and a Weekend of Literary
Oh what a beautiful wedding we went to this past weekend in the picturesque town of Harrogate. Our friends, Steve and Diane, married in a gorgeous old church surrounded by a large group of family and friends who all looked resplendent in a colourful array of dresses, fascinators and hats!
Steve and Diane and the wedding party.
I must say I enjoyed checking out what everyone was wearing as the ladies of Harrogate looked divine. Gorgeous dresses with coats, stunning suits, and for those in little strapless outfits – pretty pashminas wrapped elegantly about the shoulders!
And what about me?
I did not look at the weather forecast before packing to go.
Full of optimism and hope for a glorious sunny day, I wore one of my favourite dresses from my latest 'Occasion Wear' collection – " A Painting of Passion ", only to be met with temperatures bordering on arctic conditions, gale force winds and at times heavy rain. Not great when you are wearing a hat that is so large it has the qualities of a wind turbine, and a soft floaty, silk wrap-over dress with no warmth factor about it at all. Faced with blustery winds and only two hands, one of which was gripping a clutch bag, what does one do? Hold on to their hat or their dress?
What is worse ladies - the sight of flat hair if the hat flies off, or heaven forbid – ones underwear?
( The only picture I am game to put here of myself, in what should have been my very elegant purple outfit, unfortunately, is of my feet ! – Reason being that the rest of the photo is so utterly hilarious with hair, hat and dress all completely askew in the wind.)
Somehow, I managed to stay intact without losing my dignity. Were other ladies having troubles? Oh yes, feathery fascinators were flying about, dresses whipping all over the place – but these troubles were nothing, nothing at all in comparison to the men in kilts – for I saw a couple flying dangerously high!!
( A kilted gentleman lurking on the sidelines – obviously a lull in the wind!!)
Now why is it that Scotsmen wear kilts to weddings? I really must find out the answer to this, as there were kilts of every conceivable colour on many a handsome Scotsman.
At some point throughout the reception I asked one such fellow, – not what he was wearing underneath, as I had already heard one brazen lassie ask him, but why weights weren't sewn into the hem of kilts to stop the wind whipping them up around their waists? The look of astonishment and horror at such a suggestion, plus the indigant reply that weights would take away from part of the fun of wearing a kilt by keeping it steadily place, silenced me immediately!
It is, however, not such a stupid suggestion.
The Queen happened to have weights sewn into her hemline when she met the Obamas in London this last week. So whilst Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron battled to keep their dresses in modest mode, the Queen serenly waved to the crowds, whilst happily holding her handbag with her other hand. Very wise!
But back to the wedding…….
( Steve and Diane looking very dashing and gorgeous! )
Not only was the wedding a happy occasion and a wonderful evening of fun and frivolity, but Steve and Diane's reception just happened to be in The Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate – which was the very hotel where Agatha Christie disappeared to in 1926.
Now, I happen to be an Agatha Christie fan and have read every one of her books, devouring the adventures of Hercule Poriot and Miss Marple with great relish.
( A framed original newspaper article of Agatha Christie's discovery at the Old Swan Hotel.)
Imagine my delight therefore, to find myself in the very establishment she had absconded to for a blissful ten days whilst the rest of the country searched for her. Due to the Agatha connection, the hotel specialises in Murder Mystery dinners, a fact that came to everyone's attention quite dramatically, when in the midst of the wedding celebrations a gunshot was heard echoing around the hotel.
Silence hit. A very large woman, swathed in black, went tearing down a corridor as fast as her legs would carry her, and disappeared into a blackened room. A scream was heard……
The wedding quests all looked at each other, unsure as to whether or not to duck for cover under the vast white tableclothes or escape outside whilst the chance still existed to do so……
And then it dawned – a murder mystery was in full steam down the hallway.
Quite a night – weddings and murders…. champagne and dancing, glamorous women, men in kilts, bridesmaids playing hide and seek, and Steve and Diane in their happy bubble, enjoying the occasion with their friends.
I cannot end the blog without mentioning that on the journey back to London, I popped into the little town of Haworth to visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum.
( The Bronte Parsonage )
More authors I just adore, for Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte have all written books I have read numerous times each.
On perusing their small house and tiny village set high on a remote hillside I could not help but wonder, as indeed everyone else has wondered since, where the girls got such inspiration to write books of such intensity, sexual prowess and, in the case of Wuthering Heights, have a main character with an incredibly diabolical nature?
The fact that the sisters were daughters of a parson and wrote at times with such moral ambiguity is intriguing. Where oh where would the girls have got such vivid imaginations to write such shocking plots! Surely, as daughters of a pius clergyman they would not have been exposed to such tempestuous situations. And yet, I have it on good authority, that even daughters of the most saintly of men can be wicked! And thus it may have been….Oh to have been a fly on the wall and listened to the three sister's conversations as their obviously rampant imaginations ran wild.
(Charlotte, Anne and Emily Bronte)
But I wander from fashion …. for this is not a literary blog to ponder the lives and writings of Charlotte, Anne and Emily. To get back onto the topic at hand, I should comment on the fact that a dress belonging to Charlotte was on display, a very plain, basic dress with very little adornment or detail… but still requiring numerous hours to sew, for little hand stitches were obvious where someone had painstakingly toiled for many an hour to make the tiny dress. (Charlotte was very small and was not even five foot in height )
(Charlotte Bronte – who died at the age of 38)
I will leave you with a picture of a little shop in the village of Haworth that captured my imagination, for it was an old apothecarist's shop that remains unchanged inside with all its original and very beautiful fixtures and fittings that would have graced the establishment for well over 100yrs or more.
( Rose and co in Haworth )
And yes, it comes with a resident cat, who apparently has been sleeping in the same spot under an "unexploded bomb" sign for well over a decade for a note above this lazy animal reads :-
" My name is Billy,
I am 11 years old, and yes, I am alive -
so please don't poke me! "
(Well – That just makes one want to poke him in that soft tummy even more so, to see if he will actually move! But I resisted temptation….)
On that note,
I shall wish Steve and Diane a long and happy marriage – if you are reading this guys, your wedding was so very touching as well as being great fun.
*** All the very best ***
And ladies, if you are off to a wedding over the summer, as I know many of you are, please check out the weather forecast before hand and if needed we will sew those very handy little weights into the hems of your dresses.
(Or may I suggest that you raid your husband's fishing box and put his tackle to good use!)
You will be the envy of all the other guests as they grip hold of their dresses and you are free to delicately hold your handbag and wave to the crowds!