Beverley Nichols Derrick Sayer
- Title: Merry Hall
- Author: Beverley Nichols Derrick Sayer
- ISBN: 9780881924176
- Page: 353
- Format: Hardcover
First in a trilogy, Merry Hall is the account of the restoration of a house and garden in post war England Though Mr Nichols s horticultural undertaking is serious, his writing is high spirited, riotously funny, and, at times, deliciously malicious.
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Babies, as all bachelors will agree, should not be allowed at large unless they are heavily draped, and fitted with various appliances for absorbing sound and moisture. If young married persons persist in their selfish pursuit of populating the planet, they should be compelled to bear the consequences. They should be shut behind high walls, clutching the terrible bundles which they have brought into the world, and when they emerge into society, if they insist on bringing these bundles with them, [...]
Ah Beverly Nichols! There is no sweeter tonic for the green thumb under cold weather oppression. A volume of Nichols, a warm cup of tea and a stack of seed catalogs will keep away any chill and keep the mental gloom from encroaching while you wait for the drifts to melt and leave you the nice black soil again. Merry Hall is the first book in his series about his very British gardening adventures as he fixes up and generally spiffifies the manor he bought outside London. So dreamy! I have to say [...]
Social media is often decried, and fairly, as being unrealistic and fostering narcissism. However, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, social media is in the hand of the user. As a reader and bibliophile, social media has enriched my life immeasurably by introducing me to books and fellow book lovers and entire universes I would never have encountered on my own.Beverley Nichols is a prime example. I read a review of Merry Hall here on and immediately ordered a copy from (another late [...]
Charming book. Utterly adorable. Even his misogyny is charming in it's fussiness. I can forgive a cat-lover almost anything.
Put me in post WWII London suburbs, add a manor house needing repair, a crusty old gardener, some siamese cats, one or two gossipy village socialites, and an author with the humor of PG Wodehouse and I'm truly happy.
A cross between E. F. Benson and P. G. Wodehouse, Beverley Nichols (a man) takes us on the adventures of moving into his new home, Merry Hall, in the English countryside. Along the way we meet his gardener, odd neighbors, his cats "One" and "Four," and his spot on observances of all. The last few chapters were a bit more technical for my liking, lots about the plants and flowers in his garden--I wanted to hear more about his meetings with Miss Rose and Miss Kemp and the exasperation that ensued! [...]
Merry Hall is a marvelous reminiscence of how the author purchased and restored a British country mansion and garden just after World War II. The tone is chatty and informal, and the writing is often hilarious, particularly when Nichols is cattily pointing up the failings of the characters who move in and out of his narrative (like Our Rose, a pretentious, artsy maker of flower arrangements). At the same time, his descriptions of his garden and his plants are lovely and poetic, and I quickly bec [...]
A beauty of a book for gardeners. Nichols's prose is comfortable, clever, and very humorous, in a dry and mildly sarcastic way. Above all, Nichols lavishes on the reader a heartfelt enthusiasm for all things garden.The author does have his own opinions, writing from his point of view as a British bachelor in the early/mid 20th century. Easily passed muster for me, so quite harmless.Anyone who has puttered about with soil, seeds, bulbs, and such will want to soak in and savor this telling of the [...]
This book had me looking up plants and flowers and trees, and grieving that I live in zone 8. I still plan to try to plant some of the plants he mentioned. It's also a humorous book. His casual biblical references reminded me of P.G. Wodehouse. I'm hoping the other two books in the trilogy are good.
Very hard to rate Beverly Nichols. I give it 2.5*, and yetr writing about the love of plants and gardening, he really deserves a lot more credit. He's a bit of a crank, a misogynist, impetuous, opinionated, gets inordinately upset over the noises from the farm next to him, and yet writes with such passion and tenderness about flowers and garden design. His description of "Oldfield" the gardener is so appreciative of the wisdom of the 70 year old plantsman as to be almost approaching awe. The cha [...]
I have read this book a number of times and it has become an old friend. Sadly, the life that Beverly Nichols describes is a life no longer available. The great homes of England and the rural life supported by a small household staff and many village laborers, has gone. Reading the description of the kitchen garden, the greenhouse and orchard creates a picture of a desirable lifestyle that cannot be supported anymore. But you feel the need to recreate SOMETHING from what you have read of his gar [...]
Hm. Well. Let me be the 90th person to say that parts of this book have become so politically incorrect, it's downright jarring! But then, Nichols is so wry, so playful, so unabashedly pretentious, you can't really take anything he says too personally. At least, I couldn't. I was utterly charmed.In the book's introduction, he's quoted as saying that writing his garden books was "like arranging a bunch of mixed flowers, here a story, here a winding paragraph, here a purple passage, and suddenly t [...]
My previous entry on my "how to live" bookshelf (Hojoki: Visions of a Torn World)was written by a Buddhist ascetic who, having witnessed the horrors of war, political upheaval, and natural disaster, retreated to a ten by ten-foot cabin in the mountains. It may seem inconsistent, then, that the author of my next entry is a bon vivant rhapsodizing about his country estate. But why should there be a single answer to the question of how to live? Shouldn't the answer depend at least partially upon on [...]
