Old, New, Mostly Borrowed And One Blue

Old, New, Mostly Borrowed And One Blue Blog


It’s been a pretty hectic week but not as hectic as the next four that are coming up!  However, they are going to be extremely exciting and interesting and I am really looking forward to them.
Tomorrow I am attending another course which will teach me how to video and record and then to edit the material.  The equipment I need arrived last week so it has been rather ‘interesting’ getting to grips with it but it will be put to good use over the coming weeks.
On Thursday 1 July, the judging of the ‘A Designer Dress for a Doddington Wedding’ takes place in the Great Hall.  The judges will be myself, Kathy Gaul, a lecturer in Fashion at the University of Lincoln and Caroline Chamberlain http://www.carolinechamberlain.co.uk/, who is a wonderful local dress designer/maker, based at Burton Waters near Lincoln.  Caroline will be showing some of her stunning creations at the exhibition – she was also involved in the making of the Lincolnshire Longwool dress.  We shall be announcing the  winner of the competition on Monday 5 July.
I have had some stunning entries – the majority of them are now at the Hall but I have a few sitting on my dining room table and I just can’t resist looking at them every now and then.  I know it is going to be a hard choice for us to decide on the winner.
Friday takes me to Leicestershire to collect a dress belonging to a lady called Kiki Everard.  Now this is quite spooky, as when I was in the Army and based at MOD, I worked alongside her brother-in-law, James.  He was a Captain then but she tells me he is now a Major General!!!  Yesterday, I called to arrange collection of the dress and spoke to James’ brother, Nick, …. it was totally weird as it sounded as though I was speaking to James …… still trying to get over the experience.
Next Tuesday (6 July), I am off to Beamish http://www.beamish.org.uk/ to collect two amazing dresses.  Kate Reader, the Keeper of Social History at the Museum, has been a great help and I can’t thank her enough for agreeing to lend these two particular dresses.
The following week, I shall be visiting places like Belvoir Castle http://www.belvoircastle.com/ and Easton Walled Gardens http://www.eastonwalledgardens.co.uk/ to collect the dresses that have been kindly loaned by Her Grace The Duchess of Rutland and Lady Ursula Cholmeley.
I will keep you up-to-speed of my adventures as I travel around the countryside.
Do visit the Blog on Monday 5 July to hear who the lucky winner of the competition is.  It will be extremely hard for me to keep the news secret for four days.


On Monday 21 June, 20 or so delightful girls from Boston High School, accompanied by three wonderful teachers (Mrs Stubbs, Mrs Anderson and Miss Davidson) descended on Doddington to gain inspiration for their own personal entry in our ‘A Designer Dress for a Doddington Wedding’ Competition.  The weather was extremely hot outside so the cool of the Hall was very inviting.
However, there was a huge obstacle in the way:  another school visit.  60 or so primary school children to avoid is not an easy thing to do … but somehow I managed it.
I started off by giving the students a brief history on the Hall and then took them round each of the rooms – there is a lot at Doddington to gain inspiration from whether it be textiles or wall paper.  I also made them think about lots of obstacles in the Hall that could make life difficult for the bride who had to wear the dress that they designed. 
All of the students who were part of the visit were studying Design and Techonology and quite a few of them wanted to go onto study fashion in some form or another at University.  I spent a lot of time in the company of Francesca and Mina – they were both very inspirational.  Francesca was born to ‘be’ in fashion … she was wearing an extremely cool T shirt with an amazing quote by Coco Chanel … so brilliant I can’t remember what it was!!!
During lunch a brought a few of the dresses that will be in the exhibition into the garden for the students to have a look at and perhaps take inspiration from.  Two of the dresses are shown below:  the heavily decorated dress designed and made by Angela Vickers was a huge hit.  I also showed the students the Elizabethan dress (also designed and made by Angela Vickers) as earlier on that day when we were in the Drawing Room of the Hall, I had shown them a sculpture of an Eizabethan collar – the dress also had a very similar collar. 
The students were absolutely amazed by the difference in size of the dress belonging to Vicky Jarvis, the current owner of the Hall’s mother – many of the students actually thought it had been made for a child.  The dress was worn in the 1960s whilst the others are modern from around 2000 and was made by Hardy Amies.
There was lots of humurous moments in the tour but one stands out: I turned round to explain a dress and all I could see were three bottoms sticking out from under a dress .. obviously very eager students who needed to see the construction of the petticoats and hoops.  I have saved the ladies’ dignity and will not publishing it!
The students left around 2 pm as they were very eager to get home to work on their designs.  All of the designs will be with me by Monday 28 July and judging of the competition will take place on 1 July.  The winner will be announced on 5 July.  
I shall inform you of the lucky winner in due course. 

