Saturday, 31 May 2014

Duffer's Fortnight - Turrall 1863

Turrall Fly-Dressers

Turrall — founded in Devon in 1863 by Colonel Hugh Turrall — is a quality manufacturer of fly-fishing flies and hooks. As they say on their web site, "England is the birthplace of fly-fishing as a sport and Turrall is its longest serving company of fly-dressers."

The hooks for the flies are made in England. The flies are hand-tied using traditional methods. Traditional construction, but Turrall incorporates the latest high-performance materials to give the fisherman the best possible advantage.

The craftsmen who make the flies are trained by Turrall to become specialists in the production of particular types of fly.  

Why not pin one of their fancier numbers to the lapel of your tweed jacket?

Duffer's Fortnight

I imagine 'Duffer's Fortnight' has been and gone, but you may want to take a look at the Mayfly Selection produced by Turrall (above), which is available from our good friends at Farlows.

J.R. Hartley would have been very pleased with them.

J. R. Hartley Fretting About a Lost Book on Fly Fishing

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Fennel - Quiet Man Out in the Quiet Fields

Born to Love the Countryside

One of our loyal readers put me onto the redoubtable Fennel. Nigel 'Fennel' Hudson is a writer and illustrator. Through his Fennel's Journal publications and Fennel's Priory website he passes on his knowledge of traditional country ways.

It is our philosophy at The Tweed Pig that there is no activity that is not improved by slowing it down. Fennel's chosen trajectory is firmly in the slow lane.

Tips for Traditional Country Clothing

According to our reader, Fennel is "fond of a good hat and pocket watch" and likes to dress in traditional sporting attire when out fishing.

Here are Fennel's top five recommendations:

Norfolk jackets and tweed suits: David Saxby
Everyday wear, including light gardening: Old Town Clothing (They should be on everybody's list.)
Country wear and waterproofs: Barbour (Clearly, our national dress.)
Footwear: William Lennon (Go for the Hill Boots.)
Headwear: Olney

Monday, 26 May 2014

The New Sheridan Club

The New Sheridan Club

You are looking for a members club in London. The thought of a club described as 'achingly hip' makes you shudder. And you've been pre-emptively blackballed by Pratt's. Where to go? Well, if you're the sort of person who would clip a hedge in a shirt and tie whilst listening to Test Match Special, then the New Sheridan Club might be just the place.

The New Sheridan Club is a member's club for "languid fops and consumptive aesthetes". Members favour tweed and worsted over flip-flop and hoody. The club organises meetings and events in London, but country and overseas membership is available. As a Tweed Pig reader, I hereby vouch for your rectitude should you apply for membership.

Join and you can be the proud wearer of a striped New Sheridan Club tie (see above) as you clip your hedges. When the vicar cycles past, he'll be suitably impressed.

Club Nights - Hot Jazz and Cold Cocktails

You will also see NSC members perusing the cocktail menus at London's The Candlelight Club and The Excelsior Club.

The Candlelight Club is a 1920s-themed "clandestine pop-up cocktail bar in a secret London venue". The Excelsior Club is a bigger, grander affair: "a recreation of the grand nightclubs of the 1930s".

Both club nights feature live jazz acts and dance bands. The terrific Alex Mendham & His Orchestra (above and below) played at The Excelsior this month.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Manor House Inn - Beer and Skittles

All Beer and Skittles

Life really can be all beer and skittles. If you've been away, as I had been recently, the best way of re-introducing yourself to British culture is to find a nice pub and order a pint of bitter beer. Take a pew in the snug and listen to the ambient strains of people moaning about the perpetually parlous state of the nation. If the rain is lashing down outside (and it did with vehemence on this particular day), you couldn't be anywhere else.

Nice Pub in Ditcheat

Geographical inertia and general laziness means that most of my pub-going is restricted to the West Country of England. The troop and I located a pub with rooms in Ditcheat, Somerset, recently called the Manor House Inn. The pub has a traditional Skittle Alley, from which — our Anglo-American cousins might be interested to know — modern ten-pin bowling originates.

They serve the local Butcombe bitter at the Manor House, which I can only describe as a deliciously juicy beer. Amongst the bitterness of the hops and the maltiness of the beer, there's a fruitiness of flavour in the background. I'm enjoying a glass with the Monty above. Good company, but he's not the greatest conversationalist.

