Thursday, October 29, 2009

Stourhead Revisted ~~ Again

by Ann Lethbridge

Continue around to the end of the lake and yet another surprise awaits. A grotto. A sort of above ground man-made cave set close to the edge of the water.

Within a series of arched tunnels and steps you are greeted by a water nymph. A spring, according to the inscription, flows around her and down into the pool in front of her. Very fanciful and it seems to me very Regency.

I took this picture from within the grotto beneath a stone arch overlooking the lake. Can you see the bridge at the far end. Now you have an idea of how far we have walked. We are only half way around.

Last but not least we have the river god, out last inhabitant of the grotto. He directs up and out of this sort of underwater world to the pantheon beyond.

And that is a visit we will make next time.

Until then. Happy Rambles.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Flora and Fauna of Regency England

by Michele Ann Young

I thought we'd do something a little different with this monthly article, spread our wings a bit, so to speak. Most of the Naturist's Diary addresses the smaller animals, insects and garden flowers. I thought I would talk a little more about the wild fauna, animals and birds too.

In case y0u were wondering. There are no wolves in England during this period. The last wolf is thought to have been killed in 1743.

If there had been any left in the Regency, this is what they would have looked like. This is a grey wolf or canis lupus. There is talk of reintroducing them - whether it will occur will be interesting to see.

There are very few dangerous animals at all in Britain, unless they are ones that escaped from a menagerie.

The Sporting Magazine of 1810 has a story about an escaped tiger from a menagerie in Piccadilly. On September 2nd. the Royal Bengal tiger was being carried to a Bartholomew fair , the horse bolted , the den broke open, the tiger escaped , clawed someone and hid. He was recaptured shortly .

In 1816 a lioness escaped from a traveling menagerie and attacked the Exeter mail coach near Salisbury.

Either one of those incidents would make a great scene in a novel, don't you think?

There are bats, however. Only look how tiny this pipistrelle is. That is a wedding ring on a finger right next to this one. These are the smallest and most common of bats. they hang head down when roosting and can squeeze into the smallest of spaces.

So cute. I know, you are shuddering. Now what an interesting heroine she would be if she liked bats.

One of the larger animals in Britain is of course the deer. this is a fawn.

Interestingly enough by the 1800's the roe deer had been pretty well hunted out of existence in England and could only be found in wooded parts of Scotland. So for the Regency period we must remember, no deer south of the border.

There are lots more animals to talk about, but this is all for today. Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Regency Fashion for October

by Ann Lethbridge
Here we are heading into the winter again. October is a month of frosts and falling leaves.

So what is our Fashionista wearing this month?

These are Paris fashions from The Ladies Magazine for October 1801. Much earlier than the Regency.

The accompanying text is general rather than descriptive of the place, but a couple of paragraphs are of interest.

"Veils constitute the principal part of most head-dresses. For full dress they are left entirely to the taste of the coiffeur, who, with the assistance of chefs, or silver ribbons, forms them into oblong turbans. A great many élégantes use ribons of unpolished silver, in the place of chefs. In half dress the veils are worn down, ô la religieuse. Upon many of the most elegant headdresses we observe an aigrette of hair, fastened with a pin."

"In general, rose is the prevailing colour. The robes of the newest taste are cut ô la Psyche. The ribbons are very narrow striped, and of very lively colours. The cambric bonnets are all the fashion for the morning; they are trimmed with gold, like the Spencers."

Our next picture is from the Ladys Magazine for October 1810

Full Dress: Gown of white sarcenet, enriched round the bottom with a Grecian border in gold; the body and sleeves are of pink satin: the latter are made open in the front, and confined at top and bottom by gold clasps; the stomacher of white satin, hussared across with blue silk cord. The head ornaments are of pearl, with a Chinese rose in front; the hair in full curls round the face, and hanging in ringlets from behind; neck chain and bracelets composed of double rows of pearl; ridicule of pink satin, netted over with blue silk. Shoes and gloves the color of the body.

Walking Dress: A pelisse of white and yellow shot silk, gathered together in the front, and fastened together by a large sapphire broach, buttoned up the front, and trimmed round the bottom with broad white lace. The gown of white India muslin, made high in the neck, with an erect lace collar; ermine for tippet. Head-dress, French lace cap, and white chip hat, with a sprig of myrtle; plain gold ear-rings. Shoes and gloves to correspond with the pelisse. Parasol of blue silk.

I love the term "Hussared" I assume it means it has the look of a hussars lace across the front of a uniform. For the walking dress, it is interesting that the collar is actually part of the gown beneath, rather than the coat. I can imagine the cost of the sapphire broach.

Well that's it for me for fashion for this month. Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


by Michele Ann Young

If you wondered where we were for the past few days, there were a couple of things going on. This past week end was also the Canadian Thanksgiving. Mmmm Turkey.

We also attended the Emerald City Writers Conference in Seattle. The first picture is of me and Robin Wood. We sat side by side at this Conference in 2007. This time I made sure we had a picture. I signed both The Lady Flees Her Lord and The Rake's Inherited Courtesan.

The conference was also yummy. I got to catch up with some old friends and meet a couple of new ones and I attended some great workshops which I will talk about next.

I also gave a workshop with my American Title Sisters, Gerri Russell, the winner of the contest and Theresa Meyers. Our talk was on making a splash before you sell. How to have a presence when you don't have a book to sell and how that will help you once you are published. We had a great attendance and since several of the attendees came up to thank us at the end, I believe we provided some interesting information. Here I am with Gerri and another writer friend Judith Laik.

Since I only had one day in Seattle (it being Thanksgiving back at home and all) and since I met my agent in the morning, I attended only a few of the other workshops. Those I did attend were excellent.

The Writer Warrior, with Bob Mayer, sent me away feeling energized and armed to take charge of my writing career. The second on editing with Robert Dugoni was packed full of information. I talked to Robert at the booksigning and he is fun and serious. My last session was with Megan Chance. A great workshop full of concrete examples

All of the speakers had lots of information and spoke very fast. They had great hand outs.

Deborah Cooke a member of my home chapter gave very wise and insightful comments on the definitions of success for a writer. Here she is at the signing.

I also managed a couple of brief hellos with Mary Buckham, who was kind enough to give me and a friend a tour of San Diego a couple of years ago. It was so great to see her again, no matter how briefly. Mary will be coming to Toronto in the spring so I hope we have more time to talk then.

There you have it. What I have been up to.

Until next time, Happy Rambles