Domestic Comforts





'There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort'
from Emma

Much as I enjoy staying in the cottage we rent when we are in Cornwall, and it is a very well-equipped cottage, it lacks the real comfort of home.
While I was there last month I thought a lot about home comforts and how they contribute to the well-being of  those who inhabit a home. Being comfortable ranks high on my personal hierarchy of needs and is the main reason I don't camp.

These are my necessary domestic comforts ~

Clean, dry towels.

A bed, freshly made, preferably with line-dried linen.

Somewhere comfortable to sit in the evenings.

A shelf or table near the chair for a drink and  a book or two.

The makings of a quick meal in the kitchen; bacon and eggs, bread and butter, some crisp apples.

Coffee, tea or cocoa, whichever you love best, in a mug which feels friendly in your hand.

A pile of books.

A notebook and pen.

Simple things all of them.
 Maybe the reference to women in the last verse of Grace Noll Crowell's poem below is dated, but  mentally substitute 'one' for 'woman' and I think she speaks such sense. Sometimes we are so busy looking outwards for excitement that we fail to recognise that the simple, ordinary acts of daily living are what make us content.

I Have Found Such Joy in Simple Things

I have found such joy in simple things;
A plain, clean room, a nut-brown loaf of bread
A cup of milk, a kettle as it sings,
The shelter of a roof above my head,
And in a leaf-laced square along the floor,
Where yellow sunlight glimmers through a door.

I have found such joy in things that fill
My quiet days: a curtain's blowing grace,
A potted plant upon my window sill,
A rose, fresh-cut and placed within a vase;
A table cleared, a lamp beside a chair,
And books I long have loved beside me there.

Oh, I have found such joys I wish I might
Tell every woman who goes seeking far
For some elusive, feverish delight,
That very close to home the great joys are:
The elemental things--old as the race,

Yet never, through the ages, commonplace.
Grace Noll Crowell


Comments

  1. Your list of required domestic comforts is precisely the same as mine. I do like camping though, for removing me from those comforts and shaking me up a bit - I am always so happy to get back to a real bed and china mugs after a few days under canvas!

    Maybe a quilt or rug, close to hand, would be on my list too.

    N x

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    1. Yes, good addition, but I'm so hot today I can't bear to think of rugs or quilts.

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  2. With you all the way - can I add the company of my beloved, and a ball of wool and air of needles!!
    I don't enjoy camping

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  3. A lovely list - I had always felt that I must be unadventurous and lacking in ambition - but now I feel vindicated for being content with books and mugs of tea, comfy armchair, flowers and fresh sheets. Thank you.

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    1. We should congratulate ourselves for being so easily satisfied. Pity the person who is never satisfied.

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    2. I'm quite happy with a comfy sofa, a good book (an old favourite that won't disappoint) and a mug of coffee - just wish I had more time to enjoy it. It's been v hot here today hasn't it.

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    3. It has hasn't it? I'm cooling down with a glass of chilled rosé.

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  4. Lovely post Sue, timely reminder that the best things in life are usually free,bird song in the morning and a nice soak in a hot bath, not what you need right now,the hot bath I mean, but it is quite cold in Southern Africa were I live. The poem is beautiful!

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  5. I think my list would be almost identical to yours but with the added, 2 dogs and 2 cats sleeping peacefully at my feet.

    Simple pleasures give the most satisfaction somehow.

    I love the picture at the bottom!

    Sue xx

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  6. If I'm away from home I HAVE to have at least one good book (depending on length of stay) and of course, all those other things you mention would be on the list too.
    However I'm coming to realise just how much I NEED, yes, NEED to have a pen and notepad with me, almost to the point of feeling a bit uncomfortable if I forget. No idea why, I'm not constantly making lists (though I have been known to make a few now and then...) nor dashing off a few lines of purple prose...thoguh again, I'm not averse to that (HAHAHA geddit??) Perhaps we should divide the list into Practical and Emotional comforts.
    Or am I just getting a tad OCD about this?

