Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Spring seems to have disappeared for a few days. It is cold and wet, and grey and revolting, so there is a big pot of butternut soup bubbling on the stove and I am about to retire to the couch with the bag of wool and crochet hook and make some flowers.

Watching TV was a little odd this morning. As in all the BBC channels had disappeared into the ether. Then I remembered that today is Day One of the phased digital switch over here in my part of the land, and so I had to work out how to re-tune the televisions. Oh happy day. The little one was no problem at all. The big one, however, took ages and was totally confusing. But hallelujah, the good old Beeb is back in the right place at last. And the cheerful news is that we have to do the whole thing again in 2 weeks. Oh well. At least I should remember what to do. It is just 2 weeks, but you never know...... I tend to forget things 5 minutes after I learn them nowadays.

The fashion comments from yesterday were hilarious. I realised that I had not even got as far as the unfortunate trend in floral leggings, so there will definitely have to be more "down memory lane" posts. Mum and I were discussing fashions this morning, and she started talking about Christian Dior's influence on hems - how they were a foot above floor level, and then she moved on to the fifties styles with masses of petticoats and tight waists, and I had to remind her that THOSE DID NOT APPLY TO ME!!!! Even if it does seem as though I have been here for ever. I was wearing knitted pilchers and bonnets and......does anyone know what I am talking about????

Something else I thought about after I read a comment by an English friend, is how much the war influenced fashion here, and around the world. My mother could wear a designer dress for her 18th or 21st birthday in the late 40s. That would not have happened here. Rationing went on for a long time after the war. All of the fashion industry had been absorbed into other essential wartime manufacture.

Fashion was out of the picture, quite understandably. And that would have significantly altered the way people dressed. I mean, for goodness sake, what would you do with an evening dress when everyday clothing was in very short supply?? It was not important. The fancy stuff. But elsewhere in the world, things were available. Other new world countries had not been bombed to bits. They could keep the element of choice available. But was very different. And that difference lasted a long time.

How very different our worlds are. We speak the same language, but the ways we dressed, grew up, lived, are all so varied. That is one of the reasons I love meeting new friends here. We have wildly different stories to tell.

I remember reading Wild Swans by Jung Chang many years ago, and being totally appalled to realise that while she was the same age as me (or round there), I had had absolutely no idea of what growing up in China was like for my contemporaries. None whatsoever. And this from someone who has always had a fascination for the globe, and its peoples, and who had spent decades trying to learn as much as possible about it all. I mean, I knew more about the Luo people in Africa than I knew of China. There were not many evening dresses in Jung Chang's early life.

And then there are the contrasts in the ways my British friends grew up in post-war Britain and the way I grew up at the bottom of Africa........

But that too can wait for another time. If I remember, of course!


Dawn said...

I'm playing catch-up again, so will have to go read yesterday's post for sure.

Spring is a hoax in Colorado - I really don't like it that much, except for the flowers - it's definitely bipolar. Today the sun is trying hard to come out - yesterday it was bright and shiny, but really chilly. It's supposed to be nice in the 70s by week-end. We'll see. So far no spring blizzards.

Come on over to my latest post and try the new recipe! If you do, please let me know what you think.

Vee said...

Huh? You're having rolling blackouts in tv reception? Hmmm... I remember the good old days when one didn't have to pay for good television reception, but that's another story. I laughed at your mom's comment and your reminding here that you weren't wearing petticoats in the 50s. My mother used to describe things as if I were a contemporary also using terms like "our age" and "our size." Ha!

You've probably got your flowers all crocheted. I whipped up another smaller one last night for the kitchen window. It's kind of matchy-matchy, but I like it all the same.

Vee said...

your reminding her... Why must I bother? You know what I meant. :>

Dawn said...

I just read your previous post and it brought back so many memories - Dr. Kildare was my absolutely dream guy in those days - I couldn't afford one of those shirts, but wanted one badly. In my young adult years, I sewed everything for myself and oh, some of those styles! Lots of crazy things - I have so many pictures - we should share those wonderful pictures!

Dawn said...

Me again!! Just a can of Campbell's condensed tomato soup - the kind you add milk or water to. Really yummy! Let me know if you try it.

Gillie said...

Liberty bodices (pilchers? not sure) button shoes and don't forget the button hook! Smocked dresses. My mum wearing a hat and gloves to fly to Egypt on a military plane because she was the wife of an officer......and me sitting on the dratted thing at some stage during the journey (mid 50s that would be). Just missing having to wear gloves every day to go to work at the Foreign Office. A gorgeous Laura Ashley midi dress in fine cord and my dear father in law asking if he could take my coat! I wore quite a few long dresses back then and boyfriends in black tie - Cambridge and army dos. Nowadays? I can't remember the last time I wore a skirt, sigh!

The Bookworm said...

Vee, we are not getting rolling blackouts on the TV, but the old analogue TV service is being switched off and in future there will only be digital transmission. For some reason I don't understand the switchover requires everyone to retune their sets.

Linds, you are absolutely right about the war. I hadn't thought of it in relation to clothes, but I became aware of the impact it had even on my generation through watching an American friend buy (and waste) food in quantities that simply boggled my mind, raised as I was by a mother of the war generation who grew up with food rationing. She still feels mortified if she can't eat everything on her plate. And the horrors of school dinners where we had to eat whatever was put in front of us. I bet that was a throwback to food rationing too. Ugh!