Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bloody marvelous

After 67 years of being cruelly ignored, the boys of Bomber Command finally have a memorial. Despite their heroic efforts during WW2 - and you must remember that their losses were horrifying, 60% being killed, wounded or captured - they never had a medal of their own and their contributions were ignored by Royalty and politicians. Bombing had become controversial. Finally, the wrong has been righted with a memorial in Hyde Park, officially opened by the Queen a few days ago. It's going to be one of the key points in our visit to London in August. Kim's dad flew Lancaster bombers with the RAF. He flew over 30 missions, was shot down in France and made it back to London through the escape lines, flew a Lanc back singlehanded with the rest of the crew dead. He saw many, many of his friends die. We'll be going to honor him all those who gave their lives to fight for freedom. The last flying Lanc in Great Britain drops poppies.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The case of the thwarted reader

I recently fell down the stairs at work. I know. Again! So I've been using my recovery time catching up on some reading. Some of it work stuff (social media marketing!) most of it pure indulgence. I've been so in love with my kobo that I started to feel sorry for the pile of books from the library sitting neglected under a chair. I finally got around to reading Atonement - which I have mixed feelings about. But I have been thinking about it a lot since I've finished so that's a good thing. I've also tracked down some of the books McEwan used as reference material for the Dunkirk and nursing sections of the book and I'll be looking forward to them arriving. I read another book on the Double Cross system in WW2 - all double agents and subterfuge - a topic I find endlessly fascinating. Which also featured Kim Philby and points to future reading because I don't know much about that incident. Any recommendations for this topic? This book was pretty stubbornly stiff spined and needed wrestling with to read so i jumped back on the kobo. Then I started Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief on the kobo. My mum gave me the book book version several years ago and I've put off reading it because physically it looked like an uncomfortable read. I'm 100 pages in and loving it and the kobo's battery has gone flat and I'm very cross indeed! And I gave the book book version to mum to read so now I'm stuck! What are you reading? - Toodle Pip!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The dress circle

I'll admit that I got this book solely because of the 1940s scalloped edge suit on the cover. It is absolutely divine and I want it. I'll also confess that I only read the first chapter - on 1940s fashion - so you'll have to take my criticism with a grain of salt. One of the reasons that i didn't read it all was that the book is very text heavy. It goes into a LOT of detail and I would have liked more images. Another reason is that about the first image you see in the forties section is a 1950s outfit... Anyhoo... A department store design by Slimline. Gotta love a peplum, and such a luscious colour too. I can't give you a date because most of the images are undated. And this is a history book! Chinoiserie by designer Flora McKenzie. This was my favorite story. Flora ran a high end boutique famed for its exotic designs. She held soirees during the war, courting American soldiers who'd pay big bucks on outfits to impress their girlfriends. The story goes that at the end of a party she'd find bundles of money left by servicemen who'd gone home with her models. Whatever the reason, Flora soon gave up the boutique to become a madam in a brothel. Which is a shame because her Asian inspired designs show an amazing level of detail and craftsmanship. I'll leave you with a poem from the New Zealand Weekly News in 1945 Turning Land Girls into Glamour Girls When this temptress makes an entrance Strong men burn to master Stern hearts beat faster, for she’s feminine again And they can’t resist her line (she never really cared for aping men) So put away your overalls And smarten up your curves, girls And get in line with fashion A high up-tilted bosom is quite the latest passion And a sweetly, neatly swerving, curving waist! - Toodle Pip!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Oops a daisy!

I took a tumble at work the other day. Ouchy! I tripped over my own feet. In sneakers. Right on Carlisle Street. As I fell the seasoned cyclist in me ( ha ha!) remembered not to put my hands out. No broken collar bones for me thank you very much. I managed to roll - so now I have a sore shoulder, sore knee and sore ankle. And though I'm super achey and not moving very well did I bruise? Not a bit. All I have is a skinned pinky to show for my spectacular fall. But my young man bought me a pick me up present anyway. It's a cycling hanky!

I was going to save it for waving a fond farewell to Melbourne when we head off to The Continent but I think it might be used to wipe away tears of joy as Cadel wins his second Tour de France. (And I got a bunch of flowers which just shows I married the right sort of man!)- Toodle Pip!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wartime princess

What with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and all I ought it was time to look at the Royals during wartime. This is Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor aged 19, 1945. She'd longed to join the war effort but her father would not allow it. For other women, conscription had been announced in late 1941. By 1943 90% of women were in war work. It wasn't until Princess Elizabeth turned 19 that she was allowed to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), enrolling in a course as a driver and mechanic.

Despite news reports of the time Elizabeth only spent days with the ATS, leaving the other girls to sleep in the dorm while she returned to Windsor Castle. During lecturers she was surrounded by officers though she managed to sneak away for cups of tea with the regular women. Service life lasted only a few months for the princess. When the King allowed her to sign up, he already knew the end of the war was nigh.

Despite the limited freedom this would have been a tremendous boost for homefront morale.

On VE Day Princess Elizabeth slipped away from the castle with Princess Margaret to mingle with the cheering London crowds. - Toodle Pip!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New cardi

A librarian can never have enough cardies! My gorgeous mum is knitting me a pattern from the ever fabulous Stitches in Time vintage knitting book: the bobble cardigan. It's a bit of a mystery at this stage because she had trouble sourcing wool in the country. I don't even know what colour it is. But I can't wait until a brown paper package tied up with string arrives! - Toodle Pip!

Monday, June 4, 2012

A breath of spring

While shivering in front of the heater I'm dreaming of warmer times reading a book on the history of Horrockses - a British ready to wear label that produced dreamy cotton frocks during the late 1940s and 50s.

The colours are like icecream and make you want to rush out and buy a bunch of spring blossoms.

Horrockses are still going today, with a range of bed linen based on earlier frock designs.

Beautiful!- Toodle Pip!