Saturday, 21 May 2011

In Praise of Dining Rooms

Forgive us if we appear a little outspoken. Certainly no rudeness is intended. Put simply, we do not 'do' kitchens. By that we mean we seldom enter the kitchen, have little idea how the oven may ignite, have no interest in what the cupboards and drawers may or may not contain, and NEVER consider for a second that we should eat breakfast, luncheon or dinner within its confines.

our housekeeper [and cook], Tímea, at the serving table in the dining room

If truth be told, Tímea, our long serving and splendid housekeeper [and cook], would neither approve of it, nor allow it. And that said, we are totally at a loss to understand the increasing number of people, many of our friends included, who prefer, or so they say, to eat in the kitchen.

Tímea at work in the kitchen preparing today's luncheon

Which brings us back to the subject in hand: the dining room. There is, we feel, much to be said in favour of a room which, in recent years, appears to be out of favour.

First, it permits an occasion of all meals, simple or elaborate. It provides for a relaxed atmosphere, away from the heat of the kitchen, where conversation is not in competition with cooking, and where dining is aloof from drudgery.

the dining room in readiness for today's small luncheon party

Secondly, the dining room, as other reception rooms of the house, can be both attractive and aesthetically pleasing. Who, we wonder, wishes to face the fridge, confront the cooker, or stare at the sink? Yes, and we are the first to admit this, that there are items of kitchen equipment that are of retro interest, such as an Aga, or in the vanguard of modern design, a Nespresso coffee machine, for example, but...............well, let us just say, they do not a dining room make!

the jib door into the kitchen ajar, and through which we are never to pass

Finally, there is, of course, the moment when, luncheon or dinner concluded, the table is left, and coffee is served, in the drawing room, the piano nobile, the sitting room, the living room, the lounge [but only in hotels and at airports] or wherever. Or is that in the kitchen too?


  1. Being chief cook around here, I spend a lot more time in the kitchen, where there is indeed an Aga, than in the dining room. And the two of us only take up a small corner of the table, nowadays. You make me think wistfully of the days when there were five or six of us at the dining table every day.

  2. Z:
    A large number round a dining table always, we feel, makes for a jolly occasion.

    We nearly once bought a house because of its red Aga. Why?Goodness knows!!

  3. I know what you mean, Hattats, but - I have to confess - we pretty much live in our kitchen. We simply cannot afford to heat the other rooms of our vast apartment AND pay for the Polish housekeeper, who also doubles-up as my hot water bottle in the winter months.

  4. Tom Stephenson:
    This comment has amused us greatly. And, we thought that everyone living in Bath was enormously rich!!

  5. I love meals in our dining room, which is infact to again defy tradition, in a raised area of a very large drawingroom, away from the cooking heat/smells of the kitchen. This is where sunday lunch, celebrations and entertaining happens in our house. But for many family meals we gather around the kitchen table, which does have a lovely view over garden and fields. With four children (and no cook!) this is simply practical.

    I think we do miss a trick not making the most of meal times, not savouring the food and the moment, and making it memorable. However many big modern kitchens are beautifully decorated spaces, with eating areas away from machinery, and people enjoy the relaxed lack of formality. The Jamie Oliver generation?!

    I grew up eating most often in a large kitchen, one with a sofa and fireplace at one end, and have gloriously warm memories of watching and helping my mother cook, the laughter, the relaxed atmosphere. Interestingly, both my parents both grew up in houses with cooks, so this has changed in their generation. I love your traditional, almost pre-war style of dining, but for many, it is redolent of a distant, upper class way of life, which for most, is unattainable.

  6. i love your dining room. it so cosy and reminds so much the 1910-1920´s style of dining rooms. lovable! also the sideboard is great. and the serving table whit all the stuffs <3 i must say that every time i visit here in your blog, i took a look in that picture abowe- the drawing room in budapest. the furnitures in that picture are pure greatness. i just love the way how you two are putted those together-it look so lovely. Delightful. Have nice day !

  7. Belinda@Wild Acre:
    Everything you say here about your dining arrangements sounds absolutely lovely. Views over the garden and fields are something we should love to have, and must certainly make the whole experience of eating joyful.

    We regret to say that we do not care too much for Mr Oliver and, as you may expect, do not possess a single one of his cookbooks. When in Brighton and, on occasion, we must fend for ourselves, we fall back on Delia, but we have never really forgiven her for misleading us about what a Hungarian goulash is really like.

  8. Hello Jane and Lance - I fear that your rather civilized lifestyle is one not often witnessed these days. We have a dining room but we use it infrequently - but I think your post may inspire us to use it somewhat more often.
    Your dining room looks spectacular, as does the table setting. Would it be possible to trade Clive for Timea for a short while (say 6 months)?!

  9. Jane and Lance...I love that you have rituals around your dining room and enjoy the time of the day when you can sit, relax and enjoy a meal without the distractions of the kitchen. After reading this post, I have a strong desire to dust of the cob webs of our silver and fine china and make proper use of them.

    My husband's grandmother had a french housekeeper for over 30 years. She was like one of the family and was a wonderful cook. I have fond memories of her beautiful meals, served to us as we sat in the peace and quiet of the sunroom off the kitchen with magnificent views of the Pacific ocean. I posted about this house recently. You might enjoy it.

    My husband is working on a 3000 piece puzzle on our dining room table which has had me missing it these past few weeks. When he is finally done, I plan to rethink it's use.

    Your dining room is lovely...thanks so much for the inspiration!

    Jeanne xx

  10. I have a Swiss friend of a certain age and income bracket - your dining room and style of living reminds of her so much.

    This post made me smile from beginning to end. I have no idea how our paths came to cross but we could not be more different in so many ways. I smile partly because I'm not exactly sure how much of what you write is tongue in cheek. But I am glad our paths have crossed.

    I wasn't going to write a post on my blog today as I should be busy preparing for an upcoming event (but I happened to pass the computer....!). Now I feel I must write - the briefest post ever - and especially for you! I am a card maker and I have a card that could have been tailored made for you! If I had your address I would send it to you. If you would like me to, please say, and I will send it to you!

    The kitchen is my favourite room in the house incidentally - for a variety of reasons! Each to their own I suppose.

  11. If I could I would knock out all the downstairs walls and turn the whole space into one giant kitchen. I love whisks with painted handles, and well scrubbed oak boards. Seven years ago I nabbed the dining room for an office and now all our meals are eaten in the kitchen. I used to love the idea of laying a glossy table with best china and candles, but I was the one who had to do the glossing and I got bored with it all. Tea-lights in jam-jars on a frayed embroidered cloth is as formal as I'm willing to go now, and only for birthdays and Christmas.  

  12. Jane, Lance, please accept my apologies! I may be a little late for luncheon. Our postman here has been a bit tardy lately (van trouble, I hear) and somehow your invitation to today's luncheon hasn't yet reached me. I'll hasten to change immediately and set off (luckily the helicopter is out on the pad) and be with you as soon as possible. I do hope Timea won't take offence at my unavoidable lateness.

  13. I think I would like to sit down in the dining room and have my cook bring me deliciously prepared meals. But, I also think I would miss what I've come to view as the camaraderie that exists in the kitchen. Alas, I shall probably never be confronted with the choice, but it does my heart good to know two delightful people who allow meals to be filled with the kind of grace that you've described so well here. It really does sound very nice.

  14. At this time of year we usually eat outside. But at other times we ALWAYS eat dinner at the dining table; complete with lit candelabra. Lunch is similar but with no candles.

    This modern-day business of 'the kitchen being the heart of the home', must have been dreamt up by Hygena or B & Q.

