1. What Katy Did. This book has always been one of my favourites, and I still dip into it. The story, which is set in the 1860s, is rather preachy - it's about a thoughtless, careless, happy girl who has an accident and so becomes sweet and patient and loving. However, the preachy bits are interspersed with annecdotes about Katy and her family that seem so alive and colourful that I am sure they must be true!
There's the time Katy befriends a counterfeiter's wife; an important visitor finds and reads aloud Katy's story about Bop the blue poodle and Lady Edwitha of the Hebrides; and her sister Johnny's 'baby', a chair named Pikery falls ill and must be dosed with stolen medicine.
I love the underlying message, which is that good deeds begin at home - think globally, act locally. After Katy falls ill, she lies in bed fretting that she will never be able to perform all the great deeds she hoped to do. However the saintly invalid Cousin Helen points out that because Katy is ill, the household will always know where she is and so will come to her with their problems.
I love the honesty of it - although at the end Katy is adored by her family, she is still sometimes headstrong and impatient, and there are times when being good is an effort. I also love that although Katy has changed for the better by the end, her joyous, impetuous side have not been consumed.
2. Tomato salad with feta cheese, basil from the pots on my windowsill and homemade herby olive oil.
3. Eating chocolate late at night.