Friday 29 November 2013

Timewarp fashion treasure trove discovered in Houghton-le-Spring house

Timewarp fashion treasure trove discovered in Houghton-le-Spring house

Ladies!  Get thee to Tyne & Wear next Saturday!!

You know how I sometimes half-jestingly, half-wistfully wish - along with most of you I imagine - that there was a warehouse or boarded-up mansion somewhere complete with sealed rooms full of vintage clothing from our preferred time period?  Well, here is an example of it come true!

A bittersweet example in many ways, as the story behind this "treasure trove" is a particularly poignant one.  Although the "widowed-at-a-young-age-never-remarried-lived-alone-hoarded-things-died-in-their-nineties-nobody-knew" story is not necessarily an uncommon one (but maybe its unusual nature attracts comment and makes it appear more commonplace, if you take my meaning?) there is always something particularly touching about it and this one is no exception.   Perhaps it is the thought of the lady's routine of travelling and returning home with new suitcases to be filled with the best dresses - stashed away and destined never to be worn - over a period spanning 70 years.  Yet if she was happy (although I do wonder about that - was this the sign of a life that felt unfulfilled from the early death of a husband?), taking annual holidays and living to a grand old age, then fair do's to her say I.


Now her collection can be someone else's gain (yours, perhaps?) as this immeasurable amount of vintage clothing - valued collectively at £100,000 - is set to be sold off next month by the lady's friends with the help of a local vintage shop owner.  If you want to make a note of the date, girls, it's the 7th December and the sale will be held, suitably - and no doubt interestingly - enough at the lady's house in Houghton-le-Spring (no address given, but doubtless contacting the shop - the oddly-named "Dregs of Society"(!) - would provide it).  Some of the really valuable pieces like the Victorian and Edwardian wedding gowns of the lady's mother and grandmother are earmarked for the local Beamish Museum, however, which seems only fair.

A remarkable discovery, then, of a life's legacy - a fantastic fashion timeline.  I'm sure you'll join me in echoing the thoughts of the best friend and her hope that all these items will find new owners to use and appreciate them - a positive aspect of wearing vintage that many of us have commented on in the past.  It all makes you wonder what else might be out there...

Wednesday 27 November 2013

The return of Brough Superior


The return of Brough Superior

Just over a year ago I featured an article in part about two Brough Superior motorcycles from the 1920s, which made large sums of money when they went to auction.  The model was also briefly mentioned in another motorcycle-themed post earlier in the year.

1937 Brough Superior SS100
Both were prime examples (despite one being unrestored) from a motorcycle manufacturer of the inter-war Golden Years that was widely regarded as the producer of the ultimate 'bikes of the period.  The company was founded in 1919 by George Brough, the son of motorcycle manufacturer George Brough Sr. who built machines simply labelled Brough.  After a falling-out between father and son, George Jr. went and set up his own concern - cheekily calling it Brough Superior much to his dad's chagrin!

In the 20 years of Brough Superior production the company more than lived up to its name, earning the nickname "the Rolls-Royce of motorcycles" (a name the originally-litigious Rolls-Royce was not happy with, until one of its executives was given a tour of the factory and had to admit that is was more than a fair description, even going so far as to give Rolls-Royce's full approval).  Brough Superiors were truly bespoke machines built with input from the owner, all of them put together by a white-gloved hand - and then disassembled again for painting/finishing!  Each and every example of the original 3,048-model production run (approximately one-third of which survive today) was scrupulously tested before delivery.  The SS80 was named for its 80mph top speed, so each one was run at that speed or more after construction to ensure that it lived up to its moniker.  Likewise the SS100.  If one fell short, it went back to the factory for tinkering until it could satisfactorily meet the published figures.  George Brough Jr., himself a record-breaking motorcycle racer and designer, wanted only the very best.

T.E. Lawrence on his 6th Brough Superior, "George V", 1927
It was a vision shared by many rich and famous motorcyclists of the time (a SS100 in 1925 - the second year of its production - cost £170, equal to about £55,000 today which is about the same as the new 2014 model is expected to cost) including George Bernard Shaw and most famously T. E.  Lawrence [of Arabia].  Lawrence owned a total of eight Brough Superiors and was infamously killed on the back roads of Dorset in 1935 when he crashed his SS100 "George VII" (a ninth model, "George VIII", was under construction at the time).  "George VII" is now currently on display at the IWM London.

