Tuesday, 28 August 2012
The title here is a bit misleading... this was intended to be a trip to the Farmers market, but the one in question turned out to be only a couple of stalls selling raspberries and lettuce, both of which we had, so it morphed into a morning walk with a bagel for my sister and I.
This dress, made by my mom in the 70s, is one of the reasons I'm happy to have parents with an attic. It's not the sort of thing I would wear often enough to travel with it, but I love slipping it on once or twice a year in the height of August. The shoes are also handmade and date from around the same time as the dress I think, and my mom bought me both my necklace and bracelet... so this is pretty much all courtesy of Mom... whether she was thinking of me or not! My mom always had great taste, especially with regards to quality... the attic is full of boxes of heavy wool sweaters, often handmade, and wool berets, leather handbags and silk scarves. Things weren't necessarily expensive (I got dragged to more garage sales than I can think about as a kid), but there's always been a focus on workmanship. It's something I really aim to emulate... even if it means I'll have my own attic full of stuff I can't bear to get rid of at some point.
Photos by Shona
Sunday, 26 August 2012
In St. Ives, Cornwall, where the seagulls mean business about stealing your Cornish pasty! And oh, how appropriate that it should be in the home county of Daphne du Maurier, who wrote "The Birds." This is Albert's photo of the summer, and like so many awesome photos, it was almost accidental.
Otherwise, this was the last stop in Cornwall before we blitzed back, and I flew to Canada. The seagulls were ridiculously aggressive as you can see. They did have signs posted about how they could be dangerous, but since the British put signs like this everywhere about all sorts of insignificant things, we didn't pay much attention. Damn thing nearly took my ear off!
Meanwhile, every blogger and their dog has this Dahlia dress, but hey, I got it on sale for £15 on the website, which was too good a deal for a gingham obsessive to resist.
Thursday, 23 August 2012
I just spent a week up in cottage country in Ontario where my grandfather lives full-time. It was the usual week of drinking morning tea on the porch while hummingbirds and chick-a-dees and goldfinches and grackles and blue jays and the occasional squirrel all duked it out over the bird feeders. I went out in the canoe with some family members, spent a lot of time reading old favourites on the dock, and revelled in my favourite summer purchase of the year, this playsuit from Q's Daydream. I was a bit worried that I would feel too revealed in it to wear out much, but I don't at all. The high-waisted skirt covers me up, the top is super flattering, and I love love love the pattern of little birds, (which is limited edition by the way, there are only two left). Anyway, major love affair on my part. I want to wear it every remaining day of summer, and the skirt will happily see me into Autumn as well. And of course I had to pair it with the bird necklace my sister got me for Christmas.
Also, check out the second to last picture of a deer swimming across the lake! I've never seen anything like it, and it was way out in the middle!
Photos of me by my sister Shona
Monday, 20 August 2012
"The road in front of us grew bleaker and wilder over huge russet and olive slopes, sprinkled with giant boulders." The Hound of the Baskervilles.
This isn't much of an outfit, but I couldn't not share these photos, because Dartmoor may have been my favourite place of all the ones we visited in the South West. I'm not sure what it is with me and wild, inhospitible landscapes... well, I guess it's growing up with frequent visits to the North Yorkshire moors. I loved Dartmoor just as much, maybe even more. It didn't have the pure expanse of riotous purple heather, but it did have enormous craggy rocks that pitched up against the sky, and were perfect for climbing a la Famous Five. Hikers with dogs and picnics tripped across the uneven ground amid the purple heather, golden gorse and rough, serrated bracken and a blast of wind sent great clouds across the sky, dousing the land in sunshine one moment, and throwing it into gloom the next.
And of course, having spent my youth obsessively reading Sherlock Holmes, I kept an eye firmly open for the hound of the Baskervilles. I fancied I saw a great black dog at one point, but it turned out to be a horse. I should probably wear my glasses once in a while.
I was as happy as this the whole time:
Friday, 17 August 2012
I know it seems like I'm on constant vacation, but the last several rambles through the South Wales and the Southwest of England were done on weekends, to take advantage of my few weeks in the UK in the summertime. The last one was a somewhat whirlwind visit to Devon and Cornwall. A weekend really wasn't enough to see either, let alone both, but I was thrilled anyway to finally visit. Here I am in Mousehole (pronounced Mowzel), Cornwall, dubbed by Dylan Thomas as "the loveliest village in England," to the eternal delight of the tourism board. I think that's a bit of an exaggeration, though I may have just been out of sorts from carsickness, but it's certainly one of those steep, pretty British towns that lead down to a rocky sea through streets of old cottages with wildflower gardens. I wouldn't have minded one of the cottages on the cliff that had little terraces directly overlooking the sea, to drink my morning tea or hide myself away in the winter for creative endeavours. I really don't think they should allow parking on the pier however.
