Friday, 6 March 2020

The New Brolly.



Although we've had plenty of rain, up until recently I've not had to venture out with more than just my Barbour, wellies, and beret.

Yesterday morning, however, it was 'pissing down', and with Billy demanding his early morning walk, I was obliged to face the onslaught.

For Christmas my youngest (Wills) bought me a very welcomed new umbrella. It may look like any ordinary brolly, but it's slightly bigger than most (it's not one of those big horrid Golfing brollies), and much heavier. I could feel at once that this was no £5 brolly from Primark; it was a pukka job.

                           

The last such umbrella of this quality I owned, was bought when I worked in The City. I was working as a 'Blue Button' (dogsbody trainee broker) for a highly respected firm of Stockbrokers; in fact the oldest in The City.

In those days all we young Blue Buttons were like a gang of strutting dandies, and we needed to look the part. There was a very strict 'uniform' to adhere to.

One's suit needed to be of a heavy pinstripe, and cut in 'Guards Officer' style. One's bowler had to be slightly hairy and jaunty; and HAD to come from Lock & Co of St James. We all wore stiff collars; I had mine specially made in Jermyn Street (I can't remember the maker). Our ties were dark navy with white spots, and were always silk. And lastly our brollies had to be of noticeably good quality, and invariably came from Swaine Adeney Brigg of Piccadilly.

Any inferior quality clothing, or kit, was immediately frowned upon, so it paid to go for the classics right from the start.

My new brolly is of that same Swaine Adeney Brigg standard, and I shall carry it with pride. It was the perfect present, and exactly what I needed. Just look at that spring-loaded opening system; it could have been designed by Aston Martin.

It keeps the rain off too.


42 comments:

  1. It looks "the real deal" and if it keeps the rain off that's a bonus.

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    Replies
    1. It's good to have a decent brolly again, my last one simply bent in half in the wind!

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  2. It looks like a strong manly umbrella.
    Perfect for an English gent on rambles.
    Tells me a lot about English weather that part of your uniform was an umbrella! I have been looking at some YouTube videos of life in London in the 50s. There are always young men striding along with umbrella tucked under arm or tapping away using it like a stick.

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    Replies
    1. Mid 60's; if you please! Brollies were used rather like army officers swagger sticks; an essential piece of kit, that was hardly ever used. And I never had a briefcase; just a pink newspaper tucked under my arm. I don't suppose it's like that these days.

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  3. The perfect present for you ..... out in all weathers it is much needed. I need a telescopic one that fits into my bag ..... I have had many and know that you need to pay a bit for a good one ..... the cheap ones just blow inside out and the mechanics always fail you when you need it most !!! XXXX

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    Replies
    1. I always keep a couple of those foldable ones in the car (Poundshop?). They are designed to be used ONCE, for five minutes.

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  4. Nice glimpse into the sartorial requirements of a Blue Button.

    Your new umbrella's structure looks impressively sound. Extra sound. Indestructible. Which brings me to one of my gripes about umbrellas: Rain is all very well. How about rain combined with wind? I have yet to find an umbrella which doesn't turn into a sail when tested to its limit. Inside out. Spines coming away. It's tragic. Here at the South Coast there are times (after heavy rain and winds) when the place is littered with the corpses of abandoned umbrellas.

    Your comparison with Aston Martin made me smile. A couple of years ago I was given a Rolls Royce. No bull. It was one of their corporate gifts. To say I was overjoyed is an understatement. I thought I'd been given the umbrella of all umbrellas. Alas, even the RR of umbrellas can only withstand so much before giving in to the elements. Largely, when I go into town in the rain don't even bother opening it. I just clasp it to my bosom (in case the wind dies down and the rain persists).

    Let me know how yours bears up when tested to the limit, wet rat greetings,

    U

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    Replies
    1. They do make them with a separate piece at the top; rather like some large parasols. The wind goes between the main 'sail', and the small piece on top, and prevents it disappearing; worth looking for.

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  5. Caillebotte, A Rainy Day In Paris. Your post reminded me of this painting. We looked at it yesterday; the French Impressionists painted umbrellas because umbrellas were at that time a new invention and celebrated.

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    1. The only painting I know of his is of men laying a tiled (?) floor.

