Friday, 29 December 2017

Merry Christmas!

He's quite a cute little goblin really.
Um, yeah, it's the 29th, so I've left this a bit late. But I have been checking in on everyone's blogs and Instagrams, time permitting. It looks like everyone's been having a good time, which is nice.

Just before Christmas - we drove up on the 23rd, came back on the 24th - we went to Norfolk to see my mum and Brian. My godparents were there, and my brother, his girlfriend and my nephew Harry. Harry's one now, which coincidentally is the sum total of his vocabulary. All he can say is 'cat!' As Mr Robot isn't fond of children, Harry immediately latched onto him, and spent the next few hours repeatedly shouting 'cat!' at him and handing him oranges. Every time the oranges went back in the bowl, Harry would return them to Mr Robot. It was a fun time, and I was glad to see my mum after she nearly died of pneumonia earlier this year.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Crinoline Robot's vintage pre-Christmas week

Hello again! I hope you're having a super pre-Christmas week. All my shopping's done, and we're polishing things off at work, so it's feeling pretty mellow at the House of Robots.

Do you count Die Hard as a Christmas film? Some people do, some don't. I don't exactly, but as it's set at Christmas it is vaguely appropriate to watch it at this time of year. Anyway, Mr Robot saw the Gourmet Picture Company was doing some showings in Bath, and as Casablanca was on the night of our office parties, and It's A Wonderful Life is on a day when the trains are borked* he booked us tickets to see Die Hard. Basically, we went, we sat on really comfy sofas in a big tent, and had a meal brought to us while we watched. The menus are devised by two big-name British chefs, Tom Kerridge and Rick Stein; Die Hard had a Stein menu of prawn cocktail (but a really good one, nodding at your 70s aspirational dinner party rather than your soggy 21st century sarnie al desko), fish curry with rice, and then ice cream - and the banana ice cream I had was fantastic. Because we're heathens we washed our fishy meal down with red wine.

Monday, 18 December 2017

The Leavenworth Case

Don't be fooled by the cover! While it's a reproduction of an old jazz age edition (it's from the same series as The Wychford Poisoning Case and The Silk Stocking Murders, which I reviewed earlier this year), the story within these pages is decades older still. The Leavenworth Case is a very early detective novel indeed, first published in 1878.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Your Christmas viewing and listening

The Sweet Makers at Christmas - cast photo
It's looking like a thin Christmas for telly as far as vintage lovers are concerned! So get your vintage fix in early, as BBC2 has a couple of treats for us this week. On 15 December - this Friday - there's The Sweet Makers at Christmas, where the confectioners explore Christmas sweets enjoyed by the Georgians, Victorians and people of the 1920s. The following night it's showing Feud: Bette and Joan, about the two superstars' career revival and intense rivalry in the 1960s from 16 December.

Over Christmas itself most programmes appear to be either modern, or set much earlier than the 20th century. The BBC's flagship period drama is Little Women, while ITV is highlighting Victoria. Here's my pick of 20th century things to entertain you while you're digesting your turkey.

If I spot anything else interesting, I'll update this page.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Bulldog Drummond [film]

I reviewed the first four Bulldog Drummond novels all the way back in 2010 (yes, this blog really has been going that long!) and I was not a fan. Nonetheless, when the 1929 early talkie came on Talking Pictures TV I Tivoed it, and today got a chance to sit down and watch it - I got through both my print deadlines earlier this week, and both magazines went on time, so I treated myself to a day off.

The date was the thing that grabbed me; you don't often get 1920s films on telly so I wasn't going to waste it, and early talkies are fascinating. This film was adapted from the stage play of Bulldog Drummond, and you can see it in the way the action is confined mainly to a few rooms. It probably made sense given the limitations of early sound technology.

Another reason for watching it was that it had Lilyan Tashman in. Who's Lilyan Tashman? A former Ziegfeld Follies girl, like many a Hollywood beauty, she was also known for being one of the best-dressed women in Tinseltown before her death at 37 from cancer. Given her early death and scandalous life (her lovers included Greta Garbo) you'd think her name would have lingered in the popular consciousness, but it hasn't.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

More than a feeling...

Boston! Boston Spa, to be precise. That's the pattern of these plates. Back in June 2015 Mr Robot and I found a set of six dinner plates in a chazza, and were very pleased with our bargain. This weekend I found myself unexpectedly getting this little lot to go with it, thereby proving Vix's maxim that if you wait long enough, everything turns up in a charity shop.