Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Twinkle Toes

The shame of it all. One morning last week I was caught short. I had just woken from a deep and satisfying sleep and was stumbling around for my favourite mug when the doorbell rang. This was very early and I was slightly alarmed as I could not think who would be on my doorstep at such an uncivilised hour. Handsome husband was not here to protect me (gone the previous night for meetings in London), so I grabbed the still slumbering dog (not the puppy) to accompany me to the door. I slowly unlocked the many bars and chains and peeked out while telling the dog to "STAY BACK", trying to make it appear that I was holding back a vicious beast, and there before me was Margaret our post lady holding a package. The dog bounded out pushing the door wide open and gave her a huge lick. "Special Delivery" she announced. Gosh this early, Margaret proceeded to explain that they had been running a bit behind due some industrial issues and they were therefore starting earlier to get up-to-date. It was then that I noticed her gazing down at my footwear and I suddenly felt very exposed and was reminded of the time Cherie Blair was photographed looking horrendous whilst opening the door to take a delivery also early in the morning. Naturally, I thanked her for being so super efficient and dashed back indoors, dragging the dog with me.
It isn't that I am concerned with the appearance of my body or hair, which I know all holds up quite well in the morning, or my silk nightwear and gown which coming from Carine Gilson will never let me down, it is my footwear, my slippers which really are something that I should be quite ashamed of, and I have been meaning for sometime to deal with, but have overlooked. I have been wearing what once were a perfectly decent pair of Cash-ca slippers but have been worn down to a thread and were looking quite unsightly, not very me at all.
The only slippers I have seen locally just have not been to my taste and I think they have mostly been aimed at ladies with very wide feet. I had become concerned that this matter would have to be remedied on my next return to London, nevertheless being determined in my quest for comfort and elegance I will never give up, and it is due to this steely desire for my needs to be met that I found exactly what I had been looking for in a most unexpected place.

I had been enlisted to accompany middle child on a school trip to a small town with an enormous Abbey, I have visited the town many times as it has attractive ancient buildings and a friendly and easy atmosphere, it also has a couple of boutiques where I have made the odd purchase. We had completed our tour of the beautiful Abbey and made our way through the obligatory attached shop when my eyes were drawn to something twinkling at me from a shelf of accessories. I have a weakness for things that sparkle and I walked over for a close-up inspection and was overjoyed and astounded to find a small selection of treasure from my favourite accessory designer, William Sharp , I have several of his scarves, hats and gloves, and amongst the booty were a pair of ruby red cashmere slippers emblazoned with a shining crystal star pattern. After my initial shock of finding these delights in such an odd place, I asked the volunteer working in the shop why and how they were able to stock these beautiful pieces. Apparently Mr Sharp spent quite a bit of his youth in this town and had been inspired by the twinkling prism of light from the old stain glass windows. How heavenly.

Now I am happy to answer the door whenever the bell rings, as I am assured in the knowledge that I will never ever have another embarassing morning episode and will always put my best twinkling foot forward.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Killer Cows

Following a hearty weekend lunch with our small herd and a couple of teenage visitor friends of our eldest chap, handsome husband and I felt a gentle walk with the dog along the river was the ideal way to walk off my over the top toffee apple crumble, and an opportune moment to leave the teenage boys to some washing and drying of dishes.

We kitted up for the cool, but sunny weather and ambled down the lane to the fields and the stream. I felt relaxed with the faint glow of lunch time red wine as we squelched through the mud avoiding the familiar sight of cow pats. As we turned a corner I caught a glimpse of some cows. Now normally when I come across cows on my daily walks with the dog I go out of my way to give them a very wide berth, and stick as close to the hedge as possible, I suppose I'm a bit of a coward when it comes to cows since I read some articles telling tales of vicious killing cows.

I mentioned this to handsome husband who being made of macho stuff said he could handle it and he strode straight through the middle of them. I followed reluctantly and ensuring I had marked my escape routes should they be needed. All was well until our naughty dog decided it would be fun to bark at the cows and try to play with them. Well what ensued has left me even more convinced that I shall never walk near cows again.