I have just over 5 weeks to bring everything together for the exhibition and I don’t think 5 weeks is enough! 
I’ve had a real problem remembering what I have been up to since I last updated you on 9 June!  So I reached for my diary and had a look over the last seven days and here’s what I have been up to (thank goodness for diaries ..my whole life would fall apart without one … I can’t control my hair so I have no hope of controlling my life!).
I have been doing the usual things like sending emails, taking telephone calls and picking up dresses but one job that I had to complete was our funding application to Lincolnshire County Council.  There is a lot riding on this application and we won’t hear the result until Monday 19 July!!!!!!!!!!!! aaaaaaarrrrrrgggghhhhhh.  We have to start setting up on 26 July so you will appreciate that I have had to put a Plan B into action.  So rest assured, if we receive the grant funding, you won’t hear a lot from me apart from groans and screams of agony between 19 and 26 July as I shall be chasing my tail. 
I have been banging on about a ‘special dress’ which I hoped I would be able to tell you about by now but you will have to wait a little longer ….. 19 July to be exact.  I will tell you ‘what dress’ whether we get funding or not. 
Last Monday, I went to collect two dresses but before that myself, Amy Claridge (Doddington’s Press Officer) and Claire Birch, the owner of the Hall had great fun photographing some of the dresses – well Amy and Claire had great fun … I was treated like a wardrobe mistress!  The dresses photographed were an Elizabethan dress which had been designed and made by Angela Vickers (http://www.angela-vickers.co.uk/), a Hardy Amies designed dress belonging to Vicky Jarvis (Claire’s mother), Claire’s own dress and a dress belonging to Emma Milligan-Manby which was designed by Caroline Parkes – Caroline will be contributing to the exhibition too.  Claire was married to her husband James on 12 July 1986 ….. the dress still fits!   It really is a simple and stunning dress made of cream taffeta.  It was made by Angela Holmes of Droopy and Brown who, I think, are/were based in York.  You will be able to see Claire’s dress which will be shown alongside her mother’s dress (shown on the left) as well as her two sisters’, Katharine and Sophie … how stunning will it be to have these four dresses on show together.
Claire Birch with Emma Milligan-Manby’s dress and
the Elizabethan styled dress by Angela Vickers
Claire with her Mother’s dress
The first dress that I collected belongs to a wonderful lady called Pam Withers who made her own dress for her wedding in 1960.  It is made of pink brocade and has a wonderful matching veil and headress.  Unfortunately, the winkle picker shoes that she wore were given to the Salvation Army (I think).  Pam was a tonic after such a hectic week.  Her dress is now safely at the Hall and I will be there to take some photos tomorrow. 
After collecting Pam’s dress, I went to Eagle (a village about 2 miles from Doddington Hall) to meet Mrs Bushell – she is the lady I mentioned in my last update who rang me out of the blue enquire whether I would like to have her dress for the exhibition.    Again, another wonderful lady with a wonderful dress and the original pattern for the dress.  The spooky thing is that the material is nearly identical to that of Pam’s dress.  
I didn’t take that dress away with me, as Mrs Bushell is going to pop it over to the Hall when we are setting up…. it’s wonderful when people want to be involved in the setting up process…… they get to appreciate  the chaos behind the scenes and, belive me, there will be chaos. 
The photograph on the left shows the happy couple immediately after their wedding at Southwell Minster.  Whilst the one below shows Mrs Bushell arriving at the Minster on the arm of her father.  She told me that she could tell her father was very emotional by the look on his face.  My favourite thing about this photo is the fact that her father is carrying a Bowler hat.
On Tuesday, I was attending another training workshop – the very last one before I am allowed out on my own to record and video the masses.  The equipment I need to do this, arrived at the Hall on Wednesday and I have spent the last few days working out how to use it because ….. TOMORROW I HAVE 20 ODD STUDENTS FROM BOSTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL VISITING THE HALL AS THEY ARE TARKING PART IN THE WEDDING DRESS COMPETITION ….. no sleep for me tonight.    I am really looking forward to the visit because it means that things are starting to fall into place.
After finishing the blog, I will need to plan the visit as well as thinking about what I will be photographing, videoing and recording.  Mark Ellis from Sound Delivery expect a phone call sometime tomorrow evening or early Tuesday morning.
Next week it is a varied and busy week – I am especially looking forward to the school visit tomorrow.