  15. Oh, what a glamorous lifestyle, a housekeeper/cook! Next you'll be telling me you have a butler and a maid to run Madame Hattatt's bath, sprinkled with rose petals ... only joking and I'd just love to wave ta-ta to the kitchen and be served food that I've not had to shop for, cook and clear up after! But it's simply not going to happen! We have breakfast in the kitchen, lunch also, but supper in our dining area in the long sitting/dining room. When not in use, the dining table becomes a sofa table. In a small house such as this, I believe that rooms have to be multi-funcional, it's no use having idle spare rooms, or a dining room there only for high days and holidays. Therefore, when not in use, the dining table doubles as a D-end sofa table, with lamp, flowers, books on top. The chairs are then distributed, some remain in the dining end of the room, some are in the kitchen as our kitchen chairs. We like the kitchen to look as good as possible - we even chose the most expensive wallpaper in our house for the kitchen. But you do have a most enviable lifestyle!
    Oh, and I never, never refer to our sitting room (it's not formal enough to be a drawing room) as a 'lounge'. I can't bear the word and lounges are only in airports or hotels. The name smacks of lounge-lizard, lounging around, it's a slovenly word which should be eradicated from every person's vocabulary, and more importantly, their home!
    Margaret P
    PS My husband says he has a cook/housekeeper: it's called A Wife.

  16. How kind of Timea to let you into her domain! And what a lovely table. I will have to invite myself to dinner someday! Does Timea prepared traditional Hungarian meals for you?

  17. Greetings to you both. I noticed your comments on posts of a few of my readers and could not resist visiting your blog. Your posts make very interesting reading, accompanied by some beautiful pictures too. I feel sure my blog will not appeal to you (perhaps with the exception of the posts, Drama in a Gertrude Jekyll Garden and A gift to myself), equines are not everyones cup of tea.
    I have two kitchens, one with sink, usual appliances and full cupboards, the other has French dresser, table, chairs and an Aga. Guests always gather around this for warmth due to me living in a draughty Victorian house in Northumberland.
    Your table has been so beautifully laid, and I do hope you and your guests have a very enjoyable luncheon party. Abby

  18. With you on wanting to keep it separate, if possible. We have a red dining room that is lit only by candles. That would be no good as a kitchen!

  19. Gracious, you must have been listening in to our conversation at lunch today :)

    Your statement is very true - in newbuilds these days, the dining room appears to be well out of favour. People tend to buy houses and flats that have bigger kitchens that open onto bigger family rooms. If there is a separate, more formal room built, it will be a lounge room that can fit in a dining room table on rare occasions.

    Personally speaking, husband and I eat in the kitchen cum family room every night of the week. We use the formal dining area only for dinner parties (3 times a year), high days and holy days.

  20. My thoughts were with you in regards to today's luncheon and now it is as if I had been there. Timea looks as though she takes very good care of you both. A woman of means.

    Now, you will be horrified, I am certain, by this but our new apartment has the tiniest OPEN kitchen. The dining and salon share the same room. The refridgerator will be, gulp, visible, unless I come up with some trickery to hide it. Since living in France, I have come to learn the elegance in eating in a room that is destined for just that and will just have to get used to something different.

    Thank you, as always, for opening up your world. It seems as though we are all still here for the moment, so I wish you both a lovely weekend!

  21. Hmmm... I think of my kitchen as the heart of the home. It is the pleasure and creativity that I can let loose in there, it's poetry. Just feeling the ingredients being moulded by my hands, shaping them into anything they are destined to become. I know every detail, every place. It has to be meticulously put away and clean, but it brings me no greater pleasure than to be able to whip up whatever I want, and see the end result done. Knowing that I, or someone I love have made it, with thought of me, caring. Nothing can beat that! :)
    Even the beginners cooking of my daughter, bring me happiness... Its love you can eat! haha!

    Had I asked the lady that helps us, to cook, I wouldn't never experience the unrisen cake (either burnt or not done at all) Or her oversalted meat patties Usually shaped into hearts or with writing on them (If she can manage) :)

    Our home is a reflection of us, and entering into someone's home shows the owner's spirit. I would conclude, that with people such as yourselves, the kitchen cannot be ugly! :)

    By the way, the dining room is lovely. And I heartily agree that we have cut out the tradition of eating at the dining room table. It's all quick now, in front of the TV. No time to chat or take our time.

    People have forgotten such important things by that. Either the dining room is attached to the living room, or it is not there at all. Tied have loosened between people.

    It is too sad that an era such as that is gone... Mostly, Im just sad that the fashion has changed... I'd love for that to come back! But it's all gone for good.

    Cheers to you both, I hope you're having a brilliant day!


  22. I forgot to mention above that when our children were young (mostly in Brighton) we ALWAYS dined together around the table, at a fixed hour every evening. THAT, and bedtime stories, I consider essential for children (and no TV playing in the background).

  23. Akissfromthepast:
    How very kind you are about the dining room.

    The dining chairs in the photograph do date from the period you mention and they are supplemented by Victorian 'balloon-back' chairs when necessary. We always think that the dining room is at its best when filled with people and conversation.

  24. Craig:
    We rather suppose that this post is somewhat of a 'rallying cry' in support of dining rooms which do seem to be either abandoned or put to other uses these days.

    Timea has never left the country apart from a brief school holiday to Russia, so we fear [but are secretly pleased] that she may not have a passport. So, alas, there can be no chef swap with Clive........but we hear that he makes rather good coffee!!

  25. Jeanne:
    Yes, come to think of it, we are really rather fond of rituals and, as eating we regard as one of life's pleasures, quite a lot of activity centres around the dining room. Do dust off your best china. It is so good to use things which otherwise never see the light of day.

    Thank you for the link to a previous post of yours. It sounds just exactly the kind of dining experience that we should very much enjoy. Views of the Pacific cannot be bettered, surely!

  26. Bella Bheag:
    Ah, the Swiss, they do everything so perfectly. We are sure that our standards could not match, but are flattered that you consider that we could come close!

    We are not entirely sure how we found you either but that is what makes blogging such fun, don't you think? We love your posts and constantly marvel at the way in which the internet can provide a global community in which we can all enjoy being a small part of the lives of others.

    We shall certainly come to look at the card just as soon as we have completed our replies. Thank you.

  27. Eryl:
    We should advise against knocking all the walls down not, as you might think, to preserve a dining room but to keep your house upright. Friends of ours embarked upon such a course of action only to find that the outside walls had to be underpinned and the roof propped. No, Eryl, keep the walls and continue to collect your kitchenalia which sounds very jolly indeed.

    We do agree that life can be too short to polish the silver and love your carefree approach. We are sure that dining with you would be a memorable and happy occasion wherever and whenever it took place.

  28. Mise:
    We waited and waited and waited and still you did not arrive. And now, it is far too late and all the food eaten.

    However, the wine is still flowing and the Palinka not yet begun so, dear Mise, rev up the rotors and come as you are!!

  29. Teresa Evangeline:
    Camaraderie in the kitchen? This is certainly nothing that we have ever experienced.

    Pre housekeeper/ cook days when we were in our youth we once [and only once] attempted to cook for an ambitious dinner party. Filo pastry [it seemed a good idea at the time] was the order of the day. By the time we had removed the said pastry from the floor, every available work surface and our hair.......all camaraderie was gone!!

  30. Cro Magnon:
    Al fresco dining is an absolute favourite and we should definitely never be indoors in your wonderful situation with such a lovely garden.

    The candelabra sound beautiful and how romantic to always eat dinner by the light of them.

    B&Q have much to answer for in our book and kitchens taking over the house can now be added to the list. How right you are!!

  31. Galant:
    Thank you so much for your most generous and comprehensive comment.

    No butler or maid. A line has to be drawn somewhere and for us, it is the duties involved in running the house that we most appreciate being done by someone else.

    What a splendid idea to have furniture which can be moved around depending on function and circumstance. It certainly must enable you to make the very most of each of your rooms and, most importantly, use all your rooms.

