Sunday, 25 March 2012

Human nature

                                               Mr N's "workspace"

Today I tried to explain (again!) to Mr N that it is a natural and healthy human instinct to create order out of chaos. "Just think", I cajoled, "how pleasing pattern, tidiness and neat arrangements are to the eye."

                              Remember the patchwork quilts at Claverton Manor?

    And those manicured gardens at Hanbury Hall ?


"Indeed - I do admire an uncluttered space!" said Mr N as he turned and stared, pointedly, at my own desk.



Sunday, 18 March 2012

Followers of Fashion

I had a job to keep up with my Mr Darcy last week in Bath, finally cornering him in the Assembly Rooms. Luckily he was as keen as I was to venture downstairs to the Museum of Costume - the gorgeous exhibition of 17th century embellished and embroidered gloves piqued even his highfalutin taste.

The museum also offers a colourful look at fashionable clothes from more recent periods.

I had forgotten how cool the '80s were, if you were wealthy enough to wear Galliano.

Later at the American Museum at Claverton Manor, near Bath, I found a "look" that was very much to my taste.

The museum also displays the original simple cotton kerchief, spotlessly clean and ironed smooth, worn by Nancy Burns a freed slave, and depicted in a watercolour of her dated 1844.

And as we made our way home for tea we found another delightful example of humble fashions in Frome - the neat frills worn by these stone maidens, carved in the late 18th century to adorn a charity school offering training in domestic skills to poor girls. ("I'll bet they're discussing that appalling pointing," said Mr Darcy.)

N.B. Both museums mentioned above now allow photography - Hooray!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

So Macho!

Donington Park in Leicestershire, famous motor racing circuit and, on Monday, the venue for Arthur Swallow's re-vamped weekday antiques fair. Looks quite pretty doesn't it? My head was full of stories of gorgeous textiles fairs, as seen on the blogs I follow. Lucky Hesta & The Pugs bought a heap of wonderfully girly antiques at The Manchester Antiques And Textiles Fair. A jolly time was had by The Washerwoman and her friends at The Rag & Remnant Rummage in Somerset. But yet again, for I have never attended an antiques fair devoted only to linens, lace, frills and furbelows, here I was in the midst of grim-faced males, determined to find the biggest, the best and the most valuable object in the place. And what a place! A cold concrete and metal warehouse - a bleak drive-in market place.
I was not inspired...

...nice weather,though.

Hello Simon! Hello Julie! Good to see some friendly faces.

                                                                       Well, here goes...

The truth is, if you look hard enough, pretty things can be found in the unlikeliest places. 


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Gee Up! Trotting Up to Middleham.


Many large antiques events and car boot sales are held at UK racecourses and the thrill of the chase is an expression which can apply to both horse racing and antiques-hunting. Last weekend, in a beautiful and little known corner of the country, a regular monthly event was held - the antiques fair at the Middleham Key Centre. The small village of Middleham has 15 training establishments, which probably makes it the racehorse capital of  North Yorkshire.

                     Hello, which way to the antiques Fair, please?

                                                      Is it this way?

                                                      Or is it that way?

Middleham has so many attractions - horses, history, antiques...

...AND a medieval castle to explore!

There may be treasure here - remember, the Middleham Jewel was discovered in the castle grounds by a metal detectorist in 1985 and sold for £2.5 million to the Yorkshire Museum.