Good morning! Welcome to "Morning Musings".

Musings: to meditate, think, contemplate, deliberate, ponder, reflect, ruminate, reverie, daydream, introspection, dream, preoccupation, brood, cogitate.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Year With Beatrix Potter & Friends - June

Welcome back!  Last month we followed Jemima up to Oatmeal Crag where Tommy Brock and Mr. Tod had it out when Tommy Brock had the audacity to break into Mr. Tod's house and sleep in his bed!  This month's walk should prove to be a little less "exciting," but it does have its moments.  We'll begin this month's walk again at Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey. . . .




We will be passing Buckle Yeat where Ribby the cat lives.   Jemima has a tale to tell us about a most unfortunate outcome to a tea party. . . .


THE TALE OF THE PIE AND THE PATTY-PAN
as told by Jemima Puddle-Duck

Pit pat, paddle pat! Pit pat, waddle pat!  Quack!  Quack!

There is a cat that lives at Buckle Yeat named Mrs. Ribston.  Quack!  We call her Ribby, though.  She loves giving tea parties.  That is Buckle Yeat over there. . . .


I must tell you what happened at one of her tea parties last week.  Quack!  Ribby wrote out an invitation to Duchess the Pomeranian. . . .



Duchess received it later in the afternoon. . . . 

I know for a fact, Quack!, that Duchess DOES NOT LIKE Ribby’s mouse pie.  She looked in her cupboard and found a pink and white pie dish just like Ribby's, so she decided she would substitute one of her own veal and ham pies for Ribby’s mouse and bacon pie. . . .



Meanwhile, Ribby was busy putting her pie into the lower oven because the upper oven baked a little too hot.  Then went out to do some shopping for the tea party. . . .

Duchess put her veal and ham pie into a basket and headed for Ribby’s house.  She hoped she'd find her out so she could swap pies. . . . 

Luckily, Duchess passed Ribby in the lane.  She ran to Ribby’s house.  When she tried to open the door to the lower oven it would not budge.  So she opened the door to the upper oven but Ribby’s pie was not there. . . .  


Duchess put her pie in the upper oven and began looking through all the cupboards but could not find Ribby’s pie. . . .

She had to run out the back door before she could find it when she heard Ribby come home.  She ran home to get ready for the party, still wondering where Ribby’s pie might be.  Quack!  At 4:00 she headed back to Ribby’s with a bouquet of flowers she’d picked from her garden. . . .


Ribby served the tea.  She said the pie would be ready in 5 minutes.  Duchess was feeling nervous about the pie switch and started acting silly with a cube of sugar on her nose. . . .


While Duchess was under the table looking for the cube of sugar that had fallen on the floor, Ribby took her mouse pie out of the lower oven. . . .


Duchess began to eat the pie and found it delicious as she thought it was her veal and ham pie.  When she’d finished most of it she looked for the patty-pan (the little tin pan put in the middle to hold up the crust), and when she couldn’t find it became quite hysterical.  Quack! . . .

She thought she’d swallowed it. . . .


Ribby ran out to get Dr. Maggotty even though she kept telling Duchess she had not put a patty-pan in her pie. When Dr. Maggotty arrived Duchess said she was feeling much better, but the magpie insisted she take one of his bread bills with milk. Duchess was feeling much better because while Ribby was hunting for the doctor Duchess had heard a sizzling noise come from the oven and discovered HER pie.  She was relieved she’d not swallowed a patty-pan, but, HORRORS, she had eaten a MOUSE pie!  She set her pie outside the back door to retrieve later. . . . 


When Duchess went back to get her pie she discovered that Dr. Maggotty and three jackdaws were eating it. . . .Later Ribby discovered the broken pie dish and a patty-pan. . . .
Beatrix tells us what Ribby had to say about the patty-pan:  "Did you ever see the like!  So there really was a patty-pan?...But my patty-pans are all in the kitchen cupboard.  Well I never did!. . . .Next time I want to give a party, I will invite Cousin Tabitha Twitchit!”

If you want to hear the WHOLE story, as written by Beatrix herself, you can watch/listen to it here. . . .

             

The lesson learned this month. . . .

"Invitations often include the initials R.S.V.P., which stand for 'répondez s'il vous plaît.'  This means 'please respond' in French.  Duchess exhibits proper etiquette by promptly replying to her friend the pussy-cat's invitation to tea.  Remember, it is rude to speculate about the menu, even if you suspect that mouse pie will be served."

Ribby's tea party reminds me of the summer three years ago when we hosted a French high school student for three weeks.  It was so much fun introducing her to American culture and helping her with her English.  We discovered a few differences about our manners vs. French manners as well.  For instance, while we are taught to keep our left hand in our lap while we eat (or right, if you are left-handed), they rest their wrists on the table between bites.  They set their bread alongside not on their plates, and they always use utensils, not their hands except to eat the bread.  We served tacos, corn on the cob, hamburgers and chicken wings, all of which we eat with our hands!  On one of our excursions we took her to a used book store where I happened upon a little book of French etiquette written by an American diplomat's wife for Americans in France.  One thing that stood out to me was it is terribly rude to accept an invitation for dinner and then not eat what is served.  Instead, you are expected not to accept the invitation if you are a vegetarian, for instance, where vegetarianism is frowned upon.  This is what Duchess should have done rather than bring her own pie!