You may or may not be familiar with the book ’101 Uses for a Dead Cat’ which is an extremely funny book … before you ask … yes I adore cats!

Yesterday whilst attending a training workshop, Mark Ellis from Sound Delivery (http://www.sounddelivery.org.uk/), who is trying very hard to teach those attending (especially me) the basics of editing audio and video footage, told me of a blog a guy called Kevin Cotter had written which all began with his wife’s departure after they’d been together 17 years, ever since their senior year in high school. She took all of her belongings when she moved out of their Tucson, Arizona, home, with one exception. In her former section of their walk-in closet, she left her wedding keepsake box.

“You forgot something,” Cotter recalls telling her.

“And what’s that?” she replied.

“Your wedding dress.”

“Yeah, I’m not taking that.”

Cotter was dumbfounded.

“What do you expect me to do with it?”

“Do whatever you want with it,” she said before she drove away…………. and that’s exactly what he did.

To read the story in full visit http://myexwifesweddingdress.com/ … it is absolutely hilarious.

So readers, have you done anything exciting or extreme with your wedding dress?  If so, do let me know and I will publish the stories on my blog….. look forward to hearing from you all.  I admit that I did something rather extreme with my first wedding dress ….. I shall tell you what it was if you let me have your stories.


Mad Moments, Two New Dresses and a Horse

I have already told you about the ‘Design a Dress for a Doddington Wedding’ competition that is being run alongside the exhibition, in an earlier post.  In the very early stages of planning of the exhibition I had one of my ‘mad moments’ and thought it would be a good idea to make a film about it i.e. the schools visit the Hall to gain inspiration for the dress, choosing the winning design and then the making up of the dress.  So, in the last few weeks I have been attending workshops to learn how to do this – I am attending another on Tuesday so that I can get even better or should I just say better!  I have ordered the equipment that I will need to do this and by the time I understand the instructions the exhibition will have been and gone. 
However, I do hope to produce a film that you will be able to watch when you visit the exhibition!
This morning I had a call out of the blue from a lady who lives about two miles from Doddington Hall.  She visited the Farmshop yesterday and picked up one of the leaflets and decided that she would like to lend her wedding dress to the exhibition.  I was thrilled - I have no idea what it looks like but I know that it is ballerina style and is decorated with Solomon Seal …. doesn’t it sound lovely.  I shall have some photos to show you after my visit to meet the owner on 14 June.
Another wonderful dress that is going to be shown was worn by a bride who rode a horse to and from the church!  To show the dress it its best, I am busily trying to track down one of those model horses that you see in saddlers.  A friend is on the case …. when I discussed the idea with him, there was a huge pause on the other end of the phone.  Can’t understand why..can you… I don’t think it is such an unusual request.  I hope to have some pictures of ths wonderful dress for you soon.
I realise that I haven’t told you about that ‘special dress’ and I won’t be able to tell you now until about 16 June … I shall tell you the whole story about why I can’t say more then.  Sorry to keep you on tenterhooks.
My other big job this week is to decide what to choose form the vast collection which belongs to Lincolnshire County Council – there’s so many to choose from and it is going to be very difficult for me to choose what to leave out. 

About this Sponsor

A wonderful and exciting collection of interesting and historical wedding dresses dating from the 1820s to the present day.  Many of the dresses have been loaned by private collectors as well as national museums.  A number of the dresses on show, have been loaned by a number of the great houses of England:  Burghley, Belvoir Castle, Somerleyton Hall to name just a few.

The interesting dresses will include one made from the fleece of a Lincolnshire Longwool sheep, loo paper and a complete knitted dress include the sandwiches and cake destined for the reception.  Canine wedding dresses will also be featured.