Friday, April 15, 2011

The Tortoise and The Barbour

My Barbour Beaufort has seen more action in the past several weeks than it has in a year. So much so that I finally just left it in the car last week. And if the weather gods are correct this weekend, the launch of LFG’s soccer season may yet again be postponed tomorrow.
I dropped LFG off last weekend and on the drive home, the clouds negated the need for shades so I toss my old Anglo American sunglasses over on the passenger seat. One stoplight later and I glanced over and did kind of a double-take on the mixture of colour and texture beside me. God knows I’m no photographer. As a matter of fact, those of you who’ve been reading my drivel long enough realize that if anything, I take pride in shitty pictures. But the way my specs were lounging over on its new found waxy-musky Barbour green chaise motivated a picture.
Glimpsing over at my passenger seat caused me to see England. London more specifically I reckon. I just thought that tortoise shell and hunter green appeared destined for each other and that England was their matchmaker. Blue-Black-Green... aggregated sublimely. 
Perhaps interior designers these days tisk-tisk at a husband requesting a hunter green library or study. It’s been done…and done…and done. But there must be a reason why it endures. And the mottled tortoise/lacquer browns seems to be a natural complement to dark green.
Hell if it's good enough for Ralph's dressing room then it's good enough for mine.
I don’t know why I like some of the things I like but I just do. And this colour assemblage, leastways to me, never becomes redundant or tired. I can’t find a word this morning that satisfies me. Dark blue-black-green and tortoisity equals what? Gravitas, solid bearing, sturdiness, inviting ensconcement? Tortoisity by the way, is pronounced tor-TOSS-ity in case you wondered. Or tor-TOYS-ity if you are from exit 18 on the Turnpike.
I think I’ll settle for “an inviting ensconcement” since God knows, I’d rather make up my own phrases than seek paucity and clarity in…well frankly, in about any damn thing. Shut up. And ensconce this.
I had a dark green bedroom before I was married and I have one at present. And dark green…complemented by the tortoise/lacquer marriage found in book cases or trim-work make for a more enduring marriage than I could ever muster. Mine was more tainted liquor than tortoise/lacquer. Hold me.
And you’ve gotta love this. The ever so antiquated, inefficient and delightfully British way of rounding up the Farrow&Ball custom green colour for such a legacy client. This from a Farrow& Ball-buster I was once in correspondence with…“The people at Lord's Cricket Ground have had to wait 6 weeks for a scrap of paper with their cricket pavilion paint recipe on it to be retrieved. It's called Pavilion Green and F&B will only mix it up for Lords.” I’m thinking that this was the discussion after they hung up the phone with the boys from St. Johns Wood… “Algernon, where’s that slapdash daub of Lord’s green?” Wouldn't you know it; they’ve requested another go at it after only twenty-seven years.”
 The boys at South Audley…Purdeys to be precise, do a fine job of mottled tortoisity. Perhaps not as much dark green over there but plenty of gravitas none the less.
I felt foolish after someone explained to my why the columns fronting Audley House had missing chunks. South Audley Street was the recipient of a few bombs here and there during the Blitz. Missing chunks. I had a fraternity brother who could be counted on to have a few too many and try to blow chunks…regularly. Not very surprising in frattyland, right? But in this case, Chunks was his dog.
How ‘bout a pair of Purdey guns? A vintage Mercedes 300SL will cost you about the same. The patinated tortoisity above is stunning.
And so Lady Audley had a secret. Butcept it was well secreted…behind dark green swathings of inauthentic posturing and downright lies. Note to self…
But this little Lady Barbour is unimpeachable in hunter green gravity. Do not argue this with me.
Moving on to motorsports…British Racing Green seems to provide an incredible amount of je ne sais quoi to any recipient of Britain’s irrefutable racing colour. Butcept the British wouldn't respond well to the Frogesque je ne sais quoi badge. And yes, the consecrated juju of British Racing green demands that colour be spelled in its original form.
Certainly German Racing Silver seems to me an appropriate designation for the Prussian magnificence manifest in their racing legacy.
And look at how just a hint of British Racing Green adds cadenced panache to this uber Panamericana contender.
One more time. Restrained panache I say. Restrained panache. Something I'll never master.
Perhaps the Prussian purists would be aghast at this temporal manifestation of God being painted green. I think it simply adds dignity to the dignified.
Nothing much needs to be said here. Just look. And look again.
And again...with a little Triumph in your eyes.
One more time please. "Dunna nunna nunna nunna nunna nunna nunna nunna JAG MAN!!
I’ve always felt that American cars in red simply announced…“red car-redneck” but a Ferrari painted almost anything but red seems unseemly. Maybe black but really, a Ferrari needs to be red.
French Racing...Robins Egg Blue?” I have nothing to say here. Ferme la bouche.
So all those words I struggled with to define the gravity of dark green remain inadequate…more so when I try to verbosify how great this looks to me. Maybe…simply…”appropriate” is the word I’m looking for…or perhaps “correct”. Or maybe nothing needs to be said. And that would be difficult for me. Those of you who’ve met me know this firsthand.
Just look at how “right-appropriate-correct” English Cut’s Thomas Mahon’s Rover seems in British Racing Green. Wonder how his lovely little firstborn chap likes riding in daddy’s Rover?
Word on the street is that the Queen has a bunch of them. Rovers that is.
Complementary tortoise. It just seems like the right accessory to set-off dark green. I saw this trunk on Portobello Road last year and would love to have bought it but getting it home was problematic. And I won’t be buying anything for the rest of 2011 anyway.
Patinated tortoise gone good.
And another example of mottled, patinated tortoisity well played.
Mottled, antiquated tortoisity gone bad. Real bad. I mean really. What is this? A damned butterfly on freakin’ steroids? The Barry damn Bonds of Monarch butterflies?
This ain't antiquated tortoisity. This is petrified…calcificated Tangesque absurdity. There’s good Tang and bad Tang. This is Tang gone bad. Real bad.
So let me end this ramble on a more aesthetically pleasing visual note. Here’s to green. Dark…almost black-green. And the majesty of those like this little Princess who don it.
And here’s to complementary tortoisity…and all its accoutremontical involvement with making base colours so damned sublime.

