“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch.7:  Eclipse of the Second Son,  January 20, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1206)

“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch.7:  Eclipse of the Second Son,  January 20, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1206)

(an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved);  [(1) story cover art, left]

[As is my custom, from time to time  I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of appearance/mention in this chapter):  Crispin Bonham Carter as Lord Harold Blount the younger brother of Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex portrayed by Richard Armitage,  and older brother to their younger sister Lady Elizabeth Blount portrayed by Jessica Brown Findlay; Emma Thompson as Lady Gwendolyn “Gwennie” Lindsay of York, the sister to Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay portrayed by Rupert Penry-Jones,  and their late older brother Lord Alfred portrayed by David Oakes; and Lily Travers as Lady Penelope Lindquist, Lord Harold’s great love.]

Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes:  For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.   And I always put the previous chapter’s brief recap at the top of the next chapter.  Also, I hope to post new chapters  weekly on Sundays.


“Expectations” Ch. 7:  Eclipse of the Second Son

No sooner had Lord Harold Blount arrived at the Sussex Hall Estate with Lord Duncan’s sister Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York in tow—after their sojourn to the Wayfarer Inn at Walden, while they awaited replacement carriages for Lady Gwendolyn’s entourage– they were each made privy to Lord Christian’s and Lady Madeline’s happy news.  Then Lord Harold and Lady Gwendolyn were separated to go their way to their Summer dwelling places–she to Sussex Hall that her family is renting for the Summer, and he to the Sussex Hall Dower House where the Blount family is staying for the Summer.

It does not help Lord Harold’s unease  in parting from her,  that Lady Gwendolyn’s brother was not yet there to greet her—Lord Duncan is traveling down with his parents from York to Sussex, which will take several more days to accomplish.  Though Lady Gwendolyn’s London servants traveling with her are familiar to her and there to cosset her—in addition to the massive Sussex Hall Estate staff.

And Lord Harold had found Lady Gwendolyn’s chilling disdain of him from yesterday—with him being the Blount Rogue—had waned last night as they spoke more cordially over dinner in Lady Gwendolyn’s bed chamber parlor at the Wayfarer Inn in the small market town of Walden, where they broke their journey to Sussex Hall Estates.  Naturally, Lady Gwendolyn’s Ladies Maid Dorcas Strand was chaperoning the two for propriety’s sake, and eating her evening meal in the corner of the parlor to allow them their private conversations.

Smiling at seeing Lady Gwendolyn looking charming as she emerges from the darkness of her inn bed chamber  [(2) below left] and into the candlelight of their impromptu dining area in her inn bed chamber’s large and elegant private parlor, Lord Harold [(3) below right] seeks to be considerate and gentlemanly toward her, as his hopeful looking expression displays.

Lord Harold:  “Lady Gwen, I hope that you find your accommodations at the Inn to your liking.”  He had urged the innkeeper to give her ladyship the inn’s very best rooms, and Lord Harold made do with the comfort of a serviceable but less elegantly appointed room—no ceiling chandelier in his parlor.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Well, Hal…”  She spears him with a wary scowl, then continues with some astonishment.  “The rooms are surprisingly better than I had hoped for in an inn of this size.”

Lord Harold: “Ah!  Perhaps that is partially due to our family’ patronage over the years—and our making the establishment known to friends who visit us, My Lady.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  She wonders at his seemingly prideful statement. “So are you saying that I have you to thank for the comfort that I now enjoy?”    In actuality, she does have him to thank for her lovely inn accommodations.

But Lord Harold does not feel the need to belabor that point.  A gentleman acts even more gentlemanly, when he does not preen about it.

Lord Harold:  So Lord Harold  demures.  “No, not at all, My Lady.”  He replies with the expected bland tone of aristocrats in polite conversations—though the lady does try his patience at times.  “My praise was for the Inn’s success, not my own self-aggrandizement.”  Then he sips his excellent wine before his tightly held self control snaps.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh!  Well then. My apologies for my mistaken attribution.” She sighs.

Lord Harold: Smiling, he touches his hand to his ear, and teases.  “What was that I hear?  An apology?  Coming not only from a Lindsay of York, but from Lady Gwennie.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  Having had her agitation bubble burst, she laughs.  “Ha ha ha!  Oh Hal, might we make a truce?  I will call you Harold, if you will stop referring to me as Gwennie.  As I mentioned earlier, I left that childhood appellation in the dust a very long time ago.”

Lord Harold:  Raising his wine goblet to her, he toasts her.  “It shall be as my Lady Gwendolyn commands.  Though Gwen, I am not averse to being addressed by you as Hal.”  His eyes sparkle with mirth.  The little girl of his memories has blossomed into the lovely and spirited woman before him.   She will make any man a fine wife—any man but him, that is.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Very well, Hal.  And you may address me as Gwen …” Which he has already been doing.  “…but only when we are in private.”

Lord Harold: “Agreed, My Lady—if only to insure that we do share private moments with each other.”  He smoulders cheekily.

Lady Gwendolyn: Laughing at his teasing, she remarks. “Ha ha ha!  Oh Hal.  Do be serious!  Does your practiced charm really work on softening women toward you?”

Lord Harold: “Well, Gwen, I thank you for your labeling my efforts charming.”  She raises her eyebrow in mirth.  “But I am deuced uncertain as to how to reply to your query?  Other than to aver a defiant yes!”  He nods his head once.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Now Hall, do not go off in a fit of pique.  I merely suggest that as longtime family friends—even though we have not seen each other in the intervening years since childhood—we might ease the formality of usual discourse that society requires of us.  There is no one to eschew our familiarity—well, except my Ladies Maid Dorcas.”  Lady Gwendolyn waves at Dorcas with a smile, and the gesture is returned.

Lord Harold: “Indeed, Gwen, I like your forthrightness about our becoming familiar.”  Now he raises his eye brow in mirth.

Lady Gwendolyn:  Her face falls into sadness, and she replies with a halting sigh.  “Oh Hal!  I am not comfortable in being teased or flirted with in a romantic sense.  I gave my heart away ten years ago to my beloved who was later killed on the battle field with my brother Lord Alfred.  I have resigned myself to spinsterhood—I will love no other—and to hopefully my being a very good aunt one day when my brother Duncan weds and has a family.”

Lord Harold sees tears shining in Lady Gwendolyn’s eyes.

Lord Harold: “I am so sorry for your loss, Gwen.  I did not know that you were still in mourning for your betrothed.”  And Lord Harold thinks of his recent lost love.  “Love takes hold and it can be a joyful thing, yet fleeting when circumstances thwart a forever happiness together with our beloved.”  He wistfully looks off to the side, thinking about his love.

Lady Gwendolyn:  She tilts her head and looks more closely at Lord Harold.  “Hal?  Were you in love once?”

Lord Harold:  He waves his hand as if to dismiss the statement that came out of his mouth before his good sense could stop it.  “It was nothing, a trifle—and certainly did not rise to the level of your attachment with your betrothed.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “I highly doubt that denial on your lips.  The sincerity in your voice belies your having had a fleeting love, as you phrased it.”

Lord Harold: His face becoming a mask of stoicism, he adopts his calculated sneer.  “My love was … is married.  She and I cannot be.  So what do you think of me now?”  He lifts his glass in toast to her.  Lord Harold is so accustomed to playing the accomplished flirt and rogue, that it is a safe role for him to step into when such messy things as feelings are being discussed.

Lady Gwendolyn: “I think the gentleman before me ‘doth protest too much’ [(4)], Hal.”

Lord Harold:  “Shakespeare?  Oh that is rich.  Next thing I know you will ‘compare me to a Summer’s day’ [(5)], Gwen.”  He grins at her with practiced amusement.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Stuff and nonsense, Hal!  Clearly we are not destined to be good friends if you will only hide behind your rogue’s persona.”

Lord Harold: “Me?  Hide?  Why my lady, have you not noticed the height and breadth of my person?” He strikes a ridiculous pose of astonishment as he puffs out his chest and attempts to broaden his torso by planting his fisted hands at his waist, that makes her titter with laughter.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Ha ha ha!  Hal?  If you want dessert, you will need to do better than that.”  She smiles in wagging her finger at him in her best remembrance of a governess glower.

Lord Harold: “Oh that was good, Gwen.  Your governess must have been a dragon.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Governesses, plural.”  She smiles with self satisfaction at having rousted several governesses who tried to be over bearing with her.

Lord Harold: “Oh yes!  I can see how you would be trouble.”  He nods with a knowingly smile.  Trouble incarnate, he thinks privately to himself.  He has not had this much fun conversing with a lady since … well, since never.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Why Trouble is my middle name, Hal.”  I flutter my lashes in an exaggeratedly coquette manner.

The rest of our evening conversation at the Wayfarer Inn had gone along similarly safe, non-deeply intimate, topics,  Lord Harold muses.  I respect Lady Gwendolyn’s grief over her late betrothed.  But I fear that my own understanding of not wanting to be alone the rest of my own life, causes me to sympathize for Lady Gwendolyn.