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  7. Anonymous7:01 pm BST

    I'm with you on the camping, Sue. The thought of camping in rain gives me the shudders, I like to be dry and warm.

    What did you think of Death Comes To Pemberley? I found it a bit disappointing, I don't think she got the tone quite right and there was too little Lizie and Darcy for me.

    Sue F (aka snoozer)

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    1. I really enjoyed it Sue. Of course a bit more Lizzie and Darcy would have been nice but I liked the way she provided an explanation for Wickham's entanglement with Mrs Young, and I especially liked the casual references to other Austen characters such as the Eliots from Persuasion and Harriet from Emma. I felt the tone was just right.

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  8. We RV and love it. We have a little travel van that has all the comfort of home from a couch that converts to a bed electronically , to chairs to sit in, a clean tiny bathroom, a tiny refrigerator, sink, two burner stove and a microwave/convention oven. Oh, yeah and a HD TV with DVR player. We can go anywhere and park it anywhere. We only "camped" in a tent the first few years of married life. Like you I love my comforts and we think alike! We bring a selection of our books and DVDs and my crochet with us when we travel.

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  9. A jam jar full of flowers.......... what more could a girl want? Total heaven.

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  10. I applaud the comfort and joy of small domestic things, and your fine examples, but I think I had to see the world and emerge into the incredible 3am fresh air after clubbing to reach that state of grace. Looking back, I think round 33 was when the poem became true for me. And you, Sue?

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    1. Hmm... about 10. Not sure I've ever been clubbing, I was born middle aged.

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  11. Lovely words to read today. And flowers to see as well. I seem to need to be alone to appreciate small domestic pleasures. Solitary moments are lacking around these parts just now.

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  12. Yes, yes, yes! This is why I love your blog. Someone who thinks the same way I do. And it is especially timely as we are away from home right now in a rented cottage, and while I'm having a good time, I can't wait to get home to my bed, my shower, my tea, etc. P.S. Found Death Comes to Pemberley disappointing too. Don't know why. I love Jane Austen and I love P.D. James, but didn't like the combination I guess.

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  13. Sue, my holiday wish list would always give me days off from general lifetime duties, cooking, cleaning, working, laundry...although the thought of actually having laundry that dried outdoors on a line on a sunny day would be a great treat.

    It's quite a lot of fun for this big city person to compare notes with you and the prior commenting folks. Seems to me as if we are all pretty much in agreement.

    xo

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  14. Lovely poem ... and I completely agree. I think I'll print it out nicely and frame it for my wall.
    Heartfelt thanks.
    cheers

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  15. The poem says it all for me too. Home needs to be where all those little comforts are catered for. In the past, I have travelled to some out of the way places by less than luxurious means but even then I knew my 'spirit of adventure' really only thrived when I had appropriate liquid refreshment, a box of tissues, access to a clean loo and somewhere dry and safe to lay down. Probably accounts for me being something of a home body now.
    Sweet jam jar posy!

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    1. You inspired my posy. Thank you!

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  16. I do agree with your list of simple pleasures Sue, but I seem to need a small time away just once in a while to make those pleasures sing once again. I would add all four in the family being in the house at the same time. I am a pack animal so it seems.

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  17. Hot water from a tap, and more than one loo in the house! I can cope with pretty much anything else.

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  18. Anonymous10:34 am BST

    Thank you for your list, which is also my list and many thanks for the poem, which I hadn't met before. True happiness, I think. AnnaC

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  19. Hi there,

    such a lovely sentiment. It's always lovely to read your posts, but this one espeically - i shall be printing out the poem and putting it where I will see it often.
    Thanks
    Jo

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  20. I don't think they are necessary simple things though. We take such things for granted now I know. However, all the things you mention are the norm to aspire to for everyday usage but not necessarily acquired by all. I remember Claire Raynor saying that contrary to belief keeping clean DID cost money in soap, hot water and towels. Replacement sheets also cost money. I work for a charity that provides these things (everyone is a volunteer). We provide things from fish slices to beds. People do not in many cases have any cooking facilities at all and that is why it is useless to suggest home cooked food and education would solve all the poverty/obesity problems. Cookers are at a premium and we turn down most requests due to lack of funds, fridges the same. This includes families with children as well as single people.