    We are so pleased to have you as a supporter with regard to the word 'lounge', which is creeping into use more frequently we fear with every day which passes. Yes, only hotels and airports!!

  32. Michael:
    What a wonderful idea to meet one day at the dining table, especially if you were to bring your home grown vegetables!

    Timea is very versatile but, in the main, she cooks Hungarian cuisine which we love.

  33. My Spotty Pony:
    What a delicious name for a blog. We shall visit just as soon as we are able. Knowing next to nothing about horses, we are sure that we shall learn a great deal from what you write.

    Not one, but two kitchens, Abby, now that, we are sure, would be Timea's idea of heaven. An Aga does have an appeal, we have to say, and once we nearly bought a house on the strength of it having one. However, the rising damp prevented us at the eleventh hour!!

  34. Deborah:
    A candlelit dining room painted red, oh that does sound wonderful. And, yes, unsuitable as a kitchen but oh how perfect for romantic meals for two!

    And, thank you so much for becoming a Follower!

  35. Hels:
    Yes, new houses very often these days seem to have one large multi-purpose space. This must, we assume, be what people are looking for but, for ourselves, we think that separate rooms, even if smaller can offer so much more flexibilty.

    We are sure that on Holy Days your dining room looks wonderful with all the magnificent smells and bells which no doubt are in evidence as befits those occasions!

  36. Lost in Provence:
    Now, Heather, let it be said that, although we have never met, we regard you as a resourceful woman. Indeed, intelligent, determined, quick witted, artful, clever and creative are adjectives which immediately come to mind when we think of you. BUT, we cannot see how even a woman of your ways and means can find sufficient 'trickery' to hide a refrigerator!!

    Please remember, Heather, gathered floral curtains do not a screen make!!!

  37. Kasia:
    We heartily agree that food made with love tastes so good. Reading your comment, we were with you in your kitchen, mesmerised by your every move and knowing that whatever you made would be bound to reflect your passion and taste delicious.

    We are sad to say that we do agree that time spent with friends and family over leisurely meals seems to be as dead as the Dodo. But, we try to invite interesting people into our home as often as we can since we find that it brings a richness to life that we enjoy.

    Luncheon finally finished at 7pm. A jolly time, we trust was had by all.

    We hope that you are enjoying a Happy Weekend too.

  38. I was blessed enough, growing up, to live in a house with a separate dining room which is where supper was eaten, as well as Sunday lunch and other special midday meals.

    Breakfast was taken in the kitchen, around a large farmhouse style table, en famille. It was cozy.

    But otherwise yes, you're quite right - the dining room is the best place to dine. It makes an occasion out of every meal.

    However, if I were given a choice of eating in the kitchen or sitting in front of the telly, balancing a plate on my knees, (as so many people seem to do these days) I'd choose even a teensy tiny table in the kitchen.

  39. Cro Magnon [again]:
    We can think of absolutely nothing worse than eating against the background chaos of a television. If we had children, we should be at one with you over bedtime stories, eating together at a table and giving them time instead of money.

  40. Wendz:
    TV we detest the idea, even though we do not have a television.We are absolutely with you over this, even the tiniest table anywhere in the house would be preferable.

    Breakfasts around the farmhouse table sound to have been delightful. It is so good when there is somewhere where the whole family can gather to share their news and views.

  41. This post reminds me of the glamour and civility of days long ago and it's wonderful to see that they still exist in Budapest! I have to say that I love to cook and love to have family and friends around in the kitchen helping if they so choose, as there is a certain commraderie that happens over the making of food...but I know that a special commraderie happens in the dining room whilst dinner is being prepared by others, both I think are lovely.
    Your dining room is gorgeous!!
    xo J~

  42. Oh, I think you have the most perfect ideal about the kitchen. If I could, I would love to have a cook and house keeper. That would be a dream for sure. I sure am happy we have found each others blog. Thanks for sharing and thanks, especially, for coming by and visiting with me and leaving such nice comments. I seem to like blogers better than real life people. Does that make sense?Richard at My Old Historic house

  43. 24 Corners:
    Clearly the atmosphere in the kitchens of many other people is entirely different from the ambiance that we exude if ever we are in there. All this happy camaraderie is completely alien to us, we simply get fractious and unpleasant!

    We are so pleased that you like the dining room, the place where we feel most at home!

  44. Richard Cottrell:
    We are so pleased that you share our views on the kitchen. We seem to be in an ever diminishing group, so it is good to stick together.

    The real world can be very difficult at times. So, yes, we know exactly what you mean about fellow bloggers who, in our experience, are so very generous.

  45. Your life - how did you get there? You are not obliged to answer this question, it is merely meant as a big sigh from me! Lovely lovely lovely!

  46. Dear Jane and Lance, your dining room is very elegant. I don't have a dining room, I spend a very big part of my day in the kitchen, baking, blogging, flower arranging, crafting, painting. I love it, it is my most favourite room in the house. However, when we have our meals, especially when visitors come, it is kind of awful looking at the "drudgery", as you call it. Especially as I am a bit of a messy cook, who doesn't clean as she goes and enevitably when the visitors arrive, there are pots and things still unwashed..yuk! Today I was painting in a rather lovely Edwardian house with a fabulous panelled hallway. In this house was the kind of dining room I have always dreamed walls, mahogany furniture and family silver, it just makes me think of wonderful cheery Christmas gatherings. I am disappointed in you I thought you would be good at cooking! Have a lovely relaxing Sunday, love Linda x

  47. What a wonderful Dining room. Thank you for your comments in my blog.

  48. I love your fresh perspective. We have a beautiful dining room in our home in Massachusetts, but we only use it for holiday meals or when we have guests. Inspired by you I am going to take a fresh look at it--perhaps breathe some life into it. We generally eat our meals at the kitchen table--but a least there are usually fresh flowers.

  49. I had to come back and say how very much I enjoyed the exchange between you and Mise. Several chuckles. Other exchanges, as well. Fun comments and it gave me some food for thought. :)

  50. Please set an extra place for me...I'll be right over! ;)
    Your dining room looks divine. I admit we are fairly typical Americans, in that we do all gravitate to the kitchen. However, our formal dining room is pressed in to service at least once a week when the grown progeny show up for a free meal. Now, if I could just get them to cook it :) !

  51. Looks like I have to brush up on my spelling of 'camaraderie'! ;)

    If you are ever in may sit in our dining room and relax while we cook away, chatting with you all the while because our dining room is open to the kitchen...and I promise to keep you unfractious & pleasant! :)
    xo J~

  52. I just found your blog and love your posts (I went back and read them all). I think it is wonderful that you take the time to reply to each post. Sometimes you post on blogs and never know if your comments are read or appreciated.

    As for dining rooms, I am in total agreement. I use mine for dinner but alas must cook my own food first, but I still enjoy eating it in the dining room.


  53. TCFO:
    How really very generous of you. Thank you. What we hope we never forgot is how fortunate we all are in life compared with so very, very many others.

  54. Flowers on my table:
    Linda, what you describe here sounds like a hive of creative activity and, knowing your blog as we do, we know for certain that that is the truth of the matter. We should long to be able to do so many of the things which you clearly accomplish with ease, not only for the enjoyment but also the satisfaction of having produced something worthwhile made by ourselves.

    The house in which you were painting yesterday does, indeed, sound wonderful. We have always rather wanted a red dining room but have, to date, lacked the courage to carry it out.

    And we are so sorry to disappoint you about our cooking skills! Sadly, what we write is true - to boil an egg becomes a major challenge!

  55. Hans i Brannberg:
    Thank you so much. We are really pleased that you like the dining room. We are fascinated with what you are doing with your garden. Have a lovely Sunday.

