Well Begun is Half Done..channelling Mary Poppins


When I was a wee girl, an impressionable young thing, I fell in love with the magic of Mary Poppins. If I were to ask around, I think most women of my generation have at least one Mary Poppins memory, probably similar to mine.

For me, it was a breezy afternoon, at the age of ten or so, when I climbed to the highest heights of my brother's tree fort, stood tall, holding onto my umbrella and my Mary Poppins carpetbag and jumped with every expectation of floating away, amidst the clouds. Instead, I landed with a big thump.

I am not sure which surprised me more, my aching bones or that I could not fly. The moment is etched in my memory, a mixture of high hopes, adventure and defeat. It taught me a lesson...I could not waltz through the clouds with a magic umbrella but I could still believe in magic.


Fast forward 46 years and here I am, flying through the clouds in the safety of an airplane and still believing in Mary Poppins by trying to pack my own version of her carpetbag...if only.

When I fly to America from Vietnam, I fly Business Class via Tokyo with JAL (Japan Airlines).  I am allowed two carry on bags allowing for a total weight of 10k/22lbs and three check in bags, 32kgs/70lbs each. If you travel frequently, from one world to the next, you will appreciate how generous JAL is with their allowances. Add additional family travellers into the trip and it is a major bonus. Mr. H will visit twice this summer and his bags are nearly packed.

On my packing list, I have the usual lotions and potions and essential clothes and accessories. Fortunately for us, most of our clothes are already at TF, being too warm for Vietnam but perfect for New Hampshire. All the more space for travel treasures..of which there are many.

Last year I managed to bring along cow bells and fans from Myanmar, Buddha head statues from Cambodia, a drum bell from Vietnam and a few Vietnamese linen essentials for the kitchen.

When I look at my current list, I wish more than ever that I had Mary Poppins magic bottomless carpetbag. A coat rack, lamp, plant and mirror would suit me perfectly...throw in a chair or two and it would be golden.

View on You Tube here

I have to think small, light, unbreakable and more importantly, each item must hold special memories, for that is what is needed to make our house a home. Whenever my family comes to visit, I want them to see familiar things around them. It makes all the difference.

For my suitcase...

Ok, it is possible that I have been a smidge over zealous in my packing expectations ..

Cookbooks from New Zealand, England and Vietnam..family favourites
Collection of hand fans from Taipei..for hot days on the porch
My Little porcelain teapot form Taipei..just for me.
Gifts for family and friends
Vietnamese linens, for the kitchen and bedrooms 
Favourite Vietnamese delicacies...fish sauce, rice paper sheets, Vietnamese coffee and teas
Mrs Beeton's Garden book..just because
Fortnum & Mason recipe book for Tea..for when friends come to call
A collection of unframed Vietnamese paintings...the more the merrier
Walking sticks..the ones we bought for hiking in the English Lake District and forgot to pack
One silver breakfast butter dish..for the breakfast tray
One ceramic Vietnamese coffee cup and strainer to make cà phê đá, iced coffee...my daily ritual
Two opium pipes from Myanmar..for the fireplace mantel (really)
Two brass bells, one from England and one from Myanmar..for guests to ring on arrival (we do not have a door bell and I can never hear the yells from the other side of the house)

I am not certain what will stay and what will go,
Mary Poppins would say well begun is half done.
I am going to ride with that one!
Wish me luck!!

Sending you wishes for a wonderful weekend 
from the woman with Mary Poppins in her heart.

How about you..any attempts to fly away
with a magic umbrella in your past?

Jeanne xx

PS.. the mystery plant 
on my last post has been identified.

It is the "Mai" flower also known as Birds Eye Bush 
and in Vietnam as the mickey-mouse plant (really)
In Vietnamese: mai vang integerrima ochnaceae
Otherwise known as Ochna integerrima
A tree species of the family Ochnaceae.
It is a popular plant around the Lunar New Year
in Vietnam which is when I bought it.
Mystery solved! 
Thank you Narainras of Instagram!

Mary Poppins
Mickey Mouse
Walt Disney
It is a sign! 

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