Thursday, 25 July 2013

Red and Black

This week's theme, as per the title of this Post, seems to be colours.  We'll start off with the good stuff, but not with Red, but Black.

Last weekend it was a visit to the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, for their first full-scale 1940's event.  Sadly, for those fetishists among the readers, it was another scorching day, so far too hot for stockings.  Booo!  But at least the weather was simply gorgeous.  This was also my first visit to the Museum, and I have to say that I was totally bowled over by the event and the museum itself.

Dexi - Independent Escort - Black Country Museum 1940's Weekend
When first arriving the venue doesn't look too impressive, but stepping through the entrance gates is a little like stepping through a time warp - straight into the middle of last century.  If visiting, I would strongly recommend keeping the map that you are given on entry, as there really is so much to see.  I took a walk down towards the old village first - complete with old shops, canal and narrowboats and a pub.  It was fantastic, made even more so by the numerous re-enactors around, giving the village a real 1940's atmosphere.  I felt a little under-dressed, even in my original 1940's Hawaiian dress, but was still glad I wore it due to the heat.

Dexi - Independent Escort - Black Country Museum 1940's Weekend
The shops were open, stirring the nostalgia even for me - an old pharmacy, gents outfitters, hardware store, general store, sweet shop and motorbike dealer were full of memories, and the attention to detail was breathtaking.

Dexi - Independent Escort - Black Country Museum 1940's Weekend
 Occasionally, a period tram, bus or car trundled by, and for a brief moment I felt like an extra in a Foyle's War episode.  To complement the shops, there were numerous houses, all in period style, around the vast museum, giving a real insight into the hardships of day-to-day living.  Yes, I love the glamour and style of the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's, but they are seen through very rose-tinted glasses, and I'm sure that the reality for some was very different to the fantasy.

Further on from the village I found an old funfair, again with period rides, and a lovely old petrol station, complete with old petrol pumps and cars.

Dexi - Independent Escort - Black Country Museum 1940's Weekend
Exploring further I found a canal-side walk, a lovely church and even a tiny cinema - all within the grounds of the museum.  Right at the other end of the museum, and near to the entrance, was sited an old car dealer.  From the outside it looked lovely, but inside there were even more treasures to see - old vintage cars and motorbikes, all lovingly restored and frequently used.

Dexi - Independent Escort - Black Country Museum 1940's Weekend
The last decision of the day was a difficult one - catch the trolley bus or vintage coach back to the village to get a ginger beer in the old-style inn before heading home.  The vintage trolley bus won, and in truth I struggle to see how Manchester's awful Metrolink has improved on this old design in any way at all.  Comfortable, with some real style, and totally silent on it's rubber tyres.  So much more peaceful to ride in and have trundling next to you through congested streets.  Those that have had the 'pleasure' of listening to Manchester's shrieking, clamouring, rumbling and ugly metro system will, I'm sure, share the sentiments.

Dexi - Independent Escort - Black Country Museum 1940's Weekend
The ginger beer was absolutely worth the extra trip back to the pub, and a perfect end to a truly outstanding experience.  Sadly, I could not make the evening event, but will be back next year if they repeat the weekend.  The thought of spending an evening in those lovely streets, lit by soft gaslight and providing some rather nice and secluded corners is very hard to resist...!

Well, that was the good bit.  Now onto Red and Black.  Needing an evening to rest, I decided to watch the recent film 'Les Miserables', starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway.  Now I've never been a huge fan of Ms. Hathaway, although she did a pretty good job in the last Batman film.  However, after watching the film and reading a few pieces online, I have to say she's got under my skin a little.  The reason?  In the film, she plays poor destitute Fantine who has to - *shock! horror!* turn to prostitution in order to survive and provide for her daughter.

In researching the role of Fantine, Ms. Hathaway did some 'investigation' into prostitution and the sex trade and trafficking of girls, because, as we know, all girls are in this game against their own wishes, and so has now come out with some very helpful comments regarding her new knowledge.  Comments like, well, "I'm so happy, it was hard to play a miserable whore," because there aren't, of course, any happy ones.  Heaven forbid!  She is now so upset that she has joined the One Billion Rising campaign - the global movement against violence against women.

Now, as with all of these 'campaigns', the principle is wonderful.  Yes, there are some truly shocking stories out there regarding the treatment of women (and men, of course, but that doesn't quite stir the same emotions, does it?) and I am thankful that I do not have such a story to tell, but again this movement seems to make the same standpoint that all women are in prostitution against their will.  It does become tiresome to be labelled as such a sad stereotype, and sad that I can't even be more open about what I do in a so-called progressive society, but it seems that everyday our society loses more of it's sexual liberties, rather than moving forwards.

