Friday, 31 January 2020

On such a Winter's day

"There’s a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes."
~ Emily Dickinson, #82 (1924)

Nearly a century has passed since Ms. Dickinson wrote these words, but they hit home nonetheless.

Winter afternoons, especially those of the granite grey variety, have the tendency to oppress, as if a heavy weight is holding you down, making your limbs feel leaden and a fog descend inside your head. We've been having far too many of such days lately, grey and wet affairs, but not nearly cold enough to be classified as true Winter's days.

And then you wake up one morning with the sun piercing through the layer of clouds, and it's as if a curtain opens up inside you, lifting your mood almost instantly. 

We had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of such a day on the Sunday before last, when plans were afoot for going to our monthly indoor flea market. 

Some minor, overnight frost had cooled down the temperature considerably, warranting the wearing of some long neglected Winter woollies. 
And why not wear my faithful old tweed suit? It had been quite a while since I wore it as a whole, rather than just the jacket which, as it happens, I last wore on a walk during the Christmas holidays.

When I found it on the rails at Think Twice many years ago, I didn't actually think twice and snapped it up without any hesitation. I fell in love with its classic shape, its mustard colour speckled with red and brown, its caramel buttons and, of course, its furry collar and cuffs.

The jacket's belt loops bear evidence of the fact that it was once accompanied by a belt, now long lost in the mists of time. This allows me to use one of my own choosing, and in keeping with the rest of my outfit, I opted for a purple one.

The jacket's collar was the perfect canvas for trying out the fur clip my bosses were kind enough to give me.  Copper and more purple, could it get any better than that?

At first, I wasn't sure what to wear with the skirt and I tried several blouses and jumpers, none of which looked right. I was about to give up and wear something else entirely, when I saw this purple vintage jumper winking at me from the top shelf. Initially, I thought it would be too warm, but then I remembered it can be quite chilly in the cavernous flea market venue. 

I love the diamond pattern at the yoke, each containing an embroidered flower. Admittedly, I did hide one of these with my floral brooch. 

The zebra print belt added a whimsical touch, as did the diamond patterned purple tights, which were a gift from Kezzie.

OK, I'm ready to go now!

After our initial disappointment as there seemed to be less stalls than usual, we soon got into the swing of things, especially when I found a brooch less than a minute after walking in. It was the green Merhorse on the bottom right and you will be getting a much better view of it later in this post.

Childhood nostalgia for Jos, who fell for this rectangular carton box full of magic lantern slides.

Our friend Tania's stall always yields one or two treasures, this time in the form of a vintage collapsible wirework egg basket. Here it is among the other kitchenalia in Dove Cottage's kitchen, ready to provide the eggs for one of Jos's famous English breakfasts.

At the end of the very last aisle, we spied this Kodak Brownie camera on a stall presided over by a couple who lives in our village.

It's a Kodak Brownie "Holiday Flash", a popular camera with a moulded brown and tan Bakelite body, which was produced between 1953 and 1962.

It did not come with its flash, but for the sake of this blog, we attached the flash of another Brownie camera from our collection.

There are quite a few Kodak Brownie cameras among our modest collection. The flash belongs to a 1950s Brownie Starlet camera, which Jos found, complete and still in its box, in the waste disposal unit of the block of flats we used to live in back in the 1990s.

Tania's friend Rita's stall tempted us with this stunning Art Deco style bonbonnière, which has found its rightful place on the 1930s side-table in our sitting room, where it is being kept company by our 1950s Bakelite radio.

No more handbags, I told myself, but did I listen? You bet I didn't, as how could I possibly not fall for this fabulous bottle green bag? 

Well, I was always going to allow myself the exception of out of the ordinary ones like this. It has got a quality seal inside which says that it was made in Belgium.

I've already mentioned the Merhorse brooch, but I found more. Here they are all grouped together for you to pick a favourite.

Let's have a closer look.

One of my star finds is the oval brooch on the top left, with its leaping stag. It turns out that the shimmering blue background is made from ... butterfly wings! This kind of jewellery, usually made from the South American Morpho butterfly, was popular from the Art Deco period up to the 1960s.

Apparently, butterfly wing jewellery is still being made today, using butterflies from butterfly farms. If this sounds cruel, then note that these farms are considered as a form of environmental protection of endangered rain forest, allowing more eggs to hatch than when left in the wild. The butterflies then die naturally of old age, which is around 130 days, after which their wings are used to create this amazing jewellery.

The Merhorse is made from ceramic, and is definitely one of my favourites, not in the least because of his gorgeous green colour. Isn't he fabulous? And definitely vintage, judging from his trombone clasp.

While both the butterfly brooch and the Merhorse were separate finds, all the others were picked up from the same jewellery heaped stall, one of our regular stops, for a silly total of € 12.

There was a fearsome cross between a big cat and some kind of mythical beast (top right) and a fabulously dressed and behatted lady carrying a bouquet of flowers (bottom left).

The coppery duo of delicate, slightly tarnished, pearl-hearted flowers is my particular favourite, and might very well be the oldest one of the bunch, while the heavy gold leaf and the blue enamelled floral one are both more recent.

Well, that's all I have time for now.

There will be one more January catch-up from me in February. Until then we will be off on a short break next week, so no need to send out a search party if you don't hear from me for a couple of days!

See you on the other side!


  1. Ooh, so unusual about the Morpho wings! If the butterflies are dead already, it seems a good use to make them into something pretty like this! I like your pretty jacket and the fur colour looks super cosy. Ah, the tights look really nice - a good match to the jumper! Your new finds are great! So, can we see Jos' famous English breakfast some time please!
    The Emily Dickinson poem is great!