So after seeing  Lady Gwendolyn safely to Sussex Hall the following morning after their chaste night at the Wayfarer Inn, her mind was almost instantly taken up with arranging for the repairs of her two broken carriages—one a broken axle and the second a bent wheel.  So Lord Harold returns to the Sussex Hall Dower house to hear more about  this baby news business.


As to be expected, the baby news that Lord Christian and Lady Madeline share with their families receives much congratulations and hugs.  Not the least of which with Lady Madeline’s Grandmama Lady Knott who turns up unexpectedly for a visit–she and the Dowager Countess Lady Catherine are in high spirits to become great grandmothers.

And Lady Lizzie is beside herself with glee to finally becoming an Aunt.  Lady Madeline’s father Squire Sinclair and her brothers were notified by letter, and she and Lord Christian will no doubt receive letters of congratulation in return a few days later.  At least, they hope to receive a congratulatory letter from Lady Madeline’s father—as opposed to him turning up as a guest.

There is only one quarter for whom the baby news is not as joyous as one would hope, with Lord Christian’s newly arrived brother Lord Harold moping about the Sussex Hall Dower House in a state of agitated melancholia [(6)].  Lord Harold grew up being the spare to the heir, and he thought that he was reconciled to not having a high ranking place in their family after his brother Lord Christian became the Earl.  Yet with Lord Christian’s and Lady Madeline’s baby news, Lord Harold feels further displaced, eclipsed once more–set aside as one might a formerly cherished toy that they no longer play with.  And Lord Harold’s rebounded selfish attitude does no one any good, least of all, him.

So his younger sister Lady Elizabeth [(7) below] goes looking for her older brother Lord Harold and finds him in the expansive library at the Sussex Dower House.  This library  is not as large as the library at Sussex Hall, nor even the library at their London pied a terre Sussex House.  But the Sussex Hall Dower House library holds within its shelves and reading nooks fond memories for the Blount family of comfortable cozes and reading delights.

Lady Elizabeth: “There you are, Harold!  I wondered where you had wandered off to after learning that you are to become an uncle and I am to be an aunt.  It is glorious to think of a new baby in the family, is it not?  And I will not be the baby of the family any longer!”  She claps her hands with glee.

Yet Lady Elizabeth is an eighteen year old young lady growing up and she no longer wishes to be considered a child.  However, her brother Lord Harold on the other hand, seems firmly steeped in childishness.

Lord Harold:  Nursing a tall glass of brandy–at a very early 3 o’clock in the afternoon—he sneers.  “Eager for a mewling baby who will only mess its wrappers and keep us all awake at night?  You are mad!”

Lady Elizabeth: “No!  I’m delighted and thrilled—and so should you be.”  Then she walks over to him and swipes the brandy tumbler glass out of his hands and sniffs it.  “Ugg!  This smells disgusting!”  She takes a sip.  “It tastes even worse.  I do not know how you can drink this vile concoction.”  She shakes her head from side to side.

Lord Harold: “Quite well. Now give that back to me.”  He reaches his arm out from his seated position, but she sashays away from him.

Lady Elizabeth: “I will not!”  She pouts as she moves away from him, not spilling a drop of the vile amber liquid.  “Did you drink like this when you were with Lady Gwendolyn at the Wayfarer Inn last night?”

Lord Harold:  “We drank a fine wine from the Inn’s admirable cellar.  And please do not bandy Lady Gwendolyn’s good name, an inn, and my name about in the same sentence, Lizzie.  Reputations could be ruined.”

Lady Elizabeth: “Oh Harold, I never thought that you cared much for your reputation.”

Lord Harold:  Rolling his eyes at his younger sister, Lord Harold explains.  “Not for my reputation, you goose!  But for hers, Lady Gwen’s reputation.”

Lady Elizabeth:  “Well, you are a rogue, I suppose.” She muses.

Lord Harold: His eyes narrow in consternation.  “Now where did you hear that?  You are too young and innocent to know of such things.”  Lord Harold shakes his head in disbelief.  When did his sister grow up to be this seemingly worldly young lady?

Lady Elizabeth: “Ah ha!  I notice that you did not dispute the rogue label, Harold.”  Lady Elizabeth accuses with her elegantly pointing finger.  Well, her finger is elegant, her pointing it is not.  Lord Harold shrugs his shoulders.  “But you know, they say that reformed rogues are said to make the best husbands.”

Lord Harold:  He bristles.  “I am not reformed, nor am I likely to be.”  Well, not anytime soon, he thinks.  Perhaps when he is old and gray and lacking teeth and the ability to regulate his bodily functions, then he supposes that he will have to reform.  “And you stay away from anyone possessing the rogue label—or a rake or fortune hunter label, for that matter.”

Lady Elizabeth: “Harold?  When did you become the not fun brother?  Usually, well, in the past, you oozed fun and mischief.  Christy is supposed to be the stodgy elder brother.  But look at him now—set to be a father soon, so at least his new wife Maddie thinks he is fun.”

Lord Harold:  “I am fun, still.” He defends himself with a boyishly whiny voice.  “But mischief is overrated.  I believe that I have had my fill of it.”  And he remembers his off color remarks about his brother Lord Christian’s former mistress Lady Brenda–now the Duchess of Exeter–that caused his brother’s fist to connect with Lord Harold’s face three months ago, as he palms his cheek in remembered pain.

Lady Elizabeth: “What about Lord Duncan’s sister, Lady Gwendolyn.  She seems nice. I like her.”

Lord Harold: “What about her?  And yes, she can be nice, when she is not being disdainful.”

Lady Elizabeth: “My!  You seemed to leap to her reputation’s defense just now.  Does that not indicate a feeling of your liking and respecting her?”

Lord Harold: “She is tolerable, once you get past her air of superiority.  She can be as prickly as a porcupine when her hackles are up—when something does not follow her tightly laid out plans, such as broken carriage axles and bent wheels.” He rolls his eyes.

Lady Elizabeth: “It sounds like you are coming to know that lady—quite well.”  She pauses and scrutinizes her older brother.  “And I could say the same of you, Harold.  One has to get past your defenses to find my loving and kind brother inside.”

Lord Harold: “Oh Lizzie, you live life in a dream world.  I am not loving nor kind—let alone, good.”

Lady Elizabeth: “Well, you are to me—good and kind and loving.  So you might as well start living up to that reputation …” She emphasizes.  “…with other people—so they can become acquainted with you and not the façade of you that you present to others.”  She pours the remaining liquid from his drink into a potted plant, and she sets the now empty crystal tumbler on the sideboard.  Then she motions for him to join her in a walk around the Sussex Hall Dower House gardens as she leads him out the library terrace doors

Lord Harold: Shaking his head in amusement, Lord Harold admonishes his sister as they walk outside. “Oh Lizzie, you are going to be a handful to whomever you end up marrying, my Dear.” He knowingly pats her hand crooked around his arm.

Lady Elizabeth: Lady Elizabeth smiles brilliantly up at him for his unintended compliment as they walk toward the rose bushes.  “Why thank you, Harold!  I am determined to be my own self, not some blank, insipid miss stalking ballrooms looking for a husband.  My husband hunt is over.  And I will marry Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay!” She sighs with girlish romantic glee.

Lord Harold:  “Oh Lizzie!”  He sights.  “Lord Lindsay is not for you, he is intended for Lady Constance Knightsbridge, the Duke of Lanchashire’s daughter—since she was the former betrothed of the late Lord Alfred Lindsay of York.  You know this.”

Lady Elizabeth: “We shall see—that ten year belated engagement is a dead duck, in my view.”  Lord Harold’s eyebrows rise at her bold assessment.  “ And you should also see how you get on with Lady Gwendolyn of York this Summer.”  She preens.

Lord Harold: “Despite my … interests…”  His heart, which belongs to his doomed love for the exquisitely beautiful, kind, and charming, but married  Lady Penelope Lindquist.  “… being elsewhere, Lady Gwendolyn still mourns her dead betrothed.  And as the Duke of York’s daughter, she and her parents will obviously want her to marry a titled and wealthy man.  I possess neither of  those attributes as the temporary spare to the Sussex Earldom heir, for Christy—with my only having a courtesy Lord title and my only money is a small competence from Christy’s Earldom and a dilapidated estate.  I am no fair lady’s choice of husband.”  Not even for his love Lady Penelope [(8) below], thinks Lord Harold.

Lady Elizabeth: “But you could be.  What if Christy and Maddie have only daughters?  Did you think of that?  Then you will still be the heir to the Sussex Earldom.”

Lord Harold: With a skeptically raised brow, Lord Harold counters.  “I highly doubt that future will come to pass.  Nor would I wish it to.  Christy will have sons as heirs, just as our parents had two sons and a daughter.  I will be eclipsed as the second son—as I always expected to be.”  He sighs.  His fate is one reason why he has never bothered to behave as a gentleman ought, or so he tells himself as a justification for his previously ungentlemanly  and roguish behavior.   He has nothing of real value to offer a lady, or so he thinks.

