Monday, 6 July 2015

Explorer style

 Have you ever wanted a particular style of home? I always wanted an art deco home, and this year I've really been enjoying Porcelina's posts about restoring her home to its moderne-era best, Cate's (Vintage Gal) renovations and Marija's (Pinky Purple Honey) notes on decoration. The thing is, I'm never going to have an art deco home because I'm never going to have those uncluttered surfaces. I have too many books and knick-knacks.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Resorting to Murder [books]

I am not a cheery Mim today, as yesterday I had some pretty heavy-duty dental work done. Short version: after 17 years of problems relating to two root canal fillings, I paid a private endodontist - root canal specialist - to redrill and clean out both those root canals. It's complicated by an operation that's left some amalagam filling in my jawbone. I shouldn't grumble too hard as most dentists would've wanted to pull both teeth, whereas my endodontist has definitely saved one, and we're going to see how the one with the bone filling below it does. He did a really good job. Anyhow, today it's all a bit sore (I can't even cope with soup with chunks in) so I'm cheering myself up with a bit of reading.

Resorting to Murder is another in the British Library Crime Classics series. I enjoy short stories, so thought this collection could be a real winner, but something about it left me flat. There are fourteen stories in the book, including some by some very famous writers, but many of them didn't really grip me. None of them were bad, but none of them were really exciting. ('The Adventure of the Devil's Foot' is not Sherlock Holmes' finest moment.) I have some collections of pulp stories from magazines like Black Mask, and they're great, so I reckon the problem with these stories is that they're very British, and that polite dance of manners and personalities that's so enjoyable in Golden Age British crime fiction needs more space than a short story allows. When you lose those subtle interactions and layered hints at possible motives, you're left with something fairly bland.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

June in pictures

I've been rat-sitting!
 I like taking photos with my phone. I have a lovely little camera, a Fuji X20, but I don't carry it everywhere and my phone gets used for random snaps. I like sharing images on Instagram, too, which drives me to take lots of photos with my phone. Since I started doing regular morning walks before work, taking photos has helped make things more enjoyable. I have a couple of main routes, and looking out for new, interesting, fun or just plain pictureque things to take pictures of en route definitely stops it getting boring. (In case you're wondering, my weight is pretty much unchanged, but I do find a walk lifts my mood immensely, so I'll stick with it.)

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Re-enactors at Armed Forces Day

I thought I'd share a few snaps from the re-enactment/history side of things at this year's Armed Forces Day celebrations in Trowbridge. We've got a lot of 1940s re-enactment groups here in Wiltshire, and they always put on a good show. This year the event was due to have a more Air Force leaning, and one of the highlights of the re-enactment area was a Spitfire. During the war Spitfires were made in the town, so it's good to see one on show. I wonder how many of the elderly ladies wandering round had helped put planes like that together?

Thursday, 25 June 2015

RIP, Patrick Macnee

I was watching an episode of The Avengers tonight when I heard Patrick Macnee had died. I love The Avengers: it's one of those bonkers British midcentury series that you either adore or just don't get. Macnee played many roles, but John Steed is the one he will always be remembered for. Immaculately dressed, driving vintage cars and drinking champagne, he was in many ways an Edwardian, perfectly balanced by a succession of liberated, sparky and completely modern female agents. Rarely irritated and never ruffled, he faced the world with a raised eyebrow and a furled umbrella.

You could say that the gentleman adventurer-spy is something of a British archetype, going back to W Somerset Maugham's fictional character Ashenden, John Buchan's Richard Hannay, and even Leslie Charteris' Simon Templar. No-one does private eyes like the Americans, and no-one does gentleman spies like the British. Steed joins that lineup of suave, moneyed adventurers, and influenced similar ones in popular culture afterwards: if Harry Hart, Colin Firth's character in Kingsman: The Secret Service, wasn't a nod in Steed's direction I'd be very much surprised, especially given the Kingsmen's use of umbrellas.

It's saddening to say goodbye to Patrick Macnee so soon after Christopher Lee - and Macnee did twice play Watson to Lee's Holmes. Here's hoping no more of that era's best-loved actors pass away any time soon...

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Crinoline Robot's vintage bimblings

I haven't done many big things in the past couple of weeks, but I've been having a fun time bimbling around. I have finished all the knitting on my fair isle cardigan, which just leaves the making up to do. I don't detest sewing seams as much as many knitters, but there are SO MANY ends to weave in on the cardi that I admit I've been dragging my feet over it a little. I've started knitting a turban hat from a wartime pattern as a bit of light relief. Somehow watching telly doesn't seem half as lazy when I'm making something at the same time!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Lucky seven?

I wear this dress a lot, but I wear
the cardi so much more!
How many times do you wear your clothes before you give them away , sell or bin them? Every time I look at my clothing spreadsheet – started because I felt I was in a rut and wanted to see if I really was wearing the same things all the time, and continued now out of habit and because I might find it interesting to look back at in another decade or two – I wonder if it's not a bit odd. And it is a bit odd, but it has done the job I intended it to do, namely helped me analyse my wardrobe and get more wear out of things that would otherwise go neglected. Because of that, and because I love charity shopping, I was quite interested to see this report by Barnardos that says British women wear garments an average of seven times before getting rid of them.