Sadly the Second World War did for Brough Superior as its factory was given over to war production.  Despite dedicated after-sales service from George Brough and later company owner Albert Wallis, which saw parts still being produced right up until 1969, no new Brough Superior motorcycles were produced after the outbreak of war.


Until now.  I'm delighted to see that the Brough Superior nameplate has been revived and now graces a wonderful and impressive-looking machine - the 2014 Brough Superior SS100.  Designed very much in homage to the original 1924-1939 SS100, this new 2014 model includes many traditional construction features that tie it unmistakably to its ancestor such as the uniquely-shaped fuel tank and a V-twin engine integrated into the chassis.  Yet, to this blogger's eyes at least, there is an obvious evolutionary aspect to the 'bike, which in its shape resembles slightly more the modern roadster design.  Yet it all combines to create a handsome motorcycle and in my opinion a very successful imaging of what a Brough Superior would look like in the 21st century.

No doubt this is in no small part thanks to the interest of the reborn company's new owner, marque enthusiast and former motorcycle dealer Mr Mark Upham.  It certainly sounds like he understands the ethos behind the brand and I wish him the best of luck with his product plan.  The Brough Superior name deserves to make a comeback and this could well be the motorbike to do it justice.

Monday 25 November 2013

Brace yourselves to suspend[er] disbelief... (2)

Part Two of "Braces with Bruce" (the first of which can be found here) starts on the slightly less contentious notes of colours and style.  Colours are still a point of discussion but again are largely a personal preference and while I wouldn't touch gaudy or heavily novelty-patterned braces with a barge pole if you've got the nerve and personality to pull it off then more power to your elbow (although be warned that wearing matching braces and [bow] tie is generally considered "naff").  Remember, of course, that braces were originally designed to be worn under waistcoats, pullovers and the like - i.e. never to be seen in public.  That's less of a factor these days, it must be admitted, but there's still something inherently "right" about a well-tailored three-piece suit with the trousers suspended by braces.  That's another thing in favour of braces by the way, in that trousers supported in this fashion always hang better than with a belt.  Again as something of a traditionalist I prefer muted colours like browns and greens, usually striped, or occasionally solid colours like red, blue or gold.  Once again Darcy Clothing and Tom Sawyer I find best for such hues, in both clip- and button-on styles.

Be aware that if you do plump for brightly-coloured or novelty braces you will almost certainly be labelled "eccentric".  In fact, let's face it, if you choose to wear braces at all you're likely to be called "eccentric" - or worse.  Even plain colours are not immune from notice by others - any shade of red in particular will tend to draw comparison with bankers (and yes, in both senses of the word).  But I say this - Gordon Gekko may have eventually been caught with his metaphorical trousers down but I bet he never once had to adjust his actual trousers.  Anyway, to judge a chap by the colour of his braces is just ridiculous and should be ignored along with all the other negativity we have to put up with from time to time.  I myself have a pair of wine red jobs and I'm about as far removed from a city financier as it's possible to get.

A final word on fixings - it is also possible
to get braces that have/accept both types
On the subject of style there are two aspects - size (width) and layout.  Although I wrote yesterday that "skinny" braces - that is, ones no more than 2½cm wide - are usually the preserve of the hipster or the younger generations who have adopted them as the fashion (and what's with wearing them off the shoulders, just hanging by the sides of the trousers?!), they should not be discounted.  You may prefer them for comfort, or other reasons.  They do the job as well as their wider counterpart, although they tend to come in fewer colours and almost always as clip-ons only.  The more traditional 3½cm width is better suited to the vintage look, however, spreads the load a little more and is available in a whole host of patterns, most with leather ends.  In my experience they also tend to be a little harder-wearing than the narrower variety.