Lady Elizabeth: “But …”  Then he interrupts her.

Lord Harold: Raising his hands in mock protest, Lord Harold shushes his sister.  “Nay, Lizzie.  Leave it be.  And Lady Gwendolyn is, at best, a friend to me–as I hope to be to her.”  He smiles encouragingly.  “Now!  Let us think up some diversion from all of this nauseatingly blissful baby talk that is certain to ensue at tonight’s dining table.  Hmmm?”  He smiles while rolling his eyes.

Lady Elizabeth:  “Well, … I could try to divert Christy and Maddie by enlisting their aid in my quest to marry Lord Duncan?”  Lady Elizabeth harking upon her wish and insistence to marry Lord Duncan, is like a dog with a bone that it will not let go of.

Lord Harold squints his eyes at his younger sister in remorse.  Lord Harold had a man to man talk with Lord Duncan not too long ago, asking Lord Duncan  to uncategorically  release his sister Lady Elizabeth from the notion that she and Lord Duncan might have a marital future together.  After all, Lord Duncan is technically betrothed to his late brother Lord Alfred’s fiancé Lady Constance Knightsbridge.  And Lord Duncan agreed to Lord Harold’s request.

Lord Harold:  “Lizzie, I think that you should allow yourself to be open to meeting other more eligible prospective husbands.”  He says gently.

Lady Elizabeth:  “Harold, as you are a second son who has the freedom from notice and the strictures of society, then I as a daughter should have the same freedom.  I love Duncan and I want him for my husband!”  She stands firm.

Lord Harold: “But, if Lord Duncan marries Lady Constance—as I have no doubt that he will …”  A slight exaggeration on his part. “…then you should seek some happiness for yourself.  I only want for you to find happiness, Lizzie.”  He gives her an uncharacteristic embrace,  and kisses her temple.

Lady Elizabeth: “Oh I will be happy.  And so shall you be happy, Harold.  I just know it!”  Lady Elizabeth firmly juts out her little resolute chin as she returns his embrace.

Lord Harold: “Would that life and love could be unwaveringly amenable to bestowing happiness upon each of us, My Dear.”  He thinks of Lady Penelope.

Lady Elizabeth: “You almost sound poetic, Harold.”  She wistfully smiles up at her older brother.

Lord Harold: “Egads!”  He shivers with mock horror.  “Never liken me to a milk sop poet!  Now!  To only slightly change the subject, I hear from Christy that Lady Madeline has a scheme to bring the Vicar of London’s St. Timothy’s Church to Sussex Hall Dower House  for a visit in about one month’s time.  Perhaps they wish to make a match between the two of you.”  His eyes twinkle with mirth.

Lady Elizabeth: “Heaven forbid!  The Vicar of  St. Timothy’s is ollld!  He is maybe even older than Christy!”  Her brother Lord Christian is 12 years older than she.

Lord Harold: “Oh well.  I agree, that is ancient, indeed.”  He teases.  “Ah well, then maybe Lady Gwendolyn will do for the good Vicar.”  He joshes, for he knows that Lady Gwendolyn’s vow to remain true to her late betrothed is heartfelt and unwavering.

Lady Elizabeth:   “Harold, you can not find spouses for everyone else, but not for yourself.”  She teasingly scolds him.

Lord Harold: “Watch me!”  He grins broadly.  “Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Lady Elizabeth: “Ha ha ha ha ha!”

The two Blount siblings walk back into the Sussex Dower House’s library pealing with laughter—at the thought of Lord Harold becoming a match maker.

The near horizon for new arrivals still has the York’s  coming to Sussex Hall to stay for the Summer–and eventually for the Vicar of St.  Timothy’s  to visit the Sussex Hall Dower House.  One wonders what will transpire when more persons are added to the mix of society on the Sussex Hall Estate this Summer?  And what baggage will they bring with them?

To be continued with Chapter 8


“Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 7  images for  January 20, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1206)

  1. “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art is an image representing Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://www.internet-d.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2012/02/JESSICA-BROWN-FINDLAY-as-Lady-Sybil-Crawley.jpg ; the text font  is Vivaldi.
  2. Lady Gwendolyn’s pale light purple lavendar silk organza evening gown (Grati background mask) is Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood in 1995’s Sense & Sensibility found at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/e4/a8/be/e4a8becc0d292a3c0f1412358cef9653.jpg
  3. Lord Harold Blount image (background mask  by Grati) is that of Crispin Bonham-Carter in the 1995 mini series Pride and Prejudice and was found at  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112130/mediaviewer/rm1864548864

4.   “…doth protest too much…” is a line from the Shakespearean play “Hamlet”;  for more information, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_lady_doth_protest_too_much,_methinks

5. “..compare thee to a Summer’s Day” is the first line from Shakespeare’s Sonnet #18; for more information, visit  https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/shall-i-compare-thee-summers-day-sonnet-18

6.  Melancholia definition was found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melancholia

7.  Lady Elizabeth Blount in purple day dress is that of Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://media.tumblr.com/d0a41882cb1002e0e9604665f32b77ee/tumblr_inline_mono4y4CRK1qz4rgp.jpg

8.  Lady Penelope Lindquist is portrayed by Lily Travers—who appears on Victoria season 3 in 2019 as Duchess Sophie of Monmouth; the image was found at https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/specialfeatures/victoria-s3-new-cast-characters/


“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 7  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for  January 20, 2019:


Previous “Expectations” (Book 2)  Chapter 6  story URL of my SAL blog post (#1204), on January 13, 2019:


Posted in "Expectations" (Book 2), Fiction, Flirting, Gratiana Lovelace, Historical Fiction, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WCW:  Sew darn good, relatively speaking, January 16, 2019  Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1205)

Growing up I was exposed to the needle arts—with embroidery hoops and such.  It was always fun to pass the time by working the thread to see an image come through on the fabric.  In my later college years and beyond, I took up counted cross stitch and then quilting (see in progress holiday table runner images right and below).  I don’t have any cross stitches I can show you, because I gave the “good” ones away.  Ha!

But another by product of plying my embroidery needles—and a few knitting needles and crochet hooks—was that I became the family clothes mender, for very straightforward mends.

Buttons seem to be the first things that go on coats or shirts and such.  And I find that to be true even more so these days.  Where is the mercerized cotton thread (image below) that is supposed to last forever when you need it?

My father frequently had suit pants inseam rupture issues when I was growing up.  I’m not sure why these seams were the weak link in his garments—especially since he didn’t wear his suit pants overly tight, that I could tell.  I had to break out the sewing machine for those repairs—to try to give the repaired seams extra strength.  Ha!.


Then, of course there were the dresses and skirts—usually of mine, because I’m petite at 5’ 2.5”—that needed/need to be hemmed shorter, which I did by hand.  However, after I hit 40, I stopped hand hemming skirts for a while and just went with the longer length look.  Or I would yank up the skirt waist to just under my breasts and wear a long blouse over it.  Although, I have discovered petites women’s lengths that are just right in skirts, but way too short in dresses.  I like my knees covered—long enough so that the knee hi hose I wear suffices, saving my money on pantyhose which always runs.

And there was the occasional actual outfit or decorative item that I made—for choir robes/outfits, baby clothes for my niece and nephew, a fabric doll with hair and corduroy overalls, an altar Easter hanging, and Halloween costumes, etc.  I’m strictly amateur when it comes to sewing.   A neighbor lady made me a kelly green elf blouse costume (similar fabric image at right) for 6th grade—with no hemming on the sleeves, collars, and bottom hem.


My elf shirt  just had shoulder and side hems, the rest of the edges were trimmed with pinking shears (below, looking like a scissor shark).  I love pinking shears!  I also had a kelly green pointy hat with a green pom pom on the flopped over pointy end.

Ten years later when I was in graduate school, I still fit into that green elf blouse and hat for Halloween—I don’t know how, especially with my older bouffant hair, ha!–and I added a rainbow striped stretchy skirt that I made to complete my Halloween costume in graduate school.  But I had the stripes going horizontal—not good for the illusion of slim hips, you know.  Ha!


These days, my hubby far exceeds the pants blow out capacity of my father—mostly because he doesn’t tell me about small holes until they become big holes or cataclysmic seam failures.  So we take his pants/coats to professional tailors to fix.  And when I started losing so much weight, I took some of my favorite dresses to a 4H lady who teaches girls how to sew, to have them resized smaller for me.


My fingers don’t do much needle work these days—though I have many projects I could pick up, and hope to in the future, including quilting that holiday table runner.  These days, my fingers dance on the computer keyboard as I blog and write my stories.


However, what prompted my musing about sewing was that I have a pair of favorite loose cotton undies—think cotton shorts or pj bottoms—that has a seam rupture of about a half inch, in an important area.  So I’m going to bite the bullet and mend  it after I upload this post.

