Thursday, March 31, 2011


During our visit last summer, we spent some time in Wales, you may even recall the snippet of video I recorded when walking in the woods.  The next pictures are from the Brecon Beacons.

The Brecon Beacons are named after the ancient practice of lighting signal fires on mountains to warn of attacks by the English, or more recently to commemorate public and national events such as coronations or the Millennium.

The Brecon Beacons range
consists of the mountains to the south of Brecon. The highest of these is Pen y Fan (886 m). These summits form a long horseshoe ridge around the head of the Taf Fechan  river to the south-east, with long parallel spurs extending to the north-east. 

The mountains are known for swift changes in weather conditions, even in summer, although as you can see from my photos we had a perfect Spring day.  In winter they can be dangerous.

These are some typical inhabitants of the Brecons.  And if you are lucky you might even see a Welsh pony.

I took my photos on my way to Hay-on-Wye, a place where the book rules supreme and one of the most interesting bookstores I have ever visited is a Castle.

So let us visit Hay-on-Wye next time, and until then, Happy Rambles.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Regency Fashion 1811

I didn't do a fashion post this month and we are celebrating 200 years since the Regency. Well, we can't have that can we.  Here are some more 1811 Regency Fashions.

This is a Morning Carriage dress from La Belle Assemblee for March 1811

The description is as follows:

A bias corded muslin dress, a walking length, with long sleeves, made high in the neck, with collar; buttoned down the front of the waist with narrow lilac satin ribband. Sash tied in a bow in front; a border of plain muslin, or lace, round the bottom. A square of lilac satin, with richly embroidered border in white silk, and tassels to correspond, is thrown over the shoulders in the form of a shawl, and is cut down the back to give it a more easy and graceful appearance about the figure. A simple white chip hat, tied round the crown in a bow in front of lilac satin ribband. The hair in full curls over the forehead. Pearl earrings. Gloves and shoes of pale lemon, or lilac coloured kid.

It is interesting isn't it, that they not only describe the dress but that they specify the accessories right down to the hairstyles. The earrings look to be quite large.

Some General Observations:

For these you will have to use your imagination, but they offer a clue as to what was deemed in style by La Belle Assemblee for this particular month.

Pelisses and mantles have undergone no variation since our last communications. A mantle of very pale fawn colour Merino cloth, with large hood, lined with pink silk, worn with a Highland cap of the same material, ornamented with two small flat ostrich feathers of the same colour, is a most becoming dress to a fair complexion. We have observed several in very dark green, lined with pink or orange, with straw cottage bonnets trimmed with velvet flowers or shaded ostrich feathers. Pelisses are made to fit tight to the shape without a band, with a broad trimming of sable or of the Nootka Sound otter. They are mostly made in velvet of the colour of rubies, garnet, royal purple or puce; some are ornamented round the bottom with a very broad embossed figured ribband.

    Morning dresses are still made in plain cambric, with oblong spots or sprigs of lace let in on the bosom and sleeves. Small lace caps tied down with coloured silk or gause handkerchiefs, ornamented in front with a demi-tiara of fancy flowers, or a knot of pinks or ranunculus. Gloves and shoes of corresponding colours.

    Dinner, or home dresses, are mostly composed of stuff, cloth or velvet, embroidered or trimmed with gold, with long sleeves and moderate trains; either high in the neck with a falling collar of worked muslin, or full twill of lace, or just above the rise of the bosom with a white crape habit-shirt or standing frill of lace plain round the neck. Velvet Turkish caps, gold bands, and spangled nets, are much worn on the head.

    Bands in every species of jewelry are now the prevailing ornaments for the head; they are worn low over the face, with a diamond or other open work, clasp or loop in the center of the forehead. The hair curled on each side in ringlets, the hind hair brought forward, and disposed so as to fall over the left side of the face.

    No variety has taken place in shoes; they are still embroidered in gold or silver, in the device of a star.

    In respect to the jewelry, the greatest novelty is the band for the head; they are formed of two rows of coloured stones or pearls fastened to an ornament in the center. Girdles in coloured gems distinguish the women of fashion. Earrings are made in the top and drop fashion. Brooches in the form of sprigs or flowers, with gems of appropriate hues.

    The prevailing colours for the season are ruby, garnet, puce, purple, orange, grass-green, and coquelicot.

