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Showing posts from February, 2011

It's a Wind Up!

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I am getting hooked by all things mechanical.  First it was the hand crank sewing machine and now... well here is another 'old girl' who has crept into my heart.


What do you think she is?


It is a Columbia Grafanola 109a Wind Up Gramaphone.  



And here are the records to play on her.

I got 45 of them along with the gramaphone.  

They play at 78rpm - if they play at all.  When they first arrived they were really dirty and the dirt in the grooves slowed down the record speed making them sound awful, a quick clean with my old friend WD40 and bobs your uncle....



... the sound is never going to be of cd quality.  Even with a beautifully clean and unscratched record there is always the hiss and crackle of fish frying in the background, but for me, this adds to the charm of the music somehow.  And do you know what has happened?  The music has suddenly become centre stage again.  When I play the gramaphone records, I don't just hit the button and go off about my business with the music …

Beetle Dress

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I'm a BIG fan of the Romantic costume era (actually I am a big fan of almost any costume era) and I love to see and feel wonderful fabrics and beautiful colours and textures.  I was a little suprised by this one though.







This is a painting by John Singer Sargent of Ellen Terry, a famous actress of the late Victorian era, wearing a fabulous dress made from the wings of beetles. 

What's more, the dress is in danger of falling apart - the beetle wings are fine... it's the stitching that's disintegrating and needs to be repaired.  The National Trust are the proud owners of the dress, inherited by them in 1928 along with the house where Ellen Terry lived.  Plans are afoot to raise money to do the conservation work on the dress at Smallhythe Place, Kent


When Ellen starred alongside Henry Irving in Macbeth in 1888, there was not a wide choice of fabrics available in England, and Alice (Alice Comyns Carr - Ellen terry's dress designer) could not find the colours she wa…

Am I Safe?

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I was reading a post on someone's blog recently about safety... specifically the safety of a woman when out walking on her own.  Now the lady in question walks mostly in the countryside with a dog - but sometimes on her own - and she walks quite long distances in some fairly remote areas.  The various comments made were discussing how safe or not we would feel when in similar situations and what precautions we take to keep ourselves safe.


This gave me a bit of a jolt because it is literally years since I thought about my safety in any serious way.  Not since my dating days in fact.  You see, I would consider my safety when I was younger because I suppose I considered myself likely to attract the attention of a predatory male.  Now that I am in my fifties and have been married for donkeys years.... it never ocurred to me that anyone might want to attack me!



Even if I did carry something worth stealing, I still don't really ever feel vulnerable to mugging or anything like that. …

It's the Little Things....

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in life that make it all worth while!



Home Sweet Home

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I am exhausted.  Mentally and physically.  It took us two days to get up to the north of Scotland due to the weather... there is nothing like the sinking feeling when you hear the traffic news on the radio say 'the A9 has been closed due to bad weather, high winds and an overturned lorry'.  And when they close the A9 they really mean closed... there are snow gates across the road and they shut them, thankfully they do give you plenty of notice on the radio, so if you are travelling up north in winter time ALWAYS listen to the traffic reports.



Luckily we were just half an hour from Glasgow when the news was announced and a quick phone call to my cousin secured us a bed for the night and a welcome tea.  After a square sausage sandwhich in the morning (you just cant get square sausage in England... don't know why, it makes perfect sense to use a square sausage on bread rather than trying to balance a round one)  we were once again on our way up north. 


Finally we reached our …

Off to Bonnie Scotland

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very early tomorrow morning.  Visiting aged parent and helping him to buy a new car.  touchy subject this since we are the first people to complain when watching the elderly attempting to drive when it is clearly something they should no longer be doing.



Mein Papa is 87 now and still driving.  Not long distances but all the same... don't the statistics say that most accidents happen close to home?  I am a firm believer in the 're-taking of the driving test once you reach a certain age... say ... 70' school.  And that further re-takes are necessary in order to keep your licence. 


there would be a strong possibility that the aged one would not get to keep his licence... well it's a grey area... perhaps borderline... depending upon the day.  It has to be a good thing to keep other road users safe, all the same, his car is his independance.  He still works and he uses it to get to his job every day.  He plays golf with his buddies on a weekend (weather permitting) and he v…