But I also wonder what you would do faced with a mending need?  And I wonder if mending something oneself vs having someone mend it for us, is a generational thing (image right of 1800’s seamstress).


So, if you feel so inclined, please respond to the mending poll below:

I’ll admit to using all of the above mending methods from time to time—sometimes in combination, using glue tape and hand hemming.  Hey, whatever works!  Ha!  Have a great day!

Posted in My Life, sewing, Women | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch.06:  Traveling misadventures, Part 2,   January 13, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1204)

“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch.6:  Traveling misadventures, Part 2,   January 13, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1204)

(an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved);  [(1) story cover art, left]

[As is my custom, from time to time  I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of appearance/mention in this chapter):  Crispin Bonham Carter as Lord Harold Blount the younger brother of Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex,  and older brother to their younger sister Lady Elizabeth Blount; and  Emma Thompson as Lady Gwendolyn “Gwennie” Lindsay of York, the sister to Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay portrayed by Rupert Penry-Jones,  and their late older brother Lord Alfred portrayed by David Oakes.]

Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes:  For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.   And I always put the previous chapter’s brief recap at the top of the next chapter.  Also, I hope to post new chapters  weekly on Sundays.


“Expectations” Ch. 6:  Traveling misadventures, Part 2

So after finding and rescuing the fair damsel Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York from her broken down carriages  on her way to his family’s Sussex Hall estates, Lord Harold Blount rides along side on his borrowed mount—instead of inside his much more comfortable carriage wherein he ensconced Lady Gwendolyn, her Ladies Maid, and a few other maids.  Lord Blount feels quite proud of himself in behaving so gentlemanly and escorting Lady Gwendolyn to the Wayfarer Inn in Walden on their way to his family’s Sussex Hall Estates for the Summer.

However, the not so demure Lady Gwendolyn currently being conveyed by Lord Harold’s spacious and comfortable carriage with her ladies maid and other maids is not feeling grateful to Lord Blount at all.  Each time Lady Gwendolyn leans forward to gaze at the passing lovely countryside view, Lord Harold seems to take that as an invitation to converse.

Lord Harold: “My Lady Gwendolyn, I hope that the countryside pleases you.  I find it most charming.”

Lady Gwendolyn: “Indeed.”  Lady Gwendolyn plans to stick to one word responses in the hope that Lord Harold will take the hint that she does not wish to converse with him.

Lord Harold:   “Normally, I ride within the carriage for long distance trips, like this one.  But I must confess that being atop a horse allows one a panoramic view of the bucolic countryside.”  He smiles warmly at Lady Gwendolyn’s scowling face.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Hmmm.”  She murmurs, then sits back from the window and turns to her ladies maid.  “Strand, did you pack the playing cards?”

Ladies Maid Strand: “Yes, My Lady.  But …”  Dorcas Strand bites her lower lip as it trembles.  She has only been Lady Gwendolyn’s ladies maid for a few weeks, so she is yet learning her mistresses wishes and tastes.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Hhhhh!  But it is packed away in one of the many trunks with us.”  Strand nods apologetically.  “Well, in future, please keep it on your person.  For long trips we will need some diversions.”

Ladies Maid Strand: “Yes, My Lady.”  She nods obediently.

Lord Harold trots along on his borrowed horse in silence after Lady Gwendolyn sat back from the carriage window.  And he wonders at her lack of conversation.  Could it be that she was so inured in the York countryside that she had not learnt the skill of social conversation?  The weather, the state of the roads, and one’s dogs are all perfectly acceptable topics of conversation.

Though Lord Harold admits to himself that though he has not seen a domesticated animal amongst Lady Gwendolyn’s entourage, they are traveling upon a road and the weather is fine.  But she makes no mention of either.  He finds her singularly unusual in this respect—especially since he recalls her as being a rather annoyingly chatty child.

And as arrogant as Lord Harold often is, he does not see Lady Gwendolyn’s reluctance to converse with him as a slight to him, but rather as illustrating her shyness.  However with such a lack of perception his observation reflects, one wonders if Lord Harold is the party with a social deficit.

However, wanting to put Lady Gwendolyn at her ease, Lord Harold tries again to converse with her.

Lord Harold:  “I say, I have a question to put to you, Lady Gwendolyn.”  Silence is her response.  But he is undeterred.  “Ahem!  My Lady, I would ask you a question.”

All eyes inside the Blount carriage turn to Lady Gwendolyn.  They think that surely their mistress will respond to the gentleman.  Only the oldest other maid well past middle age smiles knowingly at Lady Gwendolyn, then returns to her dozing state.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Very well, Lord Harold.  What is it?” She feels that she is getting peevish with him—so unlike her.  Yet the man is being quite trying.  Lady Gwendolyn wonders if Lord Harold misunderstands the social compact of ladies riding inside the carriage is supposed to afford them a measure of privacy from the men—or man, in this case—riding on his steed outside of the carriage.

Lord Harold: Smiling, he asks.  “Is there something that I can do for you to make the rest of your journey to the Wayfarer Inn at Walden more comfortable?”

Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh, indeed, yes.  Please cease in attempting to engage me in conversation.”  Then Lady Gwendolyn feels regret for the surliness of her response and softens it a bit.  If her parents and brother were to learn of her hoydenish behavior, they would not be pleased.  So she relents.  “We ladies are tired and wish to doze, My Lord.”

Lord Harold: “Ah!  Of course.  My apologies for interrupting your rest. Sleep well, My Lady.”  Lord Harold bows his head to Lady Gwendolyn and she tilts her head slightly in acknowledgement.  Afterall, she is a Duke’s daughter, accustomed to having her wises acceded to.  So Lord Harold  continues to trot the remaining 30 minutes to the Wayfarer Inn at Walden in silence, but for the clip clop of his horse’s hooves, the rattle of the carriage’s rolling wheels, and the bird calls that he hears in the distance.

Lady Gwendolyn is a bit nonplussed that she was able to speak plainly  to Lord Harold her request for silence—without giving offense, which she often does.  However, she uses the silence wisely and leans against the soft velvet upholstered interior of the carriage—with the gently sway of the well sprung carriage causing her to fall asleep.


Lord Harold endeavors to continue to treat Lady Gwendolyn with every courtesy due her as the daughter of a Duke.  So when they arrive at the charming two story stone Wayfarer Inn [(2) below], he requests the  innkeeper for a bed chamber and private parlor for Lady Gwendolyn and her ladies maid and other sundry maids.


And Lord Harold also bespeaks a bed chamber for himself to freshen up in before having luncheon with Lady Gwendolyn.  He also immediately writes a brief note and sends one of the outriders with it to Sussex Hall Estate’s Dower House where his brother Lord Christian is staying and asks for additional carriages and wagons to ferry Lady Gwendolyn’s entourage to Sussex Hall

In the meantime, Lady Gwendolyn insists upon a bath to remove the dust from her person.  So her Ladies Maid Strand coordinates the bath tub and hot water with the innkeeper’s staff.  Lord Harold had also felt rather dusty due to him riding upon his horse.  But him not wanting to inconvenience Lady Gwendolyn by delaying luncheon were he to wash fully, he made do with a thorough wash of his face and upper body and a change of shirt, cravat, and jacket to help him feel a bit more the thing.  When they reach the Sussex Hall Estates later this afternoon, he will take a full bath then—or so, he hopes that they will reach his home by evening.

Lady Gwendolyn sits in her bath behind a privacy screen situated next to the fireplace hearth with a toasty fire and buckets of warm water waiting for her Ladies Maid Strand to rinse her.

Ladies Maid Strand: “Miss?  I mean Lady Gwendolyn.  Which gown would you like to change into for luncheon with Lord Harold?”

Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh good lord!  Must I eat with him?  Cannot we claim that I am too ill to join him for luncheon?”

Ladies Maid Strand: “I do not think so.  We … you might not be given your luncheon food then.”  She worries more for herself than for her ladyship. Strand is hungry.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Well, I am not very hungry, afterall.”  Then she looks at the stricken face of her Ladies Maid and regrets her selfishness.  “But I will muster an appetite.”  She smiles at her relieved looking maid.  “Whilst I and Lord Harold are eating our luncheon in a private parlor, please take yourself and the other maids to the common room to also eat your midday meal.”  Her maid nods and smiles.

Lord Harold feels peckish and eager for his luncheon and seeks out Lady Gwendolyn by first knocking on her private parlor attached to her inn bedchamber and being admitted by one of the under maids, who ushers him in with bobbing a curtsey.

Lord Harold:  “Please inform Lady Gwendolyn that the Inn keeper will have our our luncheon served within this private parlor in 15 minutes.  I have ordered us some hot soup and roast beef with vegetables, bread and butter—and with their fine pudding for dessert.  They also have an excellent wine cellar and I have taken the liberty to choose something that I hope she will like.”  He smiles commandingly at the servant.

Undermaid Bridget:  Bobbing another curtsey, she nods also.   “I’ll be letting her ladyship know presently.  But she is having her bath and she don’t usually like to be disturbed until she is done.”  She states as one who knows her mistress for a few years.

