Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Jean-Paul Flintoff is a man with a mission. He's been taking his treadle sewing machine out onto the streets of Britain as part of his quest to get people thinking more about their clothes and where they come from. I was reading his interesting book Through The Eye of A Needle whilst on holiday earlier this year in Morocco. I really recommend it - it's an excellent account of one man's journey to forge links between politics, religion and haberdashery. I was half way through Jean-Paul's journey, so it seemed apt that I should stumble upon this guy in the picture. He'd set up amongst the rag-traders at the souk in Marrakesh and was stitching away in the corner. I lacked the language skills to ask him exactly what he was doing...but I loved his laid-back look!
Monday, 15 February 2010
Did you know...that barbers also used to be surgeons in Medieval times? The twirling candy-stick of a sign was no less than an indication of blood-letting services. According to Wikipedia(ok I know I'm a journalist and this isn't really a true source - but bear with me it IS fascinating!) - The red and white stripes symbolise the bandages used during the procedure: red for the blood-stained and white for the clean bandages. Originally, these bandages were hung on the pole to dry after washing. As the bandages blew in the wind, they would twist together to form the spiral pattern similar to the stripes in the modern day barber pole. The barber pole became emblematic of the barber/surgeon's profession. Later the cloths were replaced by a painted wooden pole of red and white stripes. Could this be true - any second sources out there?
It is in fact OVER 100 days since I last had my hair cut. I hate to admit it - but it's more than a year. You see I usually have my hair trimmed when I go up to Scotland to visit my brother for Christmas. But this year I stayed in London for Yuletide and therefore I didn't make it to the hairdresser either. The reason that I have my hair done up North rather than down South - well it's obvious of course - it's the cost. I had a cut, highlights and a blow dry up in Scotland last time for around half of what I'd pay in London. However, today I finally cracked. I just had to get rid of those split ends! So in an effort to save money, I went local. I had thought of trying the "little old lady" salon - but it was shut. Shame really - as I rather fancied sitting under one of those old-fashioned driers having had a shampoo and set! Then I tried the Asian barber - but he said he only did men (well I suppose the word 'barber' should have been a dead give-away really - but you know me, always pushing my luck!) He counselled against going to an Afro Carribean place, as he said it probably wouldn't be best for my long straight hair. But he suggested the Chinese hairdresser further along the road and I duly went along. It was £35 for a cut and blow dry. Not bad at all for the capital. Whilst there, I found out a very interesting and rather disconcerting fact. Apparently, Chinese women don't have their hair washed at Chinese New Year - as it washes all the good fortune out. I really hope that it doesn't apply to me seeing as I've just had my hair done on the cusp of the Tiger ....... something ELSE to worry about! Grrrrrr!
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Every so often you read something that inspires. I was leafing through my December copy of Elle Decoration when I flipped to the back page and discovered Maxime de la Falaise (1922-2009), who was apparantly a "wartime code breaker, a model, and an expert on medieval English cookery." She was a wonderfully eccentric English woman, with an impeccably bohemian heritage. But what really caught my eye was her inclination to "make do and mend." Apparently, she used to sling a swathe of opulent fabric over her ironing board to create a make-shift buffet table at parties. What a wonderful idea! I want to have a party right now - just so that I can try it out! Could one also place a few wild blooms in the iron?