I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a few days off work so I spent a long weekend in the U.K. and took a day trip to a beautiful Roman / Georgian city called Bath. It’s really famous for its spectacular Roman Baths hence its name. Although I have walked through these baths a number of times I thought that I would go again until I saw the queue outside.
Bath was heaving with tourists (I think that half of France must have been there) and with no chance of me standing for hours trying to revise my French conjugation I decided to drop in on the Museum of Fashion.
Anybody who knows me is probably giggling at this point wondering at what stage I started taking an interest in fashion but I do love history and it is just as well as the £8.75 entrance fee was waivered in view of the fact that there was only one gallery open … the Victorians. It was indeed illuminating as the museum used quotes from contemporary novels to illustrate the way that the garments were worn and by whom. This period also spanned the introduction of industrialisation so at the start of the 19th Century the glamorous fabrics were hand woven in France and from the mid to late 19th Century they were being manufactured in Britain.
Whilst in Bath I made a further study in human behaviour at the ‘Wool’ shop. This is a small establishment close to the centre of town but a little off the beaten track. It had a fine array of yarns and lots of gorgeously knitted examples a long with folders galore filled with patterns. The lady in charge was cheery and extremely helpful in assisting me to choose yarn for a baby pattern that I am presently trying to get underway. The shop was empty when I arrived but being small it soon filled up. Two separate couples entered. One chap took his place on the comfy couch and read the newspaper while his significant other perused the colourful goods on the shelves. The other fellow took a different approach. He decided to follow his lady friend around the shop while she pulled handfuls of sumptuous yarns from their piles and conveyed all of her knowledge to him about the various products. I moved closer in the hope that I could learn a little from this lesson about independent yarn producers however the tutorial was cut short by the gentleman exclaiming that he knew what wool looked like thank you and had no desire to see any more of it. With that he left the shop promptly and she followed soon after. The gentleman on the couch continued to read his newspaper while his lady friend enjoyed her retail experience. I wonder if she knows how lucky she is.