Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fashion 1812

Here we are moving along rapildy in the second year of the Regency, and it is time for another look at the fashions.

This is a really quite magnificent gown, isn't it?  It is for February 1812, therefore at the start of the 200th anniversary of the second year of the Regency.

As described in La Belle Assemblee

Evening Costume
    An amber crape dress over white sarsnet, trimmed with pearls or white beads, with a demi-train; a light short jacket, rather scanty, with two separate fancy folds, depending about three quarters down the front of the skirt, forming in appearance a kind of Sicillan tunic, and trimmed down each division like the bottom of the dress, with a single row of pearls; short sleeves, not very high above the elbow, fitting close to the arm, and ornamented at the top with distinct points of satin, the same colour as the dress, relieved by pearls; two rows of the same costly material or beads, according as the robe is ornamented, form the girdle.
The hair dressed in the antique Roman style, with tresses brought together and confined at the back of the head, terminating either in ringlets or in two light knots; a braid of plaited hair drawn over a demi-turban formed of plain amber satin, with an elegantly embroidered stripe of white satin, separated by rows of pearl, and a superb sprig of pearls in front. Necklace of one single row of large pearls, with earrings of the Maltese fashion to correspond.
Ridicule aus getons of slate colour, shot with pink;  the firm base secured by a covering of pink stamped velvet, with pink tassels. Italian slippers of amber, fringed with silver, or ornamented round the ankle with a row of pearls or beads. White kid gloves.—This elegant dress owes its invention to the tasteful fancy of Mrs. Schabner of Tavistock-Street.

We are treated to a whole raft of terminology in this description.  From the antique Roman style hair, Maltese earrings to Ridicule aus getons.

I hope you enjoyed this gown, we will have some more Spring Fashions very soon. Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Monday, May 28, 2012


If you are following the Olympics you will no doubt have noticed that Weymouth in Dorset, on the south coast of England, is the venue for some of the water sports, in particular, sailing.  As you can see from this picture it looks ideal

But that was not why I went to Weymouth.  Weymouth was one of George III's favorite places.  It is where he went for his summer holidays, before Prinny, the Prince of Wales, his son made Brighton famous.  It was his brother the Duke of Gloucester who built Gloucester (pronounced Gloster for those who like to know) House and the King spent fourteen holidays there over the course of many years.

It is a very old seaport, but has become a tourist place probably because of the Royal patronage initially.  But it really does have a very beautiful beach with find soft sand. 

Here is a statue erected to the King by the Town in celebration of George III's 50 years on the throne.  And I thought you might like a close up of the old fellow.

This is Gloucester Lodge where the King spent his holidays, it is right on the sea front, The Esplanade. There is a road and a walking promenade and then the beach.  So nothing in the way of the view of the sea and the bay.

Just a few steps along from here is the Royal Hotel. It is a Victorian building built on the sight of the Old Royal Hotel which also provided the public Assembly Rooms which would have been in use during the Regency. The are a number of Georgian and Regency buildings along The Esplanade.

Running parallel to the esplanade and behind the buildings which face the sea is St Mary's street with shops and restaurants and an old pub now called the Black Dog but was called The Dove Ale House in George III's day.  Apparently the King was a regular customer.  It also happily boasts of a murder on the premises.

Hope you enjoyed your visit to the seaside. Until next time, Happy Rambles

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Punch and Judy at Weymouth

Hands up if you have ever seen a Punch and Judy show!  I have nearly always seen them at the seaside in Britain, pretty much as you see this one pictured here.  It is basically a glove puppet show with a formulaic and traditional story designed to get the audience, these days usually children, involved.  A "look behind you" sort of feverish yelling.

I wonder how many of the characters you can remember, Mr Punch, Judy his wife, the baby, the policeman..... don't forget the sausages!

Punch and Judy, or Joan as she was known in the early days, has been around a very long time. Originally showing up in marionette (puppet on strings) theatres, they gradually moved to  the narrow box like structure you see in the picture. Originally they might be covered with any kind of fabric, such as mattress ticking, but over time the red and white stripes became the stock in trade. The puppeteer works inside the box with the puppets appearing on the tiny stage and his bottler drawing the crowd and passing the hat for money.

In the Regency, you might have seen the show at a fair or on a street corner. Anywhere, in fact, that a crowd might gather and be convinced to part with a copper or two. But watch out for the ever present cutpurses.

I have quite a bit more to tell you about Weymouth, and in fact hadn't planned to talk about Punch and Judy at all. I had quite forgotten taking this picture, but when I saw it, I decided to talk about it instead. Oh, I think there was a hangman in it too.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Falmouth was one of the last places we visited on our trip to

The Cornish word for Falmouth is Aberfal.

Together with Carrick Roads it forms the third deepest harbour in the world, so I am told.  Quite a feat when you think of the length of coastline around the world.

Because of the harbour and the estuary it has always been an important port in the defense of the country, hence the twin castles built in the 1540's on the headlands on either side of the entrance to the harbour. 

Of interest to me was the role of these defenses between 1807 and 1813 when Falmouth acted as a re-supply base for the British Army while at war with France in Spain and Portugal .   We visited Pendennis.  The castle was modified during later wars so one has to pick and choose what is relevant to our time.

This shot shows the gun battery as in the 1730's overlooking Carrick Roads.  In the foreground is the field train shed, and is the remaining half of an original structure build in 1805 for a field train of mobile guns, wagons, gun carriages, wheels and baggage, stored until needed

The tower itself was built as a gun tower, with guns to be fired on all three levels. By our time, the tower was used for living space, with the guns outside, and on the roof. The small round tower on the very top being a look out turret.

There were many changes made to the castle during the Napoleonic wars which were changed again in the late nineteen early twentieth century.  In particular a half moon battery was placed just outside the Elizabethan fortress with a command of the sea.  At the height of the war, Pendennis was defended by 22  24-pounder cannon, 14 18-Pounders and 12 carronades.  Meanwhile Falmouth along with Plymouth formed the main supply depots for the British Army. During this time, mail packet ships were armed with cannon. Many building went up at Pendennis, including barracks and a hospital.

Here is a video of what the gun platform might have looked and sounded like in the castle's earliest days.

So that last is just a bit of fun, if it doesn't interest you pass on by.

Until next time, Happy Rambles

Friday, May 4, 2012


Gosh, blogger has changed again. Hopefully this post will work the way it is meant to.
First, my  book, the Haunting of Beresford Abby is finished and sent in. Yay! So I can get back to chatting. I find I get very focussed when I am at the end of a book, and can't do anything else, so if you noticed I was missing, that was why.
Second, Contest finals

Lady Rosabella's Ruse is a finalist in the Greater Detroit Booksellers Best Awards, results will happen at the RWA National Conference in July

And both the Gamekeeper's Lady and Captured for the Captain's Pleasure are finallists in the Golden Quill Contest run by the Desert Rose Chapter of RWA.

The results of this will be announced in June. Two books in one contest, now that is quite extraordinary.
Thanks so much to the judges who obviously liked these stories.

Thirdly, and by no means last

Here is the cover for my July Book.  The Laird's Forbidden Lady.  Now, what do you think of the cover?  Yummy scruff of beard, do you think?

This book is available June 19 in some places and July 1 in others depending on how the scheduling works for the format, location you choose.

That is it. You are all caught up, so we can get back to regular programming. Until next time, Happy Rambles