Old, New, Mostly Borrowed And One Blue

Old, New, Mostly Borrowed And One Blue

Are you Claire????

The exhibition is now in it’s 4th week and it has been staggering how well it has been received.I have been at the Hall most Wednesdays carrying out some interviews with visitors and I have met some really interesting and extremely entertaining people.  Although we have a ‘comments book’ in which visitors are encouraged to write in, it’s always good to sit down with the visitors and get an idea of what they really think.  So, this is what I do:  I stand outside the Long Gallery (hiding my little tape recorder behind my back) and wait for someone who looks ‘interesting’ – I can usually tell who will have some good stories to tell simply by the way that they are dressed or how animated they are.  Then I pounce!

Once settled in the Tent Room, I start to have a little chat about what they thought about the exhibition and then ask them a little about their own wedding day.  One lady who I interviewed last week was visiting with her sister and she loved the exhibition. However, when I asked her about her own wedding she replied ‘what one …. I’ve had 5″.  After a short silence, I asked her “well what one was the best” to which she replied “oh they were all great” followed by a great guffaw of laughter by her, me and all of the other visitors who had gather round to listen to her – she was having the time of her life.  At the end she said to me “thank you for asking me those questions …. I had forgotten what great experiences I’ve had”.  It was a pleasure Mrs Smith … not her real name of course!

Whilst at the Hall yesterday, I was stopped by a wonderful couple who asked me ‘are you Claire’ to which I replied “no”.  My answer didn’t phase them (more on this below) and they carried on to tell me a little bit about themselves.  The gentleman had been a lecturer/tutor in fashion at Lincoln College – the department has since moved to the University of Lincoln.  It then emerged that he had designed and made his wife’s wedding dress ….. how amazing is that?  To have your  husband that … so romantic and where do you find men like that?  Are there catalogues?  I stopped them talking .. not because I didn’t want to hear anymore but because I wanted to catch them on my little machine’.  Off they went, and I caught up with them about two and bit hours later.  We had a long chat about the dress and his life and it then emerged that they had also made the curtains that hang in the Long Gallery … and guess what … they are still hanging … he was very pleased to see them!   Everyone’s heard of the great Antonio Berardi … my husband went to school with him and I have eaten in his family’s  cafe in Sleaford …. but this man taught him and told me a rather funny story about a school trip … I am keeping it to myself but rest assured it was very funny and I am still laughing today!

Antonio Berardi

Going back to my last paragraph, I was asked once if I was Claire (who owns Doddington Hall) whilst giving a talk on the Hall and when I replied “no”, the lady who asked the question said “well if I’d known that I wouldn’t have come out on such a filthy night” (it was the middle of winter).  Later into the talk, I pointed out Claire who just happened to appear in one of the slides and, at the end of the talk, the same lady came up and said “she is much prettier, than you will ever be” ….. from her comments, I got the faint impression she wasn’t pleased by the fact that Claire hadn’t turned out to give the talk in person…… you just can’t please some people.  Very funny though, don’t you think?

We are bracing ourselves for the Bank Holiday weekend …. lots of visitors for me to ‘pounce’ on ….. what fun!


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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.