I have come to the conclusion that it is not the circus as a whole that I dislike but that my aversion is pretty much directed solely towards clowns. Maybe something happened the one and only time I went to the circus in my hometown. All I can remember is the outside of the tent … I have a very soft spot for aerialists, though, and not just on account of Burt Lancaster (honest!). And I generally adore circus outfits, and not just because of Merna Kennedy. So when I realised we had what was listed in the register as ‘a child’s acrobat costume, circa 1860′, I instantly had to check out this marvelous sounding object.
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The story of London Tweed
So this is how the story goes. In 1826 a London merchant decides to buy some cloth from a weaver in Hawick, a town in the Scottish borders famous for its cloth production. Very happy with his order, he decides to get some more but – crucially – misreads the weaver’s dashed handwriting. Instead of ‘twill’ this Londoner reads ‘tweed’, and assumes this new cloth must take after the River Tweed which runs fast and clear through the textile areas of lower Scotland. ‘Tweed’ and not ’twill’ has been the term used ever since.
Rhinestones and Nylon Net
Ever since watching The King and I (1956 version) at a very impressionable age, I have been rather fond of dancing (and crinolines – but that’s another story). My grandmothers and I spent many happy hours marvelling at the clothes, hairstyles and make-up of the participants in the World Championships broadcast on television.
A few weeks ago I found myself surrounded by fascists. I was on my way to the West End when at Tower Hill station a large group of French-speaking men with assorted girlfriends and wives (I presume) entered my tube carriage.