Friday, February 17, 2012

Lillian Bassman

The timeless, beautiful and frankly, brilliant work of Lillian Bassman, who passed away on Monday aged 94.

Lillian Bassman 
June 15th, 1917 – February 13th, 2012


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day

It's Valentines day today, I had some beautiful vintage images of lovers that I wanted to show you but because of my appalling (non existent) filing system of images stored on my computer I can't find them but this image did jump out at me.

I think this picture demonstrates the sometimes ethereal nature of romantic or unrequited love, of course this is Oscar Wilde's tomb in the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, complete with kisses, somewhere amongst the kisses was my kiss, I say was, it seems the oils from the lipstick marks were eroding the tomb, so they have had the tomb cleaned and a glass barrier erected round the tomb to stop future Wilde admirers blemishing the tomb with the imprints of their lips.

To quote Shakespeare "The course of true love never did run smooth"

Hoping all your days are filled with love

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Big Freeze II

 Crusoe, earlier today, investigating the ice on his lane

OK this cold weather business is really not funny any more... Only a few weeks ago I was bemoaning the fact that the weather was not cold enough as I think it's necessary for the garden to have a cold spell, to kill off all the bugs and diseases so plants and shrubs will be able to develop properly in the spring.  They say be careful what you wish for...

The temperature has not been over minus 1 since Monday.  On Tuesday night the temperature dropped to minus 12 and on Wednesday morning we woke up to no hot water in the bathrooms...Yes the hot water tank is up in the loft and despite the fact that the loft is insulated and the hot water pipes lagged, somewhere along the line something has frozen up.  We have been up there armed with hair-dryers and blow heaters, to no avail, there is nothing we can do except wait for it to thaw.

  Friends have kindly offered us the use of their bathrooms and their still running hot water, MG has taken them up on this but I am a bit funny, the bathroom is a sanctuary to me and I like to practice my bathing rituals within the sanctity of my own walls. 

Degas, 1887

Fortunately all has not been lost, there is still hot water in the kitchen as it is supplied via a different system, I don't have to be like a seventeenth century French aristocrat and douse myself with colognes and perfumes to make up for the fact that I have not bathed.  Without a maid to fill up my bath for me I have taken to filling up a large bowl and armed with a sponge, making sure the bathroom is toasty warm (thank goodness the heating is still working!) have been washing standing up in the bath, I feel quite the Victorian!

Don't we take piping hot running water for granted!

French antique copper bateau bath, they were installed in Châteaus or Maison de Maitres and before hot running water there would have been a maid or valet to fill it.  Would you believe I have seen similar baths in fields used as animal troughs and yes I have enquired who owns the land and bought a couple this way.

French country folk who lived in farmhouses like ours had to make do with small tin bathtubs like these, hopefully filled with hot water boiled over the fire by a loving spouse and placed in front of the fireplace.  We found a load of these in our garage when we bought the house, they make excellent planters, though I could have done with one this morning!

I don't believe it, the blogging Gods have heard me, whilst I have been typing this the frozen pipes have thawed, I am off to the bathroom whilst the going is good, the temperature is forecast to drop to minus 15 on Sunday!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fabulous Photographer, Baron de Meyer

Baron de Meyer is often credited with being the first fashion photographer, personally I think his work is sublime, he has an interesting Wikipedia entry too...

Le Compte Etienne de Beaumont 1919

Irene Castle more about her here

Woman overlooking Florence 1900

 Coco Chanel 1923

Gloria Swanson 1921

Rather lovely book available here and here

Friday, February 3, 2012

Qualcosa Per il fine Settimana

I am neither Italian nor American but whenever I hear this song, I find myself singing or humming it for  never fails to put a smile on my face...(Especially worthwhile in full screen).


Wishing you all a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Big Freeze

With news of freezing conditions all over Europe it was only a matter of time before the cold, snowy weather reached us.  We have had it easy up to now with a very mild winter, lots of sunshine and plants which have no business to be blooming at this time of year, blooming.  This cold spell is set to continue with us for the next week.

I still retain that childish sense of excitement when upon waking the world has turned white.  Here are some Instagram snaps of my morning walk with Crusoe, up the lane and round the Château, the sky is laden with snow and the village is monochrome and very still, Crusoe and I, the only creatures stirring, we could have been walking in a century long past...