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Showing posts from June, 2018

Reticules: Regency handbags and gladrags

A Regency woman, her reticule tied around her waist, imagined by Victorian artist Charles Henry Turner Lately, I’ve been thinking about “synchronicity” – the idea of meaningful coincidences, a concept explored by psychologist Carl Jung.  It started a few weeks ago, when I came across a little treasure on the shelf in my local library, a book called Handbags, What Every Woman Should Know , by Stephanie Pedersen. This book provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of purses, including information on the reticule, a type of purse that every well-dressed Regency woman had to have.  And as the book traverses fashions in accessories through the centuries up to the modern era, it touches on New York fashion designer Kate Spade and her trend-setting handbags that became such a hit in the early 1990s and beyond.  And then, just after I finished the book I heard about Spade’s untimely and very sad death, earlier this month .  So I thought a post on handbags, especiall

The Battle of Waterloo: Napoleon's last stand

A "wounded eagle" -  French Imperial eagle carried into battle and pierced by enemy fire during the Napoleonic Wars  June 18 is the 203rd anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, an epic encounter that put an end once and for all to Napoleon’s dream of conquering Europe. The Emperor had made a glorious comeback to power a hundred days earlier, after escaping from exile on the island of Elba, just off the western coast of Italy.  Napoleon seemed unstoppable as he made his way in triumph across Europe. It took the combined and well-coordinated military forces of Great Britain and its allies, along with  the Prussians,  to halt the Emperor's progress. Napoleon's army and his plans for the future of Europe were crushed at Waterloo, a village just south of Brussels.  On that summer day over 200 years ago, the peaceful Belgium countryside was engulfed by the sights and sounds of a deadly battle: the thunder of drumbeats and hoofbeats; frantic shouts; booming gu

Trooping the Colour

The 2013 ceremony, which hasn't changed much over the last 200 years. The two-rank formation of soldiers shown here is a tribute to Wellington's successful tactics at the Battle of Waterloo. Today is the second Saturday in June, which in Great Britain means it's time for Trooping the Colour. It's a centuries-old tradition full of pomp and pageantry that officially honors not only the sovereign's birthday but also the infantry regiments of the British Army.   "Colours" are another name for the brightly-colored battalion flags associated with the Five Foot Guard regiments (the Scots, Irish, Welsh, Grenadier and Coldstream guards). These flags not only showcase the individual spirit of each regiment and but also commemorate its fallen soldiers. In times past, there was a very practical reason to publicly display the “colours” like this – so that the soldiers would be able to recognize the flags of their comrades in the heat of battle. E

Regency Toys and Peppa Pig

The object of many a 3-year-old's affection I recently discovered that the mothers of the adorable bridesmaids and page boys at Harry and Meghan’s wedding (a group that included 3-year-old Princess Charlotte) bribed their kids to behave with candy ( Smarties)  and promises to watch the Peppa Pig show after the wedding. I’m proud to say that I know what, or rather who, Peppa Pig is, though I had to look up the difference between American and British Smarties .  British Smarties  are filled with chocolate, like American M&M's. They're not the fruit-flavored candy tablets we know as  Smarties in the U.S.  But my Peppa knowledge is fairly new, due to the influence of the 3-year-old in my life, my granddaughter. Peppa Pig is currently her favorite thing in the world. She watches episodes of the British animated television series on the Nickelodeon channel and video clips of it on YouTube. She also has Peppa Pig storybooks, Peppa Pig t-shirts,