Anyway (and just to show how low the opinion of prostitution is), Fantine only resorts to selling her body after selling her hair and some of her teeth, which is a fairly worrying order to choose, if I'm honest.  I'd rather keep my hair and teeth, thanks, and choose an hour's entertainment with a gentleman first.  But that's me, I make my own choices, I'm independent, and a little bit, well, badass.  Unlike Fantine, but, strangely, very much like another Hollywood heroine.  But which one?  Oh yes, Ms. Hathaway knows.  Catwoman.  "I loved Catwoman’s sense of humour.  I love how sly she is.  I love how she, to use a cat metaphor, walks the fence and you don’t know which side she’s going to come down on.  She’s totally independent.  And let’s face it, she’s badass."  Odd.  Both characters end up turning to *the dark side* (not my opinion, of course) in order to survive in their respective environments, but one she admires, the other is a "miserable whore."  Strange, too, that the one she admires dresses in a skin-tight outfit, complete with steel-heeled leather thigh boots, promising excitement, BDSM, and evil sexuality, and who has also turned to breaking into people's houses and stealing - but that's still obviously preferable to the utter degradation of the selling sex between consenting adults.  Ah, but maybe that's the issue - Catwoman only promises these things, and never delivers on that sexuality - because bad girls, even in Hollywood, need to keep some decency.  Much easier just to stereotype the girls who do play the game, then.  As always.  So why can't One Billion Rising take this double-standard mindset on, too - some real education regarding all women's rights, including the real badass girls, might actually do some good.

Sorry?  What was that?  What did I think of the film itself?  Well, it's a bit of a cultural phenomenon, with great costumes and sets and has been a massive stage success.  But... well, it was shite, really.  'Songs' like Red and Black (I know, the link was a long time coming!), etc, aren't really songs with melodies, if you know what I mean.  Give me a musical, even an opera, with some real melodies in it, anytime.

Thinking of Catwoman and musicals means I can sign off this post with rude thoughts of two of my favourite crushes over the years...

Dexi - Independent Escort - Oooh lala!
... Olivia Newton John in those skin-tight leggings from a musical with songs, and the very best and sexiest Catwoman of them all - Michelle Pfeiffer.  You're the one that I want, indeed!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

"A Whore, a Whore, my Kingdom for a Whore"

Some of the more eagle-eyed of you may have spotted the fact that last week's Picture Of The Week has stayed up a little longer than usual.  There is a reason - it's been one of those 'long weekends away', and an invite back to Ess and Emm in Warwickshire with friends is always hard to resist.

It certainly helped that it was surely one of the hottest and glorious weekends of the year - and in the lush and beautiful hills of Shakespeare country it really was, in tabloid speak, a 'scorcher'.  In truth, it wasn't a promising start.  Just as we were leaving Manchester city centre our driver said "The car's getting a bit too hot for my liking," and the passengers (including me) looked in puzzlement at each other, all of us no doubt thinking 'Of course it's hot, moron, look at the weather!'  Suddenly clouds of steam erupted from the bonnet and the car slowed to a wheezing halt.  A breakdown man was duly called as we stood on the pavement slowly cooking (it was midday on Friday), and he turned up after just 15 minutes and declared a split radiator hose.  With that repaired we set off, a little more nervously than we had before.

By 5.00pm we had reached Ess and Emm with no more mishaps, and the baking temperature was enough inducement to break out some wine and beer, and I did manage to introduce some of the guests (it was a party for a special occasion) to Amaretto Sours (a large dash or two of Amaretto, some lemonade and fresh lime - mmmmm!).  As I walked around the garden, I suddenly realised there were a few other guests that had decided to make their home there for the summer...

 Yes, it was a little hive of bumble bees, taking up residence in a bird nesting box.  I didn't get too close, though, as I wasn't sure how aggressive they would be.  Lunch on the Saturday was at a fantastic Italian restaurant - La Coppola in elegant Leamington Spa, which was the best Italian food I have had outside of Italy itself.  I chose the Campania Mozzarella Coppola and Gnocchi E Gorgonzola, both of which were sublime, and I especially loved the stunning tall blonde lady that arrived midway through our meal wearing very little, and I got a lovely view as she climbed the stairs in front of me later on in her skin-tight and very tiny shorts.  I can't promise she'll be there when you go, of course, but I can at least vouch for the quality of the meals!

We stayed at the B&B until Sunday, and as we set off to head back north a suggestion was made to stop off in Shakespeare's town - Stratford Upon Avon.  I've never been, and if truth be told I didn't quite fancy being jostled by hordes of American/Japanese tourists, but with the weather being so lovely and the prospect of a return to sweltering Manchester city centre not too appealing, it was an easy one to agree with.

What was supposed to be a quick stop suddenly turned into on overnight stay, as the restaurant we chose happened to have spare rooms, so, unpacked and fed, a late-evening walk in the cool air was a perfect time to see the town and maybe discover what all the touristy fuss was about.

First stop, on advice from our waiter, was the little marina where the Stratford Upon Avon Canal meets the River Avon.  At 9.00pm it was still buzzing nicely (a bit like the hive of bees), and was completely lovely.  A pretty row of narrowboats lined the sides of the marina, and the town, Royal Shakespeare Company theatre and grassy open areas made a perfect backdrop.

Dexi Independent Escort - The Marina at Stratford Upon Avon
A little bit of exploring led to a, ahem, very different view of the marina...

