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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy(?) Halloween

It´s that time again of “ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties, and things that go bump in the night.” That quote is part of a Celtic prayer and is particularly suitable for Halloween, when according to ancient Celtic tradition, the dead walk again with malicious intent. Halloween originated in Scotland and we Scots still take our Halloween seriously. No friendly smiling ghosts and harmless leering pumpkins for us. After all, it was a grim festival with blood-curdling ceremonies. I won´t tell you what the “trick” was but leave it mercifully shrouded in the mists of time, and I certainly won´t divulge what the “treat” consisted of. I wouldn´t want to entirely spoil the day for you and make you shudder as you hand out the candy.

My husband just missed being born on Halloween by one day so I always include something slightly macabre among his presents. Yesterday he got a very trendy dog-walking jacket – nothing sinister about that - and a giant-sized lighter with this motif on it, the next best thing to having it tattooed on his biceps...

Dora, who plays absolutely no part in any of this foolishness, would be mad at me if she knew about the gruesome looking image below which shows her in an unusually unflattering light. She hates having her photo taken anyway but especially first thing in the morning before she´s fixed her face...but then don´t we all?

Having played such a nasty trick on her maybe I´d better get off now and give her a treat.

Happy(?) Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hearse And Horses

You´ll probably have guessed by now that I love prowling around art galleries and museums. One of my favourites has always been The Transport Museum. It used to be situated directly across the road from the Glasgow Art Galleries but has recently been renamed The Riverside Museum and moved to a new and much grander building in Clydebank, an aptly named suburb of Glasgow situated on the banks of the River Clyde.

One of the new attractions isn´t in the museum itself but floating on the river right next to it. This is The Glenlee, the so-called Tall Ship, a sailing ship built in Port Glasgow in 1896 and restored over a 6 year period to its former glory. If you´re interested, you can read about it HERE.

My favourite attraction in the old museum was the indoor reconstruction of a 1930´s Glasgow street complete with a painted night sky which gave it an amazingly realistic appearance. Looking into the lighted shop windows was like stepping back in time. It also included a cinema where you could watch films about the town in that era, and when you walked past the old pub you could hear laughter and fragments of conversation from inside. The new museum also has a street from the same era but, unlike its predecessor, unfortunately it leaves very little to the imagination as you can actually enter the “buildings” and view all the goods on display inside. Gone is the painted sky along with the magic. The fact that it leads directly into a brightly lit exhibition hall destroys any sense of reality the street used to have. On the day Eileen and I visited it the street was absolutely packed with tourists and probably an entire bus party or two which made it incredibly difficult to take any photos which didn´t include someone wearing a tee shirt and jeans. However, I found this photo on the Web which shows it under ideal conditions. See what I mean about the sky? Or lack of it?

It may have lost a lot of its magic for those of us who used to love its former – and much less frequented - self. However, what it does now have is a variety of vehicles parked at its kerbs, including a baker´s van, a car which Al Capone would have been proud of...

...and, rather surprisingly, a horse drawn hearse.

Now this is just a little bit spooky but I´m sure you´ll agree that, with Halloween approaching, it´s quite appropriate. And how about that sinister headless dummy in the dress shop window behind it!

The photo really ought to speak for itself so I´ve just used a few elements from Golden Memories to pick out the gold in it.

And for those of you who missed the kit freebies first time around, you´ll find them HERE.

Which reminds me, I´ll soon - probably some time in November - be making some radical changes to my blog which I´m afraid will entail removing many of my out-of-date freebies to make way for something I´d rather surprise you with than divulge (!) so if there´s anything among them which you´d like to have, please take it now while it´s still available.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Machetes And Music

If I´ve been MIA for a while it´s because for the past week or so I´ve been hacking a path with my machete through the tangled undergrowth from the bottom of my garden to the house. Well, maybe that´s a slight exaggeration though it felt like it at the time. I´ve actually been taking advantage of a spell of bright autumn weather by trimming and pruning all the climbing plants which got madly out of control during the summer. The wild hops were the worst offenders. They´re very sociable plants and had visited all their more reserved and cultivated cousins like the clematis and the honeysuckle and had outstayed their welcome just about everywhere they went. Even the grapevine which lives some distance away wasn´t safe from them. Everyone, including me, was relieved once I´d cut them down to size. They won´t be encroaching on anyone´s territory again until next spring. It looks as if I won´t either as I managed to pull a muscle while trying to disentangle a particularly stubborn shoot just beyond my reach and I´ll probably spend most of my time indoors until I can move again without wincing.

With all that gardening activity I haven´t had the time or the inclination to sort out more than a few of the photos I took in Glasgow in September. One particularly memorable day I spent with my friend, Eileen, in the Kelvingrove Art Galleries, one of my favourite haunts. The building alone is a wonderful example of Victorian architecture, both outside....

...and inside.

This is a view of the minstrels´ gallery.

Every afternoon at 1 o’clock an organ recital is held there. It´s hard to imagine the grandeur of the occasion but this - ever so slightly embellished - page may at least give you an impression of the magnificence and scale of the minstrels´gallery.

I found this video at You Tube. It doesn´t do the music the justice it deserves – it´s something you have to hear live - but it does at least give an indication of the splendour of the main reception hall and I´m sure your imagination will fill in the gaps.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Fanfare Of Trumpets

When I bought my angel´s trumpet plant last summer it was only about 12” tall and had 5 leaves which it shed during its winter hibernation on my bedroom window sill and regained in the spring. This summer, after having been transplanted into a larger pot, it grew to an amazing 8 feet and produced masses of leaves but only 2 flowers. That was in mid-September and so late in the flowering season that I assumed that this was its swan song before dying back for the winter. When I got back from Scotland I was astonished to see that it was laden down with flowers and courgette-like buds which you can see in the larger photo. In the smaller one you can see a bud which is just about to open.

Click on image to enlarge

Today on a damp, dark and dreary October morning, when I look out onto my rain-washed patio and see those bright splashes of colour, I can almost hear a fanfare of trumpets.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Time Warp AGAIN!

Well, I´m back and I had a really great trip – I´ll post some pics sometime to prove it - though memories of sublime Scotland have been superseded by the ridiculous, outrageous and thoroughly entertaining madness of the

Since we last saw it in 2009 both the choreography and most of the cast have changed but I´m glad to say that Rob Fowler is still playing the part of Frank N Furter as magnificently as ever. Here´s a video of his 2009 performance of Sweet Transvestite which I downloaded from You Tube. You´ll have to excuse the quality. I´ve never even attempted to make a video of the show myself but I can imagine how difficult it must be. Still, even the most professional video couldn´t begin to compare with the atmosphere of the live show.

This is a collage (more HERE ) I put together using images from the new version of the show we saw at the weekend. It includes cry-baby Columbia, test tube Rocky, the larger than life Frank N Furter and the completely out of their depth Brad and Janet. The most difficult part of this was literally giving Rocky a hand, his right hand to be exact, which in the original photo was hidden behind a curtain. Either that or Frank N Furter designed a man with a missing part...but we won´t go into that!

Click on image to enlarge

And finally, no performance of The Rocky Horror Show would be complete without its most famous number so let´s turn the music up deafeningly loud, get on those ripped fishnet stockings and do The Time Warp again.