Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The Passage of Time

Hi All

Time flies doesn't it? Seems like only yesterday when I last posted to this blog. Can't believe it was March 2015! I think I must have been asleep because I have no idea why it has taken so long to post.

These thimbles show the passage of time. All of it a lot before mine, I hasten to add. These little ladies show the changes in fashion in the United States from 1900 through to 1947. Originally part of a collection from Avon in the1980s.

The four above are from left to right, 1910, 1900, 1928 & 1927.

These four are 1923, 1938, 1942 & 1947.

The 1920s must have been a great decade for fashion in the US, with 3 examples from that era included in the collection. In fact the 20s were a time of great change and not just for clothes. It was the interim period between two world wars. People thought that with the end of the First World War, conflict was over and there was a new, vibrant, buzz for the future. It was the age of bobbed hair, the Charleston and automobiles.

I must admit it was Miss 1923 that first attracted me to this set. She's the one with the blue hat and chunky scarf. Isn't she lovely? I can just see her sitting behind the wheel of a 1920's car, wind in her face, grinning from ear to ear as she tootles around town, scarf flapping behind her. I wouldn't mind a scarf like that. It's perishing cold outside at the moment. She looks so snug.

My second favourite is the one on the far right. Miss 1947. Such a lovely shade of purple and would you just look at that hat?  Another post-war era. Relaxed times with relaxed clothes. She looks the most laid back of all of them. Ready for a nice, peaceful stroll along the river bank on a warm sunny day.

This collection has been discontinued for some time now which is a shame. It misses the fashions of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Although thinking about it, the 70s was all flairs and funny colour combinations... maybe missing that decade is justifiable.

Bye for now


Monday, 9 March 2015

The White Steamer

I quite like vintage cars. I also like vintage sewing machines.

So imagine my surprise when I found out that the White Steamer was made by the same company that made White Sewing Machines. How cool is that?

When Thomas White, the founder of the White Sewing Machine Company bought a steam car back in the 1890s, it inspired his son, Rollin White to develop a steam generator which was made up of stacked coils.  Water was pumped into the top of the coils with steam being produced in the bottom coils closest to the fire. Not only did his design allow water input to be regulated, it also allowed temperature control. He patented the design describing it as being a quicker, safer and more economical way to generate steam power.

Even with the improvements though, the engines still had to warm up enough to start producing steam. That’s probably why the combustion engine became more popular. It was a lot quicker to get going.

Eventually, when steam power could no longer compete, the White Motor Company switched to combustion engines for their cars. They also made trucks, buses and tractors.

I’m glad that their sewing machines went electric though. Not sure a petrol powered sewing machine would have been very healthy. And can you imagine having to sit about and wait for a steam machine to warm up before you could sew? It would be like watching a kettle!  

Bye for now


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Gettin' My Kicks on Route 66

Route 66 is the historic and iconic road leading across the USA from Chicago Illinois to Los Angeles and more recently, Santa Monica California. Passing through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona along the way, it is probably the most famous road in the USA.

Originally covering a distance of 2,448 miles, it has been immortalised in songs like “Get Your Kicks on Route 66”. It was known as the “mother road of America,” and has a cult following that I haven’t seen or heard of for any other road in the world.

Route 66 was decommissioned in 1985 when it was replaced by newer, faster interstates. Although some parts have been preserved, it is now impossible to travel the original Route 66 for its full distance. Some sections have been abandoned. Other parts of the road which travel through Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico and Arizona are now a tourist attraction renamed “Historic Route 66”. In Winslow Arizona, for instance, you can find people “standing on a corner”, a tribute to the Eagles song “Take it Easy.”

Having been to parts of Historic Route 66 in Arizona, I can say that it has a buzz, its own vibe. Like it is a living being just bursting with the kind of freedom you can only get from an open road. Something which you just don’t get from the new modern-day interstates.

Bye for Now


Saturday, 7 June 2014


Hi all

Have you ever noticed how much stuff accumulates on your desktop?

With apologies in advance to all IT technicians out there, I have to admit, leaving stuff on my desktop is one of my quirks. I tend to save stuff that I am working on to my desktop so I don't have to open long winded file paths searching for it. It's so much quicker that way. Well, it is for me. Not so for my poor old laptop.

You see for every file or photo that sits on your desktop, your computer has to load the whole document or picture every time you switch it on. It becomes part of the boot-up process and can add seconds, or even minutes to the time it takes your computer to get to working speed. NB - probably better to use shortcuts than save whole documents or photos to your desktop. Your machine will thank you for it. ;)

Now, I always intend to move stuff off the desktop and into my folders but, as with all good intentions, I don't seem to get around to it. Not until my laptop starts running at the speed of a snail anyway.

In a recent tidy up I found lots of photos that I had saved for sorting; some half finished blog posts that I was working on; some cake recipes; a few sewing projects and a whole pile of research material on bats. With that eclectic mix it's no wonder my laptop is always struggling.

