Did I manage to write those stories down last week? I actually found it very difficult to carve out the time, but I have laid down the structure of what this memoir could be, and this time I believe I can do it. I’ve also booked a week away in January in my favourite spot, Dungeness, and as I expect the weather will be wild, cold and wet, the entire week will be spent indoors writing.
And talking about wild weather this past week we’ve certainly had a lot of rain and wind here in the UK culminating in another named ‘storm’and there are many flooded areas in the south, southwest and further afield into the Channel Isles. In our local area we had lashings of rain and gusts of wind up to approximately 60-70mph but, thankfully, only at night and not much damage in our area, others had it much worse and far windier, I do feel for the people who have had their lives ruined by this stormy weather.
The rain on Saturday didn’t put off the Bonfire Societies in Lewes from having their annual bunfight, which is an astonishing manifestation, which we witnessed many times when younger. To sum it up in a couple of sentences doesn’t give justice to how a small town that is very right-on, middle to upper-middle class and very Green suddenly turns feral. But suffice to say Bonfire, as it’s called here, celebrates the Lewes martyrs that were burnt at the stake in the time of Bloody Mary the daughter of Henry VIII who came to the throne determined to root out the dangerous Protestants in her land, so much so that she burnt these heretics alive on bonfires including ones from Lewes. Religion does go down some dark paths and this was one.
There are six Bonfire Societies that organise the whole experience between them, which consists of members of said societies marching through Lewes to the War Memorial dressed up in a variety of costumes and carrying burning torches and crosses. Here’s a photo from last year.
The marchers go back to their respective fields where each society has the most amazing firework display (probably amongst the best in the country) and don’t forget the enormous effigies of politicians (or tableaus as they are called in Lewes) burnt on huge bonfires. Not unexpectedly there were two Rishi Sunaks sitting on a train carriage, then there was a fat cat destroying the world, and a more local tableau depicting a highwayman sitting on a digger, with wording on the back that made it clear the society was having a ‘dig’ at the local council for not sorting the potholes in our roads!
Having stood in the rain last year and had a couple of firecrackers flung near my feet, which started off some minor tinnitus that never went away, we thought we’d keep warm and dry and leave it to the Lewes folk. You could still hear it though and we also watched part of the march on Rocket FM on Youtube.
On the day before (Friday) I went up to the V&A museum to meet two of my favourite bloggers, Gail of Is This Mutton, who I have met before and is a good friend, and Jill, who I hadn’t met, who blogs at Grown Up Glamour.
Jill comes from Tasmania and is here on a very big European tour. I am so glad she made it to the V&A as needless to say we all got on so well with our mutual love of dressing up and our thinking along the same lines on so many topics. Gail didn’t stay for the exhibitions but Jill and I went to both the Diva exhibition and the Chanel.
Before I get to the exhibitions, I just want to say that Jill is always beautifully attired in very stunning and iconic outfits – do have a look at her blog. She wore a superb jacket with a nipped in waist and her lovely tulle skirt that I have seen so many times on her blog. I am able to tell you that I stood up to my name as everything I wore, including the boots and handbag, was from a charity shop bar the faux leather jacket.
My tulle skirt was bought over 10 years ago and cost all of £3. Here I am at home just before I left for London.
I am so glad to have worn it as the last time it was worn was for a party in 2018!
And now for the exhibitions. Diva was tremendous fun with gorgeous and outrageous frocks worn by superstars of many ages. This is Tina Turner’s dress.
I am always amazed at the tiny teeny waists of these incredible dresses.
I think this was Carol Lombard’s dress worn in one of her films. Love that material. I remember having a similar dress bought when I was in my 20s which I kept for years, not sure if I still have it though. Here below is Bjork’s dress.
And one worn by Whitney Houston.
There was only one simple frock on show and it was, of course, a black dress with some props belonging to Edith Piaf.
There were many more divine items on show in the exhibition, but the simple black dress worn by Piaf is a good segue to the Chanel who is synonymous with her designs of the little black dress.
I loved nearly every single one of the dresses worn by the divas, but I did not love every item in the Chanel exhibition. I mean the Chanel’s creations were all divine but there was something about the shape of some of the clothes. She seemed to design for women with very slim almost boyish figures and some outfits, especially those with the boxy jackets and flamboyant rich materials, were not to my taste. Nevertheless, it was the usual superb exhibition at which the V&A excels.
She had two English lovers, Boy Capel who funded her first ventures, and the Duke of Westminster. Both men, and the life she lived with them, influenced her designs and gave her an enduring love of tweed.
I had a skirt like that!
Above is a Chanel suit with an unusually long jacket, which I rather liked. And below was a huge display of the ubiquitous box-jacketed Chanel suit.
And finally there was a display on a grand scale of her fabulous evening dresses. I loved those!
What a time we had looking at the items in each exhibition. It was a great day out. Btw, I’m sure you all know that tickets for the Chanel are sold out for the entire exhibition but there are some tickets available for the Diva exhibition if you book in advance. Fortunately, I am a member so I could walk into the shows and also take in a guest.
That’s all for now, thank you so much for reading to the end. My next blog will be on Thursday next week – another Tell Us About It. Until then.
With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper