Tuesday, 26 May 2015

One Summer: America 1927, Bill Bryson [books]

Mr Robot and I went to a talk on One Summer when it was first released and bought our (signed!) copy then, and I'm ashamed to say it's taken me this long to get around to reading it. Once I started, I really enjoyed it.

The title is accurate: it is literally the story of the summer of 1927 in the United States. However, as Billy Bryson said, so much happened that year. The big events, and the one his narrative is centred on, are Charles Lindbergh becoming the first person to fly across the Atlantic non-stop, and Babe Ruth setting his incredible record of 60 baseball home runs in a season. So much else happened that year, too, though: there was horrific flooding in the southern US, which Herbert Hoover oversaw the relief effort on, The Jazz Singer was released (which changed cinema forever), Al Capone's criminal career was at its peak, and many other things.

Friday, 22 May 2015


A toy robot looking at the Royal Crescent, Bath
I mentioned in my 'Making do and mending' post that I planned to walk more and lay off the beer. And what do you know, I have actually managed to do both! The beer is the hard part; I like beer, and I like the warm friendliness of pubs. Pubs struggle nowadays, so I actually feel a bit guilty for not supporting my locals. I haven't given up beer totally, so maybe I'll allow myself a trip to the pub this weekend. The walking, however, has been easy. We drive in to Bath each day - it's cheaper than getting the train for two of us, and if we got the train we'd be at the mercy of Worst Late Western and their delays and cancellations - and so we drive in early in order to find a parking space. I start work at 9:30, so instead of coming into the office and bimbling around for ages, I've started taking a morning walk, fitting easy exercise into time that would otherwise be frittered away.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Giant Jumble Sale and tiny Tinny Tim

One of the best things about blogging is when you step away from the computer and meet bloggers in person. You know what? All the ones I've met have been every bit as much fun in real life as they are online. Yesterday I got to meet Cate from Vintage Gal as we both went to the Vintage Bazaar Giant Jumble Sale in Frome. She's really nice, and Mr Robot and I had a good natter with Cate and her mum about fixing up old houses, spud-brained cats and so on. Also, I have to say this photo doesn't do her dress justice; it is absolutely gorgeous and I was dead envious! (Cate's post about her purchases.)

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Five retro heroes

We may not be seeing it here in Blighty, but Agent Carter, Marvel's female-led 1940s-set TV series, has been renewed for a second season so it might be coming. Apparently it's already popular with cosplayers at SF and comic conventions in the US. Deprived as we are of one retro hero, here are five others who you can still enjoy in book, comic, film or radio form.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Making do and mending

Red broderie fabric
That's definitely red!
I had a jolly good whinge in my last post, didn't I? But grumbling never does anyone any good for long; far better to blow off steam then look at ways to make things better. Let's start with that brown shirtdress I grizzled about. Loved the dress, but felt the colour really didn't do me any favours. Well, it's now VERY red - probably a little bit warmer than in the photo, thanks to a box of Dylon Tulip Red.

I first dyed things using Dylon washing machine dye a couple of years ago, re-blacking things, and last year tried changing the colours of some things (palest grey capris and beige blouse both turned apple green). It's so easy to use - you just put the dye in the drum, add a 500g of salt, pop in the item to dye and wash it at 40 degrees. After that, another 40-degree wash rinses out any excess, and job done. I chose red for this dress as I needed something that would blend well with the existing brown, and while the label said the dress and lining were both cotton, it said nothing about the embroidery. The embroidery DID take the dye, but none of the seam thread did. However, I like the effect of the brown buttons and stitches against the red, so this counts as a success. My green capris still have pale grey seams, though it's hard to see, and I suspect a lot of modern clothing is held together with synthetic thread, so that's something to take into account if you're dyeing things.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Shoe boo-hoo

Well, I was going to blog about my new Miss L Fire 'Betty' shoes today, but they arrived and didn't fit, and instead I posted them back. Miss L Fire have sold out of the next size up, so I guess this is something I will have to mark down as Not Meant To Be. (The shoes were horribly expensive, meaning my sorrow is tempered by a sort of relief, especially as Vix's recent post on her car-boot boots has inspired me to look harder at footwear in my local charity shops.)

Monday, 4 May 2015

Plastic Fantastic: the Bakelite Museum

The entrance to the Bakelite Museum, Willerton, Devon
A couple of years ago I went on a photoshoot in Devon with work (holding reflectors and lugging bags of camera kit, obviously, not modelling) and we passed a sign for the Bakelite Museum. A Bakelite Museum? I had never heard of such a thing. Needless to say, it went on my list of places I wanted to go. The weather was changeable during our holiday in Devon last week, so on one of the wetter days we finally made the trip to the disused grain mill in Willerton where it is housed.