Yet another book by Beverley Nichols that I thoroughly enjoyed. I missed the crowd from the Allways trilogy, but Gaskin, Oldfiled and Marius are entertaining and endearing new additions to Nichols’ life.
I was hoping for an unaffectedly entertaining book, but unaffected is the last adjective I'd apply to Beverley Nichols' style. Arch, yes, and much of the waspish humour has a studied air, but he evidently enjoyed it; his flights of snobbery and misogyny, only partly in jest I suspect, also become irritating although not surprising- they are to be found in other writers of his period and background.The description of the garden, the scope of Nichols' ambition for it and his obsessive determinatio [...]
This review was written by Cavett French and posted by Lizzy Mottern.Beverley Nichols (1893-1983) wrote widely on a variety of subjects, but for the gardener and Anglophile nothing can beat his books on gardening. Merry Hall, the first of a trilogy describing the purchase, renovation, and landscaping of a run-down Georgian manor house, is full of British humor and eccentric characters from Nichols himself to the longtime gardener who has definite opinions to the neighbors not shy with advice--so [...]
I was expecting to like this, and I'm glad to say I did. Beverley Nichols has that kind of British, slightly acidic, and moderately hysterical voice that captures both a time and a place for me: I can see him wandering his estate, cursing his neighbors but being oh-so-polite to their faces, and impulsively opting to build a water garden rather than pay bills. I love his rhapsodizing about flowers and plants. He really captures how one can feel about his passion - it's all-consuming and peace-mak [...]
This book makes me want to be a gardener. Or at least (since we are living a fairly nomadic life currently) plant a forest somewhere. He is a charming writer, as well. I giggled so often during my reading of this book and read many passages out loud to my husband. Unfortunately, Nichols doesn't have much good to say about "females", but I rolled my eyes at those parts and supremely enjoyed the rest! The first five paragraphs captured me completely. The ended with the honest comment: "When I begi [...]
Ah, how lovely! And funny! This was a bit like reading a book by the love child of Forster and Von Arnim. Really enjoyed it. And I don't even like gardening all that much.
I seek out books of quality to read to an elderly Anglophile for whom reading is next-to-impossible, due to severe dyslexia, and to whom I read in regular installments. I opted to get Merry Hall and Laughter on the Stairs based on reviews which I read, contemplated and appreciated. I hesitated for months, and then I acted against my intuition in spite of the references to "misogyny" in reviews. How bad could it be, I wondered, reading all the 5 stars. I was tempted by the references to the "ende [...]
I hadn't encountered Beverley Nichols until fairly recently,and then I came across him twice in quite quick succession: he turned up as a minor personality in Alexandra Harris's Romantic Moderns and I read a glowing review of Merry Hall on the Stuck in a Book blog. Having tracked down and read Merry Hall for myself, I'm grateful for the combination of circumstances that led me to it. The book, first published in 1951, follows Nichols' purchase and renovation of a house and overgrown garden calle [...]
While this title is dated, it is a hoot."There are then I got a spade and transplanted the snowdrops to the copper beech. (In case you did not know it, snowdrops 'lift' best when they are in full flower, providing that you dig them up in a solid chunk of soil.) It would be to whimsical to suggest that when I set them in their new quarters, the gently bowed their heads and thanked me, like ladies of quality who have been rescued from vulgar circumstances." (p. 171)"It is only to the gardener that [...]
Beverley Nichols is a “confirmed bachelor” who has definite opinions about people, houses, and most importantly, gardens. I really enjoyed reading this quiet book that makes me wish I was a gardener. It also makes me wish I lived in an empty Georgian manor, but that’s not unusual. He describes flowers lovingly, in much the same way Nigel Slater describes vegetables in Tender. Added bonus: the plants he grows also grow in my climate, so I’ve made notes about a few plants to look into. If [...]
It took me quite a while to finish this but not the fault of the book. It seemed to need to be finished while looking out over my very simple flowers. And of course with the cat wandering the yard.
I know more about gardening now ! Enjoyed the description of all types of plants and wished I had s green thumb
Yes, garden adventure is a page-turner. I was thrilled with this book. I recommend to all living beings.
3.5 stars. Nichols’ writing is beautiful and his garden one of enchantment. It almost seems otherworldly because of his delightful extravagance, both in the garden and with his words.
One of my favorite books and often I make a point to re-read it every autumn. The setting, premise and characters are steeped in charm. It's easy to see how Bev Nichols was involved in the early days of the New Yorker magazine. His insouciant charm and urbane wit entertains with delight. As a gardening book it is wonderful. Who could forget the gardener Oldham, or the neighbor Rose or the delightful Gaskin. Who couldn't enjoy life more with their own rundown estate in need of repair? Funny, I wa [...]
Light, frothy, and highly enjoyable.
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