I could not find a recipe for mouse and bacon pie, but I did find one for veal and ham pie.  In Susan Wittig Albert's Beatrix Potter Cottage Tales book "The Tale of Holly How" she includes Mrs. Beeton's recipe for Veal and Ham pie. . . .
If you wish to print it out, drag it to your computer desktop


Here are my practice drawings for the month. . . .


It is said that this story was Beatrix's second favorite story probably because it was about village life.  She wrote the original story in 1903 and expanded it in early 1905 before her fiancee, Frederick Warne died.  Before she bought Hill Top.  It probably expressed her desire to escape London and her mother's exacting pressure to run her household.  Her paintings are said to be some of her best.  Ribby is modeled on a cat living in Sawrey and Duchess was modeled on the Lakefield/Ees Wyke (where she and her parents vacationed in Near Sawrey) caretaker's wife's Pomeranians.  You can read more background information HERE.

I decided this month's watercolor painting should be the one from the cover--the most colorful one. . . .

Here is the drawing. . . .
I spent all afternoon on it.  Had to take a break at one point because it was mentally exhausting!  I got smart this time, though, and pulled Beatrix's painting up on my computer screen, making it the same size as my paper.  Then I used a ruler to measure everything because I have a hard time getting things the right size in relation to each other.  I didn't draw in the details of the flowers because I wanted them to be more imagined, like Beatrix's.  I saved the outlining and painting for another day.

My painting. . . .
As you see, I was not able to "imagine" Beatrix's imagined flowers.  I made up my own and then thought I'd better quit while I was ahead.  I'm leaving the imagining up to you!


•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•
Take Joy!

12 comments:

  1. Another wonderful post that I thoroughly enjoyed. Your painting this month was a delight.

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    1. Thank you, Lorraine. I'm so glad you enjoyed Jemima Puddle-Duck's retelling of Ribby's and Duchess's tea party. I wonder if any of my readers have run into that kind of predicament! 😳

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  2. Cathy, I am enjoying the wonderful tales of Beatrix as you put them on the blog. She was such a marvelous storyteller! You are progressing in your artwork nicely. I hope you're enjoying the process, don't get too stressed out about it.

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    1. I'm so glad, Jeri, that you are enjoying the Tales. This is the first time for me to read some of these lesser-known stories myself! Thank you for your encouraging words about my drawing. I'm eager to when I get the courage to strike out on my own and develop my own style.

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  3. I like YOUR flowers your way, and of course I like Beatrix's too. That's the beauty of art, it's going to be different every time because we are all different. Reminds me of a little-known Julia Roberts' movie "Mona Lisa Smile" About an art history teacher at Wellesley in the early 50s. It didn't get a lot of press or rave reviews but I really liked it. It reminded me a lot about my own college days - even the campuses look similar. Anyway in it, at the end of the year Julia's students all present her with their own versions of Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" and it's stunning how differently it is interpreted by all the girls in the class. A lesson learned, for sure. PS - I'm really enjoying these monthly stories and the great "re-introduction" to Beatrix Potter that they've become for me. I don't remember any of these from childhood, which is a real bonus! Plus the glimpse they provide into what English village life was like back during that time. Even ties in with your "Take Joy" post today. It was easier to be satisfied, and grateful, by simpler things back then. And IMO, better if we could learn to be happier with less these days as well. 💛

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    1. Thank you, Janet! I will have to rent Mona Lisa Smile. I remember seeing it was out but never got around to watching it. You're right about the glimpse into English Village life. If you read the background information (I always provide the link to it), you'll see just how much Beatrix's stories and pictures were taken from real life--or how she wished it to be. This is what I love about writing, and hope how it will be with my drawings. When I first dreamed up my characters for my Adventures of Poetry the Calico Cat and Gabriel the Snowman stories I was struck by how much both represented who I was--especially the Snowman who was confined to the backyard--but then one night, after wishing he could go find his best friend, Poetry (who represented who I was as a child) he woke up to being a little white dog who, instead of a carrot nose, had a "carrot" tail (how Westie tails are described). and started on his journey to find her. That story has been my motivation for learning to draw so I could illustrate the story. See the adventures it's spawned for me!

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  4. Another wonderful post with much to absorb in it. I found scrolling down to see your painting full of suspense and rewarded with delight! I'm so glad you post the video as my grands enjoy them. I'm sure I could find them somewhere but I forget to look. It was interesting to read about the RSVP and the idea of eating what the hostess prepares. That certainly is an issue in today's world with the many food preferences that people live by. It can be hard to have guests over for a meal. And I do think it's quite polite to honor the hostess for her preparation by partaking! Hope you're off to a good week ahead!

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    1. I'm so pleased that you share the videos with your grandchildren. Thank you for letting me know what parts you liked about the post. I'm never sure if people are interested or not in all the little things I add each month. It sure is tricky nowadays to try to accommodate the various food preferences people have.

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  5. Another one of your delightful posts about the wonderful tales of Beatrix Potter. Your rendition is great of her painting of Duchess. I think most of us can identify with trying to make what our guests prefer. It's easy with our own family, but when we entertain those we don't know well it's a challenge. ♥

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    1. Thank you, Martha Ellen. It can be a challenge within your own family if there are specific likes or dislikes that only one person has and no one else has. When you get several people that way your menu choices start to dwindle!

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  6. One of my blogging friends Rosemary has just visited Hilltop you might be interesting in reading her post as she was accompanied by some familiar characters http://wherefivevalleysmeet.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/peter-rabbit-and-friends.html, Sarah x

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    1. Thanks for the link, Sarah. Rosemary's post is really cute.

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