just an old-fashioned girl

Hello and welcome. I'm glad you dropped by. If you´re looking for something a little nostalgic of bygone eras with a timeless elegance and a little modern twist – in other words, something slightly “retro” – then you should feel right at home here in my shabby chic room. Month by month, there will always be something new to see so I hope you´ll enjoy your stay and come back again soon.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sitting Pretty

I love and treasure all my old sepia photos. I find it incredible that they´ve survived for so long and how amazingly detailed they are when you consider how relatively primitive old cameras were. Of course they´ve faded somewhat over time but Photoshop can bring them back to radiant life with just a few mouse clicks and any little imperfections can be just as easily camouflaged. Something else I like about them is that it´s such fun to imagine what they´d look like in colour...and then just go ahead and use any colour I want. When I colour sepia tinted clothes it reminds me of the dressing dolls I used to play with as a child and it´s so enjoyable that it goes some way to making up for the fact that in many cases I´ve no idea where and when the photo was taken. In the one below all I know is that it´s one of many I have of my Aunt Lucas – in case you don´t already know, that´s the elegant lady sitting at the top of this blog – but I have no idea who her friend is, when or where the photo was taken or by whom. I think that she´s wearing the same coat as above, but as I haven´t a clue what colour it really was, I´ve made it green this time though I suppose I could have used purple or brown or anything else that took my fancy.

(And, before you ask, yes my aunt was really called Lucas. All I know is that it´s an old family name and I can only assume it was originally Lucasta which apparently dates from the 17th century and means pure light.)

So here she is, my elegant aunt and her friend, sitting pretty and trapped in a brief moment in time (can it really be?) over 3/4 of a century ago.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015

You Were Right, Joyce

Joyce Grenfell, 10 February 1910 - 30 November 1979, is known and loved mainly for her comic monologues. Her most famous catch phrase, “George, don´t do that!” ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXhHFgDRNBQ ) is instantly recognisable to all her fans. What I didn´t know until today is the fact that she wrote some of the most beautifully evocative nature poetry I´ve ever heard. I say “heard” because the following poem was never published and I´ve only just heard it on BBC radio. Luckily, it was on the Listen Again feature so I was able to write it down. I´m sure you´ll agree that it captures the very spirit of Spring.

Taut as a tent the heavenly dome is blue,
Uncrossed by cloud or tossing twig or plane,
A measureless span infinitely new,
To fill the eye and lift the heart again.

Deep in the wintered earth the shock is felt.
Glossy sweet aconite has shown her gold,
And strong straight crocus spears where late we knelt,
To lodge their bulbs are waiting to unfold.

The ragged rooks like tea leaves in the sky,
Straggle towards the earth with awkward grace.
A robin in a silver birch nearby,
Thrusts up his carol through the naked lace.

I´ve known this day for thirty years and more.
It will go on as it has done before.

You were right, Joyce. It has.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Not Just Graffiti

One day recently my friend, Eileen, and I were walking back from a morning spent visiting, and in some cases revisiting, a few of Glasgow´s many historical sites (including its oldest house, built would you believe, in 1471..but that´s another story) when I was stopped dead in my tracks by one of the most amazing murals I´ve ever seen. I say “mural” advisedly because although it´s painted on crumbling walls at the rear of a parking lot in Ingram Street it´s certainly not just graffiti. Here are just a very few close ups so that you can see the astonishing photo-realistic detail in it.

I later discovered that it was commissioned by Glasgow Council in celebration of The Commonwealth Games hosted by the city in 2014 and was painted by graffiti artist Sam Bates aka Smug. 

I found it frustrating not to be able to photograph many parts of the mural as they were blocked, not surprisingly, by various vehicles. However, I was lucky enough to find a couple of less cluttered photos on the Web. This one of a kilted figure among autumn leaves and fungi is particularly ingenious. Note the shadows which imbue this part of the mural with a trompe l'oeil 3D appearance. It´s hard to tell which of the leaves are part of the tree and which are painted. I also love the way the leaves and the fungi are a recurring theme throughout the entire mural.


This part depicts a lovely selection of Scottish wildlife including a black grouse, a red squirrel and a robin. There are even a few scattered rowan berries from Scotland´s most prolific tree, a source of winter food for many species. I, like many Scots, have one in my garden. Traditionally, the rowan is supposed to ward off witches. I haven´t seen any since I planted it so it seems to work... I love its inclusion in the mural. 