It's a bit weird I know, but I can hear Fred yelling "Wilma!" every time an IT techy tells me off for overloading my desktop.

I won't be overloading this desktop. The little legs look a little rickety.

Maybe these guys could help me prop it up? Lol!

Bye for now


Tuesday, 2 July 2013


Most people will be aware that man first landed on the moon in 1969. What might not be so well known is that the world's first supersonic flight was also in 1969.

Supersonic means faster than the speed of sound which at around 768 miles per hour, is pretty quick. Although not as quick as 7 miles per second which is the speed Apollo 11 had to travel to escape Earth's gravitational field. 1969 was definitely the year for speed.

Up until 1st October 1969, flights had been subsonic, meaning that they were slower than the speed of sound. Concorde's first supersonic flight meant people could now travel across the globe in a fraction of the time.

Concorde was a collaborative project between the UK and France and was heralded as a triumph in modern engineering. The planes were operated by Air France and British Airways. The name was chosen to reflect the partnership between the two countries. The words “Concorde” in French and “Concord” in English, mean the same. They both mean agreement.

Concorde's first commercial flight was in 1976. With a cruise speed of 1350mph, she could make London to New York in a little over 3.5 hours. The time in a normal plane was around 8 hours.

Unfortunately, Concorde was expensive to run and maintain. Not everyone liked the planes flying overhead due to the loud sonic boom whenever they broke the sound barrier. Air France and British Airways jointly announced the retirement of Concorde in 2003. The last Concorde flight for Air France was on 27 June 2003. Concorde's last commercial flight for British Airways was on 23 October 2003. I'd love to know if October was a coincidence or if it was chosen as a nod to that very first supersonic flight back in 1969.

These days the 7 Concordes belonging to British Airways can be found at locations around the globe. This list is from their website www.britishairways.com/concorde

Airbus UK, Filton Bristol, UK
Manchester Airport, UK
Museum of Flight, near Edinburgh, UK
Heathrow Airport, UK
The Museum of Flight, Seattle, USA
The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, New York, USA
Grantley Adams Airport, Bridgetown, Barbados

Bye for now


Monday, 27 May 2013

A Tribute to Dad's Army

Hi there,

These guys are the characters from Dad's Army, a British TV comedy from the 1970s.  It was a sit-com about the Home Guard during the Second World War.

Originally called Local Defence Volunteers, the Home Guard was made up of men who were either too young or too old to enlist. Most were too old. Hence the nick-name Dad's Army.  Their job was to defend the home front against possible invasion. In the early days, the Local Defence volunteers had to wait for equipment as the regular army had priority.  This is where most of the more comic moments of the TV series came from.  The never-ending enthusiasm to invent ways of hindering an invasion using whatever tools they had to hand.  The re-runs are still popular today.  An everlasting tribute to the real band of Dads and Grandads, all of them volunteers, who watched over and protected our coastline and homes.

Dad's Army is and always will be one of my all time favourite comedies.  Which is why I read with some sadness today that Bill Pertwee, the actor who played Warden Hodges, has passed away.

So this is my tribute to the cast of Dad's Army the series:

Arthur Lowe  1915-1982

Clive Dunn 1920-2012

John Laurie 1897-1980

Arnold Ridley 1896-1984

Ian Lavendar 1946-

James Beck 1929-1973

Frank Williams 1931-

John Le Mesurier 1912-1983

Bill Pertwee 1926-2013

Bye for now 


Sunday, 6 January 2013


Hi there,

Ironing has never been one of my favourite pastimes. I know it's something that has to be done but I always put it off. Usually because I've found something better to do. There is a pile of washing waiting for me right now, nicely stacked in the airing cupboard, waiting patiently. It's going to be there a long time, or at least until I run out of other clothes. I'd honestly rather de-ice the freezer than pick up an iron.  I'm not alone.  I know lots of people who hate ironing and find it a boring chore. 

Why is that? Why is it such a chore? Is it because it hurts when you accidentally iron your fingers as well as that tricky hem that just will not lie flat? It never ceases to amaze me that we can fly across the globe, we've even sent man to the moon and yet, after all this time, we are still ironing clothes.

These days ironing is easy.  With fabric conditioners, modern fabrics and hi-tech modern irons, it really is a breeze compared to what it must have been like before electricity and easy-care fabrics. Imagine what it must have been like in the days when irons were actually made out of iron. They must have weighed a ton. 

This iron must have been one of the heaviest.  It's a charcoal iron. Yes, you did read that right. A charcoal iron. An iron you fill with charcoal, hot from the fire. It would have been very heavy and very hot. I wouldn't fancy ironing my fingers with this! Our ancestors sure had it tough. 

All things considered I think I'll stick with my nice, light, modern steam iron. Now I know just how easy ironing is today, I might just start doing it more often. I've still got that pile in the airing cupboard. Although, I have enough clothes to see me through for a few days...   Umm ... I think I might just go and disinfect the wheelie bin ...

Bye for now