I Wish I Were…

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A word…not just any word but a real WORD.

One that jumped out from the pages of a book and made the world listen. I am not sure what that word would be, if I was lucky enough to be a word, would one word be enough?

A descriptive or perhaps a doing word, or should I say verb, hey that rhymes!, perhaps a one word poem would suffice, then again I guess it would not be poetic. So you see, even if the world was to sit up and listen to me for just one small moment in time, how would little old me make an impact.

I Wish I Were just three little words, separated by two small commas, I would stand on the big stage that is our world and say ” Read, Write, Love” and you never know along the way you may just make a difference.

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A VINTAGE NOVEL….AND THEN THERE WERE…MONTY & MABEL

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A VINTAGE NOVEL…AND THEN THERE WERE MONTY & MABEL

 

Monty’s instruction were to be at the beach to hop on the sea tractor at noon, so here I was. 

It was raining hard but to be honest I was most likely to be sprayed with sea salt and surf in my short jaunt across to Burgh Island anyhow and so this act of god called rain was nothing more than an inconvenience. If I made it across that is, the ‘tractor’ as it crawled closer to me as I patiently waited, reminded me of an iron cage that I had once seen strewn by the side of an Iron merchants. Fit for nothing, used and abused and ready for the ‘iron’ knackers yard up in the sky, yet here I was about to dice with death in my madness, my quest to read vintage books in the writers retreat on Burgh Island and my desperation to adorn my orange wig and dance with Monty until the early hours of dawn.

Had I completely lost the plot! 

Approximately eight minutes later I was back on Terra firma having survived my dicey fairground ride and I was now eager to dump my bag, orange wig and vintage copy of Agatha Christies; ‘And then there were none’. Monty had said he would meet me yet he was no where to be seen…umm odd, not like him to be late. I settled down on the driest rock formation I could find and opened my book.

Agatha Christie had finished this best seller in the year of our lord 1939, although it was known at the time under a different title, and this Island I was now on I believe was named Soldier Island…the very island where everyone in the novel lost their lives. 

“Ahh Mabel, there you are, I didnt see you get off the sea tractor”, Monty paused to catch breath whilst looking me up and down as I stumbled up from my rock.

“Presume you have something to change into sweety, don’t want old Wallis looking down on you in disgust!”, he retorted.

“Blooming charming Monty, I have just endured the journey from hell! come here and give me a hug”, and it was (I add only for a very split second) like we had never been apart. His 1930’s dress sense was still apparent, slicked gelled back hair, smart trousers, adorning neck scarf….get the picture? A tad overpowering with the old aftershave I thought as we brushed cheeks but he certainly looked the part, and me, well little old me, I looked like an extra from a Poirot film, he was right, I was a mess.

“Lets go to the Pilchard and have a nice beer and some Oysters and we can discuss the plan of events for this evenings Ball”, Monty said, slipping his arm though mine. “And then tomorrow you can put pen to paper and finish your book, with all this inspiration around you, there’s sure to be a thrilling ending in there somewhere!”

Yes, I thought..’One little soldier boy left all alone, he went out and hanged himself…and then there were none’, Agatha Christies words came pounding into my head. For some reason which I was unsure of at present, Monty & Mabel’s vintage travels were about to become something of an adventure!

BURGH ISLAND…ART DECO at its best

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BURGH ISLAND...ART DECO at its best

BURGH ISLAND…ART DECO at its best

So, I expect you are all wondering who Monty is and more to the point where is he? yes, well I could ask you all the same. Whilst on my travels, just me and Pash my trusty Vintage Pashley bicycle, I have been pondering whilst my pedaling has reached Olympic standards, that I have not heard from Monty in quite a while.

Well, worry not, I have had a rather impromptu invitation from the one and only…Monty, to meet up for ‘dinner’ at (the one and only) Burgh Island Hotel on the South Devon Coast. ‘DRESS, formal…not a 1950’s tea dress Mabel, we are talking Art Deco style and Panache, so think style darrrliiiinnnnggg‘.

Blooming cheek I thought to myself as I slid the invitation back into its envelope, don’t know what he’s trying to say! I am quite fond of my 50’s stylish tea dresses, but ummm I think I could do style, panache and glamour. May mean a quick trip to the hairdressers to tame my wild red hair but I could always find a sleek wig in a neat bob style I guess.

Pash would have to take a back seat from this trip sadly, I reassured her she would in no uncertain terms NOT be upstaged by my entrance onto the Island in the Sea Tractor, I likened the fact that they both had wheels, were a little on the rusty side and were officially Vintage! And so onwards and upwards with a sleek, black, bobbed wig in one bag, emerald-green cocktail dress in the other, it was off to Bigbury-On-Sea. I would walk the paths of those that came before me, the likes of Wallis Simpson (no disrespect but I was not about to cause a constitutional crisis) Noel Coward (I think I definitely have his wit and flamboyance!) and Agatha Christie to name but a few (yes, I wanted to finish that novel…under the sun, but without the Evil bit).