Butcombe at Home

Can't make it to a pub? Don't like pubs? We won't leave you out. You can still enjoy a glass of Butcome beer at home.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel 2000 is a bottled beer named after one of Britain's most famous engineers, and created to celebrate the bicentenary of his birth.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel was the Mark Zuckerberg of his day. That's him on the label below, with signature top hat and cigar.

Reading from the bottle for tasting notes, as I'm not sure I can be trusted in these matters, I can tell you that the beer is a classic hoppy IPA with a dry and bitter-sweet taste.

Jolly nice, as are all the beers we cover.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Crombie - Lightweight Leather Trench Coat

Crombie Again

It's not a frequency illusion, it is actually another article for Crombie in close succession. Well, we couldn't not say something about Dr. Who. And who could ignore this trench coat we're about to discuss? Generally-speaking, I think Crombie have really upped their game. Am I not hereby justified?

I've probably mentioned too many times that something a bit special may come along from time to time, and before you realise that you are unlikely to see its like again, it's gone. Or maybe I've never mentioned it? I certainly think it. The gist is that if you will regret living without that thing, don't let it escape. (The same applies to people too, I suppose.)

I'm thinking these thoughts for this something: Crombie's Dark Navy Nappa Leather Bonded Trenchcoat. "Two layers of ultra-thin Italian calf nappa leather are carefully bonded together to create a unique lightweight experience." (Made in Italy.)

This is the sort of 'big game' clothing that needs bagging, as they don't come along often.

And it's a bit like that Fritz Lang leather coat I was seeking out in Berlin.

It's not easy to find leather clothing that doesn't make you look like a buffoon. I suspect this coat will age magnificently. One of those coats that you're obsessively concerned with marking for the first few wears, walking stiffly and not wanting to rub against anything, until the first mark appears and then you realise it's going to look even better with a few knocks. You relax and then it looks better on you — a virtuous circle. Do try and look after it though. You will want to pass it on.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Chelsea Flower Beau

Flowers are Beautiful, Naturally

It's the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week.

If you're thinking to attend, don't let those upstart flowers outdo you with their — frankly obvious —natural finery. Take them on at their own game and be the Chelsea Flower beau.

A Flower Show Wardrobe

Harvie & Hudson - Navy Quilted Single-Breasted Jacket

Drake's London - Untipped 36oz Printer Silk Foulard 8 cm Tie

Kamakura Shirts - Tokyo Classic Fit Spread / Royal Oxford Shirt

Incotex (Slowear) - Slim-Fit Cotton-Blend Trousers

Highgrove - Suede Apron

Sunspel - Blue Fine Merino V-Neck Jumper

Turnbull & Asser - Silk Four Pointed Star Design Pocket Square

Cheaney - Calf Suede Tasselled Loafer

Gallo - Windsor Striped Cotton Knee Socks

Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Two Faces of January - Pemberton & Millner

Highsmith's Two Faces of January Becomes a Film

A new film adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel, The Two Faces of January, was released in the UK yesterday. Or it was meant to be. I haven't checked, but (if correct) I'm flabbergasted I managed to be on top of a date.

We're all fans of Patricia Highsmith, I know, so let's wish it well; and look forward to seeing how Viggo Mortensen fares in the role of the Janus-faced con artist, Chester MacFarland, trying to extricate himself from a sticky situation in 1960s Athens. You can see his hot climate-friendly wardrobe — circa timeless — in the pictures here.

Look Out for the Pemberton & Millner Wallets

Pemberton & Millner is a British bespoke leathergoods maker that was founded in 2010 by Elizabeth Finch-Moore. She who was joined in 2011 by Helen Swann who shares an "enthusiasm to see the British handmade leather goods industry re-develop".

Look out for the set of wallets they created for the film's main characters, including the one below. Nice attention to detail, film makers.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Perfect Argyle Cardigan from Lyle & Scott

Much Obliged

Thank you Lyle & Scott. If you follow The Tweed Pig on Twitter or Facebook, you might have seen me posting an occasional photo showing a vintage Argyle-pattern cardigan.

