Hello October

Honesty seeds

Honesty - I took this phone last Sunday morning. I was walking to our local shop as the sun appeared. Just the right moment to see these humble seeds transformed by autumn light.

This week has been one of foggy starts, a chill in the air but by afternoon it's relatively warm, sunny. Today is different: fog again but drizzle and rain. I nipped outside to photograph the spiderwebs.

October spiderweb

grapes in my garden

and the grapes that have done so well this year - the old vine shared by our rented garden and our neighbours enjoyed the summer heat.

moody October colours

moody October sky - quite typical

My Granny's lipstick

(thoughts on 'vintage style')

my Granny's lipstick

When my Granny (my paternal grandmother) died (back in 2006 - six months after my Dad died), I was afforded a brief few moments to take one or two of her belongings from her bungalow. One of the personal items I chose was a lipstick. To me the bright pink-red lipstick she wore for decades was so much a part of her, who she was, her past. The lipstick she always wore was called 'gay crimson' and was made by Boots, I think I am right in remembering this. You can see it here. There was a little clip-on mirror but the actual mirror had fallen out years ago.

Granny was very particular about her appearance. Like many young women who became young adults in the 30's and 40's she had plucked/shaved her eyebrows and always drew on her brows with a dark brown pencil. She had very dark almost black hair, naturally curly, and thus fashionable for the time. She used curlers and setting lotion. In the mornings she would apply cold cream to her face, eat breakfast and then 'put her face on'. She would tuck tissues into her dress and cover her face with loose face powder. Then she would draw on her eyebrows and apply lipstick. I don't ever remember her using blush. She had a ghostly (though friendly) quality to her face because she was naturally very pale and rarely went out in the sunshine for any length of time, always wearing hats and sunglasses if she did.

Of course, having an interest in vintage and nostalgic things, I am keen to remember my Granny and how women like her used to dress and wear make up. I've watched a few videos and read blogs on 'vintage style' but I it seems they're not quite getting it right. I see women wearing far too much make-up - made up like pin-ups not every day women. The women in the past believed in economy and elegance, they did not spend endless hours in the bathroom when they had so much else to do. And there was rationing in the UK for many years so - if you ran out of lipstick you bit your lips. Perhaps it's a British thing, but most women did not believe in wearing make up as if about to walk out on a stage or film set, you wore it to be 'respectable' and to show you had a bit of class about you. Granny said that women who wore too much make-up were 'tarty', but to not powder your nose was worse still. To have a shiny face, Granny assured me from an early age, was not a good look.

Of course, my grandmother was of her time and had grown up in a world of differing tastes and fashions. Granny often wondered why it was younger women did not wear girdles or 'roll ons'. 'You wobble about in the middle a bit, you don't have shape, you girls, even if you are thin.' Granny was about five feet tall and wore a size 20 dress - but she never looked 'fat' because she was always in her corset or girdle (though as she got older she would some times go without on a very hot day). She wore dresses, sometimes a dress with matching jacket, rarely separates. I don't think I ever saw her wear them but I did see a pair of tartan trousers in her wardrobe. She would buy a few new dresses a year and wear them for years and years - no fast fashion for her.

I have inherited her love of dresses and don't do jeans. I think she would be happy about that. However, I do not wear a corset or a girdle - and though I like to wear red lipstick now and then, bright pink-red is not my colour: most of the time I wear a muted dark pink called: 'antique' (made by Gosh).

I suppose that sums us up then Granny: you will forever be lovely, smiling Gay Crimson and I am just a curious Antique!



This week I finished re-reading Barbara Pym's novel: The Sweet Dove Died. It is a masterpiece, I say without hesitation. If you want to read a Pym and have never done so yet why not start with one of her best. So, having finished that one I decided to get a copy of a novel published after her death: A Few Green Leaves. This is the only one I have not read before. I got an old secondhand copy and much prefer to get older copies of books if I can. As I am only a few chapters in I won't say more, but it's already a very readable story. I'll certainly write more about Pym in the future.

I've also been re-reading American author: Ben Loory. I've been re-reading his second collection of short stories: Tales of Falling and Flying. I came across Loory's work several years ago, just by chance, reading online literary journals. His often very short stories stood out and I wanted to read more and more. I liked his direct style, use of familiar narrative tropes and yet in such surprising, magical and surreal ways. As soon as his first book was published I happily bought a copy, I was thrilled he was getting a collection in print. Stories for Nighttime and some for the Day is a fantastic book of quite short short stories. My son is also a Loory fan.


thanks for reading my Saturday posts - more next week


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