Monday, February 11, 2013

The Skirl Of The Pipes

There is nothing quite like the skirl of the pipes or even a big brass marching band to warm the cockles of the heart!  Or so it seems to me, though I believe this is not a universally held opinion.  Much to my surprise, when dear old National Radio played a track by The Red Hot Chilli Pipers (what an excellent name), there was a flood of complaint and a similar thing happened when there was a brass band track played.  The general opinion seemed to be that this music was “low brow” and  a cacophony of sound which was horrid to hear.  Well, I am afraid I am just the sort of low brow common sort of person who revels in such entertainment and this weekend we went to the 20th annual Paeroa tattoo and highland games.  

The massed pipes would have stirred all but the most moribund of individuals into toe-tapping jig and as for the mace twirling, the champion was giving it his all and the mace flew up into the sky and twinkled in the sun.  The strong men tossed the caber and carried enormous weights back and forth, and the highland dancers all looked so dainty in their varied tartans.  It had been a beautiful sunny day and as the sun went down behind the hills the bands all came out and performed en mass before we heard the lone piper at the end.  A very special outing.  Plus which Mr Shoestring was happy to see somebody wearing a kilt in the tartan of his clan, which he had never seen before.  (I fear he won’t rest until he get his very own kilt now, he already has a hat and a tie in his tartan.)

But these trousers were certainly the star of the event, eclipsing all the more subdued tartans.

I think I can truthfully say that I have never before seen any like them.  Eye wateringly colourful and if you are going to make a statement with your attire you might as well put yourself into it heart and soul, which this gentleman has clearly done. 

Apart from that outing there was the monthly market to attend – a couple of nice plants, a little glass dish (green of course),

some old glass buttons and a very interesting selection of knitting pattern books and sewing books from 1942 – 1954.

One thing which I found quite surprising was the enormous range of things which were knitted – everything from evening bags and heelless socks (for the troops in 1942)

Socks for the troops

through to boater hats

and handbags and evening jackets
"Invitation to the Waltz" evening jacket.  I can't imagine wanting to dance for long in this warm garment!

It seems that nothing was beyond the ambition of these keen knitters, such was their desire to wield their trusty needles.  I feel very sad that the woolen mills we used to have in New Zealand have closed down, but after looking through these magazines I can see there is nowhere near the degree of interest in knitting that there once was, or the level of skill.  And I don’t think I would much fancy wearing a knitted two piece suit.

Also the knitted baby layettes would take a lot of car and attention in washing, and I do remember as a child not liking to wear itchy woollies so probably there are some good reasons for the decline. 

I don't think the rompers in the bottom left corner would be very easy to care for.

In this publication I was surprised to find an advertisement for “Your Favourite Laxative” which conjured up visions of people rising from their beds in the morning and racing into the kitchen with cries of, “Yum yum, give me half a cup of Nyal Figsen, it is my all time favourite!”  It never occurred to me that a laxative could elicit such enthusiasm, especially the "double strength" version. 

Etiquette was very much in the minds of some people too.  This instructive little piece covers the ins and outs of what to do if one should chance to receive an invitation such as that described – just what I was needing to know, so helpful.

You receive an invitation which is engraved or printed on a folded "informal".
DON'T: Telephone your answer.
DO: Write your answer on an "informal" or on small notepaper.

In the Helpful Hints For Housewives column (tips kindly sent in by readers), one recommendation was to mix 2 teaspoons of baking soda with 1 cup of cigar ashes and enough water to form a paste.  Apparently this made an excellent metal polish.  Where would one possibly obtain a whole cup of cigar ashes?  Was this some weird form of boastfulness?  (I am so wealthy that I can burn boxes of cigars to obtain ashes for metal polish.)  Or did the unfortunate housewife trail around behind any passersby who happened to be smoking cigars in the hope of catching a piece of falling ash?  

Then there is the Berlei corset advertisement which outlines the five different type of female figure – somehow I can understand “short waisted” and “swayback” but just being called “abdomen” seems a little harsh, wouldn’t you agree? 

And what about this one for a new lipstick shade.  Who would have thought that a new lipstick would have such a radical effect?  It would have to be kept under lock and key, and only brought out on VERY special occasions! 
"Wear Riding Hood Red at your own sweet risk ... we warn you you're going to be followed.  It's a rich ripe succulent red that turns the most innocent look into a tantalising invitation."

But perhaps most excitingly this weekend, the strong sons of Mr Peaceable and Mr Peaceable himself came and lifted the “hood” of the pond into place.  It was a bit of a  mission but with a big team effort it came together and looks very effective.  The inside has been painted black and soon it will be ready to have some fish introduced.  I can’t wait.  The sound of the water splashing and the way the light reflects up onto the wall and the back of the pond is most pleasing.

It wasn’t all reading of old magazines this weekend, the costumes for art deco weekend are all packed up and ready to go now.

Mr Shoestring has somehow mislaid his black fedora, his brown fedora and his red spotty silk tie so he is a little aggrieved, but I feel sure he will still be able to pass muster and enjoy himself. 

Mr Shoestring also lived up to his promises as far as the stained glass windows for the front porch were concerned.  Thank you so much, Woolly Wallies, for the kind donation.  Though it has taken a while to find the perfect spot for them I think you will agree that they are not wasted here.  

From the inside of the porch

From the outside