, blue jeans, t-shirts, white sheets and towels, only natural fabrics, in fact. Old transferware and vintage dishes, the list goes on and on. I’m reminded of “Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens!” Yep, these are a few of our favorite things.
    I need to try your perfume and your David Austin rose.

  2. kerrie says:

    homegrown veggies
    calistoga water
    cotton(t’s, skirts, blankets, towels)
    Tom’s toothpaste
    Burt’s Bees lipbalm
    Birkenstocks(I cannot live without them)
    leather or canvas bags

  3. Stitchfork says:

    Some similar things on my list – jeans, white shirts, white dishes, white sheets and towels, an ancient pair of Ariat mules/clogs that need resoled, silver jewelry, soft leather purses… But I need to do some serious paring down and weed out the nonessentials gathered over the years that seem to multiple and fill closets.
    xo Cathy

  4. tammy says:

    what fun! hadn’t thought about it in awhile and i’m a happy list maker usually…
    dr bronner’s soap for my face
    simple, lightweight white dishes
    white wicker arm chairs for reading lots of books
    small lamps for “lighting the corners”
    cream colored bath towels
    in the summer… coconut shampoo
    sandals… lighter and strappy in summer
    sturdier and with socks in the winter!
    simplicity and spareness in all things. love it.

  5. Karena says:

    Natural fabrics and linens.
    My Himalayan Miss Belle
    Fresh baked bread
    Anytime near the water
    Inspiration to paint.
    Paring down to the essentials.
    A glass of wine with a friend at the end of the day.

    Art by Karena

    Come and enter my Giveaway of a very Special Painting by Mary Maxam!

  6. I love this post. Simplicity…Yes, the feel of simplicity. Thank you Trish.

  7. sherry hart says:

    Favorites are…jeans,white shirts,silver jewelry,ponytails,unmatched white dishes,not wearing nail polish,flip flops,white towels, hydrangea,real butter,real cream in my unflavored coffee,white sheets, white towels,my 10 year old car.

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