  56. Jen of Country Weekend:
    Fresh flowers at all times on your kitchen table sounds positively lovely and, we think, so much in keeping with the title of your blog.

    Your dining room, from your description, is clearly a very attractive, if under used room, and we do so hope that with a rethink you may find yourselves together in it more often.

  57. Teresa Evangeline [again]:
    How nice to have your second comment and how very kind and generous of you to write it. We are delighted that some of the comments have given you 'food for thought'. In the dining room, we trust!!

  58. Elizabeth Rose Stanton:
    Now, Elizabeth, you will always be welcome although, we dare say, we should be living in hope that you might, in an idle moment, doodle one of your splendid drawings onto a napkin or something - in the way that artists do.

    We were much amused with the thought of the 'grown progeny' turning up for free meals. We can remember in years gone by doing the same to both sets of parents! Little changes.

  59. Gosh that could really catch on, but only if we all had a Timea. At this time of year we have several areas where we like to dine. The garden, the conservatory, the formal dining room (when visitors come) and a breakfast area in the kitchen. Alas all of our meals are prepared and cooked by ourselves. Hubby does the lunch and I do the supper...................Rosemary

  60. 24 Corners [again]:
    Jessica, this is a most generous offer and one we do hope you will not live to regret. From about two weeks ago, there is now a direct flight each day from Budapest to New York. After that, a quick hop to Seattle and we could be knocking on your door!! Be afraid, be very afraid!!

    What you describe sounds lovely.

  61. Sissysmom:
    How delighted we were to have your most generous comment and do appreciate your kindness in reading previous posts.

    For us, if people are prepared to take the time and trouble to read what we write, and then to leave a comment, the very least we can do is to make a reply which, as it happens, is always a pleasure. Of course different people approach the whole 'blogging' thing in different ways.

    We are, of course, delighted to learn that you use your dining room.

    If we understand correctly, then you do not have your own blog. If you do, then please let us know.

  62. Anonymous - Rosemary:
    We do not know anymore how we would manage without Tímea for she really is a National Treasure and, after seven years full time with us, is very much part of the household.

    Your various venues for eating sound absolutely splendid, the conservatory in particular which must be an ideal spot during the summer months [and probably during the winter too if you have heating].

    That you share the cooking seems to us a very good arrangement.

  63. Jane and Lance, I say you should go for a red dining room...why not! Many thanks for your feedback on the cushions, I agree they would fit in with modern or traditional schemes.Have a lovely day, love Linda x

  64. Flowers on my table [again]:
    Yes, a red dining room.....perhaps one day!

    As always, we so enjoyed your latest post and hope that you are having a very relaxing Sunday. It is now quite hot here.

  65. An interesting post. Timea, in her white top, reminds me of the masseuses we encountered at The Gellert on a weekend trip there years ago. I'd rather expected a soft-lit room, candles glowing, ambient music and a gentle back soothing. Truth was the massage room was very bleak and utilitarian, and the masseuse was clearly a bricklayer or some such in her spare time! Interesting lives we all lead - so different. We've recently downsized from a Grade 11 listed half-timbered place to a town house (overlooking meadows, fortunately)and have put in a big open plan kitchen / sitting room, with doors to the garden! There's lots more I want to say, about feeling sorry for you not physically engaging with preparing your own food, but I've written far too much already! Abby

  66. Vintage Tea Time:
    How very, very brave of you to have subjected yourself to the 'bricklayers' of The Gellert and to have survived to tell the tale! Be assured, little has changed!

    It must have been something of a wrench to leave your previous house but, and we are great believers in this, nothing is for ever and new challenges are always exciting. The situation of your new house sounds wonderful and we love the idea of walking directly out into the garden.

    Do not worry about our not preparing our own food!! We shall survive [and actually stand more chance of our so doing!].

  67. Hello,

    Thanks for the comment, it really touches me and it is true that it is a bit expensive failure for a glass of milk. My mind agrees with you with the way that you live. And I find the fantasy itself that people still have respect for a traditional way of living like you. sommegen of us like this might not be justified and nineteen century. But, for me, such things are "as always in the dining room eating" more enjoyable. I hope it tasted.

    Have a nice Sunday.


  68. Maison de lin:
    We are just so sorry that you could not have joined us, Jérome, as it was such a very pleasant day, not finishing until 7pm.

    We think that, rather than being C19 we, perhaps as you, are just individuals and going our own ways rather than 'going with the flow'. Individualism, we feel, makes life so much more interesting.

    And, thank you too for your comments. They are always appreciated.

  69. Oh my! Did you just get startled by a loud bark of laughter in Budapest? That was me! I had to clap my hand over my mouth for fear of scaring Ben. Now, how on Earth did you know that I was thinking of a curtain? ;) Although, I was heading more in the velvet direction, you are so very, very right. We are now looking at more elegant refridgerators. Remi is still holding on to the idea of making a folding screen out of some of the old shutters that we are currently using as a headboard but it is the same silliness, isn't it?

    I thank you with all of my heart for your constant kindness and support. I am so grateful for it as I am for all of the fine comments here. It is so interesting how the idea of food and how we eat stirs up such strong responses in everyone.

    It is hot here too today!

    Best Wishes for a lovely Sunday nonetheless,

  70. Hello,

    I agree we are just indiviuals and going our own ways. sometimes I feel like I'm born in the wrong period.
    But, c'est la vie!


  71. Dear Jane and Lance,
    We are lucky enough to have a dining room and a breakfast room in our late Victorian house. The dining room is where we have more formal meals and, the breakfast room for everyday repasts. I think that the Georgian's, Victorian's and Edwardian's knew what they were doing when they built houses, as there were far more rooms, even in terraced houses. The fashion for open-plan living is not a good one, I feel. Cooking smells permeate the living area and the rest of the house far more. I shall stick to having seperate rooms I think. XXXX

  72. Greetings.

    Kitchens are not for eating in, far nicer to have a proper meal around the table and converse, chatter, natter, giggle and enjoy. I'm sure that could be done in the kitchen too if one had a table there, but I'd always feel compelled to do the washing up, sweep the floor, rearrange the tins, conserves and pots cupboards and such like.

    Although, when I am alone, I do like to stand and eat my breakfast looking out of the kitchen window. But then, there only thing to converse with I have is nature itself and those pesky cauliflowers which still fail to bush up as they perhaps should.

    Simply wonderful post, happy Sunday. x

  73. We have meals both in the kitchen and the dining room. I love the dining room best, though, the food tastes better, the conversation is wittier, and the view so much more enjoyable.

    I just love the door to your kitchen, with the lovely fabric of the room on it, hiding any reference to the kitchen and all that goes on there. As it should be!

  74. Lost in Provence [again]:
    Velvet, Chintz, Linen, Cotton, Silk, Satin, Nylon, Crimplene or Moquette....whatever the textile it cannot, in our view, shroud a refrigerator sufficiently to fool anyone.

    However, the that might just be a possibility. What a cleverly inventive partner you have in Remi. Do you think that he could be persuaded to conjure up a rood screen which would fit nicely into our guest bedroom and so enable it to double up as a private chapel?!! We joke not!!!

  75. Maison de lin [again]:
    But, how wonderful to feel out of step with the world at large...something with which we readily identify and which makes your way of life so very interesting. We really must meet up one day. It would be such fun!

  76. Jacqueline:
    How lovely to have a breakfast room. Just perfect for those less formal occasions whilst still providing an opportnity to distance oneself from the cooking of the bacon and eggs!

    And yes, we so agree that houses with more rooms, even if they are smaller, are so much more flexible and accommodate the conflicting needs of family members so much better than the one large open space.

  77. Your lifestyle sounds very calm and organized. I'm afraid our lives are a bit frantic and frazzled in comparison. It sounds lovely to eat in such a civilized manner every day. The hustle of our daily life rarely allows us to sit and eat together at all. But when the day is done,....the party is always in the kitchen!

