Thursday 31 December 2015

A very belated "Hello", a slightly belated "Merry Christmas" and a not-quite-belated Happy New Year

Well hello, hello! and once again a thousand apologies for letting this blog lie dormant for over 2 months.  I wouldn't blame you if you thought I'd dropped off the edge the Earth; the truth, however, is more boring than that - I simply haven't been able to find the time, nor for that matter anything much of a vintage bent to blog about (although you can still read my writings in In Retrospect magazine - subscribe today!).  I have to say it's been a very busy time for me work-wise (although as I've said before that's really no excuse) and the daily news since October seems to have been bereft of vintage interest.

However, now it's Christmastime (still, just!) and 2016 looms large!  I hope to do better than the measly thirteen posts I've managed this whole year just gone and although you're probably all fed up with me saying this, I promise Eclectic Ephemera will continue.  So, without further ado -

Christmas presents!

Christmas this year was again a quiet one, spent with the folks and sadly not featuring either of my sisters since one of them came down with a tummy bug on the day itself (although she's over it now, I'm told).  Better luck next year, eh?!

The folks' and my presents gathered around the, erm, coffee table. 
No traditional tree for them this year for reasons I won't bore you with.

As an aside I'm delighted to tell you that this post is the first to feature photographs taken on my new digital camera!!  Yes, after over 10 years of somehow managing on a 3 megapixel, 3x zoom Nikon Coolpix that has been outclassed by most mobiles since at least 2007 I finally got around to upgrading to something better (just as everyone else has made the switch to camera phones and Instagram) - a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90 for any of you camera buffs out there.  Still, I'm nothing if not old-fashioned and have been delighted with my choice; so from now on any photos on here that were taken by me will be in glorious high-definition whereby you will actually be able to see the subject matter without squinting.  As an example, here's a robin which with the old camera would have appeared as a small dot in the centre of the picture:

As you can probably tell, I'm still learning the intricacies of this new box-brownie!

As befits a small family Christmas the presents were high in quality rather than quantity.  As such I've augmented them in the following daguerreotypes with other things that were either treats to myself in the run up to the festivities or items purchased in the subsequent sales (hot off the shelves today, in fact!).

I am, and always have been, a terrible bibliophile.  I admit it, I love books.  This would be less of a problem if I had a place to store them all (something I hope to rectify in 2016) but it doesn't stop me from buying or requesting more!  This Christmas was no exception, with books including The Complete Saki (if you don't know of H.H. Munro, or Saki as his pen-name was, I advise you to search out his works for he wrote in much the same vein as Oscar Wilde and P.G. Wodehouse - and indeed bridged the gap between the two era-wise until his untimely death in the First World War), The Treasures of Noël Coward; also a delightful little book detailing the on-screen adventures of those two archetypal British chaps Charters and Caldicott and an hilarious spoof 19th century cricket compendium entitled W.G. Grace Ate My Pedalo.

The book is laugh-out-loud funny and can easily be enjoyed by even those with just a passing interest in the game; it's very much in the same vein as The Chap magazine and books.

Then of course there's the almost mandatory calendar - or in this case calendars.  Featuring steam trains, naturally!  One for home, the other for the office, and both come with matching diaries - now there's really no excuse for me to miss any appointments!

And finally, the box set of one of my favourite (and much-overlooked) period murder-mystery dramas - the early 2000s American series entitled A Nero Wolfe Mystery.  Starring Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin and the late Maury Chaykin as Nero Wolfe, this programme was - in my opinion - one of the best things to come out of American television since Frasier, but sadly it has been all but forgotten since, with only a few desultory repeats on B.B.C. Two in the late 2000s and a few episodes available on a Region 2 DVD Dutch release.  Fortunately I managed to track down this Region 0 Australian import featuring all the episodes.

I featured Timothy Hutton's portrayal of Archie Goodwin as one of my "Style Icons" back in 2012, and I may yet devote another post to this wonderful series in the future.

Oh, and some neckties.  Because a chap can never have enough ties, can he?(!)

Well, it only remains for me to wish you all a happy and health New Year!  I'll be celebrating quietly at home myself but I hope everyone has a fun time whatever they're up to.  Thanks again to all my readers, followers and visitors for sticking with me through a somewhat sparse 2015 (blogging-wise) and I hope to see you all, old and new, afresh in 2016.

Cheerio for now!


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