From Mrs Beeton’s Cookery and Household Management 1981 edition….

We are told on the flyleaf that it is ‘A totally revised, metricated and updated to bring it into line with the very latest developments in the cookery and Household management world’. How things have changed in the kitchen during the last thirty three years, never mind the one hundred and fifty three years since Isabella put her quill to parchment!

While searching for something else this morning I came across this entry in the household management section:


This means the cessation of the monthly periods, which normally happens any time between forty and fifty-five. Many women are frightened of the ‘change of life’, but there is no necessary reason why trouble should arise. If you are worried, go and talk to your doctor. You can be sure that the disturbances, which include hot flushes, insomnia, joint pains, increase in weight, and the general irritability, will pass: but in a number of cases the emotional upset is made worse by domestic strain or by loneliness. By the time of the menopause, children are likely to be leaving home and husbands are often absorbed to an increasing degree by the responsibilities of their occupation. In such circumstances it is sensible to try to find a new interest in life, or to resurrect an old one. Although hot flushes are unpleasant they go unnoticed by other people, and there is no reason to worry about how you look in company. As for sexual activity, the menopause need make no difference, except, obviously, that there is no longer the possibility of pregnancy.


There you go… ONE paragraph and it is all done and dusted! I actually wonder, how much of the above appeared when the good lady first published her Book of Household Management in 1861? I know it proved incorrect in relation to the ‘change of life’ in my case, but then I always claimed that I did not have a text book body.

The Book of Household Management (1861), comprising information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-Maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and Under House-Maids, Lady’s-Maid, Maid-of-all-Work, Laundry-Maid, Nurse and Nurse-Maid, Monthly Wet and Sick Nurses, etc. etc.—also Sanitary, Medical, & Legal Memoranda: with a History of the Origin, Properties, and Uses of all Things Connected with Home Life and Comfort. – Wikipedia

I think we should leave dear Isabella to her rest these days and discover more practical and up to date information and advice from a new book about to be published in September.

Letters for my Little Sister – A Fellowship Book b— Cecilia Gunther

If the group name for zebras is a dazzle, let me see what I can do to dazzle you with the group names of the animals who are regularly roaming the 5***** farmy hotel at THEKITCHENSGARDEN.

The grist of our swarm, flock to peep over the five bar gate each day, braceing ourselves for the news of brooding hens, silent sheep, droving pigs (believe me, they go for a walk twice a day!), pouncing dogs, strutting peacocks and pea hens or visiting children clutching eggs laid by plump hens.

Drooling for a knob of fresh butter, cheese or yoghurt while waiting for the bread to rise to accompany the glories of the vegetable patch for supper each day all washed down by the home-made wine. We clutter and clowder for big servings of chowder, trying not to be a nuisance as we watch with Ton-ton and Boo, the dogs, as Daisy or Queenie provide milk for the tea, the churn and the animals.

Good Queen Celi rules over her clutch of chickens, kine of cows, kennel of dogs, muster of peacocks and peahens, flock of sheep, and pigs led by Shiela, always watchful for the odd snake in the grass.

When most of us are ready to collapse at the thought of all that work, Celi finds time to bottle and freeze food for the winter, make candles and soap, before sitting to document her day with photographs from the previous twenty four hours, on her blog for the fellowship of the farmy.

A few months ago she threw us a line. An idea. A suggestion for a book.

Letters for my Little Sister began as a real letter, that Cecilia Gunther was writing to her little sister. Their mother died when they were young, so they grew up with no one to lead them through the hurdles of life or to give them any very personal advice.

Celi was trying to help her sister navigate the journey of aging and menopause. She felt there were others out there in the farmy fellowship who daily offered support or advice, and since they came from all ages & corners of the globe, they would have a wide perspective from dealing with mothers, aunts, sisters and daughters, never mind their own experiences of the dreaded word ‘menopause’.

So a book was born sixty eight brave men and true women stepped up to the plate to share their experiences. The book includes essays, letters and poems all written to share this common experience that effects no two women the same way.

Drum Roll…..

Coming soon, from Sable Books, and Pre-orders are available.

12 thoughts on “Isabella

  1. Three Well Beings

    It really is such a wonderful group effort, and only Celi would be able to do all she does to keep life going on the farmy and still get a book to publication. Very exciting. 🙂 My experiences in this area were such a “non-event” I had nothing to contribute. LOL! But I’m glad so many others did.

  2. Bev

    I was charmed by by the two different views. What a change in the years. A great read. My first thought was Celi (The Kitchen Garden.) It is so much fun to know how many of us are connected. Your remark about not having a text book body. Had to laugh, so true for all of us. It is a joy each day to check in with you and also with Celi. Thanks for a great post.

    1. Grannymar Post author

      Thank you Bev, I love the Celi’s positivity no matter how difficult the days. She does my heart good!

  3. SchmidleysScribbling

    My daughter is struggling with the big M presently. She’s going the herbal route. All this led us to a discussion on how to say the word herb (she’s a linguist). The Brits pronounce the ‘H’ the folks who speak the Romance languages don’t. The root word is Latin. Americans pronounce it either way, depending on where they live.

    1. Grannymar Post author

      Dianne, I prefer to eat the herbs than worry about how they are pronounced! I hope your daughter does not have to struggle, like some do!

    1. Grannymar Post author

      Brighid, it covers the topic from all angles, and helps the girls to realise they are not alone!

    1. Grannymar Post author

      Ramana, at the moment, the goal is to share the information gathered and to cover the costs of printing. Anything after that will be a bonus.

  4. EllaDee

    The great reviews and wonderful blog posts such as this are making for an impatient wait for my copy of Letters for my Little Sister to wing its way from Illinois to Sydney. I’m so looking forward to reading The Fellowship contributions 🙂

    1. Grannymar Post author

      Welcome EllaDee.

      I too am waiting for my copy to arrive on my doorstep, I know the journey has begun from across the pond. I do hope it has strong wings to aid the westerly trade winds speed it on the way to my impatient hands.


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