Friday, January 27, 2012

Lady Astor and Rose

My little adventure at the hospital is over and everything is ok. I love those warm blankets they put over you. Of course we had to drive to the hospital in snow and ice, thankfully my sil was home and could drive. My poor dd wasn't feeling well either. Well those things are never convenient are they.

So I haven't been doing much. I finished the book about Rose, Lady Astor's ladies maid. It was really interesting. I especially liked the chapter on WW11. A ladies maid takes care of her mistresses wardrobe and does little personal services for her. Rose had to not only clean, press and mend, she also had to sew and remake clothes. She also was in charge of her jewels and furs and often carried the jewels in her purse because Lady Astor didn't trust hotel safes. Lady Astor changed clothing several times a day so it was a lot to keep up with. Rose took on the challenge of Lady Astor reluctantly, she had the reputation of being very difficult and verbally abusive and she was, but Rose was able to learn to let it roll off her back and they actually became very close. Rose was like a companion and at times an advisor, not on politics but relationships and personal things. The family often asked Rose advise about Lady Astor. The reason she wanted to become a ladies maid was so that she could travel and she got to travel extensively. Lady Astor did have her good and generous side. During the war she and her husband did much for the war effort and the returning soldiers and also those at home that were in need. They were both members of Parliament and often entertained important people including royalty. Their town home and country estate were both the locations for frequent large events so they required quite a large staff at both homes. They also had 2 other homes. The war changed things a lot. They retired from politics and their town home was so badly damaged that they sold it and bought a much smaller one. Lady Astor was from America and so she traveled back to visit her family in the south quite often. She was a southern bell. I didn't learn as much as I'd hoped about the running of the homes and the staff but it sounds like they treated theirs pretty well and their butler was quite renowned. Rose had quite the life, but she never had much of a life away from the Astor's, they became her family. Lady Astor was good to Roses mother and Rose did go to visit her and was able to buy her a home in her old age. All in all her life had some highs and some lows but she seem well satisfied in the end. At the end of her life Lady Astor wanted Rose by her side all the time, she almost became like a child and Rose was the mother and nursemaid.

I use to read a lot of biographies but have gotten away from them. Reading this book has made me realize how much I enjoy them so I think I'll have to read a few more. Right now I have a bunch of books from the library. They always all come in at the same time. I just started the second book in the Daisy Dalrymple mystery by Carola Dunn, "The Winter Garden Mystery". She's off to another country house to write an article, this one is a Tudor.

I'm keeping a notebook of recipes and tips for dairy-free and Asian cooking, but I haven't felt like eating much so I haven't been doing much cooking. I'm still struggling with tummy issues.

Happy nesting.
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