  78. Jason Shaw:
    We are so pleased that you are in agreement with us here and are quite sure that we should be able to chatter the day and night away around a table if we were gathered together.

    What very bad news of your cauliflowers. In our gardening days we found them to be very tricky.....and Waitrose can provide you know!

  79. Marion Williams-Bennett:
    We are pleased that you share our fondness of the dining room.There is something about a dining room, we think, that makes it conducive to relaxed conversation which can never, for us, be replicated in the kitchen. Perhaps this is partly due to the fact that as we even approach the kitchen door we develop palpitations!!

    And, we are thrilled that you have signed up as a Follower. We did so enjoy reading your beautifully written and witty posts and look forward to our continuing dialogue.

  80. Mermaid Gallery:
    We do count ourselves very fortunate indeed that we no longer have to go out to work and so avoid the whirlwind of daily life. We are sure, however, that the kitchen parties at your house would be great fun!

  81. I have to say I am a bit jealous of both your cook and your dining room. :)

  82. Suze:
    Ah, but we are sure that you will have much that we should covet!!

    Thank you so much for your comment on this and on our previous post and for becoming a Follower.

  83. Hello,

    Indeed, we must meet up on day. so fun.

  84. Maison de lin:
    And one day we will! And we will arrange it by email!!

  85. What lovely radiators you have, I'm looking in vain for the antlers though - would you like me to send you some?

    (I gotta vanload out the back ;)

  86. Lulu LaBonne:
    Touché, Lulu!!

    We have yet to show the hall which, although proudly sports a boar's head, has plenty of room for other huntin', shootin' and, even fishin', things. Antlers, yes please, and could you possibly lay your hands on some heraldic shields, hatchments, suits of armour, antique Louis Vuitton trunks........ well, you get the picture and you did say that you had a van!!

  87. Oh, were to start: To begin with thanks for visiting and leaving this delightful little comment on my basement activities of late....
    Then: The ode to the dinning room! If you will visit more often or dig a little in past posts you will realize that the dining room is of great importance to us as well. Not being blessed with a house keeper or kitchen maid, we still dine every day here, never in the kitchen and this room sees all the actions, morning , lunch and dinner! We dine at the table with tablecloths, silver and china, no exceptions. The table is set every morning at 7AM and then mostly at 7 PM we all have dinner there again. It's an institution, much loved by us and many of our and our children's friends!
    I also love your amazing bird collection! Exquisite!
    I am as much a anglophile as a francophile, loving all the wonderful traditions and history, mixing in some of my German heritage as well!
    Your life looks elegant and wonderfully lived in!
    I am so glad we have met!
    A happy week ahead!

    PS: Also glad to read that medical issues have been turned for the better! Knock on wood!


  88. A cook? Adopt me, please pretty please!
    I totally agree, I love the panoply of setting a table in a lovely dining room, the prosaic business of eating three times a day calls for elevation.

  89. VictoriaArt:
    Thank you so much for your most generous comment and for taking the time and trouble to read our earlier posts.

    How wonderful it must be to gather around the dining table each day to share all news, ideas, joys and sorrows. It is, we feel, so important to take time to talk and eat good food together without just being ships that pass in the night, everyone going their own way. We shall certainly revisit you and look back for your dining room posts.

    We are thrilled that you have signed up as a Follower and look forward to continuing the dialogue.

  90. Bourbon and Pearls:
    Tabitha, a place is laid at the table, a bed is made, a drink is poured and our wit is sharpened......when you have a moment to spare in your jet-setting schedule, the cook will be ready!

  91. Hello Jane and Lance How kind of you to visit my blog and leave such charming comments. I was delighted by your comments about my garden, thank you so much. I'm very pleased to have discovered your blog, and to read about your unique lifestyle. It was interesting to hear about your dining room and to see its elegant photos. And how wonderful to have a resident cook...We do have a dining room, which used to be Victorian in style until a few years ago when I decided to lighten up the whole place and it became rather Gustavian...we have special meals and parties in there but the rest of the time it is filled with sewing, fabrics and books as I use it as an extra studio. We mostly eat in our sunny kitchen, kept cosy by the Aga, and family and friends seem to enjoy that...but we are a very informal lot indeed....
    Enjoy your week. Helen x

  92. You two are priceless! If you didn't exist you'd have to be invented. I have the most wonderful image of you in your seemingly pre-1st war way of life.

    I adore you.

    As for me, I love my country kitchen, my aga, my kitchen table where we eat breakfast when the sun room is too cold and lunch when we have no more than a quick sandwich (do sandwiches form part of your world?)

    I have a gardener/handyman and a cleaner, everything else - there is little else left - I do because Beloved is too infirm to help.

    I love to cook, for us and for friends; for many years I didn't know how to but once I learned it became a creative art form, like gardening, writing, observing nature, etc.

    You may have gathered that English is my second language, lounges are no part of my vocabulary, neither are serviettes. But Beloved, who was one of the best orchestral players in London, still insists on calling Sunday luncheon Sunday dinner. Awful, I know, but I simply cannot wean him.

    Much love to both of you.

  93. Friko:
    It is you, dear Friko, who is such a dear and we who are so privileged to have you not simply as a Follower, not only as a commentator, but as a friend, albeit across the miles.

    And how lovely your life is. For it is the everyday happenings and events, the routines, the comings and goings which are what matter but, above all else, it is the people in all of our lives who count for more than anything. And for that, we forgive and allow your husband's Sunday Dinner!! Now serviettes and lounges would be another matter entirely!

  94. Helen Philipps:
    It was such fun to discover your blog, which we so much enjoy, and we shall look forward to future posts.

    Yes, we are so fortunate to have Tímea who has been with us for seven years and who we have come to regard as a National Treasure although she does rule us, most likely for our own good, with a rod of iron.

    Your dining room sounds very interesting and we certainly think that the Gustavian style is most attractive and appealing.

    And your meeting with family and friends informally around the table must, we are sure, be grat fun and make for happy times.

    Thank you so much for your comment; we shall hope to see you here again.

  95. Oh now you have made me feel wistful. When was growing up, my family and I lived in a beautiful house with a full-time gardener (Ernest), and his wife (Edith) who was our housekeeper and cook. And then there was our lovely nanny Sian. So I know how you feel...and we also played croquet on the perfectly manicured lawn (in order to be proper stereotypes).

    In terms of eating, I couldn't agree more - As a family we ALWAYS ate in the dining room, and to this day, I never eat anywhere other than at a dining table.

    I still miss my pet peacock called Henry though. My next door neighbour shot him because of his mating calls (the peacock's).

    But I have to say... I am now embracing more modern styles of eating ... I love going to friend's houses where you eat in the kitchen. I LOVE seeing the food being washed, fried, tossed, and served, and having a conversation with the cook whilst it is all happening.

    It totally makes you at one with the food and the host who has chosen the menu .... so, go on.... give it a go.... it's not as bad as you think!

  96. P.S. I forgot to mention that your dining room (lovely) looks remarkably like the dining room that I grew up with as a child ..... Nice coincidence ... it makes me feel happy!

  97. I do think kitchens have a place to be eaten in at certain times. I always remember at my grandmother's the setup up was rather perculiar. There was a separate scullery area and then another room with a rather long table where all food preparation was done. As a child sitting down to eat a hurried breakfast before running riot in the surrounding countryside was a wonderful part of growing up!

  98. Oh how lucky you are to have your Timea. I was just saying to Mr. Connoisseur that we need someone to take care of us like that! And your dining room is splendid... reminds me of Famille Chic's dining room.

