Tuesday, 26 November 2013

They COULD organise a p*ss up in a brewery

Another weekend, another wedding. This time the venue was a brewery in rural Lincolnshire. We get around with a little help from our friends. 

Although it's right next door and although I've ventured in and around the county, I've never really felt like I had a feel for it, so I enjoyed the journey, just looking out of the car window and taking it all in. 
Lincolnshire is big on farming. The land is flat and open, while the sky is big. And practically every village ends with the suffix -by: Candlesby, Salmonby, Grimsby, Spilsby, the list goes on. What does that tell you? It tells you that this is VIKING country: -by originally meant a farmstead, but the places grew into villages and towns, taking the suffix with them.

The villages and towns are very pretty, mainly Georgian with lovely little period high streets. Everywhere there are little red brick cottages with jaunty paintwork.
We stayed in Skegness, also known as SkegVegas because of the amount of entertainment arcades, or just plain Skeg, which I think is used as a descriptor.
It's considered a joke in bad taste by many. The coastal town that they forgot to close down. But lights like that always get me a bit excited. I guess I just got in the wrong queue when they were handing out good taste. 
The town strapline is 'it's bracing' and this is the figure which demonstrates that fact. 

That's what I look like on the dance floor when they play 'Dancing Queen'. 
The last time we went to a wedding, dear Helga said in her inimitable fashion, 'What the buggery did you WEAR darling?!' so this is for you! We went as twins. His 'n hers matching Hawaiian jumpsuit and shirt. 
I made that little handbag out of some spare fabric when I made alterations to another Hawaiian jumpsuit.
Rock a hula everyone!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Poser turned clothes detective: it's all about the labels

This old dog has learned a new trick! I've figured out how to pose, use a tripod and do a self timer, all at the same time. My life is complete.

To answer your question, yes, I did buy the dress! I love it! It is so glamorous and after a week of calorie counting, I managed to get my belly enough under control that it isn't all I see when I wear it. The fabric is beautifully soft. It is woven into a sort of padded effect brocade with a soft yellow silk and a gold thread. I particularly love the bow feature on the front.

When I saw the label, it looked familiar, but I couldn't quite figure out why. 'Global, styled in Paris, made in the British Crown colony of Hong Kong.'

But then when I got home, all was revealed. It was the same label as another great favourite of mine, this green and gold beauty.
Unstyled, unaccessorised. Just me and the dress. I was in a rush, needed to get my act together to go and see my mum and go to the supermarket. Poser, clothes detective, carer, housewife. Then there's tennis later and making tea. Athlete and cook. Wow, these labels are making me sound good.

I was a bit puzzled, because when I held them both up together, the yellow dress, which is a size 14 looked to be the same size as the green, which is a size 12. 

A bit of detective work and I have discovered that the yellow one has been taken up and taken in. Mystery solved. I have spent rather a happy half an hour being a vintage clothing detective! That degree in Fashion Textiles has come in useful after all.

Anyway I did a bit more digging and it turns out that the heyday for garments bearing this type of label was the late 1950s and early 1960s. Labour and fabrics were very cheap, Hong Kong was keen to manufacture and so a clothing industry boomed, which focused on Western styles that could be exported. These Asian exports were well finished and had that famous beadwork which was so loved in the 50s and 60s. Apparently a lot of unknown designers went there to work and gain experience. 

How about you, what labels describe the roles you have played today? Have you got any dresses made in the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong? Give us a twirl!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

We took Nottingham by storm or was it the other way round?

Oh, we had the best time, Vix, Curtise, Annie, Serena and I. 

The calm before the storm. A nice cuppa at Hopkinson's whilst waiting for the Birmingham contingent to arrive. Serena was a first timer at one of our bloggy get-togethers, but she fitted in just perfectly.
Vix looked a gazillion dollars in this dress. She is probably the only person who could have got into it, since she is the size of a pixie. We had a bit of fun with the changing room which is just a hoop with a bit of fabric dangling. Getting changed in there was an adventure. 

Present giving. We were as giddy as a gang of drunk women. Oh OK, by that time we WERE a gang of drunk women.
There were so many presents it was like Christmas morning. 
Dutch clog salt and pepper shakers, groovy fabric and amazing Dortmund scene with OBDs, from Vix.
Lovely home made soap and card from Serena.
Fabulously soft vintage house coat and cuckoo clock brooch from Curtise.
Gorgeous notebook and necklace from Annie.
It was cold and wet outside, but the reception at the wonderful BAKLASH couldn't have been warmer. Meg looked after us beautifully.
With a special offer of a bag of clothes for £10, it was like supermarket sweep in there. Meg told us she had managed to get 8 items in a bag before, but I'm sure Vix blew that record away. We kept going round and round the rails, until we had practically assembled all the stock.
There was just time for one last drink by the station before we said our farewells. In Curtise's case we said it a few times, because she kept popping up as she did a crazy circuit looking for her train. She made it with seconds to spare. There was a wholesale gasp of relief from the rest of us as we saw her jump on.

What a day!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Andalucia part 3

Thank you for bearing with me. This is the final installment of our Spanish adventure. 
A wonderfully authentic bar. Hams over the counter and horse pictures on the walls, along with an enormous boar and a stuffed deer. Sugar sachets on the floor where they were discarded after the men came in for their coffee. Everybody said hello to everyone else.

