Monthly Archives: November 2014

Nostalgia Rocks

stallHad my first craft stall in twenty years, part of a Christmas fair at Wymondham Windmill. I did a few of these events in the 1980s so this was a nostalgic moment in many ways. I am criticised for ‘living too much in the past’. I figure if I can make money doing just that, then I’ve earned the right to say ‘up yours!’ Nostalgia is big business, but in business it goes by the names Vintage, Victoriana, Antique, and Steam Punk.

Nostalgia is the romanticising of history. Not all of history, we cherry-pick the aspects of it that we find most appealing. We daydream about Dickens’ era, ice-skating on the Thames before sitting in front of a roaring fire, with a chenille cloth and two porcelain dogs on the mantel. We conveniently forget about cholera and the infant mortality rate.

I’d like to know why nostalgia is currently so fashionable. Is there such a huge dissatisfaction with modernity, that more and more ordinary people are feeling the need to romanticise history. I specify ordinary people over and above those die-hards, like me, who only ever felt at home in a Laura Ashley shop? The answer to this might lie in the question: Is nostalgia a modern affliction or did Victorians sit around their fireplaces wistfully wishing they’d lived at the time of the renaissance? Did they hanker after a simpler age. before the unnaturalness of street lighting, and the steam trains that made their lives gather speed at such an alarming rate?

Not Bad for Sileby

October ponies

Mention Sileby in a conversation and you won’t inspire thoughts of great beauty. Sileby is known, these days, for its swamps and for its council tip. Well we lost the tip to Mountsorrel, but between our house and the river is a swamp that has become a well respected nature reserve. Cossington Meadows is home to these Exmoor ponies, as well as to barn owls, egrets, lapwings and enough geese and swans to make quite a theatre at dusk.

This photo of Cossington Meadows was taken by Roger Bradshaw.

We Will Remember Them

Ratcliffe College is rightly proud of its history, and never more so than today. At 11 o’clock this morning I was at a memorial service where the names of the Old Boys who died in uniform were read out. As Hugo played the last post and Sophie lowered the flag, it was hard to hold the stiff upper lip that is our British trademark. The list of names was long, but then the current CCF also had a huge presence in the chapel, and I felt a pang for the ghosts of the future.

We hope for the future as we remember the past and I sang heartily the words of the National Anthem:
“That men should brothers be
And form one family
The whole world over.”

Photo is of my silk scarf; an original painting by Lyn Armitage.

Country House Weekend

Some from London, us from the Midlands and them from t’North, all brought together with a democratic division of skills, to Richard’s barn. It was a beautiful weekend of country pursuits; lighting fires, plucking pheasants and long walks down leafy, sloe-lined lanes.

Wonderful company, stunning countryside and awesome food. Life doesn’t get any better than this I thought.


bonfire -fireside