  99. Annie [Lady M]:
    Oh, Annie, such a childhood. Now we are the ones who feel nostalgic. And Nannies, not to be at all confused with that ghastly modern term 'Nan' which, it would seem, refers to grandmothers! How times have indeed changed.

    We are delighted to know that when at home you always eat at a dining table. Splendid! But, and we do assure you of this, when Tímea takes her holiday this summer, we'll be in that kitchen, peeling potatoes, washing dishes, boiling eggs as though there's no tomorrow!!

  100. David Toms:
    The picture which you paint here of you as a young boy at your grandmother's is delightful, and so evocative of childhood.

    We cannot wait ourselves for an opportunity to be 'running riot in the countryside'.

  101. The Daily Connoisseur:
    Jennifer, you must persuade Mr. C of the imperative need to have your own Tímea immediately and place an advertisement at once. Your lives will, we promise, be transformed!!

    We are pleased that you like the dining room. Thank you.

  102. Hi,

    Thank you so much for comment.
    I have the same opinion as you.
    I love history but the truth always is relative.
    There are truths which have to color them to become visible.

    I love your dining room. Everything seems to be in a movie during the 30's. Magnificent! Absolutely lovely!

    Wish you a nice day!

  103. Ariel:
    Yes, it is so interesting the way in which history becomes distorted.

    Thank you for your very nice comment about our dining room. We are not, alas, fim stars!!

  104. I most certainly agree that too many people spend too much time in the kitchen these days. We regularly use our dining room to take our meals, but not as often as we would if we had a full time cook, which we do not, much to our regret. I am of the upper middle class generation in this country (America) that no longer routinely has the pleasure of such indoor household help, at least beyond those that provide basic housekeeping services and laundering. It's rather irritating, actually, to find oneself so often in the kitchen chopping, cooking, and cleaning up, when one would prefer to have someone else doing it behind closed doors, preferably wearing a uniform. Particularly when one grew up in a house where such services were performed by those employed by my parents to provide them. But that was long ago, back when such people could be had for what is a mere pittance when compared with what it costs here today.

  105. Reggie Darling:
    We quite take your point of the difficulty, and nuisance, of having to manage these days with very little in the way of household staff. Indeed, good help is increasingly difficult to find.

    We are so fortunate to have Tímea who has been with us full time for seven years and whose husband, Gábor, comes in to assist with some of the heavier work.

    When we are in Brighton we find ourselves at a complete loss, so much so that we have, on occasion, thought of going to live in an hotel. But the expense!

  106. My current house is the first one I've ever lived in without a dining room and I have to confess I really miss it. Eating in the kitchen is just not the same

  107. Wylye Girl:
    We think that you are probably right about eating in the kitchen not being quite the same. But what really counts, in addition to the food, is good company and with that it matters not at all where one is.

  108. Hello Jane and Lance!

    I hope you had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed your haircuts today. I hope you thought fondly about scissors while you were at the salon!

    It must be lovely to eat in the dining room and have someone prepare meals for you - I am not fond of cooking at all! Although we have a dining room, we don't use it as we always seem to be on the run with the kids and meal times are staggered.

    After reading your post though I am going to try to have some meals in the dining room. You are right - it would be lovely to enjoy eating away from the kitchen!

    I love your dining room. it's so beautiful and elegant.

    Happy Monday to you, Stephie x

  109. I love to eat in my dining room, but alas, we use it only for company. Nowadays, we like to cook, eat, and have it all cleaned up in 15 minutes in the kitchen. However, when the good weather comes our way (which is not happening much this year), we eat outdoors on our patio or deck, and you can't beat the ambience.

  110. We do enjoy eating in our dining room but alas, we save it only for company. At this point of our lives, we like to cook, eat, and clean up in 15 minutes. However, in good weather (which has not come around too often for us lately), we love to eat outside on our patio or deck. The ambience could not be better and it involves very little cooking for me as hubby takes on the job of chief cook and bottle washer.

  111. StephieB:
    Yes, we are very fortunate to have Timea to cook our meals, set the table and, most fortunately, wash it all up. It makes all the difference to one's enjoyment of a meal.

    It must be difficult with children juggling everything, but there is something special about a family all gathered together around the table.

    Yes, we both had our hair cut today by the beautiful András who was sporting a bright pink tee shirt!

  112. Starting Over...:
    A double comment, thank you!!

    How lovely to have somewhere outside to eat, especially if your husband takes over the cooking arrangements. Al fresco dining is our absolute favourite and we often take picnics to a local park or, if we are in Brighton, to the beach.

  113. Absolutely enchanting post, my dear Jane and Lance.

    Thank you so much for this. Timea looks like a very efficient and meticulous lady to keep everything under control in the kitchen.

    I'm not surprised why you don't cook because to be truthful, I don't think you can beat Timea's cooking. Am I right?

    The dinning room - its charm is absolutely breathtaking...the polished mahogany table (oh god, it could be oak if it was a lot older) and the whispering gallery of all the portraits and paintings on the wall...every corner is filled with details and something beautiful to look at. You can just smell its polished sideboard table and the shimmering picture frames, porcelains, cut glasses catching your eyes ...I suddently feel that I was in the 1946 films of Edmund Goulding.

    With best wishes, G. (I'll give you a clue. It is the first name of a Welsh comedian, actor, and television presenter. If you know the answer, please mums the word :)

  114. A Super Dilettante:
    Oh how we love the idea of a 'whispering gallery',although if you only knew the individuals involved, it might be more of a rogue's gallery!!

    Timea is indeed a National Treasure and no, we could not, nor do we attempt to, compete with her in any way in the kitchen. She does produce the most delicious food and always seasonal as she buys everything fresh each day from the market.Asparagus is the flavour of the moment.

    We are sad to say that we cannot recall a film of Edmund Goulding, but the time frame of 1946 would, most certainly, suit us perfectly.

    We shall now ponder on the mystery of 'G'.

  115. Presumably your post was intentionally hilarious darlings? I just have this bizarre image of Madame Hattat sitting on the weird chair by the jib door pretending to be an air hostess. Waiting to land. Or just pretending to think about coming down to earth.

  116. Hello Jane and Lance

    Luncheon: everything is in the word and not a word we hear often these days.

    We eat lunsj here in the north which usually consists of a sandwich in one shape or other and which is definitely not consumed in the dining room. Instead, we have a breakfast room which we use on a daily basis.

    It's when we have guests for dinner that we set the dining table and it is always with great relief that I close the door on the chaos in the kitchen. So, forget open-plan, my vote goes to a proper kitchen with

  117. Rose C'est La Vie:
    Whilst our intention is, on occasion, to amuse, we should not wish to be considered as comedians.

    As it happens the chair, which you describe as 'weird', is an integral part of the late C19 architecture of our apartment restored to its original condition and matched with a fabric closely copied from what was previously in place. We rarely sit there.

    We actually have a fear of flying and so try, whenever possible, to have our feet firmly on the ground.

  118. lovely :) wish i could have my own home and a beautiful kitchen too~

  119. Anna at the Doll House:
    Anna, we are certain from what we know of you through your blog that your breakfast room will be a charming room in which to eat, breakfast, luncheon, dinner or, as is your tradition, lunsj.

    As you say, the advantage of a dining room is that one can leave all kitchen activity behind.

  120. Gerald:
    One day you surely will. And we are certain that if it is anything like the clothes you design and show, then it will be very stylish indeed!

  121. I am, sadly, skipping ahead without reading the end of these amazing comments to add something before it gets lost in the midst of things. Both Remi and I simultaneously had the same immediate idea for your rood screen: a rather literal (if not of the same region) architectural translation in buying a screen from Rajashtan in India. These are not so hard to find and could be adapted to your space. If this interests you I would be happy to track down internet sources for you.