Braces can also come in two main designs - the X-back and the Y-back.  These refer to the rear fixing strap(s).  As the names imply X-back braces have two rear straps, thereby giving the braces an X shape at the back.  This style seems to be more commonly found in the narrower clip-ons (right) - two fastenings giving a securer purchase, should one fail.  The Y-back, again considered the more traditional, is usually reserved for the wider, button-on braces.  It is better at ensuring the straps remain in place on your shoulders and, especially with high-waisted trews, gives a better holding effect.  That's not to say you can't get 3½cm X-backs or skinny Y-backs, but such variations are rarer.

It can only end in tears...
Attitudes that one encounters as a braces wearer are largely as follows.  Some people - children mainly although sometimes even fully-grown, otherwise respectable adults - will want to twang your braces as if you're a walking double bass.  This is more of a risk with clip-ons, although still annoying regardless of the type of braces you're wearing.  Best to just grin and bear it (it quickly loses its appeal, it seems); if they get a face-full of clasp/button it's their own fault.

We've touched upon the "eccentric" moniker already but I have also heard opinions ranging from "clownish" and "unnatural"(!) to "I didn't know you could still buy them".  (I knew my last job was doomed when a female co-worker made the "clownish" remark and another, when I tried to point out how preferable braced trousers are to a belt with rolls of fat spilling out over the top, was heard to say "yes, but that [the latter] is more natural, isn't it?".  By that logic, surely we should do away with clothes altogether?!  The muffin top/beer belly "more natural"?!  Has the world finally gone mad, I ask?)

Thanks to the success of a certain Time Lord we also have to put up with comparisons to [the outgoing] Doctor Who.  This is a small price to pay, however, for the successful reintroduction into the public consciousness of braces (albeit clip-ons), not to mention bow ties, tweed jackets and the fez!  If the best/worst comment people can think to throw at me is "Oi, Doctor Who!" then I consider I've got off lightly.

Some final words now on a couple of different forms of braces.  One I like the idea of, the other I don't; neither of them have I had any experience of, however.  The first is the sock suspender, an almost extinct form of brace these days and subject to even more ridicule than normal braces but still with a very real, useful purpose.  Many's the time I've pulled my socks up while yearning for a pair of these.  Like trouser braces they should really never be seen (and much of the comedy surrounding them is from their sudden appearance) but just go about doing their job of holding your socks up quietly and without fuss.  I've earmarked a pair of these to try one day; again not as difficult to get hold of as one might think with most of the online shops mentioned on the left stocking examples.

The other type I'm less sure about - the shirt stay.  Seemingly becoming more talked-about in recent years, I just don't get them.  What happens if you need to sit/crouch/bend down?  Won't it produce an odd angular effect at the knees?  God forbid the lower clasps should snap off, eh chaps?  Unlike with trouser braces or sock suspenders, I've never thought to myself "blasted shirt keeps getting untucked, I wish there was something I could do to stop it".  On the rare occasions my shirt tails make a bid for freedom it is the work of a moment to tuck them back in again.  Shirt stays?  Not for me.

Ladies need not feel left out, either.  Girls can  look just as good, if not better, in braces as the chaps.  Much, much better in the other type of suspender too, ahem!  With high-waisted trousers, particularly in the 1930s style so often beloved of the vintage gal, braces are a jolly nice addition especially if you want to channel some Marlene Dietrich/Katherine Hepburn style.  You ladies also have another alternative not open to us gentlemen - suspender skirts, almost a sine qua non for that Forties/Fifties look.  Some lovely suspender skirts are out there that I've seen and a splendid look it is too.

There we have it then.  Practically everything you wanted to know (or didn't want to know, perhaps) about braces, suspenders etc.  I do hope you've enjoyed my whimsical (windy!) take on those accessories. 

Sunday 24 November 2013

Brace yourselves to suspend[er] disbelief... (1)

It occurred to me this morning, as I was knotting my tie in the mirror, that a blog post could easily be made out of my experiences with that most noble form of trouser suspension - braces (or suspenders, as our North American cousins call them).

Like most young lads I grew up knowing only of the common belt (or, sartorial gods forgive me, the elasticated waistband) in its standard leather or occasionally cloth form.  Until my vintage conversion braces were something my grandfather's generation wore, or were seen used to comedic effect in the Laurel & Hardy films that eventually helped to steer me on to my current path.