Onward. Hoping for soccer tomorrow. Even if I have to stand there Barbour clad.


Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

Tortoise endures... slow and steady. Hare fades quickly (does anybody carry a rabbit's foot?). Green lasts year-round (lighter in spring, deeper in summer, and conifer through fall and winter). endurance is no coincidence.

ADG said...

Yankee-Whiskey-Compass Boxer...."endurance is no coincidence". I can't tell you HOW many times I've gently reminded my women of this very same thing. Specially after two martinis. After that, I got nothing. Literally.

SouthernProletariat said...

Not buying anything for the rest of 2011?! Suuurreeee....

(And I hope your Mama is feeling better)

Preppy 101 said...

Well . . . Out of this fabulous post, my favorite part is the photo of LFG in her Daddy's Barbour. Frame-worthy beside the one of her in later years when she dons her own Barbour {no, not a boyfriend's who you've had to threaten with that Purdey gun ;-)}. I love BRG sportscars. My brother had an MGB that was BRG. Sure would be fun to have it now. . . :-) Have a great weekend! xoxo

Main Line Sportsman said...

That Purdey tome is straight up Porn for me....

Let The Tide Pull Your Dreams Ashore said...

Your little one is too cute in that Barbour jacket! We have seen tons of Barbour at the fall steeplechase races. Happy weekend! xx

Anonymous said...

It's funny you should mention it, I'm actually in the process of painting our study hunter green.

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

ADG, Wow... candid. A tortoise performance with the staying power of a hare? Yikes. Switch to bourbon.