    With all our Best, as always,
    Heather and Remi

  122. Lost in Provence [again, again]:
    What an absolutely marvellous idea. We agree that this could be a perfect solution and how clever of you both to think of this.

    On Monday of next week, we have decorators arriving to renovate and paint the outside of the apartment and our guest accommodation which is immediately next door, so sadly, all thoughts of chapel building must be put on hold for a while. We would not wish to put you to the trouble of seeking out sources for us and then do nothing with the results.

    We are really touched by your kindness and will most definitely follow up your generous offer when we are in a position to move forward.

    With every good wish, and hoping that the refrigerator problem is now solved, Jane and Lance

  123. Then it might trouble you to know many American homes no longer HAVE dinning rooms! Ours doesn't! But it's true, when we had one, we ate there instead of the kitchen and loved it. But kitchens can be wonderful places... for instance they often have the best floors for dancing!

  124. DearHelenHartman:
    Now that is something we have not considered. And on Tímea's next day off, we shall be in trhat kitchen and practising our steps!!

    And America, with or without dining rooms, we long to discover it for ourselves.

  125. I would hate to be without my dining room but also love the warmth and creativity of a kitchen, so I'm saddened that you do not appear to know of its delights. A friend of ours had no idea how brandy snaps were created. He came to my kitchen and I made some with him. Next time we went to his house he had triumphantly made a pile of large and delicious snaps - you don't know the fun you are missing!

  126. Share My Garden:
    This all sound so very tempting, Rosemary, and is, we are sure, very kindly meant. But really, in the past we have tried and not only hated it, but were absolutely hopeless.

    However, the thought of homemade brandy snaps is something we could get into. Delicious and one of our favourites - and they also make a very acceptable pudding.

  127. I think it's kind of cute that Timea wouldn't let you eat in the kitchen :) My family prefers to eat in the living room, looking out the window, and listening to birdsong. In Moscow, all the most interesting things happen in the kitchen. I can see you've got a samovar :)

  128. Olga:
    What Tímea says, goes! And we are really too weak to stand up to her - but we love her all the more for it and she looks after us beyond all measure.

    Like the characters in 'Three Sisters', we are always on the point of going to Moscow but never quite get there. And the samovar is actually stamped 'Made in USSR'. Originally for export, we imagine.

  129. Hello Jane and Lance
    Your dining room reminds me of our former home. We had that same sideboard. Mahogony table and 12 needlepointed chairs (the work of my late mother in law).We have moved several times and still count ourselves lucky to have a dining table in each of our homes. This is used daily for all meals. Our good china is used at least twice weekly when we have company.
    Your home is elegant and beautiful and looks lived in and enjoyed.
    I thank you for your kind comment on my blog and for becoming a follower.
    I am looking forward to a nice cup of tea in a Crown Darby cup and saucer and reading your earlier blogs
    I am thrilled to have made contact with you.
    Helen Tilston

  130. Helen Tilston:
    We awoke this morning to find your very kind and generous comment. Thank you, and thank you for becoming a Follower.

    We have always admired, and wanted, chairs covered in needlepoint, not simply because we feel that they look so attractive, but there is something very personal about the fact that they are sewn individually and by hand. Alas, we do not have the skills of your late mother in law!

    We shall much look forward to keeping in touch and to your future posts as we found your blog so very interesting and unique.

  131. Hello! Thank you for your comment on my blog (re Tyntesfield). We only have a tiny house ourselves so can't indulge in the dining room debate. Our eating and cooking both take place in the kitchen out of necessity. Love the collection of birds under glass domes in your previous post.

  132. Menopausal musing:
    Probably the most important aspects of all of this are the food, the company and the conversation. Where it all takes place is secondary, in our view.

    We are pleased that you like the birds in their shades and we very much hope that we shall welcome you here again.

  133. Wow! What a life!!! Adorable way to write about it. Sounds heavenly and lovingly old fashioned.

  134. Dear friends,
    I had been working on a post about American Kitchens and now reading this post, I cannot wait to finish writing it. I will make sure to talk about your blog and share with my readers your link.

    Keep posted!

    Greetings from Texas!

  135. Kristin H:
    We rather suppose that we were attracted to Budapest as it offers a way of life which has largely disappeared in the UK.

    We are so pleased that you enjoyed the post.

  136. House of Hemingway:
    Oh, the American we shall eagerly await what you have to say about that! Is it, we wonder, ever the case that where America leads, the rest of the world follows?

  137. My mouse needed its batteries changed by the time I got down have alot of buds!
    Hey guys, thanks for the visit. and yes love your pad and your dining room and a cook wouldn’t go amiss over here either. all the best! Cynthia

  138. Beatnheart:
    We were just wondering what a mouse had to do with anything before we realised.....luddites both are we!!

    Timea, our National Treasure, has been with us for seven years and has no passport so, we regret, you will have to look elsewhere for the cook. We are so pleased that you liked our 'pad', it made us feel terribly modern!!!!

  139. Greetings to you Jane and Lance; I am the dreaded cook and bottle washer here at Milne Mansion (ha!)but I have always held out for those time honored traditions such as utilizing the family dining room. Our home in Houston has a large dining space that has been a real joy to celebrate a meal. I quite like the idea of setting a beautiful table & enjoying your meal slowly over a lively banter. Dinner with you both I suspect would be a fabulous affair?!

    Your dining room is beautiful by the way!

    Cheers my dears,

  140. Dear Jane and Lance - good points and our dining room is in service quite often, but not every day. Trust me, when the farmers around here come for a visit or a beer, if around meal time, they are asked to share our food. There's no way I want boot muck...what a Very Nice Way of saying "it"...LOL...on my dining room Persian rug! The kitchen is where man and beast alike alight and all are welcome. It's not drudgery for me to cook for family, friends and neighbors; it's an act of love and my gift of hospitality for visitors.

  141. Oh what a wonderful life you have...I do enjoy cooking and love my kitchen, but at least for dinner, I do not want to look at anything that reminds me of how it was prepared. We are tidy cooks, but still we prefer to eat dinner in the dining room with candles of course.

    Your dining room looks absolutely beautiful for your luncheon.

  142. Dumbwit Tellher:
    Dinner at Milne Mansion(!) sounds to us to be a very lively affair - plenty of friendly banter is always a good thing in our book. And we love the way in which you describe the celebration of a meal as a real joy. So it should be!

  143. Thistle Cove Farm:
    What you say here, and very claerly what you practise, is the importance of hospitality. We so agree that people, no matter who, should always be made to feel welcome and the sharing of food, and conversation, is one of the great pleasures of life.

    And where mud and Persian carpets are concerned, we are entirely at one with you!

  144. Annie:
    Of course, as you say here, there is so much more to meals than simply the eating of the food. Mealtimes afford a wonderful opportunity to relax, to catch up on news and views, to exchange ideas or, very simply, to have a moment of respite in a busy day.

    Tímea, as we so often say, is a National Treasure and we are so fortunate to have had her for the past seven years. Long may she continue with us.

  145. Hello Jane and Lance, as usual, I enjoyed your entertaining and thought provoking post. Personally if I never saw my kitchen again, I certainly wouldn't miss it except perhaps after a long hack on a winter's morning when the Aga is hard to beat for warming frozen bones. I loathe cooking, so if I were to become unexpectedly wealthy then a wonderful housekeeper like Timea to do it for me would be first on my list of desires.
    Your dining room looks absolutely beautiful and it definately does inspire me to look at our own with a fresh eye and make more use of it rather than just Sundays and special occasions.

  146. Bluebell:
    Whilst we totally understand those for whom cooking is a joy and a creative art, it is just that we are not one of them, and so consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have Tímea to keep house for us. If, as you say, cooking does not appeal, then it is just a regular chore. However, the Aga on a winter's that is something we could warm to!!

    Thank you, Carol, so much for such a very generous comment.