Lord Harold: “Indeed?”  His eyebrows shoot up to his hairline for being informed outright that Lady Gwendolyn—or any lady, for that matter—is presently in her bath.  Images of Lady Gwendolyn wet and sloshing her bathwater around spring to Lord Harold’s mind, and he feels a bit flush and earnestly unsettled at the thought of Lady Gwendolyn in her bath.  And as the maid goes to her mistress to relate the message to her from Lord Harold about luncheon, he mutters under his breath.  “How in the hell is a gentleman supposed to behave like a gentleman when he knows that a lady is in her bath in the next room?”

Lord Harold realizes that he needs a distraction from thinking about Lady Gwendolyn in her bath, so he goes to the window and watches the village scene below.  The city is also a market village so there are quite a few stalls selling wares and such than one might normally see in a village the size of Walden.  And he forgets himself as he knocks on the adjoining bed chamber door and speaks through the closed door.

Lord Harold:  “I say, Gwen?  After luncheon, we could take a stroll about the village and tour the market stalls.  What do you think about that?” Lord Harold has switched to addressing her as Gwen rather than the despised Gwennie, to hopefully entice Lady Gwendolyn into a good mood.

All he hears is water sloshing as Lady Gwendolyn had chosen that moment to arise from her bathwater.  And Lord Harold silently curses his very good hearing as he clenches his hands at his sides.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Towels!”  She shouts to her Ladies Maid Strand, lest Lord Harold take it upon himself to barge in.  But there seems to be only one towel that she wraps around herself  with her wet legs and arms uncovered as she is helped out of the tub, and she needs another towel at least for drying off her limbs with. But she spoke rather loudly about towels.

Lord Harold: “You need  towels, you say Gwen?”  He looks about the parlor and spies a small pile of extra linens—including towels.  “Ah!  There are extra towels out here.  I’ll hand them in to your maid.” He states cheerfully through the closed bedchamber door.  He is not hoping for a peek, not really.

Lady Gwendolyn:  And she heard him quite clearly, realizing his close proximity.  “No, no!  You stand back from the door and my maid will fetch the towels from my private parlor.  What are you doing in there, anyway, Hal?”

Lord Harold:  “Ha ha ha!  I am waiting for our food to be brought up for luncheon.  I could eat a horse!”  And Lord Harold tries to focus upon their meal to come—rather than the current possible disrobed state  of Lady Gwendolyn

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Oh!”

Lady Gwendolyn shoos her Ladies Maid Strand to retrieve the towels,  which Lord Harold helpfully points toward when she enters the adjacent parlor.  And closing his eyes, he turns his back on the open bed chamber door so that he does not inadvertently see Lady Gwendolyn within wearing only one towel.  He flushes again, thinking of Lady Gwendolyn being wet and not clothed underneath her towel.  And Lord Harold’s cravat seems overly tight—among other parts of his attire, to the South.

But the Ladies Maid is swift in her purpose and returns to her mistress with the towels for Lady Gwendolyn to dry off from her bath.  Lady Gwendolyn chooses a pamona green day dress with vines embroidered in white upon the bodice to change into.  But with her hair getting damp from the bath, Strand decides to take out the pins and brush it out before restyling Lady Gwendolyn’s hair for her.

But time is not on their side.  Just as Lady Gwendolyn’s gown is fastened and her hair pins removed with her hair being brushed, her and Lord Harold’s luncheon arrives via the Inn’s staff entering  the adjoining parlor.

Lord Harold smiles broadly at the inn’s staff and points to the round table and chairs in the center of the room for their luncheon to be served by the inn staff.

Lord Harold: “Oh Gwen!  Our luncheon has arrived.  You had best get in here while it is hot, or I just might eat  your portion as well.”

Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh no you will not, Hal!”  She cries out, finding her appetite is more than she had guessed.  She has her Ladies Maid twist her hair into a loose updo with several precariously placed pins, and she rushes out of her bedchamber and into the parlor.

Lord Harold:  “Lady Gwendolyn!  How nice of you to join me.”  He smiles at her slightly damp looking neck and her hair in a loose bun as he pulls out a chair for her.  “You look charming.  Please sit here.  I think you will find that the food as delicious as it smells.  Our family stops here often when we break our journey to and from London.”

Lady Gwendolyn: Taking in his own change of clothes—and liking what she sees–she remarks.  “Let us hope so.  I have instructed my maids to eat in the common room, but if we are eating  in this parlor adjacent to my bed chamber–and not a private parlor downstairs–then my Ladies Maid Strand will have to chaperone us.”  She looks apologetically at her hungry looking Ladies Maid.  “You may eat at the writing desk over in the corner, Strand.”

Strand curtsies and moves in that direction while the other under maids file out to the hallway to make their way to their luncheon.

Lord Harold: “There should be plenty of food here for a third person, but we do not have an extra bowl and spoon for the soup.”  He winces apologetically.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Well then, she may have mine.”  She states stoically.

Lord Harold: “Oh no!  You are my guest!  I will give your Ladies Maid my soup.”  And he begins to rise to serve the maid, when he is interrupted.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “No need, Hal!  She is my Ladies Maid, so I will give her my soup.”

Lord Harold: “But are you not the least interested in how good this hot potato soup is?  Trust me!  It is delicious.” He smiles genuinely at her.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Well…” She hesitates—her not wanting to be seemingly beholden to the Blount Rogue.  Yet, she is already well in his debt this day.

Lord Harold: “Let us compromise.  You may give your soup to your Ladies Maid. …”  Lady Gwendolyn nods half heartedly.  She really does want to try the soup.  “And I will give you my soup.  Hmmm?”

Lady Gwendolyn: “But Hal…” She stubbornly persists.

Lord Harold:  “Nay, Gwen!  The soup is my treat!  After all you have had to endure today, it is the least that I can do for you.”

Acquiescing she hands her soup bowl and spoon with some bread to her grateful Ladies Maid Strand sitting in the corner of the room.  Then Lady Gwendolyn takes a sip of soup that would have been Lord Harold’s.

Lady Gwendolyn:   “Hmm.  It is good.”  She states with some astonishment, related to this being a lesser quality of village inn than what she is accustomed to.

Lord Harold:  “Were you skeptical at my recommendation of the food?”  He asks teasingly and she nonchalantly shrugs her shoulders.  “Pray believe me when I tell you that the Wayfarer Inn is a boon to weary travelers.  And here, taste the wine with your meal as well.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  Sipping her wine, she is also pleasantly surprised with its fruity bouquet. “Very well, Hal.  I will grant you that this hostelry is more than adequate.  I will just be glad to be in my own home again.  Well, your home, that is—since my family is renting Sussex Hall for the Summer.”  She amends after he quirks up an eyebrow.

Lord Harold: “Uh, and about that.”  He winces apologetically.  “I have written to my brother Lord Christian, about the need for more wagons and carriages to convey you and your entourage there due to your broken carriages.”

Lady Gwendolyn: “Yes?”  She looks at him uncertainly as she tucks into her meal after making a plate of food for her Ladies Maid.

Lord Harold: “But I fear that when the carriages arrive later this afternoon—if they do arrive this afternoon—it will be too late to journey on to Sussex Hall Estates.  It is not wise to travel in the dark as the late afternoons and early evenings tend to be.  So we will have to spend the night here.  I have already sent several of my footmen back with my carriage to collect your staff and the wagons at the breakdown point.  The carriages will be guarded by two armed footmen to prevent looters from stripping them bare.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Nooo!  That will not do!  I might have my maids with me, but I do not have a true chaperone.  I can not  stay overnight  at an inn with an unmarried man.”

Lord Harold: “The unmarried man whom you refer to, I presume is myself.”  She nods with a pouty annoyed look on her face.  “Well, you are not technically staying with me at this inn.”

Lady Gwendolyn: “Of course not!”  She huffs in righteous indignation.

Lord Harold: “Be at ease, My Lady.  The Wayfarer Inn is not known for being a place of assignations.  The inn caters to families and sporting travelers.  Your reputation is safe here, with me.”  He adds almost parenthetically.

Lady Gwendolyn: “I still do not like it.” She grouses.

Lord Harold: “Well, I might not like the inconvenience and expense of having to stop overnight either.  But there we are.  Hhhh!”  He sighs in frustration.  Oh the wages of sin—in his past—are coming back to taunt him in his attempts at being gentlemanly.  “Now eat up and we can tour the village before dinner and such.”

And Lady Gwendolyn wonders what the and such is?  So she resolves to sip her wine slowly during her luncheon and their later dinner—so as to not allow her senses to be dulled, nor her keenly honed self-preservation to be cast aside by the lubricating effects of the delicious wine.

With so wary a traveling companion as Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay, is it any wonder that Lord Harold Blount has a challenge before him with regard to not only him behaving in a gentlemanly way, but also his sense of chivalry?  Or as Lady Gwendolyn might exclaim Oh Lord, it is going to be a long night.

