Guards at 10 Downing Street; ready to rock.  Tony Blair’s time.

guards 10 downing street

Our World


Vintage apron

Very recently I bought a pair of denim just because it has “Vintage” on its tag. It must be a ‘by-product’ of being a history fan. I read something that reflects at the moment what I think and like about the thing:

Strictly speaking, vintage fashion is clothing and accessories that are at least 20 years old. However, as vintage fashion is now coveted the world over, it can be from as little as two [season’s] ago. Wearing vintage provides an opportunity to sport beautifully made clothes… and a unique piece of history…. ATELIER-MAYER.COM

An apron, whether it’s 20 or 2 years old, has an aura of vintage to me.  I have never worn one in my life.  That’s probably why it intrigues me.  So when I saw ladies wearing aprons ‘live,’  I savored the sight.

Beamish 7 apron girl

Colliery Village, Beamish Museum: these ladies were telling visitors a story which I forgot. I was probably too engrossed in the atmosphere. Looking at them in their costume was traveling back hundreds of years.  As they narrated the story I do remember words like egg, onion, throw and roll on the hill, onion skin fossilized into the egg shell….

Those bits of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian periods woven into the tale were overwhelming. Ah well, maybe I should go back and listen again. But if any of you have any idea what could that story be, I’d love to hear it.

Colliery seems to rhyme with scullery…. A beautiful maid with soot on her apron and a broomstick in hand sings “someday my prince will come….”

This post is linked with ABC Wednesday and  Sepia Saturday

“Doors – why do there have to be doors…?”

Okay, that’s a Michael Johnson song. The tune plays whenever I recall my observation of doors in England: most of those I saw were small. What fascinated me was that they were small entrances to large and wide spaces inside. But the main significance of English doors to me really was they were my cue that warmth was nigh. While touring the outdoors I struggled against the cold, although that stopped when I decided not to care how I would look in a borrowed, over-sized thermal jacket.

Super typhoon Haiyan made me wonder how victims were finding comfort in the aftermath as I have come to regard doors as ‘shelter in the time of storm.’  That’s a title of a hymn said to be “a favorite song of fish­er­men on the north coast of Eng­land.” The Postman, a paper published in London, narrates that fishermen “were oft­en heard sing­ing it as they ap­proached their har­bors in the time of storm.”

And I wonder why I’m an anglophile. When I was little my mother sang the hymn in my head during rainy nights –

The Lord’s our Rock in Him we hide
a shelter in the time of storm
secure whatever ill betide
a shelter in the time of storm…

You may recognize this photo as Hall’s Croft, William Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna and her husband Dr John Hall’s home.

shakespear 5 sepia

I was frantically searching for my tour pass which I thought I dropped around Hall’s Croft entrance while peeping at a hole in the door, trying to decide if I should get in or proceed right away to Shakespeare’s grave nearby. We were running out of time.  But what made me frantic about searching for that bloody pass? I was getting scared. I knew I would freeze if I could not find that small slip of paper. It had the password to the door of the hotel I was going back to for the night!

Would death by hypothermia be as dramatic as The Bard’s storm speech on the heath?

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanes, spout
Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Smite flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!
Crack nature’s moulds, an germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!

Linking with ABC WednesdaySepia Saturday



Never mind that I bumped my head on the ceiling above the hearth of this home. I think Anne Hathaway’s cottage is quaint.

stratford 4 anne's cottage in sepia 100_1297xian

According to an info on its walls,  the cottage “was occupied by the Hathaway family and their descendants from 1543 until the late nineteenth century.

Although it is now known as Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, in Anne’s time it was a farmhouse called “Hewlands.”  The earliest part of the building is supported by massive, curved oak frames called “crucks” that date from the middle of the fifteenth century.

The cottage in which she is said to have lived with her parents is yet standing.  It is still occupied by the descendants of her family who are poor and numerous.

shakespear 4

This is the photo that follows the cottage info above.

shakespear  3x

Visit this week’s Sepia Saturday headquarters for more homes and houses.

Halloween and the Forces of Darkness is an article that talks about the origin of Halloween and things associated with it from the British Isles some 1300 years ago. It mentions sabbat which sent me reading around about it.

Here’s The Witch’s Sabbat by Samhain.

Halloween shows interesting information about samhain in words, photos and haunting music – reminds one that mandragora is not just  fiction.

Speaking of mandragora, my Halloween music video-hunting led me back to Harry Potter of course. Or as an HP fan I led myself to one song featured in HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  You remember ‘eye of newt…wool of bat and tongue of dog?’ Double trouble brewing in the witches’ cauldron. Macbeth, right?

Something wicked is over by the 47th second. Frogs that sound like roosters with a bad case of hiccups render the finale. Happy Halloween!

Monday’s Music Moves Me is hosted by the wonderful XmasDolly and her lovely co-conductors Shewbridges of Central Florida, JAmerican Spice, Stacy Uncorked and Cathy Kennedy’s Blog

It was spring when I visited England in 2006. But my ‘warm’ clothes didn’t stand a chance against the temperature that my Southeast Asian blood faced. So there I was hopping out tour buses in a borrowed thermal jacket.

The curdling and shrinking from the cold were too overwhelming for me to care how I looked in an over sized jacket. I was busy taking in all the sights. It’s only now, reviewing the photos seven years later that I realize I looked odd. But who cares?

I was over the moon at being in England. Charm and beauty all around. I walked into fairy tale land.

dales 1

Linking to Water World & ABC Wednesday

When I played Vanity Fair on DVD and saw the opening melody, I sat down comfortably to enjoy the rest of the film.  Here’s Lord Byron’s She walks in beauty –

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

George Gordon, lord Byron (1788–1824).

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788–1824). (Wikipedia)

Monday’s Music Moves Me is hosted by the wonderful XmasDolly and her lovely co-conductors Shewbridges of Central Florida, JAmerican Spice, Stacy Uncorked and Cathy Kennedy’s Blog