November 24, 2014

Bits and Bobs

 I am home from Sherborne England and diving head first into all that is Christmas retail. But there is much to miss from there, mostly my dear friends and...
 All that is English country life in the damp cool of Autumn
 Taking walks and making discoveries like these beautiful stone walls
 The architecture

 Grand entryways
 And THIS wine! I am ruined, sanctioned by the Queen and Prince of Wales, the experience is unrivaled. Did see an opportunity to have 6 bottles shipped for $600.00....not happening...
Never heard of Samphire, have you? Pronounced "sam fire". Finally I thought to myself, a very low calorie snack I loved. It's crisp/salty flavor is like a moment at the coast with salt sprays on a hot summer day.  Kale move over, this is the future, if, I can find it......
My personal design aesthetic is 'British Country House' with a masculine lean. Their antiques  leave me drooling and quite covetous! 
Many items, in VERY HEAVY suitcases came home with me, the rest, over the pond awaiting their ship. This shop is the Snooty Fox in Bridport, an antique mecca in the south west 
Here is Stanley, a vintage upholstery connoisseur. Love the British attachment to their dogs, seen everywhere!

Ready for this.......As Sylvia and I were about to leave the owner asked if we would like to view her "head". Naturally I am game, but was not prepared for this 1920's era wax head from Paris. Eerily life-like, we suddenly gasped when it we noticed the teeth were real! This led to a massive dose of curiosity and required further research into Victorian era orthodontics.
When women of means were born with less than perfect teeth, all of their teeth were removed then fitted for a sparkly, new set. Young women born with beautiful teeth, in poverty,  removed and sold their teeth.  Hmmmm, a win/win? One of my British friends was non-pulsed by my story, "oh yes she confirmed, both my Mother and Grandmother had their teeth removed!"
 OK, the goods........ well a few of them. First this bottle drying stand.
Stay tuned, these are for a client, to be separated, and wall mounted as light fixtures.....I know,  impossible to describe, can't wait to share
 This massively heavy copper Georgian wine carrier. Yes, came home in one of my suitcases! cannot imagine the weight when filled with the 6 wine bottles it accommodates.
Ah but imagine the picnics this attended, I am envisioning Ascot for one
Mid 19th c. landscape oil by Walter J. Watson, 'Morning near Llangefni Anglesey' (Wales)
Was enamored by the detail and shading
And naturally a good sky signifies a masterful artist
 We named him Benedict. This beauty will be hard to part with
I am told US customs is not as enchanted by moss' and lichens as I am. Horrors.....I have heard stories of them being scrubbed clean!
French Louis Phillipe mirror with original glass. The chiseled 'X' pattern is revealed by worn gold gilt. Personally I enjoy the warm glow of revealed Bole.
 "Brown" wood is out of favor. Painted furniture is in. So, while locals shun wood, this American pounced. My favorite is this combo chest/desk, c early1800's. The drawers are lined in newspaper dated 1835, pre Queen Victoria ascending the throne
 Alas an abundance of secret compartments yielded no secrets
Jackpot! The gnome Mother-Lode, 14 in all, most, such as this one, were charmingly weather worn and miniature. Quintessentially British!
And, a hand carved wooden dough bowl large enough to bathe a Labrador
Dreams of England are still strong
Dreams of France are within reach.
Planning nearly complete, Sylvia and I will reveal our 2015 Paris/Normandy tour of antiquing, gardens and cuisine, shortly

                                          A Very Happy Thanksgiving to all
                                                              xo Debra

November 13, 2014


What a poignant week to be in England. There was Remembrance Day, quickly followed by Armistice Day, on the same day as our Veterans Day. Ashamedly, back home Veterans Day is not given enough thought, speaking for myself. Having never been here  this week, has been profound and quite though provoking. Witnessing the British pomp and circumstance with seemingly the entire nation in a collective remembrance that touched most families.
This year in particular is the centennial of the start of World War I
Nearly every village, town and city has their War Memorial listing the village boys, lost to war.  WWI was a  brutal war that "lost a generation of the best and brightest."
The Tower of London enveloped in an exhibit called Blood Swept Land and Seas of Red by British artist Paul Cummins

The long ago moat was filled with hand made ceramic poppies, 888, 246, one for each soldier lost
We went to London to see this first hand, along with an estimated 5 million others. The crowds were massive, polite and completely silent
On Armistice Day,  a tradition from 1918, is the laying of the poppy wreaths at the Cenotaph, London's War Memorial
The first wreath is always laid by the Monarch, followed by members of the Royal family, politicians, service and regiment leaders, followed by the leaders of their commonwealths. Here is King George in 1918, Queen Elizabeth's grandfather
The country stopped for 2 minutes of silence. 
The 88 year old Queen and her 93 year old husband, stood firmly in place while all the wreaths were laid.
This year, hailed many terrorist threats and it was suggested the Royal family not participate, the Queen would have none of that
Back in Sherborne I walked to it's memorial in front of the ancient Abbey
I have to say what has moved me is listening to stories of the veterans, people who were children in London emerging from shelters to find everything they knew bombed away, the sights, the sounds and the smells. 
Crosses for each man of Sherborne lost in war

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