Let’s talk tweed…Keeper’s if you will. And flannel. Why not, it’s only gonna be just shy of a hundred degrees—again—here inside the Beltway today. And what about my extra good buddy T’oad’s request? It seems that Sir T’oad (The apostrophe is a one-off affectation that I throwed on this morning, thinking that I may weave some fictitious French or other Continental lineage into Sir T’oad’s journey to his current position as landed gentry. But then I thought better of it. He is devoid of pigment.) declares it too soon for tweed talk and has requested refrain from such.
And the McThrottle moniker comes from his rightful belief that any blogger who mentions flannel or tweed before the weather gets nippy deserves a flogging. Here’s his exact words from my tumblr… “Mentally, I've promised myself that until the weather cools, I'd throttle the first guy who posts about tweed, flannel, wool, etc. Consider yourself throttled.” Ok den.
And he’s correct. But I had to post the photo above. The lighting sucked but if you’d seen this thing in situ, you’d a take a photo too. The lushness of the navy blue flannel was stunning. Marky Mark Mark Rykken of Paul Stuart Custom made this rig for one of the minions at The Rake. You’ll see it in an upcoming issue.
It is too early to talk tweed but I’m gonna do it. I’m a warm weather guy but if I’ve gotta endure the rawness of winter, I’d like to do so swathed in the topographical and geometric fuzziness of texturated English fabrics. All of the cloths and many of the contrivances over at Bookster remind me of Edwardian English shooting parties and as I type this, the salad days print ads from Polo Ralph harken for me the same recollectionated juju.
For you South Carolinians who read this load, I define the Polo “salad days” somewhere within the range of 1975-1985…with Thousand Island dressing and two two-packs of Melba toast. South Carolina Diner style.
Ok, back to tweeds and such. The impracticalities of those shooting party outfits present a dilemma. Or as someone taking shots at me over at my tumbler said about the intent, utility or relevance of my clothes, declaring them as—and I paraphrase loosely—“outfits for parties and events to which you no longer get invited.” I reckon the reason that stung is because my snide commentator is right. I’m wearing Sponge Bob Square Pants pajama bottoms right now so what event am I currently ready for? People like me get all caught up in the possibilities of such outfits and then find that, and I paraphrase my not so anonymous shot taker again, we don’t get invited to … “butterfly collecting but only when the mosquitoes aren’t so bad” events where the costumery is mandatory.
But I still had to have one. The tweedy Shooting Party esque two-piece contrivances that always look so damned good on people who are doing things where such kit is appropriate have always intrigued me. But not enough to spend the dough necessary to commission one for my damn self. I don’t generally run with the Highland Wingshooting, Stalking, Moors slogging crowd.
That’s where Bookster comes in. I’ve yet to have them make a jacket for me but my fifth pair of Bookster trousers is in the works right now. Hopefully they’ll roll in with enough time left for me to wear them once this season. Linen flat front fish-tails. Oh, and fish-tail split backs are tricky as hell. You better know your size because when you start fiddling with waist alterations, you’re gonna foul the fish. That is, if you can find a tailor willing to take on the task.
I’ve spent tons of dough on custom clothes but I rarely allow the Flusser boys to make odd trousers for me. Hertling and Bookster quality/caliber is just fine for me. Really. So amidst my longing for a Shooting Party-esque suit that I’ll never wear, I wondered if the Bookster Seafield piece goods would remotely match up with my already well-worn and beloved Flusser Seafield poacher pocketed chest pocket flapped jacket that always gets admirable reviews.
I requested a swatch and the match-up is fine. Just fine. But I didn’t get much of a chance to wear this rig last season because, just like my linens that I decided to order at the wrong time, the Bookster trousers rolled in a bit too late in the season. And when you order the proper sized fish tail trousers, this is what they should look like.
And then…and then I began to think about the Vanity Fair shooting prints. Several prints capture the essence of shooting party dress and Lord Savile of RuffordAbbey has probably the best display of shooting kit as any of the Vanity Fair victims. “Spy”…Sir Leslie Ward, had, by the time he drew Savile for Vanity Fair, devolved his caricaturing skills to nothing more than society portraiture. You’ll see the difference in Ward's earlier caricatures. Stay tuned.
Here’s further evidence that Ward’s Vanity Fair contrivance was nothing more than a portrait…certainly not caricature. The Vanity Fair image is almost identical to Savile's photograph. I’ve long since, thank goodness, given up my flirtation with a mustache but Savile’s is one for the record books.
And Rufford Abbey? Similar to many of the estates which thrived when the balance of land ownership and thus every other venue to power was held in the hands of few, Rufford Abbey is no longer. Here's a few more Vanity Fair shooting subjects...
Sir R.W.Payne-Gallwey…Letters to Young Shooters.
R.H.R Rimington Wilson. Listed by The Field as number sixty-nine of the one hundred best shots in English history.
R.H.R Rimington Wilson…Driven Grouse.
The Earl De Grey. Frederick Robinson, 2nd Marquess of Ripon
The Earl De Grey…The Best Game Shot in England. But how difficult is it to be the best game shot in England when you’ve got estate raised birds and beaters driving them to you?
Richard John Lloyd Price of Rhiwias. Author of Practical Pheasant Rearing and Rabbits for Profit—Rabbits for Powder.
As well as Dogs’ Tales
Oh and Dogs Ancient and Modern and Walks in Wales.
Richard John Lloyd Price of Rhiwias…Pointers.
Ok, time for me to bust out of my Sponge Bob Square Pants pajamas and get cracking on the day. Somebody please, invite me to something this coming season where I can wear this rig. I’ll bring my first shotgun with me. It was a .410 Flight King…from K-Mart. Hoyt Purdey sold it to my daddy.
And speaking of shotguns and stuff...This is anything but tweed. It's Weejuns, keg beer and ...
Onward. Throttled. ADG II