  147. Oh my, this is I belive, my fourth response to this post. That has to be a record! I am so glad that you like the idea and will be happy to look for sources (a treasure hunt!) a little more if or when you decide to move forward. Just let me know. Remi also suggested the moucharabieh screens from Morocco as another version of the same idea.

    I hope you are both having a fine day. Sadly, I don't think that there is a solution to our "frigo" problem. We'll just have to make it work once we get in the space! And for that I will have to wait an entire month...

    Sending lots of happiness your way from under the bif blue of Provence,


  148. Lost in Provence [to the power of 4]:
    You are both so kind and thoughtful and it is really appreciated. Thank you so much for the offer of help together with such excellent ideas which, we assure you, when we are ready to move forward we will get back to you about all possibilities. We cannot believe, though, that two such creative and imaginative people should be stuck over the problem of the "frigo"!!

    Rival blue skies here in Budapest!

  149. I just wanted to say a quick hello and to say thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a lovely comment. I love dinning room eating but with my little house and with a kitchen dinner its that all the way for me. I think the kitchen is a very social place to be for a relaxed informal style of eating and the dinning room more directed for formal dinner parties both lovely on there own way. I will pop back again soon, take care, dee ;-)

  150. Delia Hornbook:
    We are quite certain that you have great fun at meal times with your family and friends and it is, after all, the company, and to a degree the food, which matter most of all. Your kitchen we imagine to be a very jolly place!

    Thank you so much for visiting and for becoming a Follower. We are much enjoying reading about life in Somerset.

  151. We have a separate dining room in our 1930s suburban semidetached; I am pleased to say that it is in use for most of our meals. the exception is when we are short of time.

    It was not until the offspring were in their twenties that we had a TV in the dining room, now it is used to listen to the Archers if we eat at 7pm. We had the TV as it solved the problem of son wanting to watch sport and another family member wanting another programme.

    Does not apply now, son married and daughter out and about more, but Ian and I still like to dine properly. Neither do we hoard our best china, we use and enjoy the beauty.

  152. Jane and Lance, your way of life is probably unattainable for many people nowadays, especially in the kind of modern townhouse now being built. Our son and his wife, both well-paid professionals, live in a 3-storey house with plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms, but only one reception room and a kitchen/diner on the ground floor. Most of their friends live in similar houses, without the luxury of a separate dining-room. I can imagine that in their very busy lives, they would probably envy you your housekeeper more than your dining-room.

  153. PixieMum:
    It seems to us that you make very good use of your dining room, and we quite understand the need for a second television whilst your family was growing up.

    Normally we too listen to The Archers but in Hungary we hear it through the computer on Listen Again and so it can be at any time. Just rcently it seems, to us at least, to have become a little dull.

  154. Perpetua:
    We do count ourselves as most fortunate and are very conscious that, compared with many other people, we are privileged to have both masses of space for the two of us, and of course Tímea, now in her seventh year, full time.

    We feel very much for young people today, both working, as your son and daughter-in-law, who are having to bring up families in quite small spaces for which, in the UK, they have had to pay huge sums of money.

  155. Oh, I just couldn't agree more. There is no kitchen cum living room, or kitchen cum breakfast "nook", (or as we say in the US "dine-in kitchen") at my Houston cottage (no matter how many dine-in kitchens I design, I cannot adopt the habit). We eat in the room that was made for dining, as we say in Nicaragua "como gente civilizada".

  156. Dear Polia:
    Oh, how very reassuring it is to know that you are with us on this. Indeed, you must frequently find yourself in a professional capacity having to make inward compromises.

    We love the Nicaraguan saying which we shall commit for future use!

  157. Hurrah for dining rooms! We always eat in the dining room and agree wholeheartedly with you that a kitchen is a place to cook in!

    When we were renovating we had a jolly argument with the builder who wanted to convince us to put in a "breakfast bench" in the kitchen. "Over our dead body" was the response...

  158. Nicholas V:
    We are so pleased that you had the strength to stand up to your builder over the 'breakfast bench'. In our experience, builders can be very persuasive but, for us, we usually find our resolve when they [invariably] say...."but everyone else has this..."!!

  159. A wonderful post and I couldn't agree more. The dining room is sadly neglected. I suspect busy modern families find it easier to eat on the run, as opposed to actually dining. Our own dining room is lined with books and when our children were growing up, there were always lively conversations at dinner and books were produced, questions answered and debates raged. That said, on a frigid Maine winter night, we retreat to the kitchen with its large granite fireplace and chowder on the stove...

  160. Smilla4blogs:
    We are inclinedto agree with what you say about modern families for whom, as far as we are able to tell, most things are carried out in a rush.

    Your own book lined dining room does sound lovely, but then so too does being warm by the stove on a winter's night.

  161. It would never occur to me to want a dining room. It made me happy to finally move into a house that had a kitchen large enough to contain a big table. I near live in my kitchen, as I cook & bake a lot. When we have guests, I would not want to be removed from the conversation. My stove even faces the dining table, so that I can look at the people that I am cooking for, and talk with them. I love to sit in the kitchen, which is a bright, warm room. I eat there, or read cookery books, or have a glass of wine with a friend. I love being surrounded by all my kitchen utensils. It inspires me.

  162. Annika:
    Your kitchen sounds to be a most attractive, warm and friendly place where family and friends gather and where, we are sure, lively conversation abounds. And, what is more, unlike the pair of us, you clearly are a very good cook which, we feel, makes all the difference.

  163. Hello, I know I'm very late commenting on this post but I just found it and I love it! I hope you see it anyway.
    I am in deep admiration for your attitude to kitchens and when I have the means to employ a housekeeer/cook (which I hope will be tonight when I win the Euromillions lottery!) I shall be very happy to join you in never entering a kitchen!
    Thank you, too for your lovely comments on my blog and for becoming followers.
    I am now your newest follower and can see that I have plenty of entertaining reading ahead!

  164. Missy:
    How delighted we are to welcome you as a Follower. We hope that you will continue to enjoy what we write.

    Our fingers and toes are crossed for you for the Euromillions and we hope that the currency markets will hold up long enough for your winnings to be able to still purchase something. A housekeeper/ cook we can recommend as an investment as well as the key to leaving behind all matters domestic. We are so pleased that you are also keen to leave the kitchen sink since it never fails to amaze us how many people seem to simply love being in their kitchens.

    We have been much amused by your wonderfully spirited blog and we look forward to continuing the dialogue.

  165. Fabulous! Oh how I would love to have a dining room but I live in an garret...ok more of a loft, which is one big room, albeit with the loo and bedroom up the stairs. I am told that it is very bohemian which makes me proud of my garret, I mean loft. I would love to eat in a dining room, then retire to the smoking room. As a woman I suppose that would not have been allowed! Fabulous post and kind regards to Timea.

  166. Dolly:
    We do like the sound of your 'bohemian garret/loft'[delete which ever is inappropriate] and are sure that we should find it delightful. As for retiring to the smoking very forward of you, but we are certain that no-one would have dared to deny you that pleasure....and what tales you could have regaled the 'ladies' with afterwards!!!

  167. Loving to cook as I do, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and I have to admit that the only reason that we don't eat there is because it is too small. That said, I wouldn't give up my dining room for anything. Many houses don't even have a formal dining room anymore and I, for one, deplore that. I love your dining room and have a similar one - large table (with the leaves in it seats 10), china cabinet and sideboard. Not for me these "Open Plan" homes where your guests get to stare at the grubby, messy kitchen all through dinner!

  168. Kim:
    We are absolutely at one where dining rooms are concerned. And a table large enough to seat a sizeable group of friends really is a bonus as there is nothing better than all the lively talk which inevitably ensues. We agree, why would one want one's guests to see what is happening, or not happening, in the kitchen?


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