Wednesday 27 February 2008

Nostalgia trip (oh and that earthquake!)

For my mum on Sunday

I admit it, the tremor or even earthquake last night gave me the proper heebie-jeebies! Not even the bird table fell over and I did drop off to sleep incredibly quickly but it was the oddest sensation I've ever had, mother nature was absolutely in charge and the realisation that, even for only a few seconds, I was on a rollercoaster I had no choice about getting off. It was so strange, just waiting for the earth to settle back down and steady itself. It was as if the whole house was inside the washing machine on full spin, a shuddering, rumbling sensation that was over so quickly but I'll never forget it.

You can understand why in ages past people thought things like this were portents, omens for the future and all that. Hope it bodes well for our big night tomorrow. Woody's passion in life - apart from me obviously ?! - is comedy. Last year he and his friend set up a comedy night in town and they went down pretty well. He started up again in January and we were amazed because it sold out, nearly 100 seats! The acts were really good and we've got some more lined up for the next one tomorrow and I've been helping out a bit to drum up publicity and make posters and things. Woody is the compere and learning the trade, he'd love to do stand-up professionally one day but he's happy just getting stage time at the moment. Keep your fingers crossed for us and hope for another good crowd and some very funny acts.
Its been a busy old week, B had his first ever school concert, all about Mother's Day. He was a clown, but with no face paint (something to do with scratchy brushes?) and it was incredibly cute. Today is my lovely sister Eechie's (Rachel) birthday and I'm wishing her a dust-free break from her mammoth house restoration project and I'm really looking forward to taking her out for tea next week.
Not much chance for treasure-hunting this week but I quickly popped into a charity shop during my trip to the market and found the sweet, artificial primula in the top picture for 50p. It's a lovely colour and adds a bit of spring cheer when I've forgotten to chuck out my daffodils and left them to go all limp and brown in the jug! I've also bought this gorgeous book which I glimpsed in a house in Country Living, its so beautiful and has led me on a bit of a nostalgia trip this week - more of that further on.

My other treat was to finally bring out my Greengate apron which I've was holding onto until it really began to feel as if winter was drawing to an end. It was a present from Eechie for my last birthday and - now this is daft - I love wearing so much, even more than a new top! Ridiculous I know but it's so cheery, springy and lets me pretend I am the domestic goddess I wish I was sometimes!

What I would really lovely is a 1940s style apron/housemaids' slip style thing. I've been watching a lovely programme over the past few weeks called the Wartime Kitchen Garden that re-creates dishes and gardening methods from the war.

It's very nostalgic and has been a real eye into how my grandparents would have managed with rationing and digging for victory in those difficult days. My grandad was a wonderful gardener, especially with vegetables, and kept hens too, all a legacy from the post-war rationing days after he came back from Burma. Bless my Grandma though, not exactly a natural cook - must be where I get it from!

I'm completely in love with the fashion too. You might already have realised that I'm a bit of a fair isle fanatic and I would really love a nipped-in sweater in a rosy, fair isle pattern (Girl's Own Store sells this one but not in my size boo hoo and I can't knit! - did you see the vintage home with all those gorgeous fabrics in CL this month? It belonged to the owner of this fabulous shop and was where I saw the lovely book above too).

The young evacuee in the programme (played by an actress who actually looks about 27!) has fabulous hair-dos and I desperately want her apron!

I think all the visits to the wonderful steam railway near our house. are rubbing off! The boys love it and as its only a couple of minutes walk from home its a smashing place to take visitors for a stroll, have a look at the engines and then a walk along the river bank. There are three stations on the line and a brilliant long tunnel, all restored and maintained by volunteers. You can even buy Footplate Experinces for the proper trip down memory lane, (we clubbed together to buy one for dad's 60th birthday and six months later he's still talking about how amazing it was!).

The station's are all restored to the reflect the golden age of steam with period fittings, piles of vintage luggage and even wicker baskets complete with carrier pigeons! There are regular 40s weekends and other events, often with music of the era that I really enjoy. One of my favourite things is to be putting out the washing in the garden, hear the whistle of the train and look down the hill to see the great clouds of soot and steam billow into the air then watch them trail behind the engine as it chuffs down the valley and out of sight. I know it was such a terrible time but there is something about the faded glamour and drama of those days I find fascinating.

So, mamonth post over. I've been tagged by the lovely Retro Rose at The Old Quilt to take part in the Archive Meme but I'm struggling a bit with finding the right posts but I'll do that soon.

Have a smashing Mother's Day with your mums, children and memories and enjoy the weekend.Xx


Nonnie said...

What a lovely long post! I love all that 40s stuff too. As you say, it was a tough time but there is something so appealing about the style of the era. I'm also a huge fan of fairisle. I had a lovely beret and I think cardigan as well when I was little. How I wish I still had them now, even just to have on display. I loved the home of the Girls Own owner. I keep looking at it for inspiration.

Garden Girl said...