Get that Sea Tractor ready, the Gin Cocktails on ice, I’m a coming Monty, Mabel will show you she can be that vivacious Flapper girl you requested.

Ahh, just noticed my black, bobbed wig I had ordered, wrapped in its delicate tissue paper to protect it, which was now hanging out of my bag, only my sleek classy imagine was now hurtling towards the bottom of that Devon sea bed and in its place was a stunning Orange ensemble of horsehair!

A little piece of SUSIE COOPER…

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A little piece of SUSIE COOPER…

The bright yellow Vintage bus appeared to be holding up rather a lot of traffic in what was a very busy Lyme Regis high street. I smirked to myself holding onto Pash’s handlebars and wishing Mr old person could see the effects of his new fangled invention the car!

A long que had assembled alongside the yellow bus and I dutifully tagged onto the end of it, wondering how and if I was going to manage to get Pash onto her without some one complaining. I had also just noticed the header sign was stating BOURNEMOUTH on it.

“Umm, excuse me”, I said rather sheepishly to a rather lovely looking lady in front of me. ” This bus is going to Bridport market ive been told?”, she smiled immediately (little too soon for my liking if I’m honest).

“Well, I certainly hope so, me dear, I do believe there is sometimes a detour of sorts but gosh! certainly not to Bournemouth love!”, and rather lovely lady laughed, and then laughed a little louder as if to say, you certainly didn’t take geography at school did you!

“You not from round ‘ere then”, someone else piped up from behind me…and then it started.

“You ‘aint gonna get that bicycle on that there bus you know, driver wont allow it”, Ha! I could now enter into the conversation…”Oh yes its ok he said I could, I was just talking to him only a few moments ago”, so there I thought, suck that in your sucked in cheeks why don’t you.

“No, me dear trust me he wont let it on, last week we had a blind man with his dog”, someone else had joined into the conversation now thinking it must be a free for all, “And he wouldn’t let him on ’cause he said there were no live animals or inanimate objects with wheels allowed on and if im not mistaken that be yer bike there”.

By now people were trundling onto the bus and I was not hanging around idly talking nonsense to the do gooders and I stepped up onto the first step pulling Pash up with me.

Here goes, I smiled, the driver nodded and I paid my £2.50 and received my vintage style ticket in exchange and quickly moved along to a space where I stood holding onto Pash listening to the gaggle and moans that came up the rear onto the bus and exploded in frankly what amounted to a barrage of abuse to the bus driver.

And not the first time today I heard ” Who does she ‘fink she is!”.

Bridport is a lovely market town and I was very much looking forward to spending the rest of the day wandering around the market stalls looking for a few more bargains and was extremely pleased after what seemed like a decade when we pulled up along side the town hall and everyone scrambled off leaving me to juggle the steps with Pash.

“You alrite there love”, Mr Bus Driver enquired looking down at me from his gleaming shrine.

“Well, I think I can manage, although…”, I appeared to be having a little trouble with the hem of my tea dress and the pedal of the bike, as in something had seemed to have got caught.

“Well hurry along now eh, I ‘aint got all day, my missus is expecting me home for tea sometime this century”, he huffed.

Charming I thought to myself as I got off wondering how my return ticket was going to work then, return when circa 2020? still, I was here now and headed off towards the town hall entrance which had a huge poster on its door saying “INDOOR MARKET, FLEA & VINTAGE”

“It ‘er again”, someone piped up as I wandered around the various tables set up with lots of lovely wares. “Do you ‘fink shes famous or some’it, cause you don’t normally dress like that round ‘ere do you”, and so it went on.

” Perhaps she might know what this is ‘ere then Peggy, ask ‘er, no you ask ‘er, go on”, I heard a throat clear from behind me.

“”scuse me Miss, we was wondering like if you knew much about this” and a hand thrust a small ceramic object at me, the owners or possibly owners to be both staring at me from behind their bifocals. I looked down to see the famous deer of the ceramist Susie Cooper staring back at me, the small pin dish also bearing her name. It was about 2.5″ wide in the most crisp black and yellow colours and a stylish art deco circular design.

“Oooo, this is a real lovely find ladies” I said trying to contain my enthusiasm. “It’s by a very collectible ceramisist called Susie Cooper who originally, I believe worked at Burslem, Stoke on Trent, she was very prolific in the 1920’s and her designs are very sought after”, the pin dish at this point was snatched back out of my hand rather quickly. “Are you collectors?” I asked inquiringly.

