Sunday, September 26, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Since I began this blog three years ago, there have been a few changes which I haven't kept up with in the blogging world. So, while I'm making a whole lot of changes in the boatshed and indeed my life, why not update the look of my blog? I'm still learning though,and have just wasted a whole Sunday afternoon on what would take most experienced bloggers an hour I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dark Nostalgia

Maybe it's because my mood of late has been somewhat darker, but as someone whose decorating style has to date been fairly bright and shiny, with the boatshed characterised by expanses of white interspersed with lots of prettiness:

And more of the same:

I've suddenly turned into someone who would await with anticipation the following recently-ordered volume:

This book by Eva Hasberg, according to The Faster Times, 'explores 25 contemporary spaces that have been designed with an eye to the past.Across the U.S., with forays to London and Paris, Hagberg looks at bars, restaurants, hotels, and homes, considering their emotional resonance along with their styling. “We are recreating our own history and embracing the darkness that comes with it,” she writes in the book’s introduction. Designers are restoring this imagined past through warm, tactile materials, creating interiors that immediately evoke a time and place that feels familiar, if a little mysterious. Ultimately, “we have become nostalgic for a time that never existed.”'

Below is an image from the book of the loft apartment of Stephen Alesh and Robin Standefer of Roman and Williams. I love the map drawer, botanical prints and see sponges, as well as the use of black painted timberwork:

And the Julian Schnabel-designed Gramercy Hotel in Mahattan:

This is the Apotheke Hotel, also in Manhattan. According to the Steampunk Home blog, this hotel is designed to look like a 19th century Austrian apothecary:

I'm not sure why I've taken to this aesthetic so strongly. It's not just because it's informed by a sense of history and craftmanship, but that it recreates a history that never really was, that is timeless. I'm not really one to want a room from the past to be replicated exactly, because I find this a bit too serious, but am much more open to the idea of pastiche and its associated playfulness. Consequently, a few changes are afoot here in the boatshed which may take a while to come to fruition.

Friday, September 10, 2010


We were fortunate to be able to stay in our motor home on the grounds of Chatsworth, a massive country estate with almost 300 rooms, and once dubbed "The Palace of the Peak". This is the quaint gateway which allows people in wheelchairs to access the property:

The house iteself provided the inspiration for "Pemberley", Mr Darcy's home in Jane Austen's novel, "Pride and Prejudice". It was aslo the home of Georgiana the Fifth Duchess of Devonshire, whose story was told in the film "The Duchess" with Keira Knightley:

 One of the ceilings:

While there, we saw an exhibition to commemorate Deborah the present dowager Duchess. This is a photograph from a fashion shoot, with Deborah and her granddaughter, model Stella Tennant:

The beautiful dining room with rose-coloured glassware:

This sculpture hall was used in the recent film version of "Pride and Prejudice" starring Keira Knightley:

A Moveable Feast

I'm deliberately misusing Hemingway's quotation about Paris being a moveable feast, which wasn't about food at all. It merely meant that memories of one's early life in Paris could always be conjured up in later life. However, I'm referring specifically to food memories, not of Paris, but of Britain. In Wales I tried a greengage for the first time in my life:

And bought fresh blackberries at a farmer's market:

For the first time I tried Eton Mess, not in Eton, but in Cheltenham:

And discovered that mushy peas are an excellent accompaniment to cod and chips:

Windfalls found on a table in a country churchyard have a romantic timelessness that could be out of a George Eliot novel :

This Bakewell Pudding, tasted in Bakewell, was delicious:

As was a Welsh cake in, of course, Wales:

In Diana's Footsteps

This is where her life began, at Althorp, a life fit for a Princess-to-be. Not exactly in this building, which houses the stables, although they are very grand:

The main house is covered by scaffolding due to work on the cladding and roof. Diana's brother Charles vacates the estate during July and August, but the house is left much as it is when his family is in residence, with books, games, and other personal touches casually left in public view. This is part of its charm for visitors:

However, Diana growing up in such a beautiful environment could not keep her safe in later life. Here is the road above the Alma Tunnel in Paris, where she met her death thirteeen years ago. Because the public cannot access the tunnel itself, this replica of the flame of the Statue of Liberty above it serves as a de facto memorial:

The public in their grief have scrawled messages, one pointing out the irony that Diana, whose mythological name means the huntress, found herself hunted in her final moments:

Two years ago, I photographed another memorial at Harrod's in London, but it is no longer there as Dodi's father has since sold the store:

Now Diana is remembered through the memorial fountain in Hyde Park, near Kensington Palace, where she once lived:

Although the fountain's design was criticised when it first opened, it is utilised by many children, a fact which Diana would have loved:

The gates of Kensington Palace, the site of a sea of flowers and an outpouring of grief at her death:

The Diana memorial playground behind the palace:

There is a sense of symmetry in the fact that Diana is now buried on an island on the estate where she grew up:

This is truly a fitting temple to her memory:

Rest in peace.
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