Sunday, 15 September 2019

Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.

So, September has arrived, and Summer is fading as Autumn begins weaving it's golden tapestry on the leaves and flowers.  Certainly my visit to the Lavender Gardens recently made me realise that a change in seasons was coming.  Not that there's been much of the summer to remember.

I decided to mark the passing of time with a foray into yesteryear's more glamorous past.

Destination - Morecambe.  Stardate - sometime in the 20th Century.  The last time I was in the seaside town was way, way back in 2013.  This time I was heading back to The Midland Hotel, but this time for a specific event - the town's Vintage By The Sea event.  Unlike much of the 1940's vintage scene in the UK, this would be an event that celebrated lifestyle and fashions for the 1920s right through to the 1980s.  Fantastic.  The only question - would the weather hold up?

I kept a nervous eye on the changeable weather through the week, finally deciding that Sunday looked the better of the two weekend days, but still at times rain was threatened.  Undaunted, I arrived at Morecambe nice and early ( a good job - parking looked to be a nightmare later on), greeted by a very brisk 19mph wind that came straight off the bay.  It would keep up its strong gusts throughout the day, keeping me sadly away from the beautiful seafront.  Although I'd decided to wear a late 1960's vintage gown (in ultra-bright pink and orange) and it was well-lined, those cold windy fingers kept finding ways through the folds of my dress to chill my skin.

Outside The Midland there were already rows of stunning classic cars lined up, perfectly framed by the majestic art-deco backdrop of the hotel.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Americana, Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
Of course, I found a lovely late 1960s classic in subtle British Racing Green to complement my very vibrant dress from the same era.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - E-Type, Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
Now I just needed a louche lover to whisk me away in the E-Type to a suitably sordid 1960s B&B where I could lie back on the creaking old bed, my legs spread, whilst my erstwhile lover oiled my bottom end with his steel piston.  Mmmm.

Despite my hot thoughts, I decided to get out of the coolness of the morning by heading over to The Platform - the nearby hall where the vintage fair was taking place.

A few stalls braved the outside area near the hall, and without the protecting wings of The  Midland were in the frontline of the assault from the landward gusts.  I was particularly impressed by a small pretty caravan, bravely bright and optimistic in the face of the changeable weather.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
Inside the hall, stalls and browsers packed together.  There was lots of quality items for sale, and I'd made sure I had funds to spare - just in case.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
I did get lots of complements on my dress, which was lovely - against the wartime era clothing it certainly stood out.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
I had a good look around, the money in my pocket burning a little hole in my pocket, but there wasn't really anything that truly made me want to part with it.

Finally, I braved the windswept outside again, heading first for an ice-cream (it's the seaside, why wouldn't you?) before checking out those plucky stalls enduring the elements outside the hall.

A small seating area was surrounded by a wall of stalls and a double-decker converted into a bar, like a circle of wagons protecting against an Apache attack, but sadly the wall was failing as the blustery wind found plenty of space to find its way through.  The blaring sounds of 1960s tunes from a nearby music stall ebbed and flowed in the incessant breezes.  The thought did cross my mind as I looked at the bright red bus that if the government seriously wants us all to leave the comfort of our cars, then surely a bar-bus is the answer.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.

I decided to head back to the relative calm of the hotel car park, nervously eyeing the ominous clouds gathering overhead.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - clouds, Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
Being a bit hungry, I headed through the busy car park and out onto the northern side, where more stalls were sited - this time selling food.

Here, on the unshielded part of the small headland, the wind was even livelier, blowing hats off and skirts up - how on earth did people manage when flowing skirts and hats were de rigueur?   Nearby, some fairground rides were waiting patiently for passengers, bright and cheerful against the gathering clouds... but with few takers.  I thought you'd have to be especially brave to choose the Big Wheel in the current gusting winds.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
It wasn't a hard decision to head back to the car park - seemingly the only sheltered spot on the seafront.  Passing through the car park, however, I was disturbed to hear a beautiful Jensen described sagely by a passerby as "the James Bond car" (no, that was an Aston Martin DB5)...

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - NOT a DB5, Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
 ...and, just as bad, a DeLorean pointed out by a kagool-wearing mother to her children as "the Knight Rider car".

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
Heathens!

Even God wept tears of frustration and despair at the failure to recognise the Back To The Future car, and the threatened downpour began.  It was a rush into the hotel from most of the assembled crowd in the car park, creating a lovely vintage Laurel And Hardy effect in the small doorway.

I took the opportunity to find a spot on the beautiful art-deco staircase, watching couples waltzing elegantly in the cleared dance area.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - dancers, Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - The Midland Hotel, Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - The Midland Hotel, Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
Eventually the brief squall finished, and it was another squeezing rush as everyone headed back outside.  I decided to have a look around the car park, as another bank of dark cloud looked ready to crash the party.  It was a lovely mixture of classics from pre-war vintage through to 1980s fare.


Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
The weather was beginning to look as mixed up as the car park - only not as delightful.  Bright bursts of sunshine lifted the gloom, but a short distance away clouds were gathering once again.  Looking at the wind direction, I surmised that these, however, were the cause of the last downpour and were heading away from the bay.  A local gent sat next to me had a different opinion, however.  "No, the winds caught between the sea and the hills that surround the bay - that will be back with us inside an hour." 

In the meantime, though, it was 'make hay while the sun shines'.  I had a great spot sat outside the main doors, people-watching and chatting to a lovely group of strangers, dressed in various attire from the 20th century.  Our chat was interrupted by the arrival of some very bright cleaning ladies - complete with lampshades for skirts (bright - lights/lampshades... get it?  No...?  Oh, OK...), causing a little commotion.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - as Brayn Ferry sang, "I'd Do Anything To Turn You On...".
The tallest of the trio, a lovely blonde, was very interesting - I'd certainly have been keen in finding out what turned her on and figuring out if she needed a screw-in fitment under her skirt.

There was time, too, to admire the beautiful lines of the hotel - those art-deco designers really knew a thing, in comparison with much of the steel and glass horrors that invade the city centres these days.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - The Midland Hotel, Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
I was very honoured to be picked as one of the 'Best Dressed' of the day - though it would mean a walk down the catwalk later on.  I hoped the weather would hold.  Sadly, the Michael Fish of Morecambe was bang on the money - the squalls did come back around right on time.  I braved the shower as much as I could, still hoping to see the promised Hawker Hurricane flypast (it was due to be a Douglas Dakota DC10, but that was cancelled due to engine issues).  Sadly, the inclement weather meant the Hurricane wouldn't fly, either - possibly, I thought, the first time that a hurricane has been toppled by a breezy 19mph wind and a bit of rain.

Luckily, however, by mid-afternoon the clouds had begun another circuit of the bay - just in time to miss the fashion parade.  Hosted by a gorgeously camp Ringmaster (not sure what 'rings' he as a master of, but I could guess) and the genial Wayne Hemingway (of Red Or Dead fame) it was without doubt a crowd-puller.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Wayne Hemingway, Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - lovely Ringmaster, Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
In due course it was my turn to stroll down the short 'catwalk' and have a chat with Wayne.  He defintely seemed fascinated by my pink dress, the ringmaster only half-jokingly attempting to get him to try it on after the fashion show, and he again highlighted how important proper fashion is - not the throwaway-after-every-season kind, and re-vamping, re-wearing and using classic clothes that used to be genuinely made to last for years.. sentiments I agreed with entirely.

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.
I was really pleased to get down to the final three, but didn't win - that honour went deservedly to  a beautiful lady in a gorgeous skirt and jacket combination - very much like my Goodwood Revival winning outfit from 2011.

Just after 3.00pm, and with the rainclouds preparing to make another visit to The Midland, it was time to head back south.  I'd had a fabulous day, though, and really enjoyed the mixed fashions, music and cars - something a little more diverse and fun than the strict 1940s events.  A 'Best Show' winner, no doubt.

Oh, and I had my own memento of the day, of course...

Dexi Delite South Manchester Escort - rosette, Vintage By The Sea, Morecambe.






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