Saturday, 21 January 2012

A little lake - or etang - near the village

We don't walk to the this lake often - just 15 minutes away - as it's tarmac road all the way, but just fancied a stroll in that direction. It was blummin' cold and misty. Just the beginnings of the lake water freezing over - in the far corner you can see it on the surface.

We walked on by but on return, the mist cleared and the sky became..., really blue...and a perfect reflection in the water of the sky and the trees.

On the left you can just see the concrete gate to the sluice, which goes under the green bank, under the little lane, and comes out into a little stream which meanders through the fields.

Here is the stream on the left, but on the right, you can just see an untidy ancient granite stone path. Sadly, you can't go much further as the farmer has an electric fence as there are Limousin cattle up in the field beyond.

It was getting very nippy as the sun started to sink, so we went home to a cuppa and a roaring fire, and to dry off Charlie the Poodle as he will insist on having a paddle...

Friday, 20 January 2012

A few books - and a stern warning to husbands...

This is such a great little book from 1936 - perfect for a Valentine or wedding gift. I just love the introduction:

"To Husbands: the part which a husband must play in life is not exactly an easy one. He has definite obligations and numerous restrictions. Often he will be puzzled as to why things have gone wrong. This small volume of Do's and Don'ts should help to guide him away from errors and pitfalls, since it epitomizes the correct conduct of husbands."


And, in case one wishes to learn to dance, make a will, take a wife...above are others in the series.

A sweet moralistic book for children - I love the cover

Here is the book plate - I wonder what happened to Elsie Platt - such a good, old-fashioned name.

And here, the children are being very good, just like they should but aren't usually in my experience! The book is about life in Sweden - maybe Swedish kids are better behaved?

Thanks to the BBC, apparently, Charles Dickens has become popular again. Since Christmas, over 16000 Dickens books have been sold in UK against the normal 2000. Well, here is another for sale.

This is from The Fireside Dickens series, and the title is "The Uncommercial Traveller" and not a title I am familiar with.

Thinking of employing someone, checking out your daughter's new boyfriend, choosing a politician to vote for? Well, check out the handwriting first - this should tell you a lot about a person. Interesting little book.

Hitler, Elvis and Jimmy Carter - hmm, strange combination of examples but here are facsimiles of their signatures and apparently, most of the US presidents sloped their handwriting to the right: only two had upright signatures, and none to the left...

I'm not keen on boxing, but some are. Here is a biography of Jack Dempsey - a bit tatty but at the back is an appendix with the fighting records of he and other principal fighters.

I guess the appendix in books is what people referred to 50 years ago when little arguments broke out over the family dining table over detail - now we run to the computer and search on Wikipedia... It's something our family often does - usually squabbling about when an album was released or which film an actor starred in and usually results in someone's meal going cold...

Incidentally, The World's Work publishing house in Kingswood, Surrey, was actually part of Heineman Publishers. I worked for them back in the late 1980s, shipping books to little book shops and schools all over the world. The Heineman office was in a small 'stately' house, elegant but very tatty, in lovely grounds. It was a great working atmosphere there - I loved it - but of course, didn't last and like many companies in the '80s, Heineman have long since gone, split up and swallowed up by bigger publishing houses.

A gorgeous little book from 1907 about the Lake District with a few photos, maps and a section at the back with adverts from hotels all over Great Britain and the Channel Isles. I wonder if many of the hotels are still going today.

Great ads - and lots of them.

Love this little folding map

and another...

Well, just a few books - all in English this time - which I have for sale on my second Etsy shop which I called La Cravate. You can check it out here - there is lots more info on the books, plus a few pieces aimed towards men - don't forget the little orange book if you know any future groom looking for marriage instructions!

Have a good weekend folks!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Queen Mary of Teck

Did anyone see the two-part documentary on King George V and Queen Mary? I don't usually watch royal stuff on TV as it's usually very sycophantic, but this was quite good on the whole (well, yes, actually there was a little sucking-up but not too bad).

I was fascinated by Queen Mary - she is really quite a shadowy figure in this modern age - and I didn't know anything about her before. I didn't realise she had a heavy German accent for example, nor that as a girl she was not totally royal and was addressed as 'Her Serene Highness' rather than 'Her Royal Highness'. She married her dead finance's brother - she was due to marry Prince Eddy, the eldest of Edward VII - but match maker Queen Victoria just swapped Eddy for George and told them to get on with it, and so Mary did.

King George had changed his long German name to 'Windsor' after WWI to appear more British. Mary got Churchill on her side when she disapproved of Louis Mountbatten's attempt to change the family surname again, from Windsor to Mountbatten, at the present Queen's marriage to Prince Phillip. Churchill agreed and said no, so the name remained Windsor.

Queen Mary adored jewellery in particular tiaras and her long strings of pearls and pearl chokers, and was always beautifully dressed as she realised the British public wanted to see her fully play her part of the public spectacle she started to call 'the Firm'.

She was cultured, had lived in Italy as a girl, and a very keen collector of antiques and art: her courtiers and friends knew only to well not to show off their latest acquisitions as she would wistfully admire a piece, often saying 'ohh, I have its twin...' and then the poor person would feel obliged to offer their object to the Queen as a gift. There was a lovely shot of her leaving an antiques shop with a very satisfied smile - I know how she felt - had she just haggled the dealer down a quid or two?

I would love to know more about her and I do feel she has been neglected by the modern media - after all, she was Queen for 26 years and Dowager Queen for a further 17 years. And, doesn't our present Queen look so much like her grandmother?


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