Friday, 31 July 2015

And the winner is...

The random number generator picked out number six, LOUISE NORMAN!

Louise, please email a postal address for me to send the box of robotness to - my email address is crinolinerobot AT yahoo DOT com.


Everyone else, I've got a huge pile of wool at home, so I'm thinking of doing a winter woolly giveaway later in the year when I get my knit together. If I do find time to make some nice hats and gloves, what are people's preferred eras/colours? I won't do those as a draw, I'll do them on a 'first comment wanting it gets it' basis.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Birmingham with a toy robot

Every blogger looks at the search terms people use to find their blog. As I've covered both Chrystabel Leighton-Porter (the model for risque wartime cartoon strip 'Jane') and the astonishingly buxom Sabrina (no surname needed, back in the 1950s) in my 'Forgotten Bombshells' pieces, I get a fair few people looking for them, usually either their measurements or in the nude. Oh, internet*. However, a while back someone searching for 'Nice places to go with a toy robot' found my blog. Were they looking for nice places to go that already had a toy robot for them to meet, or nice places where their toy robot would be welcome? Sadly, I had no way of knowing.

Never let it be said that Crinoline Robot is a blog that doesn't deliver! I bought a toy robot, and took my metal retro-chum (and my husband, Mr Robot) to Birmingham this Tuesday and Wednesday. England's second-largest city, Birmingham is renowned for its friendliness, so when a terrorism 'expert' on Fox News in the US claimed earlier this year that the city was a no-go area for non-Muslims, it caused a lot of hilarity. This was the first time I'd been anywhere in Brum that isn't either Edgbaston or the NEC, so I wasn't sure if it would be nice, but I had pretty high hopes.

I didn't do much vintage shopping, as we just wanted to wander and see what we could find. Going to a new place with a list of shops and attractions to visit takes away some of the joy of exploration, I find. I was really impressed with Birmingham from the moment we left the station. I love Victorian buildings, and the city has some super ones. In fact, I liked a lot of the buildings I saw; Birmingham had the confidence to build big without losing the sense that the city was a place for people, and as well as some great Victorian structures there were also attractive large ones from the 1920s and 1930s with beautiful deco touches.
One place I was dead keen to go was the municipal Art Gallery and Museum, as they've got the finest collection of Pre-Raphaelite works anywhere. There weren't masses on display, but there were some very famous ones (The Blind Girl, The Pretty Baa-Lambs, the cartoon for King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid, The Last of England), and the only redheaded version of Rosetti's Proserpine, and a version of Beata Beatrix which I like better than the one in the Tate as the dove is white and the poppies are red - the Tate's version has the colours the other way around. I believe the bulk of the collection is drawings, so perhaps they keep them archived to protect them from light damage.

The Staffordshire Hoard is also on display at the museum, and as I did two years' courses in Anglo-Saxon as part of my degree, I was keen to see that. It was, shall we say, popular with children. (Very noisy!) The hoard was mostly items accumulated and squirrelled away, presumably after a battle, and while the workmanship of the pieces is impressive, and the possible origin of the hoard as a whole and the items within it intriguing, seen all together it is mostly a lot of fragments.
We recuperated from sightseeing in a pub.
We got lucky with our hotel; Mr Robot was treating us so we stayed at a plush one, the MacDonald Burlington, and got put in a suite! No idea why they did that for us, but it's always nice to get an unexpected upgrade. That said, if you're on a tight budget, places like the Travelodge are just as central.

And on Wednesday Tinny Tim went to the cricket. I wasn't entirely sure if I should take him, because part of the attraction of the cricket is the chance to sit in the sun drinking beer for eight hours or so, but I decided he'd probably be safe enough if I confined him to my bag most of the time. My favourite cricket ground is Lords, but then I'd only been to Edgbaston once before, for a rain-soaked one-day match between England and the West Indies. This would be the first day of a Test match**, and not just any Test match but an Ashes test too. The 'Ashes' – England versus Australia – is one of the biggest events in the cricketing world, and definitely the biggest for England and Australia fans. If you want to feel the passion and pride, and enjoy the banter and singing, of cricket, it's the thing to go to.
He's wearing a radio so he can hear Test Match Special.
Before we went to our seats, we had a breakfast bap. Actually, it was a breakfast brioche. Very fancy. And very tasty! Other foods consumed during the day were lamb curry and a pork soft taco, both very good - there's a huge food area with a wide selection of things on offer at the ground. I also tried the Edgbaston Cheese Crunch as I'd seen it mentioned on the ground's website but had no idea what it was. Basically, it's macaroni cheese covered in breadcrumbs and fried. Probably not very healthy, but I enjoyed it. Anyway, the cricket: it went very well, actually. England bowled all the Aussies out in the day, even though we'd had a few breaks for rain, and our position, just to the left behind the bowler's arm, was perfect.
Birmingham is definitely a nice place to go with a toy robot. Or even without one.

*If you've found your way here looking for Sabrina sauce, go back to Google and search for “Best Of Our Beautiful Sabrina”. I believe B.O.O.B.S. supporters get access to all sorts of galleries of the lady in her prime. 

** The longest form of the game, up to five days, played only by the ten nations to have achieved Test status.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Partners In Crime [television]

Agatha Christie Partners in Crime Walliams Raine episode 1
 I had a mixture of hopes and fears for the new TV version of Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime stories. On reflection, it wasn't awful, but I didn't fall immediately in love with the programme.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Win a box of robotness!

Yes, it's a little later than I'd have liked, but it is time for my annual blogoversary giveaway. In case you're not familiar with them, to celebrate another year of speaking my branes I give away a box full of things I like in the hopes that you might like them too. They're always all things I've bought or made, I'm not simply passing on promotional freebies. Anyone from anywhere in the world can enter. All you have to do is leave ONE comment, and then I'll pick a winner using a random number generator. Dead simple, eh?

Monday, 20 July 2015

New old dresses, old old dresses

1970s-does-Edwardian. Gorgeous.
I took delivery of a new old dress at the weekend - a grey wool late 1950s jobbie with a slim skirt and 3/4 sleeves. This is an odd time of year to be buying wool dresses, I suppose, but I got it because it was on sale on Etsy and the price was too good to resist.. It'll be just as wearable in three or four months' time. With that and my new 1960s pink cutwork shift (swapped for a silk Trashydiva dress I'd outgrown) I'm doing quite well for frocks this month.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

In which I apologise for being rubbish

I have not been eating cake. I spent seven days
living on soup, and can now manage mash.
I would like to claim to have been bimbling again, hence the lack of interesting activities on my part, but the truth is that with print deadline next week – my magazine recently went up in pagination, so there's loads more work and I went into the office yesterday (Saturday) – and my hideous dental infection sapping my will to do anything I've done very little of any interest. But here's what has gone on/ is coming up...

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Britain on Film

Britain on Film is a new digitisation project led by the British Film Institute, aiming to show the lives of British people over the past century. You can search the collection by location, decade or subject (for example, Factories, Street Scenes or even State Visits!). It includes classic TV programmes and feature films, but also documentary footage and home movies. Not all of the content is free to watch -  you'll need to pay for some of the films - but a good portion of it is. Also, you have to be in the UK to see the films.