    1. Thank you Kezzie, those tights are fantastic! As are the others you sent me, I've been wearing the burnt orange ones on constant rotation! xxx

  2. I like the copper and purple together - I like purple, I really need more of it in my wardrobe! I didn't know butterfly wings were used to make brooches - wow! You got some great finds at the market :)

    Hope that you have a nice weekend ahead of you and you enjoy your upcoming break :)

    Away From Blue

    1. Thanks Mica! I'd never heard of butterly wing jewellery either, but Jos seemed to have heard of it, as his brother brought some back from Brazil many years ago. xxx

  3. Oh yes no more handbags, I say it every month to me... but you know me.... ;)
    Very nice this green bag!
    You look amazing in your purple cognac style Ann.
    I wish you a wonderful weekend, it's raining again here.
    A very huge hug Tina

    1. Thank you Tina! Not being any more handbags is quite impossible when you come across nice ones like this green one ;-) xxx

  4. This mustard suit is gorgeous. I really like the fur collar. The jacket is so beautiful.The skirt is just as pretty. I really like this styling with the purple cardi. You look fantastic in this look. Beautiful accessories as well. The brooches you picked out are all wonderful in their own way.

    1. The bottle green hand bag is fabulous. I wouldn't be able to resist it either. Such a great find! The Kodak camera looks great too.

    2. Thank you Ivana! It was a revelation to me to find that mustard and purple were such a great combination! xxx

    3. I couldn't leave the green bag behind, bags in that colour seem to be quite rare! xxx

  5. Hi Ann

    The oval brooch with the deer is my favourite. And I love the add for the camera. Have a lovely Sunday.


  6. You never cease to amaze me with your colour combinations. I had no idea mustard and purple would go so well together. Your tweed suit is stunning and I love the zebra print belt you've thrown into the mix just to add a bit of quirkiness. It's true, animal prints do go with practically everything.

    Your new acquisitions are all fantastic. Love the merhorse brooch and the interesting story behind the butterfly wings brooch.

    The allurement of a new bag is a dangerous thing, a temptation many of us cannot resist. My kids often say "Mum, step away from the bag", to which I usually respond with stepping closer!

    Who collects the cameras, you or Jos?

    Enjoy your holiday. Can't wait to read about it.

    1. Thank you Suzy, I had no idea mustard and purple would be such a great colour combination. It's all trial and error with me ;-) The camera collection is something we both do. We have supposedly stopped collecting, but can't resist a nice one if it comes our way! xxx

  7. I was so relieved to read the butterflies die a natural death...fab brooch btw as are all the rest but my favourite is like your's - the Merhorse!

    What great finds. Sometimes it's like that when there are fewer stalls at flea markets/car boot sales; it often means better finds than when there are many stalls.

    LOved the suit with the purple accessories and jumper. I have the same tights in brown and black!

    Hope the weather's not too dull where you are and that you are enjoying a brilliant break.

    1. Thank you Vronni, I was quite relieved to know that too, as I had my doubts buying that brooch. I find that when there are less stalls, you tend not to be too overwhelmed with things, and you can take your time looking at all of it. xxx

  8. Sweet Ann, I love that I can get my vintage brooch fix, so to speak, from the extraordinary treasures in your collection and the new pieces you find, share with us, and to it regularly. My pulse races just thinking about the whole of your brooch collection and what a magnificent sight it must be.

    Many hugs & joyful start of February wishes,
    ♥ Autumn

    1. Thank you so much, Autumn. I might do another post on my brooch collection in the future, but in the meantime I'll keep sharing little nuggets of it on IG :-) xxx

  9. It might still be morning but the words of Emily Dickinson definitely ring true here today with the iron grey skies I can see from my window.
    You look cosy yet effortlessly stylish in all of the photos, the tweed suit made beautifully relaxed by the eye catching purple jumper.
    I love your egg basket and I too like the coppery brooch best, its lovely.
    I hope you're having a great getaway break. xxx

    1. Thank you so much, Sally. I do hope it'll be Spring soon, as the weather has been a bit neither here nor there. I much prefer a cold but sunny day over a mild but infinitely grey one! xxx

  10. love your fabulous winter suit - especially with the purple added....
    fascinating brooches! the seahorse is gorgeous and the one made of butterfly wing very exotic and delicate. the coppery one reminds me of the leaves of "frauenmantel" - they often have a dew drop like the pearls in that brooch.
    hugsies! xxxx

    1. Thank you Beate! I hadn't looked at the coppery brooch that way, but you are right, it does remind one of the fuzzy leaves of "vrouwenmantel" with dew drops. How lovely is that? xxx

  11. You always pick the most evocative and perfect pieces of poetry, so brilliant.
    And glad that you could wear your fab suit in a sunny day, You Look Fabulous!. Love the mustard color and the furry neck, so cool!, and love how you accessorized it with the purple belt and the so gorgeous clip!. The gloves, the beret, the diamond patterned tights!, everything looks so stunning and they work together so nicely!
    Loving everything you purchased too, the cute Green bag, the box and the camera, the brooches and the collapsible egg basket (it makes me feel nostalgic). Love to learn about butterfly wing jewellery!. And I think that my favourite brooch is also the one with the delicate flowers, love its 'arts and crafts' vibe!

    1. Thank you so much, Monica. I do love nostalgic kitchen ware, I guess that's why I'm collecting kitchenalia. And I do agree about that brooch having an "arts and crafts" vibe. I love arts and crafts! xxx