To be continued with Chapter 7


“Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 6  images for  January 13, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1204)

  1. “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art is an image representing Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://www.internet-d.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2012/02/JESSICA-BROWN-FINDLAY-as-Lady-Sybil-Crawley.jpg ; the text font  is Vivaldi.
  2. An illustration of an olde English village Inn was found at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/43865/43865-h/images/img41.jpg



“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 6  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for  January 13, 2019:


Previous “Expectations” (Book 2)  Chapter 5  story URL of my SAL blog post (#1198), on December 16, 2018:

Posted in "Expectations" (Book 2), Creative Writing, Gratiana Lovelace, Historical Fiction, Humor, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Regency, Richard Armitage, Romance, social media, Society, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

THUD Thursday!  Refined beardly goodness in newish Richard Armitage Portrait, January 10, 2019 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1203)

I found a newish 2018 image of the tantalizingly talented Richard Armitage (below) Tuesday night while perusing the net.  Ah, such beardly goodness—with a tease of neckage!  And he looks great in a suit and tie.   Sighhh!  Enjoy!

Then I instinctively thought that his might be a character shot of Richard Armitage as Daniel Miller in Berlin Station Season 3.  So I did a reverse image google search and it brought up a page by Julie Koksharova (Thanks!) who has labeled it a Daniel Miller BS3 picture of Richard Armitage.  So at least two of us agree on that.  Ha!


And for the record, I’m “Team Daniel”—BS3 is doing like “Where’s Waldo” with their “Where’s Daniel” plot. And though BS3 episode 5 had an expected (by me, based on the opening credits character images)  other character’s return reveal (no spoilers), I’m still looking forward to seeing Richard Armitage as Daniel Miller in the flesh.  Though Richard Armitage’s name has not appeared in the credits for BS3 episodes 4 & 5, his Daniel Miller character face has.  So I’ll remain cautiously hopeful.


And with the BS 3 episode 6 coming up on Sunday titled “In cold hell”, my guess is that BS 3 is going to try to wring more pathos out of the missing Daniel plot for another week.

I also “ship” Esther Krug (portrayed by Mina Tander) and Daniel Miller (portrayed by Richard Armitage)  below in BS 2 epi 7 (Thanks to Chrissyinwm!). They have a certain chemistry—or at least, I swoon at the love and devotion I see in Daniel’s eyes for Esther.  Sighhh!


One question, though.  The BS 3 episode titles seem even more obtuse than last season’s.  I’m scratching my head for the meaning/symbol reference for last week’s BS 3 episode 5’s title of “The Four Policemen”.  Any thoughts?  Ha!

Hoping you have a lovely day! Cheers!


Initial Daniel Miller Image thanks to: Denise Price at http://pinosy.com/media/1196337387931478/

More Richard Armitage images at http://pinosy.com/media/574983077423587598/

Posted in Berlin Station mini series, Daniel Miller/Meyer in Berlin Station, Drama, EPIX Berlin Station, Gratiana Lovelace, intrigue, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, social media, Society, Something About Love, Spy thriller, Storytelling, Thriller, THUD Thursday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

New 2019 Something About Love blog header, January 06, 2019 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1202)

Dear Friends,

As you can see, I created and uploaded a new Something About Love blog header for 2019 (see below).  Its bookend images are of  the brilliant British actor Richard Armitage in characters as: Claude Becker (?) via JulieK on the left (Thanks!); and John Thornton from “North & South” (2004) on the right (my/Grati’s cap).  The beautiful middle cherry blossom forest lane image was free from PngTree (Thanks!).  There is something about the beauty of nature that speaks to me with this new image.

I hope that you enjoy my new SAL blog header when you visit!  Cheers!  Grati


Posted in Beauty, Blogging, Creativity, Gratiana Lovelace, John Thornton, Love and Relationships, North & South, Richard Armitage, social media, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Grati making some 2019 New Year resolutions, January 04, 2019 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1201)

Today is the 4th day of 2019—only 360 days to go.  That seems like a lot of time.  But really, with life and work and relationships filling up our days, we will blink and find that it is the year 2020.

So as a way of grounding myself to 2019 resolutions/goals that are achievable and varied, I have come up with personal schema to develop my initial goals/resolutions—a resolutions rubric, if you will.  *wink*

First, I want my resolutions/goals to impact me personally, my hubby and I, and our home.

Secondly, I plan to have each resolution/goal reflect something that I wish to start, to continue, or to stop.


So basically, I’ll end up with a 3 x 3 matrix—involving 9 interconnected  goals/resolutions.


And here we go:

Goal # 1’s over arching theme is my Personal  Health:

1a)  I wish to start exercising again.  Now that I am walking more—even with my using a rolling walker—I want to get to the next level of stamina and endurance with hand and leg weights.  With my back’s herniated discs being painful all the time limiting my mobility, I will have to be careful not to injure myself more.  So I’ll start small with 2 pound weights on each limb via sitting exercises, and maybe try to do more with my stretching bands. It will be slow going.  But I have to start someplace. Ha!


1b)  I wish to continue my healthy diet and nutrition habits to aid in my continuing to lose weight.  I have been at a plateau—which I seem to hit about every 30 pounds or so.  So my morning apple, raisins, and walnut oatmeal with hot tea breakfast will be expanded from week days to 7 days a week.  Also I’ll continue eating more chicken than beef and pork—with a little bit of fish thrown in.


1c)  I need to pare down my Hershey’s Kisses intake—seriously, chocolate is addicting for me—in favor of more  celery (right), which my diabetes educator  told me burns more calories when you eat it than it generates in consuming it.  Diet and exercise will also help to improve my blood sugar scores—which had also seen a corresponding spike my A1C score upward by over a point.  But with some adjustment in my diabetes meds (pills), I’m seeing more regular 125 scores  before meals blood sugar numbers again.  And diabetes can affect eyesight—as my latest eye exam showed.  So my computer/reading  glasses now have new lenses, that seem to lessen eye strain so far.  Snap!



Goal # 2’s over arching theme is my Hubby and I:

2a)  I want my hubby and I to start thinking about a fun week long trip that we might take sometime this year.  We’re not annual vacation people.  We can’t afford it.  And there are the logistics of boarding the dogs and such—we would miss them, and they would miss us.  And my hubby doesn’t like to travel out of town.  But I feel that it’s important for my hubby and I  to get away from our usual routines now and again.  So we’ll have to start saving up for it—whatever it might be.  And flying will not be involved.  Ha!  Our trip to Florida 20 years ago was our last time flying.  But we did have great fun on that trip!   My ideal vacations usually involve nature, water, golf, museums, antiquing, etc.  Ha!  Do you have any U.S. vacation spot suggestions for us?  Please note that they need to be mobility accessible.

2b)  I am sure that my hubby and I continue our mid week and weekend lunch dates and such.  These times that we share together are sacrosanct from any and all other appointments that we might have.   Though with each of his having mobility issues, walking around at nature sites, museums, malls and stores, etc., is limited these days.  But that also means that we have less impulse buying than other shoppers might.  Ha!

2c)  We need to stop delaying getting our wills done.  I know, that was a double negative.  Argghhh!  Though I hope that we have another 30 years of life together—taking us to our 60th wedding anniversary–we shouldn’t put this off any longer.  And having our wishes spelled out in a legal document will hopefully give us peace of mind.


Goal # 3’s over arching theme is our Home:

3a)  We’re hoping to buy a new 80 inch sofa (right, Dempsey by Flexsteel)  for our hoped for great room redo.   Doing so will allow my hubby and I to organize and rearrange our home for how we live now.  In general, that means creating a central focus on our  fireplace for cozy cuddling.  And there will not be a tv in the house anymore—we  haven’t used it for over 5 years, we stream anything we want to see.  And I want a mix of comfortable couch seating and practical easy to access computer work stations—rather than a formal living room.

We had initially looked at sectional sofas (right)—for ease in lolling about with each other.  Ha!  But they’re big, expensive, and can only be situated in one configuration in a room.  And we can put the hoped for new 80 inch sofa  into the mix in our great room—repurposing /slip covering our 23 year old old pretty and formal couch to the far corner of the room by the window, and using our 16 year  old love seat  with a new slip cover  as the “L” corner with the new blue sofa.  And my hubby’s current large  man chair will leave the house.   Ha!  However, the internet and power cable threading for the computers is what will be tricky.  And I may be trying to do the impossible—having a comfy area for us to sit together with nearby computer access.  Ha!

3b)  I need to continue with other home items purging or recycling or donations—such as old and too big clothes, unused furniture like the tv (we stream if we want to watch something online), etc.—and purging/shredding old documents that are not needed any more.  My basic rule is that if it is utility, food, etc., payment older than 2018, it goes into the shredder—though I will still have an electronic copy of those payments. And  I tend to keep all house related payment records printouts and electronic copies– like the mortgage payments and any major home repairs and improvements for about 10 years.