Although I'd long held the desire to try a pair of braces for myself - subsequent to my interest in vintage - it wasn't until my declining health in 2007 and the abdominal surgery which resulted that I took the plunge and invested in a pair.  By that time I was motivated as much by the need for the comfort that belts no longer afforded me as I was by sartorial considerations.  Still, I imagine I would have ended up gravitating to them even without medical intervention so I can't really quibble too much about the way I came to embrace them.  So with braces now a staple part of my wardrobe, it strikes me as the time to be writing a bit about them and the various forms they can come in.

The most commonly-found braces tend to be of the "clip-on" variety - that is, ones with metal clips on the end that attach to the trouser waistband.  Clip-ons tend to be largely vilified in the vintage world and not without reason.  Their biggest flaw is also their major aspect - the clips themselves.  Over time they will end up damaging the cloth around the waistband.  Some better quality examples may have inner plastic grips to try and lessen this problem but it can never be entirely eradicated.  If the clips do not have a firm grip on the fabric they will also have the unfortunate tendency to come adrift from the trouser.  While this doesn't result in the trouser-dropping embarrassment so beloved of comedy films, nor cause you to lose an eye, it is blimmin' frustrating as one side of your pantaloons begins to list and you struggle to readjust them, tuck in your shirt and reattach the errant clip all at the same time.  Equally the action of the clip coming away from the cloth and the need to re-establish a secure fastening simply exacerbate the first fault mentioned.

The top two factors in favour of clip-ons are their ubiquity and low prices.  Although they can be found in most high street clothing emporia they are still a rare breed there, usually consisting of the standard evening wear black, white or (occasionally) gold, the somewhat lamentable novelty patterns and the "skinny" varieties favoured by hipsters and the like.  More on those points later.

Practically every online [vintage or vintage-inspired] clothes retailer will have a decent selection of clip-on braces, however.  I tend to use Tom Sawyer Waistcoats or Darcy Clothing but you may have your own preferred source and indeed any of the shops in the Classic & Vintage Clothing & Accessories list to the left should offer something for all tastes and purses.  Yes, that's right - most of my braces are clip-ons, in spite of all I have said against them.  Of course I would ideally like proper leather-ended button-on braces and that is still my goal but if, like me, you have limited funds and several pairs of belt-looped high street trousers then there is still a lot to be said for clip-ons.

They are not the only avenue open to those of you unwilling or unable to stretch(!) to button-on braces, however.  It is possible, for example, to buy clip-on buttons, which work in exactly the same way as clip-on braces but allow for the use of leather-ended braces that are usually the preserve of properly-tailored trousers.  The downside is they still have all the negative qualities of clip-on braces as covered earlier.

Actual buttons for braces can also be bought separately and sewn on to the waistband of your existing trousers.  Beware, however - the trews must have a fitted waistband (that is, sewn into and properly attached to the trousers) and not just a folded over loose type, which will only result in the braces pulling the buttons/waistband in and up creating an ugly effect.  In my experience the buttons are also hard to come by unless you're willing to spend time rummaging around in the buttons bin at your local second-hand shop.  The only place I've been able to find that sells them separately online is a shop called Kleins.  (Bromleys also sell them with their braces, however)  Although theoretically any old buttons should do the job, proper braces buttons ideally need to be specially shaped to facilitate the holding in place of the leather straps (see above).

There's much discussion about the placing of buttons too.  General consensus seems to be on the inside of the trouser at the front and outside at the back (the former giving a clean appearance, the latter lessening any chance of discomfort from buttons digging into your back), although I've seen many a different variation (my recent Darcy acquisition, for instance, has all the buttons on the outside.  Exactly where to put them for the best fit can depend on your body shape and is usually a case of whatever feels best, although there is advice out there which tells of ideal distances from pleats, seams etc.