 
Coming upon this stunning work of art simply confirms what I´ve always thought about my home town. Glasgow is a wonderful city full of surprises.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Off To Scotland

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sadly Glittering

I´ll admit I´m a magpie. I love anything sparkly. Well, practically anything...

 Click on image to enlarge

Journalling: “I bought this plant recently in a supermarket, mostly because I felt sorry for it. I find succulents beautiful just as nature intended. They don´t need – or deserve – to be “embellished” with turquoise glitter.”

Having got my poor sparkling succulent home I put it among my small collection of unadorned succulents where it stuck out like..well maybe not like a sore thumb, more like a glitzy gewgaw. The sight of it bothered me so much that I wrote to my favourite specialist website and was relieved to get the following advice HERE

So this is my thank you to Jacki, the green-fingered lady who knows all the answers!
 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Happy Belated Birthday, Helen

Oh my goodness...where has the month of January gone.  It is just flying right by as fast as the 35 mile per hour wind outside my window.  It just hit me like a ton of bricks...the wind must have blown that stack of bricks by the edge of the woods right inside the house and aimed it right at the top of my head.  HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, HELEN  I actually thought about your birthday when I renewed the store's domain in December....remembering that the store was your birthday gift several years back.  Making a mental note when I'm celebrating Grandson Jase's birthday on January 10th, that Helen's birthday is just three days away!   Thought we would revisit your birthday room once again for a nostalgic yet belated celebration of your birthday.


To be truthful, Jacquie Lawson, sent a notice of a new birthday card  to my e-mail...so that set off the ton of bricks that flew right through the walls of the house!  So, you can look for an e-mail card today as well.

Happy Belated Birthday, my friend...I hope you had a perfect day!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dog Rules

I´ve always known that boxers are clowns and, judging by the the huge number of silly, not to say ridiculous, photos of boxer antics I´ve found on the Web I´m not the only one. Here are just a few which, along with the constantly amended list of dog rules, are guaranteed to put a smile on anyone´s face, also hair and slobbers on your pillow if you´re besotted enough to abide by the utterly ludicrous rules set down by what you were foolish enough to allow to become the leader of the family pack...

 
Even if you´re a dog owner but don´t have a canine clown, does any – or all – of this sound familiar?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Distance Lends Enchantment

As soon as my mother was old enough she joined the Women´s Land Army which was a British civilian organisation created during the First and Second World Wars which enlisted young women of 18 and over to work in agriculture to replace men called up to the military. She was sent to Argyllshire in the Highlands of Scotland to work on the estate of the Duke of Argyll, chief of the clan Campbell. For a city girl this must have been quite an adventure though I suspect that it didn´t entirely live up to her expectations. Knowing my mother and her love of animals, I imagine she´d pictured herself tending to cuddly lambs and petting sheepdogs. However, the closest she ever came to an animal was too close for comfort when she had to lead a large and very bad tempered bull from a field to a barn during a thunderstorm. I remember her recalling this episode with a shudder when she described how he tossed his head so wildly that he managed to get one of his horns into a sleeve of her plastic raincoat and would have shaken her about like a puppet if the sleeve hadn´t ripped from elbow to wrist and released her. As for lambs and sheepdogs, the former were far too skittish to allow themselves to be cuddled and the latter were mainly vicious and untrustworthy. Even so, she always looked back to that time in her life with great nostalgia. As the poet said, “Distance lends enchantment...” 

This photo shows her with one of her colleagues. I sincerely hope that the implement she´s holding is a hoe or a spade and not a pitchfork. Apparently, on days when working in the fields was not a priority the girls were sent into the barns to kill rats and the weapon of choice was invariably a pitchfork. According to my mother, she always shut her eyes tightly before thrusting the pitchfork randomly into the straw. She said this was the most effective way of not killing anything!

Of the 2 smaller photos, one is of Inverary Castle, the seat of the clan chief and the other is the original photo of my mother which is, as you can see, not in particularly bad condition, just a little faded with some slight damage at the bottom edge. I thought I might have to experiment quite a lot to both brighten and darken it but actually “Auto Contrast” worked like a charm and the damaged edges were easily repaired using the clone tool and the healing brush tool. Having done that, I sampled an off white shade from the photo and used it in creating a new border.

Off now to tackle something more challenging.