Back in France after my week-long visit to the U.K., still in shock as I didn’t have to take a jacket – no, not even a cardie.  Baking in a heatwave, the Brits watched the tarmac melting, their children getting severe sunburn and old ladies getting stuck in deckchairs until, inevitably, it all got too much, there was a storm and the rain and wind returned.  Oh, and a new prince was born.

As predicted, I went to Brighton but didn’t have time to go on the pier this time so, instead, I bought some cards from a lovely photographer lady, Ruth Thomas, who was selling them in the market.  This one is my favourite and, although I sort of suspect the bright white light is a photography no, no, I like the way it seems to emanate from the old, destroyed Pier and shines through the deck chair canvas.deckchairsonBrightonPierThe rest of the photos are mine and, because I was on a budget airline and too mean to pay for a suitcase,  I only had room to take my teeny,  trusty old compact camera so, sorry for the dodgy quality.

I went to Liberty in Regent Street CIMG0315which is gorgeous inside and out

CIMG0318I couldn’t decide which fabric to buy so bought a bundle of coordinating tana lawn to make into a small, simple quilt – when I get a minute.

I went to an antiques fair and, as you do,  bought an enormous vintage butcher’s hanging scale which can weigh items up to 200 lbs and is itself so heavy I don’t know how I’m going to get it back to France – hence the lack of photographic evidence!   It has made its way as far as Mr. Tialys’ appartment as I thought he’d be able to bring it back in his cabin bag but he pointed out that Security might have a problem with the huge metal hook suspended beneath the scale.  Who knew?   Inexplicably, I also bought some vintage wooden crates which I have left at my parents’ house and is where they will probably stay until somebody decides to chop them up for kindling.  I do this kind of impractical shopping sometimes – I get carried away in the moment and, if Mr. Tialys is not there to talk sense, which he wasn’t on this occasion, I end up with all sorts of things and then have to  organise a courrier delivery.

I had arranged to meet my sister-in-law near London Bridge  for drinks and dinner but went early to indulge in a bit of culture.   I always find certain exhibits at the Tate Modern good for a laugh  and there is a lovely view across the Thames from one of the balconies where you can go for some respite from the innovations in art or, if you are so inclined, and many were, a quick ciggie.

CIMG0323I had a traditional English cream tea (Oh, how I miss real cream) in, bizarrely, a tea shop just off Carnaby Street where I took a break from spooning clotted cream and strawberry jam onto warm scones to surreptitiously snap this framed French magazine as I have some of these in my vintage shop and wanted to demonstrate how good they look framed up.


What, I hear you ask, is the meaning of the title of this post.  Am I proud to be British, proud of that rather good photo of the Thames even though I only had my compact, or proud of my vintage finds?  Well yes, all of those things but mostly I am  proud of my Mum.   Now 80 herself , although for gawd’s sake don’t tell her I told you, she was nominated for a voluntary carers’ award for visiting a housebound elderly lady every week – almost without fail – for the past ten years .  She wasn’t going to attend the ceremony as she is far too shy and modest but, as I said I’d go with her, she agreed to go.  She received a framed certificate from the Lady Mayor and afterwards we had a traditional English tea (another one!!) in lovely gardens in the sunshine.

Mum's AwardMy caring Mum.

When I got home I had over 350 emails to sort out – who are all these people who have my email address? – and Madamoiselle Tialys the elder has truly caught the dressmaking bug and was waiting for some help finishing a skirt she had started so I haven’t actually finished anything myself for a couple of weeks.  Still, plenty of mother daughter bonding going on while she is home from university for the summer so I’m not complaining just explaining the lack of  ‘tadaa’ moments in this post.  Maybe next time.


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  1. #1 by Jan Marriott on August 6, 2013 - 00:48

    Glad to hear you enjoyed yourself. and your mum is still going strong, Oh, I may have fixed my ‘reply’ problem

  2. #3 by Trishia Jacobs on August 6, 2013 - 03:45

    I really enjoyed this post! Haven’t commented in a while but nice to have “Tialys” show up in MY email box:) So glad to know that others experience the same shopping “problems.” LUV all the architecture in the pics and I wholeheartedly agree — the “no-no” bright light makes the top photo most intriguing, rather ethereal.

  3. #5 by UniqueNique on August 6, 2013 - 04:18

    Love it – I am one of those impractical shoppers who forgets that I still have to find a way to get the item home 🙂 very impressed by your Mom and glad you were there to support her. Lovely that your daughter enjoys your craft and that it leads to very special bonding time – all in all I would say although you haven’t finished anything yourself it sounds like a most successful period of time in your life. Enjoy the moments they are all special

    • #6 by tialys on August 6, 2013 - 11:15

      Thanks Nique. Actually, the dress she is making is one I want to make for myself so the muslin we made to test the fit was a useful exercise for me too. It’s her birthday next week and I think a sewing machine is in order. Perhaps, when she is away at university, she can spend at least some of her evenings more usefully than watching back episodes of Buffy or gaming. Some course work wouldn’t go amiss either!!

  4. #7 by Wendz on August 6, 2013 - 10:04

    I like that bright white light in photos. Who cares about a photographic no-no. Great pic! I love Brighton.

    It’s so perplexing how the French, with all that fabulous dairy produce from Normandy, don’t actually do proper thick fresh cream – it’s just one more oddity in the vast French arsenal of weirdness. Speaking of the French, I also have a marvellous little collection of vintage French fashion magazines.

    Bought a whole year of Paris Mode, from 1951, in a bound folder. I think it’s missing January. Or December – can’t remember which month is missing. Anyway, I found it in a brocante about 7 years ago for 15 euros. It is one of my treasures and will not be sold. But I have thought of copying some of the images and framing them. Gorgeous illustrations. Just had a look at yours in your shop and the illustrations are very similar.

    And your Mum! I think the women of her age, like my MIL, are inspiring. Go Old Ladies!! 🙂

    Did you enjoy Ardingly? Your finds sound great – hope you find a way to get them home.

    • #8 by tialys on August 6, 2013 - 11:12

      Somebody told me the French use all their dairy for cheese but there are lots of British cheeses and we manage to leave some milk over to make lots of different cream. When I was in the U.k. last week, I bought a big punnet of English strawberries (yum) specifically so that I could smother them with double cream.
      Those French mags are gorgeous aren’t they? I have one, not listed in my shop, that is from 1907 and the fashion plate on the front is in black and white. I am very tempted to get that one matted and framed up for myself.
      Ardingly was great, I lived just up the road from there for years and miss the great events they hold.

  5. #9 by lovelucie1 on August 6, 2013 - 13:24

    What a lovely trip.
    How wonderful for your mum to be recognised for her kindness.
    It is odd, here in the UK, what a good summer we are having. It’s turned again now(momentarily I hope) but our faith has been restored that the sun will one day reappear.

  6. #10 by tialys on August 6, 2013 - 13:41

    Definitely faith and hope are what you need with the British weather. At least, when the sun appears, everybody enjoys it soooo much because of the rarity value that it’s lovely to see. Having said all that, the weather here has not been very ‘South of Franceish’ this year. A very long, wet winter with cold spells even into June. Must I keep moving further and further south?

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