A large Guernsey, quite rightly, felt affronted by this outburst from the dog and began running towards her, this spooked a couple of nearby cows who in turn reared up and then also joined in the chase, they are faster than you would imagine a cow to be and I screamed which was no help to anyone including myself, the dog realising her folly sprinted towards the safety of the hedges, leaving handsome husband to deal with the chaos. I was glued to the spot in terror and watched in awe as he raised his trusty stick, pointed it at the cows and shouted loudly "GET BACK", and do you know what, they did and calmness was once more restored. We found our dog trembling and stuck to brambles in the hedge, when we released her she whimpered and bolted off with her tail between her legs in the direction of home.

Handsome husband and his trusty big stick come to the rescue again..

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Farrier, a Loyal and Brave Beagle

It isn't all fun here, some of the things that occur are really quite brutal, but as I have said before it is the way of the countryside, and many peoples lives depend on it, and there are plenty of protesters around to stick up for the foxes, hares and other hunted animals.
Farrier was out with the pack when the hounds slightly over-ran the trail and crossed a minor lane. The whole pack, bar Farrier, crossed safely and picked up the line and hunted strongly onwards. Very sadly Farrier, who was behind the main pack was struck by a car on the road. The driver stopped immediately and Farrier was quickly attended to by several members and was taken back to the kennels by the Master and another member with veterinary advice being received during the journey by mobile phone.
The seriousness of the injuries sustained made the decision inevitable and, on arrival back at the kennels, he was swiftly and kindly put to sleep.
Farrier was already on borrowed time, last summer the members became aware that Farrier had firstly one and then latterly two tumours growing at a steady rate, and it had been fully expected that a final difficult decision on his future would have to be made towards the end of this season. The outcome would have been the same for any hound in that situation. No one was to blame for what happened and a hunting day can never be completely risk free nor can every eventuality be planned for. It is this unpredictable element and the associated risks to everyone that makes the hunt such a vital antidote to the often synthetic and hazard averse world that so many people live in.
Farrier would not have been happy being retired, the hounds rarely settle into a domestic environment after growing up with the pack, and they howl for their friends when separated. He was loyal, strong and brave and will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Bid Easy

Spring is in the air which is a great excuse for a fresh round of activities, and what does any style conscious woman need for all of these forthcoming social gatherings but new frocks. I am aware that I already have some stashed away, so I felt it only proper to begin my frock project within the warmth and safety of my wardrobe, to see if I had anything within it that would be suitable for a birthday lunch party, a school shindig and an evening drinks.

After 2 hours of fashion scrutiny I came up with 3 possibilities, one for each event, however although they were satisfactory they did not express fully the gratification I normally feel when I know I have succeeded in garment selection, and simply conveyed a sense of 'making do', but I will never give in so I tried a different angle and began to look at separates, which are repeatedly overlooked, as the statement dress is often the easier choice, separates require considered thought of colours, fabrics, styles and patterns that work together, separates involve more work and creativity on the part of the wearer.

I narrowed my search down to three items that demanded I find another piece to finish the ensemble. This was going to be a very exciting project, I would require a jacket for some soft suede navy YSL trousers, a bright top for some plain black skinny Earl jeans and blouse for a velvet Ralph Lauren skirt. Where on earth should I begin my search? My question was answered when I attended a one-off charity auction in one of the larger cities here, which one of the mothers at school had invited me to, not a furniture auction, but one where elegant genuine vintage clothing was up for sale along with some small pieces of bedroom items for the dressing table, very much a female auction. I have been to a couple of auctions since our arrival here and they have been pretty informal events, this was considerably different with some eye watering polished ladies sharpening their Manolo heels to ensure they snare their target items before anyone else. We arrived in good time to register and to peruse the vintage goods which were mostly in pristine condition and I earmarked five potential pieces.

