Counting My Chickens...: And Other Home Thoughts by Deborah Cavendish

By Deborah Cavendish

Edited by way of Sophia Topley and Susan Hill. advent via Tom Stoppard.

A special window on a rare lifestyles lived with great zest, discrimination, and intelligence.

The Duchess of Devonshire is the youngest of the Mitford siblings, the well-known brood that comes with the writers Nancy and Jessica. Like them, she has lived an strangely complete and memorable lifestyles, and prefer them she has an inimitable expressive reward. In Counting My Chickens, she has accumulated extracts from her diaries and different writings to create a multifaceted portrait of her existence at Chatsworth, the house of the Dukes of Devonshire, that's pithy, hilarious, clever, and continually richly rewarding.

Under the Duchess's encouraged supervision, Chatsworth has develop into certainly one of England's most often visited nice homes, welcoming over 400,000 viewers a 12 months. The Duchess unearths what it takes to maintain such an institution alive and prospering, tells of transporting a goat through educate from the Scottish island of Mull to London, discusses having her portrait painted by means of Lucian Freud, and offers wealthy reminisces of transforming into up a Mitford--along with telling anecdotes approximately associates from Evelyn Waugh to John F. Kennedy. From Tom Stoppard's adoring advent to the author's meditation at the great thing about Elvis Presley's voice, COUNTING MY CHICKENS bargains non-stop shock and pleasure.

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An exact spot on the Old Race Course is marked by my feeling of excitement, on a summer day when I was 8 or 9, while I was events, kicking a ball into the tall was going on Northampton, to stay with ferns, at the prospect that, the North in fact, clergyman friend of my father's. I can exactly locate my ninth birthday by the fact that I spent part of the morning walking along the top of a lowish wall that divided Cumberland Gardens from the big doctor's house up a following day, to Mount drive off down I Sion.

The amazing thing is that, even after that, they still tried to in the beastly game. A certain spot, again more or between the Linden Park Cricket Ground and the Wellington Rocks remains for ever associated with one of my subterfuges that failed, one of the many times that I was found out. This was three years after the sprained ankle incident. I had made no progress at cricket at my prep school, I hated the game, being desperately afraid of being hit by the hard red ball. So my parents had hired some man, encountered somewhere - interest me less level, I suppose there were quite a few such people floating about, on odd jobs, in 1926 - to give me an hour's taking 24 Locations cricket-coaching three times a week, The time first another: I I when I came out of school.

As it was, I had to compete against ten imaginary companions; I generally won, but sometimes I crashed. One of the Victorian chairs was broken in one of the more spectacular crashes. I continued to play the Ben Hur game at other addresses, and only gave it up when it became impracticable, once we had furniture of our own. My parents had not worried about the occasional breakages, saying that the furniture in these places was junk anyway and that we paid enough in any case to sit on chairs that were both ugly and uncomfortable.

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