Merry Hall

Merry Hall

4.6 3
by Beverley Nichols
     
 

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Author's account of the rescue and renovation of Merry Hall, a rundown Georgian mansion.

Overview

Author's account of the rescue and renovation of Merry Hall, a rundown Georgian mansion.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Though written half a century ago, Merry Hall captures that longing for the garden and a patch of land to call one's own. Nichols's wit and silly adventures ... add a bit of welcome hilarity to the all-too-serious literature of gardening."
—Anne Raver, New York Times, February 27, 2000
Library Journal
Published in 1951, this example of "garden literature" relates how author Nichols constructed a massive garden on a run-down estate. Not a straight "how-to," Nichols's text also includes humorous portraits of the locals who both assist and frustrate his efforts. The text is buttressed with numerous black-and-white drawings.
Oregonian
"His books are peopled with village characters, with Nichols himself cast as the English squire. He is at turns sentimental, arch and snobbish, but delightfully so."
—Dulcy Mahar, Oregonian, October 30, 2003
Pacific Horticulture
"Be prepared. Beverley Nichols' garden books are part PG Wodehouse and part James Barrie — full of hilarious Jeeves-like characters and events, with moments of Peter Pan magic."
—Bob Cowden, Pacific Horticulture, Spring 2000
The New York Times
"Though written half a century ago, Merry Hall captures that longing for the garden and a patch of land to call one's own. Nichols's wit and silly adventures ... add a bit of welcome hilarity to the all-too-serious literature of gardening."
—Anne Raver, New York Times, February 27, 2000

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604694680
Publisher:
Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
11/28/2012
Pages:
342
Sales rank:
706,924
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

It was a lovely morning in early September when Miss Emily first came into my life. I was lying back on the one and only sofa, watching 'One' and 'Four', who were prowling in and out of the packing cases, when Gaskin entered with a note. 'This was pushed through the letter-box,' he said. 'And if those cats don't keep away from those cases I shall have to Hoover the whole place for the third time.' With which, abruptly, he departed. Gaskin was evidently beginning to feel the strain. I opened the note. This was what I read:

Dear Mr. Nichols,

I hope you will forgive a total stranger for writing to wish you a very warm welcome to 'Merry Hall'. Such a pretty name, I have always thought, and I have no doubt that you will make sure that it lives up to that name.

To me, the old house used to feel like a second home, for I often stayed there in the days of dear Mr. Stebbing — such a gentleman, of the real old school, and such perfect taste. And always so patient with poor Mrs. Stebbing, who was an invalid, as I expect you know (Heart). I often think that her illness really shortened his life, for she was able to do very little in the garden, and was exhausted after lifting heavy weights.

What a joy it will be for you to carry on Mr. Stebbing's tradition! And how fortunate you are to step into a house and garden where no alterations are necessary, particularly in these days when everything is so difficult! If you will allow me, I should so like to call, as you are settled, and if there are any of Mr. Stebbing's ideas which you would like to hear about, I shall be so happy to tell you of them.

And now I come to the real point of my letter. I am a vegetarian, with only a quite small garden, which is entirely given over to flowers. (One must have one's flowers — but I am sure I need not remind you of that!) This means that I am at the mercy of my local green-grocer, who is most exhorbitant, and not always fresh. Might I therefore ask if we could come to a little arrangement? I happened to be passing Merry Hall the other day and ventured to peep through the hedge, and I noticed that the kitchen garden was brimming with the most wonderful vegetables. (Dear Oldfield — I am so glad you are keeping him on). Might I be allowed to purchase some from you? It would be most convenient to me, and I dare hope that it might also be helpful to you. One cannot afford to neglect any source of income nowadays, can one?

I trust you will forgive me for writing so informally, but I am sure you will understand. Yours sincerely,
Emily Kaye.

P.S. I am afraid that I should not be able to fetch the vegetables myself, so I hope it would not be too inconvenient to you to deliver them — preferable on Saturdays, between three and four? I took the liberty, when I was passing, of walking up the dear old drive, and I saw that you are running your car. Such a luxury, nowadays! My own, alas, is soon to be laid up, or I would not have troubled you with this request.

Meet the Author

Beverley Nichols (1898–1983) was a prolific writer on subjects ranging from religion to politics and travel, in addition to authoring six novels, five detective mysteries, four children's stories, six autobiographies, and six plays. He is perhaps best remembered today for his gardening books. The first of them, Down the Garden Path, centered on his home and garden at Glatton and has been in print almost continuously since 1932. Merry Hall (1951) and its sequels Laughter on the Stairs (1953) and Sunlight on the Lawn (1956) document Nichols' travails in renovating a Georgian mansion and its gardens soon after the war. His final garden was at Sudbrook Cottage, which serves as the setting for Garden Open Today (1963) and Garden Open Tomorrow (1968). The progress of all three gardens was followed avidly by readers of his books and weekly magazine columns.

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Merry Hall 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love gardening, and although Merry Hall is not a guide to gardening, it is a wonderful depiction of a gardener and his obsession with gardening and the characters one finds loitering about the garden. Mr. Nichols weaves a story using real life, fictional characters and gardening expertise.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This series of three books is so lovely. Merry Hall, Laughter On The Stairs, and Sunlight On The Lawn (by Beverley Nichols). If you would like to be introduced to a warm gentle soul and you love to garden (or walk through them) these are perfect. Mr. Nichols can tell stories like no other. You must read in order, Merry Hall first. These books are vintage at it's best (written in the 1950's). The original books are out of print...these 3 books have been reprinted with the vintage cover. I have purchased several sets for my friends...and they also fell in love.