Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The scandal of Georgian Calcutta

A cup of tea
Grab a cuppa, this is a long post.
Who’s Eliza Lane? She's a woman who scandalised Georgian Calcutta. (I'm calling it Calcutta in her story 'cos that's what it was called when she lived there; obviously I will be visiting Kolkata!) Eliza’s my ancestress. Normally family history can be a bit dull for non-related people, but I think she is pretty interesting. Over the years I’ve dug up more information on her, and I’m really hopeful that we’ll be able to visit either her memorial or her grave when we’re in Kolkata.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

I'm getting a sewing machine!

singer sewing machine ad from the 1960s
Yes, Mr Robot told me he's going to get me a sewing machine for my birthday. Why tell me now? We'll be in Kolkata on my birthday, so we'll go and pick one out together either before we go or after we get back. I'm unbelievably excited about this, as I've wanted one for so long. My friend Naomi is really talented with her machine, and she said to make sure whatever I get has one-step buttonholes, but not to worry too much about fancy stitches as she only ever uses four or five. If you have any other good advice, please do comment. All I know is I'll be getting a Husqvarna as there's a Husqvarna shop in Bath. Beyond that, I've no idea.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Crinoline Robot's vintage week

Weirdly, though there hasn’t been a major shift in the amount of vintage in my life, I’ve been feeling the love of Old Tat much more strongly over the past couple of weeks. Not sure why. It could be pondering what the new attic room will look like – don’t laugh, but I’m currently leaning towards a 1970s look with spider plants in brass pots and macrame hangers, and faded patchwork bedspreads. Mr Robot was pretty startled at that. I’m not a massive fan of the 1970s, as you know, so I dare say I’ll see something and completely change my mind again. But just exploring possibilities, having fun with it, working out what I like, has made me realise once more how much I love hunting out old things. Like everyone, I'm too prone to comparing myself to other people and deciding I fail to match up – not thin enough, not pretty enough, not into 'vintage enough' or not into the 'right sort of vintage', and really that's all daftness. There's no shame in just liking what we like. So if in my case that turns out to be 70s macrame pothangers, I can live with it.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Back In Time For Tea

Did you think the BBC couldn't possibly take any more forays into culinary history. WELL YOU WERE WRONG!

It's nice to be wrong, isn't it?

A new series, Back In Time For Tea, starts on BBC2 on Tuesday 6 February. 

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Dead Man's Blues [book]

Somehow Ray Celestin's debut novel, The Axeman's Jazz, passed me by, but after reading this, his second, it's rocketed to the top of my book shopping list.

Dead Man's Blues is set in Chicago in 1928, a long, hot summer when Al Capone's power was at its peak, and follows three investigations: two Pinkertons, Ida Davis and Michael Talbot, are on the trail of a missing rich girl. Gangster Dante Sanfelippo is brought in by Capone to investigate a poisoning that appears to be an attack on his operation. And crime scene photographer Jacob Russo, whose disability prevents him joining the police force, feels compelled to look into a gruesome killing on his own.