The Elegance of a Hat

Is there anything lovelier in summer than a woman in a hat?
I love hats....
You can be whoever you want in a hat.

The English surely know that when Ascot comes to town.
Everyone and everything comes out for show.

Even in days gone by, women loved their hats. 
I wonder how these were perceived in their day?

Today, anything goes.
It is the beauty of it all, the pageantry,
the ability to say 'this is me'.

I am thinking pink at the moment..

How about you?
Would you fancy any of these gorgeous creations?

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Quintessentially English

One for the diary!
'Quintessentially English'
30 June-17 July 

By Rebecca Campbell
A series of oil paintings on linen.
The artist 'invites us into the drawing room of the English Eccentric, 
displaying a love of exotic fauna, imported decadence and wild animals. 
These paintings in particular have been influenced by Indian Mogul miniatures.'

20 Park Walk

Images and text from Jonathan Cooper
as seen in Country Life

The Concise Dictionary of Dress

I went along to an exhibit at Blythe House in London today, The Concise Dictionary of Dress. It is a collaboration between fashion curator, Judith Clark and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips in conjunction with Artangel. The exhibit is a series of eleven written definitions pertaining to clothing. It is emotional, thought provoking and beautiful. I am not sure that all would come away with the same impression. It has been said to be one of 'The most eccentric shows in London*. It most certainly opened up discussion within our group and I noticed a few quizzical brows.  I took it for what it was and looked for more. We were not allowed to take pictures. In fact I don't think I have ever come across a more thorough security clearance. You can imagine my glee when I spotted a book with these wonderful images and comprehensive description of the exhibits. It certainly leaves you wanting to know more.

Photography by Norbert Schoerner

I think this was my favourite exhibit. The figure was designed and commissioned by the curator, Judith Clark. Can you see the figure in the tower? It reminds me of a 'widows walk' in the old homes around the area that I grew up in. We lived by the sea and I often heard tales of women who stood in the 'watch' looking out to sea, waiting for her loved one to return home to her to her.

I think these images speak for themselves.

Whenever I visit an exhibit, I take a notebook. 
I like to sketch or just write down words or phrases that catch my attention. 
These are just bits and pieces of what was given to us to read as we viewed each exhibit. 
The words were created by the curators.
I took what resonated with me...a simple dictionary of dress.

the affluence of ease
a nostalgia
something pretending to be something that it is
the triumph of continence
a gathering, collecting, a smoothing over
proportion as the mother of virtue
contained for the idea of containment
exhaled impatience with the body
history without footnotes
a longing
a private nostalgia
a moveable feast
not conforming to contour or arrangement, 
subject to influence and gravity, 
seeking direction
the line designed by use

Text and images from The Concise Dictionary of Dress
By Judith Clark and Adam Phillips
Photographed by Norbert Schoerner

Oh, how could I forget!
Blythe House..what an intriguing place.
As I turned the corner in the back streets of Olympia
I came across this incredible sight.

Blythe House was originally built (1899-1903) as the headquarters of the Post Office Savings bank. Today it stores small and medium sized objects for the Science Museum, British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum. The buildings have been blacked out to help preserve the objects. We were under strict instructions not to touch as we glided thru the hallow halls of this formidable sight. Try as we might, we were not allowed to linger. Lights were turned off as quickly as they were turned on as we were faced with rows and rows of white custom built storage containers. It was as unforgettable as the sculpture that sits beyond the gates below.

last two pictures~me
* Esther Freud, BBC Radio 4 Satruday Review

A Country Day

The best part about moving to a new area is the time you get to spend exploring.
I am hoping the momentum will stay with us as I have a long list and it seems to get longer by the day.
Today we spent Father's Day in Godalming along the River Wey in Surrey.

are affiliated with the National Trust. The history of the Wey River dates back
 to 1653 and was one of the first British rivers to be made navigable.

Barges were at one time used to to transport heavy goods via the Thames River to London.
Today people use them as pleasure boats or for commercial purposes.

This fellow was nice enough to give me a smile as I passed by.

I had to google this one...
Ben My Chree translates to "Lady of My Heart" and was a packet steamer 
for the Royal Navy seaplane carrier in the First World War.

I couldn't resist Mr. Baggins. 
I am contemplating another journey to New Zealand next month and
There and Back Again feels like the story of my life at the moment:)

Another one that I just had to snap. He was a character.

I am not so sure that they found the dog as amusing as I !

Curious things were happening in Godalming.
We passed 'The Rectory' with this statue perched at the front door...

and then Weddington Boots in a bridal shop window...

followed by this pillow in the shop next door.

This was a first for me...cone shaped baskets..curious.

We stopped in at  Winkworth Arboretum, a National Trust Property 
with over 1000 different shrubs and trees. It is a beautiful spot for a picnic.

I was taken by this little boy across the way...he was having the time of his life.

From there we made our way home. 
I have to say I love exploring 
but it is always nice to come home at the end of the day.

Our garden was waiting

and last by not least, 
the Sunday newspaper,
a perfect end to the day.


Antiquites in the Afternoon

We live around the corner from a regular venue for Antiques Fairs. It is a mix of genuine antiques and a little bit of this and that and probably more on that latter. I have popped in once before but found it  overwhelming and decided I was not ready for antiques. Today I felt a bit more confident and tried again. I have to mention that I had a friend with me who is German and has a nose for what is good and what it not. She has that singular eye that picks out the best of the bunch. We both gravitated to the same things which I considered a good sign. 

I wandered and pondered and looked some more and at the end decided that antiques or not (and in this case, not) that I would just have to go with my gut reaction and go back to the things I loved. There were many but the ones I settled on were my treasure and only mine. They were all reasonably priced and it was all as simple as that.

two glazed ginger jars  
which were quickly filled with cuttings from the garden

Hancock Sampson Old Woodstock soup and dinner platees
I liked these because they are generous in size 
and deep enough to use for lots of different dishes.
A nice change from my everyday white for summer.

I could not resist these soldiers
for my 10 year old son who loves military history.
They seem to be hand painted with calendars 
on some dating in the 1930's, 40's and 50's.
I particularly like the man in black lurking
in the background...
I think he is my favourite purchase of all!

Nothing precious, just fun!

Top image
images ~ me