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Elli's blog

We're all mad here..

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Of Weather and Sewing

Having spent the last few weeks sweating buckets between brief respites in the form of intensely huge thunderstorms, I find myself quite disappointed that I might have to wear a hoodie later as it is already fairly chilly. As a British native, I feel like we, as a country, are very under-prepared for whatever weather we end up with. When it’s hot, we complain because we don’t have sufficient air conditioning and sweating is never attractive (at least, not in my family- we all turn red and look like we got out a particularly uncomfortable shower) and when it’s cold, or even (Gasp!) snows, the insulation isn’t good enough and the country grinds to a halt with less then 2 inches of snow on the ground. Not to say that I don’t enjoy the warm weather (and occasionally the cold), because I do, but I do wish that we as a nation were slightly more adjusted to it. We (I have been using the royal we, just as a side-note, for anyone who’s confused) find ourselves taken more unawares with every degree that the air takes above maybe 20C, simply because as an island, we have the mitigating effect of the sea and so shouldn’t really get that hot that often. Yet, it seems to happen most summers. The opposite is true of winter, of course, it just gets colder and we can’t believe the temperatures! Or the snow! And yet I’m 98% sure we’ve had snow every year for at least the last 6…

I can remember this because I am usually in a manor house in Suffolk at that time of year (Christmas, to be exact. We got snowed in one year. That was kinda cool) pretending to be a Victorian to give visitors an authentic experience of the past, and “authentic” means authentic so the central heating is turned off and the fires lit. Because they only get lit when people are up and ready to be their character, the fires often aren’t lit until 9am, and so the house is still freezing when one sweeps into the Great Hall to play. It’s cold. There has been snow. Snow is cold. Gloves and hats apparently aren’t welcome indoors.. And so we shiver until the fires have sufficiently warmed the house up (around lunch. It’s fine really, I wear thermals under all my layers ;))

Speaking of, I’m actually doing some re-enactment this weekend. Since this year is the centenary of the beginning of the Great War (as it was known until about 10 years after WWII, when they both were re-named to WWI and WWII), Kentwell Hall (the place I re-enact at) is doing an ‘Eve of War’ event. Set in August 1914, the family and staff of Sir John Aird, 2nd Baronet, are relaxing in their country home when the news of war arrives. Clearly, all the young men (and some of the old) are eager to prove their zeal for King and country, and so are talking about going off to fight. As a young woman, I will not be fighting, but I will be talking about our brave young men..

Obviously, I can’t just rock up in modern attire, so in the last few weeks I have been sewing like crazy to complete my outfit: a lilac linen dress with ribbon decoration. The undergarments I already had; the corset purchased for Victorian will do, and my white jazz boots. Thankfully, I finished sewing it yesterday, because the event is next weekend..!

If anyone would like information about Kentwell Hall and the re-enactments that we do there, please visit this website. For the Eve of War event this weekend in particular, see here.

How do you think our fine nation deals with the “extremes” of weather we get here?

Coming up next week… Halls! And what they’re really like.. (It’s all good, I promise!)


Until next time :)

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