Thursday, May 08, 2008

This Little Brown Cup and A Happy Day; Vermont, Town & Country

I spent my early married years and my first years as a lawyer in Burlington, Vermont and returned for another stint a year ago before our most recent retreat to the Last House. (We've had the Last House right along but for work reasons I have been pulled back and forth to Burlington these last 12 or so years). I love Burlington, the kids were born there and we had a little house there that I loved; if I had a trust fund I would keep a place there too but no trust fund forced a choice and the choice was for the Last House. Burlington is only an hour and a half away (not too bad by Vermont standards) and as it is never better than it is in these few weeks in May when the flowers and the flowering trees are first blooming I went down yesterday.

It was another "Mommy's Day Off" and the sun was shining. I had the mate to the above-pictured little brown cup in my bag (more on that presently). After dropping the kids at school, it was off to some discount shopping at the Christmas Tree Shop (no Christmas trees, just loads of discount merchandise) and then, even more fun, the Bailey Library at the University of Vermont.

UVM enjoys the best spot in the city, at the top of the hill that ends in Lake Champlain. I brought this cup, which I bought at auction in a box lot a few weeks ago, to do some research on the mark at the library. Mostly the cup provided an excuse to get into town on a beautiful day and to go to the library (I love all libraries, as you may know if you have been following along, and a big university library on a spring day, with all those 20 somethings studying [and not studying] took 20 years off me too for a little while at least).

Here are a few shots of UVM and Burlington as it appeared yesterday:

The research was highly satisfactory. I still don't know who made these cups (I have a pair) but I learned from the Town & Country Pocket Guide to China that is was made in 1860. Note that this is not the cup I brought with me. I was worried all day I would break it, but instead, I lost it. The rest of today is going to be spent cleaning the Last House, so I am hoping it will turn up. I know I put in the car... (My boss told me the other day that my nickname among my coworkers is "Lucy" as in "Lucy Ricardo"; I always seem to have some "splainin' to do.") The cup I had with me was made on April 12, 1860. Since I didn't have my UVM library card with me (Lucy!), I couldn't check the book out and I can't decode the month on this one without it. I think I'll scout around ADDALL Used books for my own copy. After tracking down that information, I spent another hour looking through a beautifully photographed book of English Pottery from the Fitzwillam Collection. Oscar and Hammerstein can have "raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles etc." Give me an old tea cup, a library, and time to myself; these are a few of my favorite things. Off to the Madhatter for a turkey sandwich and Old Navy for bargain fashion for Kid 1. Just great.

Back in the Country Today

This morning was grey and rainy, but when I got outside I found to my surprise that it was not cold. It was positively benign. This kind of soft spring day in this season of the year shows the countryside around here at its very best. I complain more or less constantly about having to drive so much for school and work. There is a silver lining, however, in the scenery that I roll passed. I am always rushing in the morning and don't have time to take pictures, but today I meandered back from school and the neighbor is doing pick up. This means that another day (for cleaning) stretches ahead (I love working part time!). So today, on the way home, I stopped in a couple of places that always catch my eye during my ride up Route 100 and snapped a few pictures for the record and your viewing pleasure. These were taken about an hour ago (9:30 AM or so) in Hyde Park, Westfield, and Troy, Vermont. This scenery is part of what keeps us from cashiering the Last House for some more ordinary place closer to work and civilization.