Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sweet peas, honeysuckle, climbing geranium and a bridge too far

I cannot say that these are the photos that began it all, this love of mine for blue, but I remember coming back time and time again to look at them during what must have been the typically wet grey short days of winter, and on many a day since, winter or not.

We'd moved recently to Amsterdam after a sojourn in Eindhoven, then a town singularly lacking in charm and interest - it had been bombed flat during Operation Market Garden and the town liberated from the occupying forces by the US 101st Airborne Division a year before the War ended - uninteresting to me, but yet a town that gratefully remembered its liberation each 18th of September with a parade frequently attended by US and Canadian veterans. Dour brick, what we would call today mixed-use, buildings lined the pedestrian-only streets heaving with crowds, most of whom seemed to be on bikes, and the minute the sun shone, whatever the temperature out came the sidewalk cafes, many heated by infra-red lamps, further narrowing what were reasonably wide pathways.

I cannot say those were the happiest days of my life but looking back it was the beginning of the path that led me, via Amsterdam, to where I am today, my love of blue intact, and more importantly the new adventure then being forged with my partner also still intact - and for this I am immensely grateful. Those were the days before cell phones, CDs had just been marketed and word-processors ruled.

Apropos word-processors we watched Julie and Julia yesterday evening, after pizza and salad by the pool, in a friend's home theatre - and this was a 24-seat (about as many as can fit around his dining table) theatre with an HD screen the size of a wall - in which Julia Child types chapters of Mastering the Art of French Cooking with carbon paper and onion-skin copy paper. Those were the days ...

Climbing Geranium, the Colefax and Fowler chintz on the chair in front of the blue-painted cupboard, remains one of my favorites though I'm not even sure if it is still sold. My only regret is that there never was a blue version - unimaginable to me despite the fact there aren't any actual blue geraniums - and had there been a blue colorway I would probably have ignored the ban on floral fabrics (our bridge too far) in our house. That blue geranium, real or not, shines in my mind's eye with all the glamour of a sprite.

Tomorrow we're going to New York for a long weekend of family, theatre, museums, lots of walking and lots of blue skies.

Photos by James Mortimer to accompany text by Jane Lott for an article in The World of Interiors, February 1985.


  1. There are 90 yards of Colefax's Climbing Geranium (Mauve colourway)
    in my fabric cabinet, unused.
    Any takers?

  2. That bottom kitchen has the blues I want. I'd even take the dogs if it is necessary to close the sale. Have a great time in NYC.

  3. Mr Worthington, if it were blue I might be interested but mauve, though not a color I dislike in any way, would not fit.

    Terry, thank you. Farrow and Ball have delicious blues, of which Lulworth Blue, Blue Ground and Parma Gray are my favorites. I think when I take the decision to repaint the library it will likely be one of those three.

  4. I love the use of the blue accent color...for the cupboards, the ceilings. It is like a breath of fresh air.

  5. A few years older I am than you, Blue, but still and hope always find resonance in love. I was an optimistic bride in 1975 and found JC the way many find religion. We agree not in the choice of color or pattern or mishmash vs curated, but we agree on the most important of holy things. Happy travels, new joys and new memories whatever color of blue makes your heart sing true.

  6. A lovingly written memory accompanied! My favorite too. Have a wonderful weekend!