The sale was enormously exciting and I found myself completely absorbed in the tension of the room. These buyers clearly frequented auctions regularly as it soon became clear that some lots were completely ignored while others had many bidders, these women knew what was worth having and what wasn't. My first item came up a Moschino (mainline) navy jacket with small mirrored circles embroidered on the flaps of the pockets. Bidding began and with my heart pounding I raised my hand, big mistake, as I had played my hand to the women of prey who could smell my fear and my novice credentials. I was completely out of my depth and I was lulled into believing I would get my prize as bidding was slow and low, but then the big guns waded in as the jacket hit the price I wanted to pay and then quickly sored out of my reach and into the arms of a woman with slits for eyes.

My friend told me to wait until the last moment to bid on the next item I wanted and be willing to go 10% over my top price. So I was better prepared when my next piece came up a beautiful Pucci print shirt made up of all my favourite pastel colours and perfect for my Earl Jeans. I was patient and observed the other bidders more closely, the price had crept up close to my top price when I raised my hand, "Any more bids on this gorgeous piece"? the auctioneer boomed out, yes there was and a sinewy blonde raised her hand, I waited as the auctioneer looked over to me, I feigned disinterest and then he looked out to the rest of the room, no more bids, I seized my moment and raised my hand again, holding my breath and waiting. It seemed to take forever as he looked over the the blonde who shook her coiffed head, then "Going, gone" and he banged the hammer down. Oh joy, it was mine. I showed no emotion as I had not seen any of these cool customers flicker any clues to their enjoyment of winning, I kept my head focused on the remainder of the auction and winning the further objects of desire.

I lost one piece, a Lanvin blouse, but made up for this with a Chloe blouse for my skirt and was brimming with confidence. My final treasure was within reach a Chanel jacket (navy with gold buttons) and I knew that it would be sought after, anything with the Chanel label is always going to sell well and I wanted it, I had tried it on and was instantly in love with this gem and it had to be mine. To buy new, this piece of art would cost me close to £3,000, so I was prepared to go quite high on this as we all know Chanel rarely have sales. The auctioneer announced the jacket and the room fell quiet as bidding began at £150, there were two telephone bidders and I was actually quite scarred that I might get carried away and buy it at any price just to win, I had done well with my other two purchases paying less than I anticipated so had some extra in the pot should I need it. Very quickly we were up to £500 and I still hadn't shown my hand, at £610 the bidding had slowed and I sensed the moment was not yet there and waited. £620, from a new bidder with a rich ginger bob and glossy lips, a pause for a show of a hand, £630. Things were definitely slowing £640, no one moved, he looked around and opened his mouth to speak, and then I knew my moment had arrived and I raised my hand £650, ginger bob spun round and glared at me raising her hand, £660, I breathed and calmly lifted my hand £670. Silence I could feel the heat of ginger bob seeping out and I knew I had victory, I didn't move my gaze from the auctioneer who was looking round the room and he raised the hammer and said "Going, gone" bang. "Yes", I blurted out, possibly a little loud as several shiny heads turned in my direction, but I did not care what these skinny latte loving, salad eating women thought, I was overjoyed and beaming, I would love and cherish this jacket forever and give it it's very own special space in my wardrobe.
To ensure handsome husband didn't feel left out I slipped in a bid to snare a vintage Leonard tie for his own collection, and left the auction delighted that I had benefited from the day along with the very worthwhile charities.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


Ladies and gentlemen, I apologise for my lack of response to your comments and for my failing to comment on your own interesting posts. I have been feeling a little unwell (nothing serious), and had a little op on Tuesday, I shall return some time later this week, or early next week with some more tales from the English countryside for you. I have been gathering much material and it is all firmly lodged in my brain. There have been killer cows, a mouse in the house, and the fashion nightmare of a Mexican evening to contend with and to top it all the shame of sub-standard slippers, I only hope the anaesthetic doesn't do anything untoward to my memory.

Monday, 1 March 2010


Oh yes, he may well look like butter wouldn't melt, with those great big paws, that wet nose, and that soft and shiny coat, but he has, within 5 days turned my life, and the life of my other gorgeous dog upside down. I have done absolutely nothing except play with him, kiss him, sniff him (yes odd I know, but he smells divine), and have not done any of things I am supposed to do, I've fallen behind with my writing and I need a manicure, but I just don't care. It's love ...


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