The next attachment option I absolutely beg you not to take, as I simply cannot believe anyone could honestly think they are a good idea.  I only mention them for the sake of completeness and, more importantly, as a warning.  Ladies and gentlemen - the Instant Buttons for Braces.  (I know, I apologise!)  I first came across these some months ago and I'm still struggling to come to terms with the idea that anyone could seriously advocate hammering a screw through the waistband of your trousers.  It is so, so wrong on every conceivable level.  I don't need to tell you what that will do to the fabric of your trews.  I daren't ask you to imagine what will happen if they're subjected to lateral forces, the kind of which might be applied by, oh I don't know, a tensioned length of elasticated fabric...  Honestly, if you take only one thing away from this post, it's this - avoid these!

From the ridiculous to the sublime now; the only true way to attach your braces - with fitted buttons!  No damage to your trousers.  No braces coming away unexpectedly.  Only secure, integrated attachments that allow you to make full use of traditional, proper leather-ended braces.  They may be harder to find, they may cost more than the alternatives but by Jove! they're worth it in the long run.  Teamed with a pair of high-waisted/fishtail back trousers they're nigh on unbeatable.  One day my wardrobe will be full of them only!  Darcy's again are my go to shop for these, although many other online outlets will offer similar at various prices.  Be sure to look out for the name Albert Thurston, which is generally agreed to be the Rolls-Royce of braces - and why not, considering the original Albert Thurston invented the things (as we know them today) in 1820. 

That's more than enough to be going on with for now, I think.  This post is already threatening to become a bit of a monster, so I think I'll split it into two.  I shall return with the second part of Braces with Bruce(!) - hmmn, not a bad alternative title - in a few days' time, when I will focus on the different colours and styles of braces available, plus some of my own daily experiences as a wearer of them.

But for now, Tinkerty-tonk!

Friday 22 November 2013

Vintage bus rides take on a new twist

Vintage bus rides take on a new twist

Following on from the story I posted last year, in which the local (to me) Epping-Ongar Heritage Railway ran a timetabled service of vintage buses, here now is a similar set-up involving the Yorkshire Heritage Bus Company which according to the accompanying article have just recently started running tours of the Yorkshire Dales in their vintage double-decker buses. It's splendid to see a family-run company making such a good go of the classic bus hire business - not just with the usual fare (no pun intended!) of
wedding and private hire but also with this excellent idea of touring the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. 

Just look at that stunning scenery as well and imagine how even better it must look from the top deck of a vintage bus!  Cruising the back lanes of Yorkshire in a 1959 AEC Regent, with such wonderfully-attired drivers and conductors(!) on hand, must be a glorious time-travelling experience.

Once again I've begun daydreaming about starting my own vintage bus company, except there aren't many picturesque views around my neck of the woods.  Not to mention - and more importantly - no PSV licence and no chance of buying a bus, ha!  Still, a chap can dream...

In the meantime, should I ever find myself in the pleasant environs of Halifax, West Yorkshire, I shall certainly avail myself of this company's lovely-looking tours.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

An imperial airliner - soon to fly again?

Back in March 2012 I did a post about a proposed new supersonic airliner that was essentially a biplane, the design having two sets of wings set one above the other.  Other than this link to an historic aircraft design the article mentioned was more along the lines of the type I used to include in the early days of this blog when I posted about anything and everything that interested me.  To give it the more vintage bent that this blog is now known for, I added a little bit of history regarding the fast biplanes and biplane airliners of the 1930s.  One of these was the Handley Page H.P.42.

The H.P.42 was born out of an Imperial Airways (the ancestor of British Airways) specification of 1928, intended to supplement their existing fleet of 3-engined Armstrong Whitworth Argosy airliners (also mentioned in my earlier post).  Handley Page's winning design was for a giant all-metal biplane with four Brisol Jupiter engines - two on the upper wings and two mounted on the lower wings next to the fuselage.  Two variants were produced - the H.P.42E (for the eastern routes to India and Australia) and the H.P.42W (for western routes to Europe).  The former seated up to 24 with extra baggage room for air mail, the latter 38.  Unlike the Argosy the cockpit was also enclosed - a first for a large airliner.  Imperial Airways felt its passengers valued comfort over speed so despite having around 500bhp per engine, the H.P.42's maximum speed was a sedate 120mph and its cruising speed a mere 100mph.  This led to commentators of the time noting that it was "as steady as the Rock of Gibraltar - and about as fast" and had "built-in headwinds"!  Indeed any substantial headwind encountered by an H.P.42 would invariably lower its cruising speed to 90mph, requiring extra refuelling stops particularly on the long-distance routes.

