Prince Charles in our outhouse!

Yes, indeed, right on the wall inside our 2-holer, there was posted a magazine picture of Baby Prince Charles. Other than a few rolls of toilet paper and the picture, that was the decor. As I remember, the outhouse smelled like all outdoor facilities of that nature, and it was particularly odorous in the summertime.

I have fond memories of visiting the outhouse with my grandmother. The door was supposed to swing to the right, but it could only swing part way (heaved floor) and that did not allow for easy access. As a consequence, rarely did anyone occupy the hole behind the door. But when we two visited, GRAMMA always took the “inner” hole, with the picture on the wall in front of that space.  We always remarked about the picture. “What a pretty baby!” (My grandmother loved babies; she had had seven of her own, six who had grown into adulthood.) “Someday he will be King of England!”

This is certainly the year to spark this rather peculiar recollection of something English — no wonder, with all of the hoopla surrounding the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Summer Olympic games in London.

I know of several people making the journey across the pond this summer – most of them trying to avoid those events! But nonetheless, those happenings have been a part of our conversations.

For those of us not making the trip to England, the Washington County Library is an excellent alternative destination. And to fill your craving for all things English, there are excellent resources.

Some ideas:

  • Dig out that pretty tea pot and your finest linens (or the best you’ve got), serve yourself a proper cup of tea, and grab an English mystery. Some authors: Elizabeth George, Agatha Christie, P. D. James.
  • Or if you have small children to please, rustle up a tea set and some water, read a “tea story” like “Madeline’s Tea Party” (Marciano), and be prepared for lots of spills!
  • Find out about life as a servant in an English household: Read “Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir that Inspired ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ and ‘Downton Abbey’” (Margaret Powell).
  • Research Stonehenge by reading “If Stones Could Speak” (Aronson, 2010), one of many titles available on the subject.
  • Watch “The Tudors” DVDs, a dramatic series about the reign and marriages of King Henry VIII.
  • Don’t forget the classic English tales by Dickens, Austen, Bronte, and more!

The list is endless. That should keep you busy. Why, with the hot weather, all one can manage is some reading and a trip to see your Mum, if you’re lucky enough to still have her.

Library Woman is Joey Halbach, Community Relations Librarian for Washington County Library. Contact her at: