Thursday, 28 November 2013

1932 Daimler Double Six

Here's a motor car! This 1932 Daimler Double Six, with coachwork by Gurney Nutting (after a design by H R Owens), was commissioned by director Herbert Wilcox for his wife Anna Neagle. With its bonnet at eight feet long and the wheel-base of well over twelve feet, it is only just shorter than the Bugatti Royale and the driver sits ten feet away from the front wheels. Only twenty six Double Sixes were ever made and this sports' saloon is probably the only one of its kind in the world. Recently fully restored, it represents about two million pounds' worth of driving pleasure.

Friday, 15 November 2013

A New Book on Kindle

Trethosa Parc Publishing has just published this short, biographical work on Amazon Kindle:

This is about the life and early tragic death of Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales, only legitimate heir to the Prince Regent and the first of several books (on a range of subjects - including more 'Great Lives in Brief'), that are on the starting blocks, awaiting formatting, and which I will announce on this site, as they are published.

I am changing the cover overnight tonight. Well, overnight here that is!

Friday, 6 September 2013

A Novel

Here's a new novel (The Fit-Up); close to home but, sadly, not yet the one that I promised . However, I can promise that, in none of our books, will there ever appear an ostensibly operative, last will and testament, that has just one witness! 

Meanwhile, enjoy this:-

Saturday, 20 July 2013

History of Men's Fashion

The revised 2013 reprint is now available and I think that it was worth the effort.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Thursday, 20 June 2013

History of Men´s Fashion

The revised and reprinted History of Men´s Fashion appears to be now available in the places where the earlier version had become unavailable.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

History of Men's Fashion - What the Well-Dressed Man is Wearing Reprint

A revised reprinted History of Men's Fashion is in production and will be available soon.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

History Today

There is a piece by me on Brummell and the Dandies' Ball in the July edition of History Today.

The Field: June edition

I have a piece in the June edition of The Field, on buttonholes.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

A Little News

There are a couple of small news items. First of all, I have just delivered the amended proofs of History of Men's Fashion - What the Well Dressed Man is Weating for an updated and 'improved' further reprint and, secondly, besides the features in the January  and February editions of The Field magazine (respectively on loving cups, and the Aston Martin link with James Bond), I have a feature in the June edition (published on May 16th) on buttonhole flowers. Oh! - and, by chance, 16th May is the 197th anniversary of the beginning of Beau Brummell's nocturnal flight to Calais, down the Dover Road, and into legend.

Finally, here's a nice little number from Jack Buchanan, just to show that, in the contexct of the modern world we are a very special minority interest group indeed:

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

St George's Day

Roses come into it so I guess that it has something to do with gardening -

Since 4 June 1793, to celebrate the birthday of King George III, there has been the Eton Boating Procession, when the boys wear boaters which, since WWII, have been bedecked with real flowers - and increasingly far too many of them - far too bling (real flowers also almost always anachronistically appear in 'period dramas' in films and on the television). Before WWII there had been a special boater -

decorated with a red ribbon, bearing the gold lettering 'St George', artificial roses and the badge of St George.

Little is known about the real St George. Eusebius of Caesarea mentions a soldier of noble birth who was executed by the Emperor Diocletian on 23 April 303 AD; his head being taken to Rome and his body being buried in his native Lydda, in Syria, where a spectacular rose bloomed on  his grave. He is traditionally held to have been the defender of the poor and the weak and, besides recognition in many other countries too, he is enough of a Saint, next to St Sebastian, to warrant a holiday in Rio de Janeiro.

The legend of his slaying the dragon to save a beautiful maiden dates from the sixth century and was included in The Golden Legend by James Voragine in 1265; although placing the event in the Lebanon; whereas English tradition places it on Dragon Hill, Uffington (where the dragon's blood poisoned the earth so that no grass will grow on the spot). Sainted since 900, the Synod of Oxford, sitting at Osney Abbey in 1222, decreed that 23 April should be a holiday in England (but it is no longer - at least not in the sense of a vacation). St George is supposed to have appeared to the Crusaders at the Battle of Antioch in 1098 and King Richard III (The Lionheart) adopted him as his Patron Saint during the third Crusade.