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    2. Les raboteurs de parquet. We looked at that one too. I pointed out the very elongated arms.

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    3. That's it; planing a parquet floor, almost the same thing. It's always lauded as one of the great 'impressionist' paintings, but I failed to see it as 'impressionist', or even as a 'great' painting. I must go back and look at it again.

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    4. The painting was rejected by the Salon so it ended up in the Impressionists exhibition. I do not think it is a great painting either.

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    5. I've just had another look at it, and find it much more interesting than I remembered. I rather like it now, but it wouldn't have sat very well next to most impressionists.

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  6. I cannot think of umbrellas without remembering what a friend of mine told me, that she had lived in London for three years as a young woman, and never needed a brolly. It convinced me that people in the South East know nothing about rain compared to the Welsh! (This private theory is further strengthened by my being married to a Londoner.)

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    Replies
    1. In london you're always within 6 ft of a doorway, shop, or café. No time to get your brolly up, or down. I don't think mine was ever wetted.

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  7. Meanwhile the french looked on thinking mad dogs and english men go out in the pissing rain with beret and brolly.

    LX

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    Replies
    1. Luckily I'm rarely seen. I go out at first light.

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  8. I’m reminded of one of the tales of the unexpected. Roald Dahl story the Umbrella Man. I expect you know it.

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  9. I have a cheapy folding brolly bought about 35 years ago in C & A when it was still going. It still works perfectly and I can use it in a gale unlike my husband's more expensive ones that have lasted him 5 minutes each time. Another thing, why are so many people seem so averse to usingone these days? Even my daughter poo poos it and she lives in Scotland where it rains all the time. 'Uncool' I suppose. I can understand it in towns where, as you say, there's a shop doorway to hide in but out in the countryside it's amazing to see how many people just don't bother and seem not to worry about getting wet even when it's pee-ing down. I always carry mine if there's the slightest chance of rain, it's so much more comfortable under there!

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    Replies
    1. Back in Brighton, rain is invariably accompanied by strong wind, making a brolly useless. I think a thick yellow cyclists plastic hooded cape would be more sensible, but who would be seen dead wearing a yellow cyclists cape!

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  10. Goodness, it sounds expensive to be a Blue Button.

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    Replies
    1. It was, and every few weeks (on Friday evenings) it became our turn to buy drinks at the Pub' for however many of our bosses turned-up. On a salary of 10 guineas a week, we prayed for as few as possible.

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  11. I wonder what your old City colleagues would have thought if you had gone to work in your Barbour, wellies, and beret.

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    Replies
    1. L'artiste, that's what they would have thought. Every circle needs one. If only to balance the books.

      U

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    2. Battered old Land Rovers were very chic at the time, so maybe they would have forgiven me; as long as I didn't turn-up for work!

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  12. Several years ago my journey to work involved a 10 minute walk across an often wet and windswept hilltop car park. After losing a few umbrellas to gale force gusts which snapped them like twigs I bought a very unfashionable domed clear plastic umbrella. It had the advantage of being large enough for me to put it right down over my head and shoulders, keeping me dry and allowing me to see where I was going. Not very chic though.

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    Replies
    1. I seem to remember The Queen having one, so possibly more chic than you imagined.

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  13. If things go according to plant you will not now need the brolly until October at the earliest (it's how it has always been with me at any rate).

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    Replies
    1. The best way to ensure that it doesn't rain, is to take it with me. When I went shopping recently, I left it in the boot; then when I came out it was pouring. Just my luck.

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  14. It might be good to use during this virus epidemic. When someone comes within six feet of you, bring it down in front of your face.

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  16. In the Sonoran Desert the first rain of Winter or Summer I go out and stand it it and thank Mother Nature. This year we have had some rain but not enough. I have several lovely Japanese Umbrellas That I rarely use.
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    Replies
    1. Well, we're having far too much at present. Everything is sodden, and there are puddles on all the paths. We also noticed yesterday that our local big river (the River Lot) was very high again.

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  17. It seems much larger than my umbrella, rattling around under some seat in my car. May it keep you dry.

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    Replies
    1. It's quite big, but not as big as those multi coloured Golf Umbrellas one sees. It's actually a very good size, and the solidity gives me confidence.

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