“Ummm, not exactly are we Glynn” bifocal looked backwards and forwards to other bifocal and my self, but bifocal number two said nothing. “We was gonna buy it for our little ‘un Susie so she could put her hair clips in it but I ‘aint getting her anything that is worth sumfing and ’cause she’ll only go an’ break it!” and bifocal number one put the pin dish back down on the table and off they went.

The lady behind the table smiled weekly at me. “‘Thats Mrs Cooper, she comes ‘ere every other Saturday and never buys a blooming thing!”.

Vintage love

Mabel xxx

A little piece of SUSIE COOPER...

The Vintage coach sets off to Bridport market…

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The Vintage coach sets off to Bridport market...

THE VINTAGE COACH SETS OFF TO BRIDPORT MARKET….

Luckily Pash was still propped up against the railings where I had left her earlier albeit now complete with a few scatterings of seagull splatter! I was dithering for a while deciding on where the safest place to put my prized Art Deco  plates would be…satchel or basket? I was beginning to air towards the basket option purely because since I had acquired my beautiful red Vintage Pashley bike I had yet to put anything other than flowers in it. However, there was the slight problem of my wobbling and so I decided to wander along the promenade and grab an ice cream whilst attempting to make a final decision.

Oh yes, I could just imagine walking along this promenade in 1950, dressed as I am now, swirling a parasol in one hand with a divine young male specimen holding my other. Hey, I was not even perturbed by the stares and glares of Saturday holiday makers, trundling along the promenade with their buckets and spades, faces red from the mid day sun (yes they were undoubtably all English).

“Christ almighty, who does she ‘fink she is!”

“She got enuf war paint on ‘er, matches that contraption shes pushing”, were various comments of the nicer variety I was hearing as I eventually got my double scooped Vanilla ice cream and plonked my self down on the pebbles. Wish I had not bothered to wear these frigging hold ups I thought to myself, this  blasted Summer weather, you just could not dress for an occasion, they are going to have to come off. As I surreptitiously tried to pull off the stockings and roll them up to put in my satchel I heard a very loud up and downy voice shouting his odds:

“Bridport market, come and get your tickets, Vintage bus ride ladies and gents, £2.50 return”, there was a slight pause and off he went on repeat again.

Ummm now there was a thought, I could probably get Pash on there ok if the bus driver was in a good mood and that would save me cycling back the way I came and possibly dodging anymore rain that was expected later on.

“Excuse me”, I shouted after the loud voice who was departing from me at quite a speed.

“Can I bring my bike with me?”, the bus driver stopped and removed his hat as I approached him pushing Pash.

” Well you can try love, I ‘aint promising ’nuffing but as long as no one complains I can’t see a problem, follow me” and there we had the beginnings of a wonderful relationship…now you know I’m telling a little white lie don’t you?

So, I was not perturbed when I approached the delightful yellow vintage bus and noted the sign saying ‘BOURNEMOUTH PIER’

Oh me, oh my, you just don’t want to know the half of it….do you?

Cup cakes anyone?

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Cup Cakes anyone?

One of the great things about village halls and Vintage fairs are the stacks of handmade jams, preserves and such like and that I am pleased to say includes Tea and cake and lets face it after my magnificent Art Deco find and windswept journey I was in great need of a cup of char.

Spider, Pointy nose person had turned out to actually not be quite so scary as she had at first indicated and kindly pointed me in the right direction, that is towards a big chalk board that said REWESHMANTS. Perhaps it was a Dorset spelling but in truth I knew that it was the hard work of the snotty nosed child that was still defacing the chalk board with chalk and etchings of what looked like lumps of poo. That is of the bowel kind and not Winnie. This I was reliably informed by the lady serving the tea, was in fact pictures of chocolate brownies. Ok, we will give them a wide berth I mentally noted and instead I opted for some lovely looking homemade Lavender cup cakes which funnily enough had been placed by the side of the makeshift poo samples.

“They are made me dear with a very old fashioned Dorset recipe, so they fit in very well with the Vintage theme ‘ere”, the rounded lady behind the wooden table said.

“And I’ll let ye into a secret”, hang on let me guess this one, I was half expecting her to tell me they were actually made a 100 years ago and found at a car boot but no I was pleasantly surprised.

“Oooo whats that then”, I said trying to sound interested as I handed over the money for my tea and cupcake, hand shaking due to low blood sugar.

“They ‘ave liquorice in the middle of ’em”, she smiled and puffed her chest out like she was proudly collecting first prize at the village fete baking competition.

Mabel, I thought to my self, its time for you to depart and reacquaint yourself with Pash.

CUP CAKES ANYONE?

Art Deco Metro plates…what a find!

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Art Deco Metro plates...what a find!

ART DECO METRO PLATES…what a find!