By the end of the fourteenth century, St George (displacing St Edmund), was established as the patron saint of England.

Accordingly, on this day: sursum corda:

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Next Post

I have decided that my next post will not appear until I have something to report on my garden.

Friday, 12 April 2013

80 Years Young

Aged 80 in this clip and just about the last one left of her generation of real, old, live entertainers - and no wonder the Carlisle Hotel in NY lets Elaine Stritch live there free in return for a couple of nights' entertainment a month:

Going Dancing in Sleepy Hollow Centro Tonight

But not as well as this:

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Raffaello Baldassare Castigilione's Dictum

In his Book of the Courtier (1528), Baldassare Castigilione describes wit, sprezzatura, and apparent effortlessness in any endeavour, as ‘’a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.’’

Mrs T's Table

There will be a great deal of loved-her-eulogy and hated-her-diatribe about Mrs T over the next few days but here is a unique titbit (apparently, it's 'tidbit' in the USA). Margaret Thatcher was the pupil of Peter Rowland in his tax chambers at 2 Temple Gardens, in the Inner Temple. Almost by chance, I now possess various books that belonged to him and two things that Mrs T would certainly remember: a framed print of the mural in the Palace of Westminster of The Plucking of the Red Rose and the White Rose in Inner Temple Gardens, by Henry Arthur Payne (depicting the start of the War of The Roses, as supposed by Shakespeare):

- and an ornate, mahogany pedestal table at which Mrs T (remembered by Rowland as 'bossy') must have worked. The table is in storage in England, so no picture, I am afraid.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Saturday, 6 April 2013

About Turn

I think that I can justify yet another change of mind over this blog on the basis that only Beta-brains can never admit that they are wrong. Moreover, since I have control over what is or is not published here (including comments) and that the place is, to that extent, 'hog-free', I will post when I feel like it. But no more contributions to forum boards, where (inter alios), drunks, boors, hogs and weirdos creep in the undergrowth.

To be going on with, here is a jolly little number from Zarah Leander:

Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Last Post

I have decided:

Thank you for watching this site. It is now closed to future contributions - and I am ''gone fishin'.''

I am not (yet) closing it down, so you are free to browse. However, I shall not be returning to it and so any comments will, with regret, fall on fallow ground.

Best wishes to all,


O Brave old world

When Shakespeare has Miranda say:

'O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't.'

- she was certainly not speaking of her initiation into blogging and the internet where, increasingly, I notice that the hog door is left open. Recently determined to re-emerge from the sterility of internet interaction with totally unknown people (including some stray hogs at that), and return, more or less, to reality, I started concentrating on things to do in the physical world and, today, it is the courtyard that will receive my attention.

Accordingly, that's all for this week, folks!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Wake-up Call

Before 2008 I had never 'blogged' or signed up to 'chat' on any 'forum'. My then literary agent suggested that 'blogging' and 'chatting' with (total) strangers on fora were good marketing strategies for my books. I am not sure that this is right  and, moreover, one gets sucked in to engaging and sustaining virtual conversations with a high percentage of trolls and morons. There are better things to do with one's time:

As Voltaire has Candide tell us: ''Il faut cultiver le jardin'' - which may be taken literally or as an encouragement to look to one's own life, family and friends, before engaging with strangers.

In the 1st century AD the Roman poet Martial tells us, in an Epigram:

''toga rara mens quieta'' which advice (- roughly - set city clothes and pursuits aside and keep a tranquil mind) I have already taken to heart (despite the ironic subject matter of some of my books!).

- And then we have Thackeray's ending of Vanity Fair:

''Ah vanitas vanitatum which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire or, having it, is satisfied? Come, children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for the play is played out.''

- But, as a matter of fact, I am quite satisfied and content - and I am sure that is because I have discovered the secret of  ceasing to seek things that I may not have and concluding, with resignation, that I was not meant to have them.

Anyway, today I resolved to post a piece in here at least once a week and to forsake all fora (rather than individuals' blogs), wherein dwells a kind of toxicity of the spirit as well as a lot of useless 'chat' between complete strangers; most of whom are either: sad, lonely sods (sometimes bordering on personality disorder) or people with some agenda and self-interest to promote; folks trying to sell something to the suckers out there who have more money than sense.

Not interested.