We had a cheese and tomato crostini and a coffee apiece. In total it came to 5 euros, which is £4.00. I said 'cinco?' in surprise. She nodded and I said 'solo?!' She nodded again and smiled. As we left we heard all the locals retelling the story and copying the intonation and pitch of my 'solo?!'
On the way back, there was a little old lady sat on that chair chopping beans to the sound of flamenco on the radio, while her cat lazed in the shade. Like everyone, she offered a greeting. 

I tried my best Spanglish out on everyone I could. When it comes to foreign languages, I know no shame and make a little go a long way. I had a lovely chat with an elderly couple in Granada. When I said 'Buenos dias' to them they turned to me and smiled as though I was the person in the world they most wanted to see right then. Such kindness transcends language. The man in the supermarket was really chatty when I said 'hola!' with a grin. Wanted to know all about us. I forgot the word for England, but we got there in the end.
This little doggy was out for an evening stroll with a group of local people. It was running after us and jumping up to say hello. We were laughing and talking to it. The people pointed at the dog and said 'verrrrrrrrry sweeeet'.
Did I enjoy myself? Yes, I never wanted to leave.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Andalucia part 2

Alhama de Granada, set high up in the mountains. Such was its desirability that when the Moors lost it to the Spanish in 1482,  Abu Al-Hacen famously let out a lament of sorrow '¡Ay de mi Alhama!'  I felt a bit the same when it was time to leave.
Hibiscus in the grounds of the Hotel Vinuela where we went for a posh lunch.
In the afternoons, the first clue would be the sound of bells, and then they would appear, led by a goatherd. They are quite playful, fighting each other, bleating and occasionally almost jumping. Goat's cheese is a speciality in the area.
Beautiful ceramics. If I was coming back by car, I would be laden down with them.
Seems it's not just mad dogs and Englishmen out in the midday sun
The sun setting over our olive groves

Time for a trip indoors I think. Want a peek?

Monday, 21 October 2013

Andalucia part 1

We've been to sunny Spain. Viva Espana!

Andalucia is a magical, enchanting place. It has arid landscapes which produce succulent fruits and almost inhospitable temperatures which produce gracious, welcoming people.

Oranges, peaches, olives, limes, lemons, pomegranates, almonds, prickly pears. Everywhere you look there is bounty. Today is mainly about our little villa. It's a 200 year old one storey dwelling, built to withstand the heat. Thick walls, small windows, tiled floors. Just perfect.

It has no real address, just the name of the house and the village, Periana, which is famous for olive oil production. The second picture down is the 'road' to the villa. It's just a track by the side of olive groves.

Goat's bells and prickly pears
A shy donkey in an olive grove just below our house. The sound of braying floated up to us by the pool.
Alhama de Granada. Perfection.
Frigiliana. The guide books say it is one of the prettiest white villages in the area. It was too perfect for me. Like a stage set for tourists. Reminded me of that soap opera from the 1990s, El Dorado. I prefer a place to be lived in, real. It was the only place we encountered a surly waiter. I wonder if that is a necessary ingredient of famously beautiful places? It was the same in Dubrovnik. 

We went to Periana, Viluena, Frigiliana, Granada, Alhama de Granada and Nerja, but mainly we hung out at our villa. Do you fancy a tour?

Monday, 7 October 2013

Take the road signposted North. When you get there, take a right turn towards the East

We've had this on the mantelpiece for months, a golden invitation to an autumn wedding up in the beautiful Yorkshire dales.

Him indoors is a Yorkshire man. I've noticed the further north we go, the happier he gets. Roots are important.

The wedding was designed in what was coined by one of the bridesmaids as bling minimalism. The colours were gold and white with the bride's Chinese heritage coming through strongly. Monkeys for the boys, horses for the girls as those are the Chinese horoscopes of the bride and groom.

We walked across fields on the Saturday to help set up for the reception. It was a beautiful day so I wore sandals. In a phrase that I like to use as to challenge the Universe, I said, 'What's the worst that can happen?'

If the Universe were on a dating website, I think it could allow itself a GSOH*. How do you suppose it responded?

Food glorious food! We ate like kings. Every guest was given a favour of a jar of honey from the groom's mother's apiary.

Carpaccio of red, golden and candy striped beetroot with goats cheese, mint leaves and flower petals and some kind of dressing. I felt like I'd wandered onto Master Chef.

The venue was Broughton Hall, a 16th century pile which has been in the same family forever. The week before, the weather was shocking and Cindy told me that the venue had asked her what her contingency plan was. I didn't quite understand what she meant until I realised that the wedding was actually outside. In Yorkshire, at the end of September.
Brave, but the gods were on their side.

The wedding took place at Eden and the reception at Utopia. One guest said they sounded like tacky nightclubs. Rest assured, they were anything but.

Late at night, the garden lit up with strings of bulbs and tea lights. It was magical. The heavens were filled with stars. We walked home down country lanes which were pitch black and entirely silent.

The following day on the drive home, I saw this. It was a sign. ;)

So off we popped to Gargrave. What did I find there?

A chinoiserie table and a carved wooden Siamese temple dancer. A fitting end to a weekend with an Oriental twist.

This weekend I haven't done much, but today we went for a walk. 
Any bloggers posting OBDs**: I'll see you and raise you! Who's the daddy now?

*Good sense of humour
*Obligatory blogging deers