Nice range of colours there and some interesting headgear.

Until next time Happy Rambles through the Regency

Monday, March 14, 2011

Royal Wedding Celebration

 As the world gears up to celebrate the marriage of William and Kate, Harlequin is having its own celebration. Six Harlequin Historical authors have written digital short stories about the Royal Weddings of the past.  Check them out today at Do leave a comment.

Needless to say yours truly has written one of those stories and watch this space for more information about the upcoming contest we plan to hold on April 1st for the launch of this series.

Until next time, Happy Rambles

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Searching for Regency London

Where did the week go!
My walk along the Thames is almost at an end, but there were a few stray pictures that I took that I thought would be nice to finish up with.

This is what would have been a typical width of an alley in this dockside area. I was fascinated by the double yellow lines which mean no parking. Duh!  Do you see the other lines on the cobbled road, the white ones?  They mean this is a two way street. I imagine there is a fair amount of sidewalk (called a path or a pavement in England) passing, or backing up.

Of course, I need to think about my hero or heroine leaving their vehicle out in the street in such circumstances, held of course by the handy snotty-nosed urchin who always happens to be standing by. He is so not leaving a curricle there.

This is the Angel, in Rotherhithe, a parish within the Borough of Southwark. A pub has stood on this spot since the seventeeth century and was in our time surrounded by tobacco warehouses.

The map shows this area in 1848.

Back on the Wapping side of the stream (just joking)

This is a school. St John of Wapping, a charity school founded in 1695 and this building erected by subscription in 1760.  The statues show a boy and a girl and they stand over the separate entrances for each gender.

Not a great picture because the the parked vehicles. Where are the double yellow lines when you need them?

My final picture in this series is one of the  warehouses still standing along the wapping side of the docks.

Built for the import of tea in 1869, it is well outside of our era, but not so far that it is not worthy of inclusion.

Well that's it. Lots more places to go and lots more to see, and a new book cover on the horizon for next time.

Until then, Happy Rambles.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Regency Timelines

What did happen during the Regency? Apart from the fact that a regent ruled England that is.  Give the 200th anniversary of our beloved period, I thought it might be interesting to tract some of the interesting historical events during this period in date order.

So we will start with the year 1811, the Regency having begun in February that year.  George, the Prince Regent, was now heading for forty-nine and was no longer Prince Charming.  Wellesley, who was eventually to become the Duke of Wellington, had been fighting the French on the Iberian Peninsular (Portugal and Spain) since May of 1809.

 January 1811 saw a very cold winter.

  • Jan. 4: A heavy fall of snow rendered the northern roads almost
    impassable. The river Severn froze.  The River Thames froze
  • Jan. 5: Two outside passengers on the Carlisle coach frozen to death.
  • Jan. 10. A monster, or women hater, dangerously wounded a female in St. James's Park
  • Jan. 13: Gallant Action in which the merchant ship Cumberland, Capt. Barratt, beat off four French privateers.
  • Jan. 16: A chimney sweep's boy suffocated in a chimney in Orchard street, Westminister.
  • Jan. 22: The Cosgrove Aqueduct, an iron aqueduct bridge of the Grand Junction Canal  over the river Ouse near Stratford (pictured here), opened for the passage of boats. This is a cast iron trough in which canal boats navigated from one side of the river to the other passing through several locks as it moves up hill. A tow path runs alongside the canal on one side, on the other it looks something like an infinity pool.
  • Jan. 31: there was an eruption of a volcano in 80 fathoms of water, near Azores.
  • Feb.6: His R.H. the Prince of Wales was sworn into office of Regent.
  • Feb.10: A conflagration near Limehouse hole stairs (on the river near the southwest India dock) destroyed four warehouses and twelve dwelling houses.
  • Feb.23: A decree of Bonaparte ordered prisoners of war to be employed as laborers.
  • Feb.26: John Liles sentenced to seven years transportation, for bigamy.
  • Feb.26: Hadje Hassan, ambassador from Algiers, had his first audience of the Prince Regent.
  • Feb.27: The House of representatives in the American congress passed a bill prohibiting intercourse with Great Britain and on Feb. 28 Mr. Pinkney, the American minister in this country, had his audience of leave.
So passes the beginning of the Regency. Until next time, Happy Rambles