01 July 2010

the rest of the story, Beverley Nichols

Rex Whistler

soon after moving into MERRY HALL, the Master of the house (that would be Nichols, the owner) sauntered into the kitchen to speak with Gaskin (that would be Nichol's Man-who ran the house). The Master was off to find URNS.

G- Urns? Whatever for?

N- For the pillars outside

G- There's a hundred and one things we want more than urns. We've hardly got two tea-cups left to match. There's only one coffee pot that isn't cracked. The Hoover's on its last legs. You ought to e putting first things first.

(Nichols tries to pacify Gaskin and takes off rather in a hurry. As he drives out to shop Urns, Gaskin's words drew him in."Most people would have agreed with him, particularly if they had seen Merry Hall. There were a thousand and one essentials clamouring for attention...walls falling down and cellars flooding and windows sticking, and there was a most peculiar smell in the woodshed. This latter,alone,was a first thing of major importance."

(He's coming around. No?)

"But then, I have never believed in Gaskin's philosophy. Surely-in all matters appertaining to elegance-the most important thing to do first is the last thing? "

As Nichols continues speeding down the road, ruminating on Gaskin's

'Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves'

No- for Nichols rants on- "that is the meanest, drabbest little axiom that ever poisoned the mind of youth..."
determinedly, defiantly,
"These profound but anti-social reflections were suddenly interrupted by a loud hiss and a sharp jerk of the steering wheel. "

"I had a puncture. It seemed a rather cold comment on my philosophy, for if the first thing you have to do is to change a tyre... well, the first thing you have to do is to change a tyre, and that is all there is to it."

Did that sharp reality jolt Beverley into a change of heart, a turn round back to Merry Hall to see to that woodshed.
What do you think?

at Merry Hall

of all the Beverley Nichols books MERRY HALL is my favorite.
Yes, that encompasses many books, and You could change my mind; I'm Open.
Perhaps it's because it was the first Nichols & You know what they say about your first.
Perhaps it's because it is a love affair with a house.
Nichols threw caution to the wind stepping into a house he loved- with rows of lilies he fell head over heels for. There were lean times-Nichols admits as much to his biographer & friend Bryan Connon in Beverley Nichols: A Life.

There are so many glorious Nichols passages in this book, You just have to read it.



  1. Delightful reads. We have a large collection of Beverly Nichols books in the library at Ten Chimneys - he was of course - pals with the Lunts. KDM

  2. Read it - Was spellbound as well-!
    The First - Older ones are Best in my opinion - Especially the actual original copies-!(One feels more "there") (and of course I agree with Nichol's Philosophy-!(Try for Elegance at all Costs-!)Mary

  3. That book sounds marvelous and I like Nichols' view on how to prioritise things/spending, brilliant. Thanks for introducing this author to me. Have a lovely weekend, Love from London x

  4. I don't own any Beverley Nichols books but they sound wonderful. I shall get onto it. Thank you Pgt. Hope all's well with you xx

  5. KDM- yes I know, I was actually looking for something about that. I now offically invite you to a GUEST POST about the LUNTS! it would be an honor-if you want the Nichols connecting would be a great way to go- Irregardless, Please? Gaye

  6. BNs philosophy is my philosopy. How marvellous to be able to silence that Gaskin in my head for good now. Thank you Gaye.

  7. just found copy of 'Love from Nancy' the Letters of Nancy Mitford..

    1. wonderful- I am reading The Horror of Love-all about Nancy's love affair with Gaston Palewski.

    2. I have read every shred I could find about Nancy L.......my complete idol!

      WHO?? I cannot wait to hear about him! I am so delighted she had even more fun than I knew!

      Was he Russian? Polish? Cute?
      She had an affair with an unnattracive man......"for his house" . and married him. (Budgie?)
      We know this........she made that deal. It was quite a house! YIKES!!! There was no "publicity then, She made her decision based on her own choices. I can't wait to read about Gaston!!!
      Many times , celebrities do not have that luxury!

      How interesting that we are (many of us) fascinated (and always will be! with Nancy! ''Good grief! I went to her house......(thanks to sotheby's and most of all, Jessica D , and I had lunch in her dining room; we saw her study......that wonderful room with the "wallpaper from Sweden); we saw the "sitting room..." (the scale was breathtaking" and our hostess was the loveliest lady ever! She keeps the garden open and it is exquisite! Ducklings had hatched shortly (in the past hour); before we came! My heart sang!

      The owner said that sometimes they came in and sampled the cereal of their guests in the breakfast room!

      That is my goal!! I have now 16 years of mallards landing and raising their young! They hear me coming....and I feed them!

      coming into the breakfast room window.....and in the front door.....(SHE SHOOD THEM OUT!!(



      She just decided with whom she wanted to spend her life!!!

      (She had been married to a swooningly attractive man......Ronald Tree..........I am telling you......"swooninlgy" more than.......ravishing!!) Frankly; I have read these biographies......and I think of myself! I am a hopelessly visual person.....I would be horrified by someone describing me 40 years after my death.......saying what in the heck I was doing and why!

      I think it is all "BUNK!"

      What she did with her houses; (thank God......we have a record of!)

      Let's just stick with that! And there are books; aren't they?

      I am following my instinct....and Nancy Lancaster!

      Have I told you about the ducks when we visited her former house?

      They walk into the door! The wild ducks (mallards) were so tamed by Nancy, they walk into the house!

      My goal! More later!

    3. Penelope-your world is a delight, as I keep up with your blog religiously. How lucky you are to have "dined." I agree with all your Nancy'isms! Along with the decoration, I do think personal stories-good bad ugly serve to give insight into some of the reasons for choices in how we decorate. I don't fault NL a second for her marrying a HOUSE-that and a good dog-can make you do CRAZY things! pgt



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