Handley Page H.P.42 G-AAUD Hanno at Semakh, Palestine, October 1931.

The aircraft's first flight was just over 83 years ago, on the 14th November 1930.  Clearance for commercial operation was given in May 1931 and the first passenger flight was undertaken on the 11th June 1931, from Croydon to Paris.  Eight H.P.42s were ultimately built and each was given a name,  beginning with 'H', from ancient British and Roman history or Greek mythology (can't see BA doing that today, can you?).  Hence there was Hannibal, Hanno, Hadrian, Horsa, Heracles, Horatius, Helena and Hengist.  For the next nine years they would ply the airways between London, Europe and the furthest reaches of the British Empire - suffering absolutely no serious accidents, an unheard of feat for aircraft of the time.  They were involved in only 4 incidents in their civilian lifetimes.  Hannibal had to force land in a field in Kent when its port lower engine failed, sending debris into the port upper engine.  Landing on two engines only, a tree trunk ripped off the tail and one wing and another engine were also damaged, but there were miraculously no serious injuries.  Horatius was struck by lightning in 1937 resulting in minor damage to one wing and also force-landed in Kent in 1938 causing damage to the undercarriage and one wing.  Hengist was destroyed in a hanger fire in Karachi in 1938 but the aircraft was empty and no lives were lost.

Refuelling Hanno at Samakh, Tiberias, Palestine, October 1931

The remaining aircraft were all pressed into RAF service on the outbreak of the Second World War.  Sadly none of them survived the conflict (although not for the reasons you might think), all of them apart from Helena being lost within one year.  Hannibal disappeared in mysterious circumstances over the Gulf of Oman on the 1st March 1940 - no sign of the aircraft or its passengers/contents has ever been found.  Horsa was burned beyond repair after a forced landing in Cumberland on the 7th August 1940.  Hanno and Heracles were both destroyed in one fell swoop when they were blown together during a gale at Bristol Airport on the 19th March 1940.  Hadrian was similarly wrecked in a gale at Doncaster Airport on the 6th December 1940.  Horatius had already been written off in another forced landing in Devon on the 7th November 1939.  Helena managed to survive until the end of 1940 but after a particularly hard landing an inspection showed irreparable corrosion had set in and it was scrapped in 1941.

Why am I telling you all this, apart from the fact that it is interesting (at least, I think it is and hope you do to)?  Well, last weekend I received a welcome surprise in the form of a comment on that earlier post from a member of Team Merlin, who it seems are actively undertaking to not only create a museum about Imperial Airways but also to build a full-size replica of the massive H.P.42 airliner!  (They're also based in a beautiful aviation-themed pub in deepest Wiltshire, I note).  I couldn't let such an interesting comment get lost in the archives, so here we are.  Wouldn't it be amazing to see one of these behemoths in the air again?  What a remarkable homage it would be to Imperial Airways' H.P42s and those early days of civil aviation.  Can such a (literally) huge undertaking be accomplished?  Your guess is as good as mine, but if a replica can be built of the Vickers Vimy bomber that flew non-stop across the Atlantic in 1919 then anything's possible.  I shall keep an eye out for their PR campaign next year with interest and - who knows? - maybe another eye out for a flying H.P.42 not long after that.

Friday 15 November 2013

Goodbye to the splendid 1930s world of Poirot

Goodbye to the splendid 1930s world of Poirot

And goodbye to the man himself!

I trust those of you who were able to tune in and watch Wednesday's episode have recovered - as much as anyone can recover! - from seeing the final adventure of the great Hercule Poirot?  What do we do now?!  No more M. Poirot.  No more Captain Hastings!  No more beautiful 1930s splendiferousness to jealously drool over.

The last in particular is the subject of this nicely-written article on the B.B.C. Magazine website (jolly sporting of them, considering Poirot was an ITV production), which focusses on two (of many) aspects that made this series a cut above the rest and possibly the best adaptation there's ever likely to be of Agatha Christie's work - the sets and the locations!