    People do not even have beds to sleep on. Sometimes a family share a mattress, sometimes they sleep on the floor. No washing facilities mean no fluffy towels or duvet covers even if you have them and many don't. It is not mismanagement either. Some people just don't have anything as they never have and are always in a position of urgent need which means they just do not get on their feet. There is a great deal of increasing need especially in these times. Charity shop prices out-price the neediest people with the bargains being snapped up by middle class people. We are a charity that provides for free depending on the kindness of others for donations as well as grants.

    My point is not to be miserable and rain on your thoughts on what makes you happy, it's just to remind people that these things all cost and are not to be taken for granted. We are very lucky indeed if we have access to some of these things. Some people don't even have access to tea making facilities. Simple pleasures, the very basics of a true home if you like for some people, are unobtainable treasure for others. Contrary to common perception, there is frequently no help available at all whatever the level of deprivation. For some, there is very limited help.

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    1. Thank you Faye for your comment. I agree. I didn't say any of these things were free but that doesn't mean they are not simple. I was trying to make the point that the things we take for granted are what make life worth living.

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  21. ....in fact I was so galvanised by your post and the poem, and a recent post by Penelope on L is for Love, I sat down yesterday and wrote a Reasons to be Cheerful post, with the promise I will do it on a regular basis. Nice one.

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  22. Here I am tucked in at the end...found you via Lynne and decided to have a look. Love this poem, thank you for including it, am going to write it in my little book of poetry. Oh and I agree with most of your list too. I love simple things, don't care for keeping up with the Jones's or anyone else, not materialistic really. My one weakness would be books and craft materials...oh, that's two. Well, there you have my third weakness. Can't count!

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  23. I love this post, Sue. Your home comforts match mine almost to a tee.

    And I especially love your last photo!

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  24. Perfect. Perfect post, perfect poem :D

    I shall be ensuring my other half reads this. I have been trying to communicate to him that we need to slow life down. Just now all these simple things that have brought us such joy are simply a blur as we rush by. It saddens me deeply.

    Thank you Sue x

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  25. Jessica in Canada10:27 pm BST

    I miss the smell of Fairy Liquid :(

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    1. You can't usually get it in a cylindrical bottle these days. That's a special Jubilee edition.

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  26. simple pleasures. oh yes. I like.

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  27. Sue I have to agree with most of your pleasures. The only things I would add are the dog at my feet, children playing nicely and some cross stitch in the hoop.

    The poem was lovely and one I have not come across before and have wrote it in my book. Thank you

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  28. I am always thankful for somewhere safe and comfortable to sleep.

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  29. That poem so sums it all up, doesn't it? I have just returned from our annual holiday, this year a week in a self catering apartment in Orkney. Beautiful apartment - very tasteful - and yet... something missing. A something that makes me glad to get home to my own things, my own bed and my own space to relax in. Linda xxx

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  30. Thanks for the opportunity to peek at your bookshelf (always the first thing I check out when I visit a new home). I bought the Flavour Thesaurus as well! (And some Jubilee fairy liquid.)

    I sometimes think it would be nice to take a holiday at home - expect I'm afraid I would do too much housework, and it wouldn't really end up being a holiday.

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  31. I agree with your comments about domestic comforts. I love the simple things as well. The other day i sat in my kitchen and watched some white sheets blowing on the line in the sunshine and i loved it. Thinking how lovely they would smell when they were eventually on the bed mmmm.
    Love Carole from Rossendale xx

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  32. Julianne11:49 pm BST

    Oh I just love this. Being happiest at home. It is something I have thought so often but am unable to express.
    I plan to read this to my daughters. I have also thought how enjoyable a vacation at home would be but I would probably end up organizing.

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