3c)  I want to lessen our carbon footprint even more than we already do for our home’s  reduce, reuse, and recycling efforts.  So that means printing out fewer paper copies of things—only the most essential, or printing 2 pages onto 1 page—and being satisfied with just my  electronic copy backups.  Of course, I’m also a bins girl.  So special types of mementos are saved in opaque plastic bins so I can find stuff.  And my Richard Armitage (below) stuff stays—they are in their own bin.  Ha!

Naturally, we will continue to support the charities and organizations that we do throughout the year.   These mostly involve women, children and families, underrepresented groups, education initiatives, and those in need.  And though our donations are modest, they build up over the months and years to tidy sums.

So with these initial 2019 goals/resolutions, I have focused on areas of fine tuning ourselves and our home–so we can rest and recharge for our lives inside and outside of our home.


Wishing you and yours a wonderful  2019!  Hugs & Cheers!  Grati  ;->

Posted in Gratiana Lovelace, Hubby, Humor, Husbands, Love and Relationships, My Life, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Standring’s Christmas Wish”, Prologue – Ch. 1 Keeping to Himself,  December 25, 2018 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1200a)

“Standring’s Christmas Wish”, Prologue – Ch.1,  December 25, 2018 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1200a)

(An original fan fiction story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace 2018;  All rights reserved); [(1) story cover, left]

[As is my custom, I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (and in order of appearance/mention in these chapters) of:  Richard Armitage as Ralph John Standring, Hayley Atwell as Clara Saunders, and others as noted.

Authors story content and serializing scheduling note:  My fan fiction short story here is based on the character of Ralph John Standring from the 2002 British mini-series “Sparkhouse”—with a new story arc.  The tone of the chapters will be primarily PG to PG-13—for dramatic moments and/or romantic feelings.  If you cannot or will not attend a movie with those ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.

And I will serialize this short story starting Christmas Day, December 25, 2018 with several initial chapter posts, and for a few days following after the Christmas Holiday this year.  Please note that Chs. 2 – End will appear solely on my Wattpad site for ease of posting.  I will strive to write and serialize my story with daily chapters posts—a little challenge that I set for myself for fun—such as with my 2014 story, “A Magnificent Love”, “A Christmas Carol Reimagined” in 2016, and others.  And I hope that you enjoy Ralph Standring’s holiday story this year.


“Standring’s Christmas Wish”, Prologue

Ralph John Standring is trying to make a new home and a new life for himself after being jilted at the altar.  He has lost the ability to trust, since his trust was broken.   Yet what does anyone want but to belong–to someone or somewhere? And to have them belong to you–be they lover, family, or friend. Will Ralph have his own Christmas wish fulfilled this year of belonging to someone special, and having she belonging to him?  Ralph had vowed never to trust and never to love again.  Yet this Christmas, Ralph will learn to trust and to love again when a kind and loving lady welcomes him into her heart—if he is to establish a loving future for himself and others.

Ralph’s tale continues the Christmas seven months after his fateful non-wedding between himself and Carol Bolton the previous Spring.  Ralph, then using his middle name of John, was set to marry Carol and invest in her farm, and they would make a life together with her daughter, Lisa.

But the very married Andrew Lawton had unexpectedly arrived before John and Carol’s wedding, proclaimed his love for Carol, and whisked away she and their daughter Lisa.

John was devastated.  He had put his heart and his financial future into the hands of the fickle Carol Bolton.  And then he was left with no wife and no money since he had already sunk his 80,000 pound inheritance from selling his grandda’s house into Carol’s farm and home called Sparkhouse, and he had no place to live.

John’s hurting heart and humiliation was crushed his spirit. He wanted to crawl into a hole and to never come out. But he couldn’t do that.  Somewhere deep inside him, John still had the stoicism of generations overcoming worse obstacles than a broken heart, flowing through his veins.  So he did the next best thing and he left in the middle of the night, driving to wherever the road lead him in his beat up truck.  He only stopped when he realized that his truck was nearly out of gas.

That was seven months ago and John has long since moved on in his life now in a neighboring county and goes by his given name of Ralph–that he pronounces with the uncharacteristic L sound–after his grandda, to avoid questions or comment should anyone remember a John Standring.

And though Ralph has emotionally retreated from the world–and he retreated from wishing for love and happiness–this Christmas, he will have his wishes fulfilled, if he will only learn to trust and to love again..


“Standring’s Christmas Wish”, Ch. 1–Keeping to Himself

Dog tired and chilled through to his bones at the end of his long work day at Camden Farms where he works as a farm laborer tending to the animals, Ralph Standring stares at the cold bologna sandwich, crisps (potato chips), and cold soda that are to be his evening meal this early December Friday night.  But he just can’t take not getting something warm into his belly today.  So Ralph dons his serviceable overcoat [(2) below] and he walks out of his spare barn loft lodgings and he heads into the village.

Ralph has tidied himself up from his work day labors–showering and putting on clean thermal underwear and outer clothes.  But the clothes Ralph has are warm and worn–by no means stylish, and they tend to cover his large frame in layers of shirt and jumper (sweater) and overcoat and hat, making him seem bulkier than he really is.  Tall and imposing anyway–towering over most men at 6 ft 3 inches tall–Ralph’s hard farm work has toned the muscles of his chest, arms, and shoulders, and legs into a powerful and imposing torso and overall physique.  Yet the shy and unassuming Ralph hides his body from prying eyes under many layers of clothing–just as he hides his heart and emotions from further betrayal.

It is the start of December and everyone in town is beginning to decorate for Christmas.  The shops are very festive, such as they always are at this time of year in their quaint small village of Chipping, England in the middle of Lancashire [(3a)]–quaint with its garden stone edging retaining walls [(3b) below right]and its hundred year old stone cottages.   The village of Chipping is the embodiment of a small village from another era–with the copious amount of stone lending a sense of permanence, or at least, of hardiness.  So the hardy Ralph Standring feels akin to his surroundings.

Though Chipping does not have a pub–for warmth via spirits or food–it does have a small café. For Chipping’s small village of under 1500 souls, Clara’s Cafe is the only restaurant dining establishment for miles around. And Clara purchases many of her restaurant’s food stuffs from the local farmers–thus maintaining a local economy focus–and keeping her costs down.  So her meal prices are reasonable.


Ralph has been to Clara’s Café  a time or two each month over the seven months since he came to Chipping–him always quietly slipping in so no one would notice him. That is if anyone can fail to notice Ralph’s 6 foot 3 inch tall hulking presence–in his farm overalls or even in his nicer church clothes.


Ralph remembers the first time he visited Clara’s Café.  He had been wary of this new village that he had moved to.  He felt that at 200 miles distant from Sparkhouse, it was far enough away so that no one would know him.  And the villagers of Chipping didn’t know him.  In truth, no one really knows Ralph–not even the Camdens who employ him and they respect his strong work ethic on their farm as an animal tender laborer.

That late Spring Saturday morning when he was new to the village of Chipping, England, Ralph had been picking up some necessary supplies for his barn loft lodgings at the grocer’s–toilet paper, soap, bologna and bread–then he pokes his head into Clara’s Café for a peek, then he ducks out again.  Clara’s Café is a  lively and cheerful place, Ralph hasn’t decided if he will try to eat at the Cafe as he stands there in the doorway.

However, Ralph is jolted out of his reverie of indecision on the doorstep of the restaurant when he realizes that he is being hailed by a woman at the entrance way [(4) below)].

Hayley Atwell plays Evelyn Robin in Disney’s heartwarming live action adventure CHRISTOPHER ROBIN.

Clara:  “Love!  Please come in and leave the flies outside.”  Clara Saunders beckons to the tall stranger standing in the open doorway of her café.

Her wearing a blue patterned blouse over a navy skirt covered with an apron tied over it, the tallish womanly curvy café owner Clara Saunders ushers Ralph into her restaurant with a flourish and closes the door.  Ralph notices her wearing a gold band wedding ring—but on her right hand.  So he is uncertain if she is married, divorced, or other—of which, he cannot speculate.  She seats him in what turns out to be a much too small chair for his height and breadth—which is not unusual for him, chairs rarely seem to be made for a person of his size—then she places a menu in his hand, and a glass of water on the table before he can object.

It is not that Ralph would object to a glass of water being given to him—he would not be so impolite. Despite his rough edged slightly disheveled looking state, Ralph learned his good manners from the grandparents who raised him.   It is just that he dislikes making someone do extra work, by bringing him a glass of water.


Ralph:  “I don’t…”  Ralph stares at the attractive woman, whom he will come later to know as Clara Saunders, the proprietress.

With her hair swept away from her face in a tamed flip with a pencil stuck behind her ear, at first he thought that Clara looks like many a matron lady he has seen at church now and again–older than his thirty eight years.  But then, she smiles up at him warmly and he takes a good  look—him finding no lines nor blotches on her face, which he believes makes her a bit younger than he is.  Yes, she is womanly curvy in her hips and especially so in her … chest area.  He blushes even thinking about her having a curvy chest.  And the way that she deftly moves between tables–squeezing through openings that Ralph does not think he could navigate, make him realize that she is quite energetic and youthful.