Dexi Independent Escort - A different view of the Marina
Yes, I know it's a gratuitous panty-shot, but I did want to show off my new pair, and I liked the graffiti bit too - 'Money can't buy love' - it made me think of the old joke 'no, but it can buy a better class of harlot'!  (Told to me once by someone who had no idea of what I do - it made it funnier, somehow.)

From the marina, it is a short walk into the town centre itself.  Straight away I spotted a 1940's tearoom, and made plans to visit it the following day.  As I strolled around the quiet town at dusk, it revealed more and more of it's treasures - stunning Tudor buildings and little quaint side streets, all lit by lovely streetlights.

Dexi Independent Escort - Stratford Upon Avon

Dexi Independent Escort - Stratford Upon Avon
 It is certainly a beautiful town, especially once the hustle of the crowds isn't a distraction, and I have to say that it was a very restful sleep that night, no doubt helped by the fresh evening air and a little alcohol!

Dexi Independent Escort - Panties in Stratford Upon Avon
 Sunday morning dawned as bright and hot as the previous days. thankfully, so it was another quick walk around the town before leaving.  On the previous evening I'd seen signs for the Butterfly Farm, and headed back that way in search of pretty colourful things.

Dexi Independent Escort - The Buuterfly Farm, Stratford Upon Avon
The Butterfly Farm was lovely - again, especially as it was still very quiet when I went early in the morning.  No doubt once it is full of screaming, running kids it may lose some appeal, but it was very tranquil while I was there.  Not for those, of course, that don't like fluttering flying things, as they do have a habit of landing on your head and body for a little rest.

Dexi Independent Escort - The Butterfly Farm, Stratford Upon Avon
 There was also an insect house, and I was fascinated by the big bird-eating spiders and tarantulas.

Before we finally headed back to Manchester, we had a light lunch at The Fourteas - the 1940's-inspired cafe in the centre of Stratford Upon Avon.  Homemade Lemonade and Cucumber sandwiches (with no crusts, of course) were the order of the day, and I was nicely refreshed for the drive back home.

I loved Stratford Upon Avon, and even with the crowds during the day it remained a lovely place to visit.  I even came away wishing I knew a little more of Shakespeare's plays, and that is a rare thing to achieve!

So, this week's Picture Of The Week, on the Gallery page as usual, is very new, as it was taken over the weekend.  As it's a little late, and next weekend may be busy, this will be staying up until the weekend after, so I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Corsets and Cakes

It was lovely to be out and about this weekend in the much-missed sunshine.  Firstly, Friday saw me heading into the Manchester city centre, more specifically to Kiku, on Tib Street in the vibrant Northern Quarter.

Dexi - Kiku in Manchester
I often pop in to see what corsets and vintage-styled lingerie they have, and on my previous visit had spied an intricate Chinese-styled corset which had been specially made for a customer.  It was a very easy decision to have one made for myself, and on Friday I was due a first fitting, to make sure that the measurements and the designs I had chosen (roses, this time) were correct before the finishing touches were applied.  I'm hoping to be able to collect it later this week, and already have a photo-shoot in mind!

On Saturday I was up very bright and early to join friends for a trip 'ooop north', to pretty Ingleton, who were having their 1940's weekend.  It was a bit cloudy on our arrival, but it didn't take too long for the sun to burn through the haze.  Luckily, and in anticipation of this, I'd decided to wear the vintage Hawaiian dress that I bought at last year's Twinwood Festival.

Dexi - Ingleton 1940's Weekend 2013
It was a fabulous day out - great outfits, great music and great weather.  Ingleton has a little more to offer, of course.  The village sits on the point where the River Twiss and River Doe meet to form the larger River Greta, and there are some lovely walks along the riverbanks around the area.  I couldn't make full use of them in my heels, unfortunately, but if I make a return visit I'll make sure I pack more suitable footwear in order to do some exploring.

Dexi - Ingleton 1940's Weekend 2013
I made sure I was in the park for the battle re-enactment just after lunch, which saw, rather unbelievably, the French saving the day.  However, I suppose it was no less believable than how Hollywood rewrites history!

Dexi - Ingleton 1940's Weekend 2013
Special mention, however, must go to Frumenty and Fluffin, the little cake shop in the village centre that got me more excited than the clothing stalls, for once!  On entering the bakery/cafe, I was confronted by the sight of gooey, sticky sweet cream cakes everywhere.  I did want to strip off and dive in, rubbing the creamy sweetness all over my naked body (which would have made a glorious photo-shoot), but restrained myself enough with 'just' a piece of Raspberry and Almond Cheesecake.  Sugar overload, but gorgeous nonetheless. 

And, speaking of nakedness (or as near-to), this week's Picture Of The Week is from the same set as last week's.  A couple of weekends ago I ventured out late on Saturday night in my see-through PVC mac and see-through minidress, looking for a chance to get a couple of photos done.  With the city centre predictably busy, it was out to Salford Quays to try and capture some rather risqué pictures.  This was the last one, as a Police Range Rover came idling by, taking a close interest in what I was doing.  So, to avoid any unwelcome attention, it was time to pack up and head home.  Spoilsports!

I'm back in Altrincham this week, so if this weather isn't hot enough for you and you fancy something even spicier, then you know where to head for...!