Anonymous said...

Don't be surprised if some of the ladies are as enthusiastic about hunter green walls as they are about the Three Stooges... Something about having already been done, as you pointed out. But who ever played on a Granny Smith green pool table? Some of your tortoisity might really be burlwoodosity, mightn't it? Or is that burledwalnutosity?

C. Rocque Sitty

T said...

Most of the time I'd have to agree with you on Ferrari's Rosso Corsa, but...

250 GT Lusso in BRG? Che bella. The one that Steve McQueen owned that was painted marrone is a drool-maker as well.

ADG said...

SouthernProleGal...I ain't lying about not buying anything for the rest of 2011. I'm amidst cutting a check for car. Admittedly though, LFG will be in residence one night next week with me in the Waldorf.

Preppy101Gal...I've always felt the same about that picture and your comment has motivated me to order a print of it.

MainLineTonetosser...indeed. I think I told you about the Purdey Managing Director signing a copy of that book to one of my buddies when I was at Purdeys in the early '90's.

TidePullDreamer...thanks...and it doesn't surprise me that Barbours abound at the races.

DavidhunterGreenmon...can't go wrong with drk green., no, no. I'm brilliant with two 'tinis. I don't want to be anything after more than that. It's all me.

C.Roque...Now THAT'S JUST the kind of word play I need in order to blow off the rest of today's workday. Love it man. And no, it wouldn't be's burldaciousness. There's a differnce. I huge differnce. Burldaciousness is so damned much more nuanced. And over here, hits all about nuance. And Cold Duck.

And finally Sir Sitty, by the time the lucky few see my hunter green bedroom walls, day ain't fixilatin' on color.

ADG said...

Oh and Mr. T. ...yep...I can respect some color latitude with these cars.

ilovelimegreen said...

I may have next to no opinions about cars but I do have opinions about green. Here is a good quote for you, ADG: "He had that curious love of green, which in individuals is always the sign of a subtle artistic temperament, and in nations is said to denote a laxity, if not a decadence of morals." Oscar Wilde

And don't forget Johnny Cash's 40 Shades of Green:

lisa golightly said...

You give good tang ! The green, the tortoise, the gentlemen's dressing room and your taste in automobiles !

Main Line Sportsman said...

Yes you did..and I am still jealous!

Mike said...

By far one of your best posts!

Thx for your great work!

Silk Regimental said...

My (home) office is British Racing Green and white - great combo!

Anonymous said...

Your ability to tie such seemingly disparate subjects as your daughter, Barbour jackets, Strom Thurmond, cars, eyeglasses, high-end firearms, dressing rooms, storefronts and Margaret Thatcher's tresses all intertwined by reference to color is more than admirable.

I drive a BRG Landrover, while my wife drives a BRG Mini........and a red MG TF for fun.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Superb scribblings as always, ol' chum.

That's a photograph of a young turtle (Terrapene carolina)--not a tortoise. Huge difference.

Racing and hunting green have been done to death. Real gents' libraries are done in deep red, ruby red, pheasant blood red, and raspberry, I've been told.

ADG said...

Thanks everyone for your ongoing comments. I lost my hard drive today so posts might be sporadic after one that will post shortly.

Young Fogey said...

Tour de force. Force majeure. Perhaps even forced manure.

A lovely read, regardless.

George Washington was fond of green, as evidenced by certain rooms in Mount Vernon, but the shade he favored is lighter than hunter.

Now--where are the consarned fuzzy clothes you always write about?

Mrs. Blandings said...

I just - just - finished painting Mr. B's office Calke Green. It's terrific.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Yup. Perfection attained.

There's a house around here that has the shutters and porch painted a green so dark it looks black. Beautiful. Works with the red brick, too.

Green shutters. Might be as close as I'll ever get to an XL 140 in BRG with a saddle tan interior. Do they make tortoiseshell steering wheels and gear shift knobs?