Clara: “You don’t what, Love?”

Clara asks caringly and lightly places her hand upon his shoulders as he sits before her.   Ralph flinches involuntarily–him being unused to being touched, unless it is an animal that he is tending to nudging him to hurry with its feed or water.  Oh his late Grandma was a kindly who would pat him on his cheek when he was a boy, but hugs were never given in his grandparents home.   And Clara notices his discomfort and she removes her hand.

Clara wonders why the rural districts of England seem to have more loners such as this man?  She doesn’t know his name, just that he is new to these parts–a farm laborer like so many, if she is to judge by his clothing.  Though Clara is not one to judge a person.   And she wonders if he will be transient and move on after the Summer season, or if he will become a permanent fixture in their village?  Clara is not nosey, merely curious as she walks away from the tall man to place his order with her cook.

Ralph watches Clara as he waits for his order of the day’s special of beef stew. He sees that she smiles at every customer as they arrive and she seats them, making them feel welcome with her friendliness–as he feels welcome.  He observes that she seems to be friendly to everyone–sometimes touching their shoulders–as she touched his shoulders–sometimes giving who he thinks must be a regular patron a hug.

So Ralph realizes that her friendliness to him is just part of her general behavior—nothing special nor marked in her attention of him.  So he focuses his attention on the small dessert card menu placed before him with the dessert choices on it. Every meal comes with a complimentary pie, brownie, or ice cream sundae.  Distracting himself with dessert names–ample apple pie, double chocolate brownie, cherry cheesecake, or pudding–and he notices that there seem to be more apple dessert variations–pies, crisps, cobblers, streusels, etc.  He guesses that it is due to the large apple orchard adjacent to the back of the property.


Then that late last Spring, that first time that he ate at Clara’s Café, as now in early December of the same year, Ralph enjoys the food here whenever he wants a warm meal–that isn’t merely a tv dinner warmed in his small microwave in the barn loft where he sleeps.  Looking around Clara’s Café after the midday lunch rush, Ralph sees there are only a smattering of people present–much to his liking.  He takes a seat by the out of the way fireplace near the kitchen door.  It is perhaps a busy spot with the servers coming back and forth.  But few people choose to eat there because of the table’s location being so close to rushing serving staff.  So Ralph has a quiet space to sit, and think, and eat his meal.

Ralph works with animals because he likes them.  They don’t talk back, they have simple needs, and they can easily be herded into a pen or to an open paddock area as needed for vaccinations or grazing.  Except Ralph is a human, not an animal.  And try as he might, Ralph cannot suppress his need for human contact, for friendship, and yes, for love.  So, he occasionally visits Clara’s Café as a non stressful way to be among—if not interact much with—people.

Once again, Ralph watches Clara move about her Café greeting and tending to customers as her able serving staff do their part.  Then inevitably, Clara works her way back to the restaurant area in front of the kitchen access.  And she spots him–that tall brownish auburn haired quiet fellow, as she thinks of him.

Clara: “Ralph love?  Have we tended to your order for you yet?”  She asks in passing by him, her thinking that her staff has probably already tended to him.

Ralph:  “No, not yet.”  He admits sheepishly to her retreating form.  He blushes slightly, because in the intervening seven months since he started regularly patronizing Clara’s Café, she has come to know and use his name when addressing him.  Though she still calls him Love, now and again, in a charmingly friendly way.

Clara: “No?”  She turns around to face him. “Why that’s awful!  How long have you been waiting, Love?”  Ralph shrugs noncommittally.  So Clara tends to him herself. Taking her pen out of her neatly hair netted shoulder length flip, she asks.  “What would you like today, Ralph?  Your favorite of the beef stew, or beef patty with vegetables on the side?  Or might I interest you in the healthy stir fry?” She amusingly waggles her eyebrows at him.

Ralph:  “Stir fry?  Does it have meat in it?”  He asks warily.  Ralph is uncertain about food cooked unconventionally—and with so many vegetables in it.

Clara: “Yes, your choice of beef, chicken, or pork.  Or we can give you all three–along with the vegetables in the stir fry.”  Clara tries to help her patrons choose nutritiously balanced meals—along with the delicious desserts she serves her customers.

Ralph:  “I don’t eat vegetables much—I like meat and potatoes.”  He is a simple man with simple tastes.

Clara: “But you need your vegetables for proper nutrition and to maintain your health.  Since your job is so physical in tending to the animals at Camden Farms, you must need a lot of vitamins, that vegetables can provide.”  Then she gets a twinkle in her eye.  “And besides, Love?  Potatoes are a vegetable.” She smiles in small triumph.  “So you might as well take the plunge and order the green beans, too.  Or would you prefer some carrots or turnips?”

Ralph always blushes when she calls him Love, rather than his name Ralph.  He knows that she is just being friendly to him as her customer—as she is with everyone else.  It is just that, her small degree of familiarity toward Ralph in calling him Love, is the only familiarity that he experiences.


Ralph:  “Green beans will be fine—with the beef patty and sliced potatoes.”  Ralph nods—he usually agrees with Clara’s food suggestions.  Except, Ralph will wait to try the stir fry on another day, maybe.


Later, as Ralph tucks into the beef and potatoes–with green beans on the side—a meal that Clara had set before him with a friendly smile–he ponders the apple cobbler dessert also awaiting him.  And, he also ponders about the lady, Clara, who waited on him today. He has seen Clara and eaten at her café about 21 times since he arrived in chipping to start fresh about seven months ago. He finds her nice and friendly to everybody.  And he marvels that she is even friendly to him.


Ralph is still wary, though—him wondering why she is friendly toward him.  It is still hard for Ralph to trust anyone, let alone a woman—whom he sees occasionally.  But a small niggling thought in the back of Ralph’s mind wonders if Clara is different?  And even if Clara were different, and trustworthy?  Would he allow himself to trust her?  Let alone, he wonders, might she even want him to?

As Clara watches Ralph eat his apple cobbler with gusto and a smile, she wonders if he is a nice man?  She thinks that he might be.  He is courteous enough.  But he is so shy and closed off around her, or anybody, that Clara still doesn’t know much about him—even after him coming into her café for the last seven months.  She knows that he has steady employment at Camden Farms—which speaks well about Ralph Standring’s reliability.

Yet Clara views Ralph’s intractable wariness and seeming inability to converse—or perhaps his seeming disdain for conversing with her—as a bit unsettling to her, but not necessarily in a bad way.  Clara feels that Ralph Standring is unusual—gruff at times, but also polite, a loner who still comes into her café nearly weekly for a meal.  Or is it for more?  Human contact?  Might he be lonely, too?  So if and until she gets to know him better, Clara will wait and watch Ralph Standring—in case he becomes less unusual, and perhaps, more interesting.  Or at least, if he seems to express an interest in her.  Afterall, at thirty five years old, Clara is not a young thing anymore.  And being alone and essentially by herself, with no other adult to depend upon—nor to share what happened each day at the café with—Clara’s interest in Ralph has ever so slowly and ever so gradually increased.

What will happen between Ralph and Clara is anyone’s guess.  And it is the December Holiday season—when some people make wishes for happiness and love as their holiday gift.

To be continued with Chapter 2 (to be posted on my Wattpad site later Christmas morning)


“Standring’s Christmas Wish”,  Prologue to Ch. 1 images for December 25, 2018 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1200a)

  1. “Standring’s Christmas Wish” story cover art created by Gratiana Lovelace includes the following elements:
    a) Image of actor Richard Armitage portraying Ralph John Standring in the 2002 mini series “Sparkhouse”; original image via Kitty;
    b) Vintage oval holiday frame was found at https://www.clipartmax.com/middle/m2i8G6H7i8m2K9i8_vintage-antique-frame-christmas-xmas-holidays-christmas-border-ideas/
    c)  cover text is  Graphite Std Bold, via Photoshop Elements
  2. The image of Ralph John Standring standing in a doorway is actor Richard Armitage in the 2002 mini series “Sparkhouse”; image via Kitty.
  3. a) Chipping Village is in the heart of Lancashire, in NW England; more info is found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chipping,_Lancashire ;b) A Chipping Village Lane image 1 by Sue Bristo found at  http://www.picturesofengland.com/England/Lancashire/Chipping/pictures/1085989

4)  The image (flipped) of Clara’s Café owner Clara is represented by actress Hayley Atwell in the 2018 “Christopher Robin” film found at  https://ewedit.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/christopherrobin5b48ec6dd24e3.jpg ; for more information, visit https://ew.com/movies/2018/07/31/christopher-robin-hayley-atwell-interview/

Wattpad, “Standring’s Christmas Wish”, Prologue to Ch. 1 story link is:

Posted in "Standring's Christmas Wish", Creative Writing, Drama, Fan Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, Holiday, Humor, John Standring, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Romance, social media, Society, Something About Love, Sparkhouse | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments