How to make a pot of tea?

Fill a saucepan with fresh, cold water. Put on the burner and heat until it has a full rolling boil.

In the meantime, fill the ceramic teapot (Brown Betty is supposed to be the best) with hot tap water. This is to heat the pot up before making the tea.

Measure 3-4 teaspoons of loose tea into this infuser.


When the water is boiling pour out the warm water in the teapot, hang the infuser in the pot, and pour the boiling water into the teapot, making sure the infuser is deep in the water not floating on top.

Set the timer for 3 minutes and wait.

Take out infuser(or leave it in and add more water as needed). Add sugar to pot or cup.

Pour small dot of cream into the bottom of pretty cups.

Carry pot, cream and sugar to the living room. Sit in front of lighted Christmas tree, listening to Christmas music or reading a Christmas book.

Invite civilized family member (that would be Emily) to join in.

Pour tea and drink. Pour and drink again. Repeat.

The Rollinses in the Rear

Things will be heating up around here as the holidays progress.

On Thursday our good friend from Maryland, Theresa, will be visiting for a few days.

On Saturday Timothy arrives home from Coronado, where he is having a horrible week: “on your belly, on your back, on your feet……” In this case the dots actually stand for infinity.

Monday we will be making cookies and having our annual Christmas cookie decorating contest. We decorate sugar cookies. We have to wait for Timothy to get home for the cookie contest since he takes it very seriously.

Next Thursday Son #2, who doesn’t get a name anymore, will be home. Then finally we can all go see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe….all 11 of us. I can hardly wait.

I hope to spend the next few days posting Christmas book suggestions and cookie recipes.

We finished reading aloud The Wind in the Willows and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Now we are reading The Lion in the Box (lions are in) by Marguerite De Angeli and The Romance of the Christmas Card by Kate Douglas Wiggin. Kate and Marguerite are two of our favorite authors.

Our favorite De Angeli is The Black Fox of Lorne. Hopefully we will get Turkey for Christmas by De Angeli and The Bird’s Christmas Carol by Wiggin in before the holidays end.

We read The Bird’s Chrismas Carol every year and it never gets old. We relate very much to the Ruggleses in the rear.

The kids voted not to read A Christmas Carol out loud this year. Last year we skipped it too and read the Ambleside suggestion of The Chimes instead. I am afraid this year we have substituted C S Lewis for Charles Dickens.

Although there is no danger of reading dying out in our home, I sometimes find myself hoping that watching movies also contributes positively to our family culture. We sure watch more movies nowadays than we did years ago.

Lately it has been fun to read what others are saying about Pride and Prejudice and LWW. I have already planned to dislike LWW because of the writing style of Lewis. How can a film capture that? Because of this planned discontent, my children have labelled me a snob.

On the other hand I have found that very often a movie comes down to casting for me. I can’t think of anything so important as proper casting and good acting, except for maybe a good script. This got me to thinking of which movie casting I liked and which I didn’t like. Here is my list of casting that almost ruined a good movie for me.


Elijah Woods as Frodo ( by the 3rd movie I wanted to strangle him)
David Wenham as Faramir in The Return of the King (I would have let Sean Bean play both roles: Boromir and Faramir.)
Liv Tyler as Arwen ( She is just too big boned for an elven girl.)
Susannah Harker as Jane Bennet in the A&E Pride and Prejudice (dwedful)
Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood (too old) although I generally like her as an actress.
Kiera Knightly as Elizabeth Bennet. ( She was obviously trying to copy Jennifer Ehle, which was a good idea but she just didn’t have the innocent merriment down.)
Linus Larrabee in both adaptions of Sabrina, neither Humphrey Bogart (way too old) nor Harrison Ford make that character believable although both movies are terrific.
Stephen Fry as Jeeves in Jeeves and Wooster. Don’t ask.
Reese Witherspoon as Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair. Reese is a great actress with lots of charm but her pregnancy was all to obvious in the way Vanity was shot. Eww, That horrid dance scene????

Honorable mention goes to Steven Seagal as probably the worst actor ever. Poor guy he never gets cast as Mr Darcy but he once did a terrific Russian and in spite of his large size he can fight well, especially when the film speed is increased. If you don’t have boys then you probably don’t know who I am talking about. Consider yourself spared.

And what about George Lucas? He writes the movie, produces and directs it and yet makes the most hideous casting errors consistently for 20 years.

And here is my idea of great casting:

Sean Astin as Samwise
Sean Bean as Boromir
Miranda Otto as Eowyn
Sean Connery as King Arthur in First Knight
Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet A&E (My friend Linda looks like Jennifer so I am probably prejudiced.)
David Bamber as Mr Collins (A&E P&P)
Emma Thompson and Kenneth Brannagh as Beatrice and Benedick Much Ado
Michael Keaton as Batman and Dogberry (Much Ado)
Colin Firth and Matthew MacFayden both get credit for wonderful portrayals of Mr Darcy.
Jeremy Northam as Mr Knightly (Emma) and almost anyone else he is cast as. Superb actor…check out That Winslow Boy.
Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma.
Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility. The only casting mistake in that movie appears to be Emma Thompson, herself. Hugh Laurie(Mr Palmer), Robert Hardy( Sir John Middleton) andd Elizabeth Spriggs(Mrs Jennings) being nearly perfect.
Of course, Hugh Laurie is far and away the only Bertie Wooster possible.
Reese Witherspoon (June Carter) and Joaquin Phoenix(Johnny Cash) walk away from Walk the Line with all the credit. If you have the slightest interest in country music or you grew up in the 60’s & 70’s don’t miss Walk the Line.
Rosamund Pike, now there is a Jane Bennet!
And finally, where would Napolean Dynamite be without Jon Heder. I don’t even like that movie but it is obvious without Jon it would be nowhere.