Florin Court, aka Whitehaven Mansions

The stunning Art Deco buildings that featured throughout Poirot added wonderfully to the period feel, as well they might, and certainly helped the stories along on many an occasion.  That lovely feeling of being right there back there in the 1930s was in no small part due to the locations used and it's a testament to the producers that they were able to find and use so much period architecture (thanks also in no small part to the likes of English Heritage and the many volunteers and enthusiasts who helped ensure these gems were saved from ignominy).  I've always marvelled at how it was possible to create such an authentic look on location - but I suppose that's the beauty of London where many examples of Art Deco design still exist, plus our ongoing love affair with stately country houses.

Midland Hotel, Morecambe
I'm glad - and not really surprised - to see that Poirot itself has ensured that the public interest in Art Deco and Streamline Modern design remains high, which must surely bode well for the future of many original buildings.  If it carries on giving the likes of you and me our required fix of '30s glamour as well then so much the better!  It's also delightful to know that, thanks in part to the series, modern architects are being influenced by the Art Deco movement and incorporating some of its motifs into today's new designs.  You can never have too much Deco, say I!

Then there were the sets!  Oh, I think we all would like to live inside Poirot's flat wouldn't we?  (Could we all fit though?  We'd have to draw up a rota and stay at Burgh Island, or the Midland Hotel in between times.  You can tell I've seriously thought about this...)  Once again the quality of the set decoration is second to none and again I'm delighted but not surprised to see that so many props and other pieces were obtained from various sources including David Suchet himself!


There it is, then.  The end of an era for British television.  I've said it before and I'll say it again - I think we've just been witness to a generation-defining portrayal not just of a character but also the world he inhabits.  Thank goodness for DVDs is all I can say, where we can relive the wonderful world of Poirot again and again to our hearts content.  On that subject, Captain Hastings posts will continue to appear here for some time to come (I'm only up to Series 1 Episode 8, after all!) with maybe another special diversion to Curtain, which features far more Hastings than The Big Four did.  It's been a bit Poirot-centric around here lately, I know, but with good reason.  I shan't let this turn into a Poirot-only blog (although it wouldn't be the end of the world!) if only because there already is one and I don't want to tread on the chap's toes.  But I can't let it pass without saying this.  Thank you, ITV, for sticking with it for 25 years.  Thank you, David Suchet, for such a stellar performance. Au revoir.

Thursday 14 November 2013

In the absence of news...

Hello, it's gone all quiet again!

I'm afraid the first two weeks of the month are sometimes very busy ones here at Partington-Plans Towers and often seem to coincide with a dearth of interesting news - many apologies once again for the lack of movement from this corner of the Internet!  I really do hope to have new things to blog about very soon and this little post is by way of getting me back into the swing of bashing something out on the old keyboard.

Sometimes it can be a little difficult, after more than a week of bloglessness, to summon up the vim to get going again.  But I'm always glad to come back to it in the end as the creative juices start swiftly flowing again.  I really do enjoy keeping this little blog - I wouldn't have [virtually] met all you nice people and had my vintage world so wonderfully, continually enhanced for one thing - with all the opportunities it has given me to write about and share with you all the aspects of the past that fascinate me. 

Speaking of fascinating aspects, do feel free to tell me about any interesting titbits of news you may have seen yourself that you think might fit in on here - or any other subjects you'd like to see me cover in the future.  I've had a couple of posts suggested to me by readers and fellow vintage bloggers in the past and this latest lull in proceedings strikes me as just the right time to put out the rallying call.  Don't be shy; I bet there have been times when you've thought "that's just the kind of thing Bruce would write about".  Or maybe not.  Either way I'm always open to suggestions, poised and ready to go!

In the meantime I'll continue to scour my various sources for any items of interest and maybe think of a few more topics of my own to throw into the mix.  My thanks as always to you, my loyal readers/followers, for taking the time out of your day to read my witterings which I hope will always be of some interest.   I value your comments, input and the sense of genuine friendship that pervades the vintage blogosphere.  I'm glad to continue to be a part of that.


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