It was a plea of sorts, because I could not locate a decent contemporary version. And we all require an Argyle cardigan in our classic wardrobe collection.

Lyle & Scott understand this, hence the availability of the 1960 Argyle Cardigan (above and below), which is made in Scotland based on the original 1960 pattern that launched their famous Golden Eagle logo.

Lap this up, gentleman, it's perfect. Perhaps you could wear it with navy trousers and a sporty light pink button-down shirt?

Monday, 12 May 2014

Doctor Who is a Skinhead

Doctor Who Looking Smart

I can't say I watch Doctor Who. It's a children's programme after all. But I like the idea of it, and the Englishness. Peter Capaldi is the 12th incarnation of the character. He'll be a good fit. I saw him in a TV drama called Mr. Wakefield's Crusade years ago. He was very good in that, I recall hazily.

The new Doctor Who wardrobe was unveiled a few months ago. They seem to have taken inspiration for the look from 1960s (or 1980s) skinheads.

Since being unveiled, online sleuths have tracked down the constituent parts (so we don't have to) — it's good to be behind the curve sometimes — and it's as if the designers had been flicking through The Tweed Pig. They're showing very good support for British companies.

The consensus view on his wardrobe is as follows:
What! no braces?

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Matt Monro - Better than Frank Sinatra for Sunday Lunch?

The Singing Bus Driver

For my money, I'll take the vocal delivery of Matt Monro over Frank Sinatra any day of the week. A few songs in with Sinatra and I can become tired of the monotonous drone (but probably enjoying the arrangements). Unless it's in the wee small hours. Sinatra can sound too much like he's almost too bored to bother singing.

Matt Monro sounds like he was thrilled to be singing. His voice had a warmth and a smoothness that never seemed forced. He could sing big, bombastic film themes, but imbue them with a sensitivity and a sense of romance that was perhaps not explicit in the lyrics.

Don Black, the English lyricist — probably most famous for his work on James Bond soundtracks — was the manager of Matt Monro, the 'singing bus driver', early on in his career. Matt successfully recorded many of Don's songs, such as the sublime On Days Like These, the opening theme to the 1969 British caper film The Italian Job. The prolific Quincy Jones created the music for the film.

The Italian Job likely signifies a high-watermark in British self-confidence, before the seventies knocked the stuffing out of us.

Sunday Lunch Music

Matt Monro - The Singer's Singer [Amazon] has the best of Matt's recordings, including songs written by Don. Perfect music for cooking your Sunday lunch. Do listen to those odd advertising jingles they tacked on to the end of the compilation.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Windsor Chair as a Table - James Harrison Design

From Wingback to Windsor

The classic Wingback Chair from James Harrison Design makes a perfect 'base' from which to contemplate life (nap) and issue profundities (make pompous declarations) as you take your weekend leisurely.

But you are going to need to rise from your 'chair of influence' occasionally, if only to move to the dining table to eat — a well-earned break after all that contemplation.

Here's where James Harrison Design can help again. The Holton range of dining table and chairs is made with traditional British Windsor chair-making techniques. This type of furniture making is something the company wishes to preserve in their contemporary designs. With Windsor chairs, the legs are joined to the seat by carefully constructed tenon joints. You can see the tenon joints in the table above. Curved back legs are also a traditional feature of a Windsor chair.

As James say, "We wanted the joining technique to be a key feature of the range, which is why the wedged end grain of the leg is exposed through the table top to beautiful effect. The Holton range is manufactured in the UK, so we can offer a huge amount of flexibility and make this range to a customer's specification."

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

King John's Wiltshire Tea Rooms

King John's Hunting Lodge Tea Rooms

Tea at King John's

I very much enjoyed taking tea at the King John's Hunting Lodge Tea Rooms in Lacock, Wiltshire, recently. (And I've just got to my scribbled note to say something about it.) I'll keep it brief. The lodge is the oldest house in Lacock, with parts dating back to the 13th century. The warm scones they serve straight from the oven speak for themselves. You can't order too many. Refute any challenge to this indulgence.

On a sunny day, you can enjoy your afternoon tea on picnic blankets on their lawn. This has the potential to be a blissful moment, but depends on the other customers — hell can be other people.