Off I get, from Pash looking like a scarecrow that has developed a penchant for the Halloween look! My long flaming red hair secured with my Vintage  hair slide has become a tangle of autumnal weeds, stuck fast and sticking out like some topiary. Yeah, yeah, you can stare at me I am muttering as a young mum scurries past me with her two beautiful looking children huddled at her side, obviously so as not to scare them. I brush myself down as best I can, pat my hair, not sure why? and proceed along the high street pushing Pash in the gutter of the road and head towards the Village hall, which I am told is located near the promenade.

“You not from round ere’ then?”, Mr old person with very, very Vintagy looking rain coat on says matter of factly.

“Is it that obvious”, I laugh giving one of my biggest smiles I can muster without cracking through my war paint that is now probably running down my face. “I was wondering where the Vintage fair in the Village hall is?” am still smiling sweetly.

“Down ther’ at the bottom by the promenade and ‘eye it is obvious me dear. We dont use bicycles round ere’, its the 20th century you know, we have cars as transport” and Mr oh so blooming funny, tips his cap at me and strolls off!

And so eventually I find myself back with my kindred souls, my kinda people, as I push Pash up against the railings and open the large heavy wooden door into the Village hall. Heaven has arrived at last…the smell, the mustiness, the vibrancy, my fellow Vintiquers,  Mabel is here at long last and she he ready for some serious Vintage hunting.

Nestled under some hardback books, a thousand years worth of dust and some pretty damn good-looking spiders that were crawling the length of the books spines, were my prizes. Beauties! they are mine, I fumble and grab, knocking over the remaining books and sending the spiders off to weave their webs elsewhere. The impeccable looking stall holder looks down on me, peeking over her glasses that are balanced just on the tip of her very pointy nose. She purses her lips in a way which means ” You break them love, you are so paying for them”, quite scary in fact.

I have them in my grasp all six of them and they are all in perfect condition. Stamped on the back with METRO and an impressed mark  29/03. Original, authentic, Art Deco plates. Whoo hoo.

Now then lets see how much the spider liking, pointy nose stall holder wants for them…

Summer…?

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Summer......?

SUMMER

Yes indeed you may ask, dressed up to the nines for a bike ride, Vintage leather satchel is strewn across my shoulder and compulsory Vintage wicker basket has been secured precariously on the front of handlebars. I, Mabel that is, am looking in awe of the feat presented to me.

1. How will this Vintage Pashley beautiful red bike manage to carry me, the basket and my hopeful wares I will be searching for all the way to Lyme and back.

2. Have I the energy to ride along the coast line, in this despicable weather I may add, for those of you who doubt my sprightly athleticism.

3. I have no coat, jacket or similar, apart from handmade knitted sage green cardigan which is NOT waterproof and mostly full of moth holes.

4. Yes, the prediction for this Saturday in July is…(can you hear the drum roll???) dah dah RAIN, rain and yep you guessed it more of the same.

I am clambering on Pashley Bicycle regardless, who I have lovingly now nicknamed Pash, not very original but it was the best I could do at short notice.

Oh yes, I look the bees knees as I hurtle downwards to the Dorset coastal Jurassic town, my head not only full of sharp cold biting wind (did I say it was Summer) but of Vintage films and the novels, Persuasion and the French Lieutenant’s Woman spring to mind. Romantic notions of a gone by era, the perfect setting for scouring the small hidden treasure troves of Vintage and Antique wares.

Whoops, bit of a wobble there, hey you steady on there Mr North Wind doth blow! hasn’t anyone told you its SUMMER, that’s right no snow from your neck of the woods, lets ensure I make it into the town first eh…pleaseeeeeeee!

Pashley-Country

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Pashley-Country

MABEL

Ok, I know what you are thinking, the stunning Vintage Pashley bicycle has been named Mabel, yeah that’s real slick, original…not! and you would of course be quite right in thinking this about ‘that’ picture, this blog, the bike and Mabel……

Well picture this……long, wavy flame red hair. Check.

Cute 1950’s tortoiseshell comb, securing hair on left side of face behind ones ear. Check.

Bright red matt lippy, bold, brassy and lots of it, irresistible chic, pouty and wanton. Check. (ok ummm maybe a little over the top for bike ride but hey you never know who one may bump into)

Fitting (not too tight, not too loose, as in housemaid coat way) mint green tea dress. Relatively new, but Vintage as in years, if you sort of know what I mean! delectable bold cerise roses scattered at random on fabric… are you beginning to get the picture? Hold it, like a snap shot as we are not quite finished.

Cream ‘hold me up’ silk stockings, ’cause if you come down its gonna look messy, finished off with divine, brown, flat, moc croc brogue shoes. Check.

A quick splash of  Helena Rubinstein Apple Blossom and we are done.

So, you have now have a picture, a snap shot in your minds eye, hold on tight to it as you are aquaintaing yourself with the one and only. Check.

Mabel……….. we are off for a bike ride.