Ooh, great post, have been reading it at my desk whilst eating a boring sandwich and you have cheered me up no end! The place where you live sounds beautiful, you paint a really lovely picture of the surrounding countryside...and I love your spotty apron! Good idea to keep it tucked away until Springtime too.I should imagine it makes you love it all the more!Enjoy Mothers Day with your little people x

Ragged Roses said...

There's nothing like a bit of nostalgia, thanks Steph! Love the greengate apron, beautiful green. Love too the 40s style apron, I would love one of those too. Hope you have a great Comedy night. That earthquake sounds scarey

tess said...

best wishes for the comedy night, sounds fun!
love that apron!!!!

cd&m said...

Love long posts with lots of sumtious pics like this one. Good luck to Woody.

Lucy Bloom said...

Hi Steph, phew that was a mammoth post, where to begin. I can see why you love the Greengate apron so much, I think all their stuff is gorgeous. I've got an old pinny pattern similar somewhere, keep meaning to get it out and make a pinny. I think I have that Countryside book somewhere too, I'll have to put in on display now that it's been seen in CL!
Lucy x

Sal said...

I love the steam railway picture.
And the book looks lovely too.;-)Sal

blessings said...

I do love all that old fashioned stuff! When a post is full of wonderful things, it's ok to be long =) Blessings... POlly

French Knots said...

The station sounds like a great place to visit, my son would love it.
Lovely apron, you can't fail to cook something yummy when wearing it!

Deb said...

Wonderful post Steph. I love your apple green Greengate apron.

Sal said...

Thanks for your message on my blog,Steph. I will add you to my faves and call regularly to read your lovely blog.Sorry,could not find your email address.Sal;-)

Anonymous said...

what a lovely post, it really cheered me up, I know what you mean about the pinny, I am like that when I put mine on,
enjoy your night out and mothers day too.

Rosie said...

Oh, Steph you really brought back memories for me - both of my grandmothers used to wear those cover all aprons - I remember visiting when I was little and they always had them on in the house.

I slept through the earthquake. My husband woke up and saw the alarm clock jumping on his bedside table and thought to himself - 'oh, it's an earthquake but it's a long way off' and went back to sleep. Typical! Have a great weekend and mothering sunday :)

No one is you ...& that's your power said...

Hello Steph
I love your apron such a lovely colour too.
Yes the 40s era is lovely and the style so feminine and womanly.
Good luck with the comedy night , very brave husband(i would be terrified!)
X Dominique

Perfectly Lovely said...

I absolutly adore everthing from the 40's to, I always felt as though that was the time I should of been around (that sounds odd but im sure you know what I mean!).
I must say I have become rather taken to the greengate range, especially as we creep in to spring, the colours and prints on their fabrics seem to be inspired by that time of year.

I hope you have a lovely mothersday.

Jen x

Unknown said...

enjoyed reading and looking at the pictures, its a lovely post, tks for sharing :)

Claire said...

I too love the 40's and 50's. I think it's cos I had older parents I kind of grew up a bit old fashioned, which was a source of endless embarassment when I was younger, but now I feel wierdly proud of. Your bit aboutthe steam railway made me smile - my dad lived in Hull, and my mam was woking in Keithley, just outside Bradford in the 50's, and my dad used to visit my mam each week, taking her a bunch of Chrysanths (my mam's favourite flower) and a box of chocolates. Often he would end up missing trains to come back and more often than not got chatting to the train drivers and riding on the footplate back with them on the milk train. I love steam trains and think they should be preserved so more people can enjoy them. I haven't forgotten about your embroidery patterns, by the way, just getting to a post office when it's open is proving hard! x

Lucy Bloom said...

Hi Steph, I bought the shower curtain a few years ago at TKMaxx, I don't know if they's have anything like it now, they seem to have gone a bit more modern in their stock.
Have a lovely Mother's day,
Lucy x

Claire said...

Hi, funnily enough I've left a comment on Cherry Menlove forum about nostalgia, I think with everything going on in this era, it makes us feel safe to think of the past, its a comforting thing, dont you think? I would of loved to have been around in the 50's which were my mum and dad era, all the lovely stylish fashions, my mum wore beautiful clothes, she used to say she wished she had kept them for me but she was a tiny size 8 and no way would they have fitted me....but its great to look back at the photos.
I love the train station near to you, my oldest boy has always loved trains and was very fascinated with the train spotters at our staion when he was around four, he ised to say it's when he grew up he wanted to do what they did!!! He would love to visit, it looks very nostalgic.

mollycupcakes said...

Great post honey, loving the apron, I live in mine also lol any excuse to put it on.
Hope you've had a lovely mother's day.

Catherine x

Cowboys and Custard Mercantile said...

Loved reading this post Steph.. it was akin to a good shopping trip without spending any money!
So many delights.. your pinny is fab and matches my table cloth.. I can't wear that though!
Fairisle is fab too.. and I covet my beloved's knitted fairisle vest.. a little too big for me alas.
I think your description of the earthquake is spot on.. I experienced a strong earthquake on the island of Ithaca in the Ionian sea 6 years ago and it was a very strange feeling... the furniture walked across the room!

Love to you