Tweedy's Thought: Lacock is carefully preserved, which means no plastic signage and shop-fronts. Why does any town or city allow the ugly preponderance of plastic? Bring back the traditional signwriter. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Badminton Horse Trials

Hip Flask and Sunglasses

I'm sure a good few of you will be at the Badminton Horse Trials this week. Some of our friends will be at the Shopping Village, such as Brocklehursts and Timothy Foxx. Badminton always has a very convivial atmosphere. If you've never been, do try it. Take a hip flask, a field coat, sunglasses — the weather could go any way.

According to Horse & Hound, William Fox-Pitt (above) and Andrew Nicholson appear to be joint favourites. Good luck to them both, and to all competitors.

Boots on the Ground

I was going to recommend Wellington boots for visitors, as it's always worth taking a pair. This is a difficult task. Hunter Boot, as you'll know, now manufactures in China, and I believe they no longer do the latex dipping process that gave their boots that sleekness. I cherish my Scottish-made Hunter boots, and will continue to have the soles mended until a new British manufacturer of the Wellington boot steps forward, this being the home of the Wellington boot after all. (Reader's voice: "You might have a long wait, Tweedy."). I'm sure my courageous stance will help shake up the British Wellington boot industry. (Note also that Dubarry of Ireland no longer manufacture in Ireland.)

Boots on Horseback

Finding boots for riders is easier. Our friends at Foster & Son can make you a pair of bespoke hunting or field boots. I enjoyed reading about the process of preparing the Black Waxed Calf Hunting Boot (top). The bootmaker works with the hide inside out, so the rougher inside of the leather is outside. To quote: "The rough surface of the leather is smoothed down by a series of applications of polish using a deer bone against the support of the boot tree to bring it up to a high shine." A fine-looking boot.

Relatedly, I saw a chap of good age in town wearing a pair of brown hunting boots and a fedora the other day — a strong look.

The Badminton Trial Course

Giuseppe Della Chiesa has designed the trial course this year. Here he is talking about it to Hugh Thomas, the director at Badminton.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Forget Gucci, Go Gizzi

Taking My Bag for a Walk

It was drool at first sight when I saw the Weekender Bag by Gizzi Leather. And that was just the photos. The order finally arrived and I could touch (and smell) the real thing. Call me 'eccentric', but since it arrived I've been taking this bag out for walks. It's too good-looking to stay at home, as evinced by the glad eyes it's getting from passers-by.

Yes, they're the Cordings pinks in the photos. I'm practically living in them right now. You know how you might latch on to an item from your wardrobe and wear it to death. I've latched. I bought that tie to go with them. More on that later.

The Weekender Bag - Change We Can Believe In

You might see a few design changes since we last featured the bag. Mark Gizzi — the craftsman behind Gizzi Leather — consulted on these. The handles are now hinged so that the bag may be stowed more easily, and there's a subtle logo inset at the side.

On making the bag, Mark says:

"I tried out a few new methods for this piece, such as using a wet mould to shape the leather on the sides and working out how best to hinge the handles. The trickiest part with making a bag of this size is not marking the leather and matching the sides when joining to the body.

"But it was a very rewarding project, and I am pleased with how it worked out."

And so am I. The bag is an incredible piece of craftsmanship. I'm hoping Mark will stay in touch and share any news on future projects as he builds his brand.

So Much More

If you're thinking of acquiring a new bag, let's compare what you are getting from Gizzi, as opposed to a bag from a mega-brand — Gucci perhaps.

Gucci has heritage, the company was started by Guccio Gucci in the 1920s. Guccio used master leather-makers in his Florence workshops early on, but soon introduced machine stitching. Consider that the Gizzi bag is entirely hand-stitched — seven stitches per inch.

Consider also that the Gucci brand is now owned by fashion-industrial conglomerate Kering. You can't speak directly to the person making your bag, as you can with a Gizzi bag.

Gizzi bags are produced in limited numbers. Gucci will sell a lot more, likely hoping to shift units in large numbers to the culturally emaciated in Shanghai or Vladivostok, who lap up whatever Western supermodels and celebrities are paid to carry.

The photos below were supplied by Mark. He's using them on his website too, so you can get a good look at the quality and detail.

These bags are really built to last, so we can call this an investment purchase. 'Weekers' and I are looking forward to a great future together.

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