This boat print dress that I hunted down on ebay last year is still one of my summer favourites, and while my mom's telescope necklace maybe tips the whole thing over into pastiche... well, it's summer by the seaside! A bit of cheesiness is required!
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Who used to read the Famous Five books, by Enid Blyton? My dad always read them to me, and I always wanted to really experience the adventures involving smuggling, wrecked ships, hidden gold and caravan holidays. Well, a couple of weekends ago I unknowingly visited what may have been the inspiration for Kirrin Castle. It isn't on an island, as the castle in the book is, but Corfe Castle in Dorset certainly looks the part, and Enid Blyton did visit before writing the series (and spent a lot of holidays in the area thereafter). Before going I was dolled up in my best English Rose gear, in preparation for eating Dorset apple cake with clotted cream and drinking tea while overlooking the castle ruins, but I was pleased that my pullover sweater perfectly chanelled a bit of adventurous 1940s children's holiday. Incidentally, this year marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of the first book. I bought my dad a commemorative copy. :)
(my teacup matched my dress). :)
Photos by Albert
Sunday, 12 August 2012
On the Sunday of the weekend spent in Wales, we headed to St. Fagan's Natural History Museum, just outside Cardiff, which is a fascinating collection of authentic Welsh buildings, transplanted from around Wales, that show how life was for the average person throughout the country's history. We wandered around in a not very organized fashion, (pretty sure there were supposed to be Tudor buildings for example, which we saw no sign of) and it's the kind of place that, if I lived in Wales, I'd always be dropping into for short periods of time, not trying to see it all at once. As it is, I'd definitely like to go back. One of the most interesting set ups for me was a series of "row cottages," arranged as they classically would be through time, yet each one showing life at a different period, from the 18th century I believe (Alzeihmers) to the 1940s. It was fascinating watching how a plain two-room dwelling became a cottage with a kitchen and a television, and reflecting on the fact that actual quality of life for working class people doesn't necessarily improve much: bread and cheese for dinner and reading the Bible afterwards are substituted for fish and chips in front of the TV. Anyway, after enough reflecting, and visiting the cows and pigs in their various fields, we found the tea rooms, where we indulged in cream teas. For those who haven't had one, it's a scone with clotted cream and jam, accompanied by tea.
And then we went to Caerphilly Castle, which is, well, a castle. I think everyone was a bit tired and tourismed out by that point. Still, it was the first time I'd actually seen a filled moat, and it did make the idea of storming a castle in Medieval times a bit more dangerous.
Right, I'm off to a remote corner of the earth without internet for a week... hopefully I'll make it to the library at some point to update you on outfits and adventures from the Southwest of England. If not, see you in a week!
Thursday, 9 August 2012
A couple of weekends ago (what is happening to the summer?!) Albert, who is now based in Bristol, a friend from Germany and I, took a weekend trip to South Wales. I've been wanting to go for about ten years, since I met a Welsh friend of my parents, who sang us folk songs and lullabies for an evening, and I fell in love with the language. I even made a not-very-successful attempt at learning it from some tapes and a book she sent me, but my linguistic ability basically only extends to ordering a cup of tea with milk and no sugar and saying good afternoon! I gave up in confusion when I realized there was no straightforward way of saying "yes" and "no."
We checked into a hotel in Swansea, and then drove along the Gower Peninsula to see some really fantastic and unexpected beaches. I always forget how beautiful the beaches can be in the UK, probably because it's usually too cold and wet to go anywhere near them. These were all interesting rock formations, endless expanses of sand, and grassy sand-dunes, which reminded me a lot of stills I've seen from that movie The Edge of Love. The first beach in particular was gorgeous; you had to get to it by walking down a narrow path through enormous bushes and brambles, before arriving at the sand dunes. I immediately took off running down them, and was instantly rewarded by tights and shoes full of sand. Worth it. ;)
I'm kind of feeling scruffy chic this summer. Although after an afternoon in the unceasing wind, I think this is more just scruffy...
Can you see the outline of a castle on the hill?
The second beach was at the very tip of the peninsula, and there was a blasting wind, and I wished I was wearing my winter coat, but I'm glad we didn't miss it, if only to see the sun set, and horses grazing on the edge of the cliff.
P.S. Thanks for all the well thought out comments (essays!) on my last post. I'm mulling them all over!