Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The past week

Me and My Shadow
This past week has involved some decorating of the lounge of Son-who-watches-films and a lot of hunting for Ivy. A new batch of reports came in as to her whereabouts but all we have discovered is that there are an awful lot of cats that look identical to her and that most cats will come when you rattle a tin of treats, including an unusual all-white cat and this beauty who was happy to come and chat to us.

I always did have a soft spot for blue-eyed blondes with long hair...   Meanwhile, the search continues…..

The weather has been mixed. The sort where a trip out in a jacket results in one becoming soaked with perspiration and failure to take a jacket results in getting soaked from a heavy shower… It’s autumn. We have been trying to get the central heating boiler fixed but most boiler repair men are not interested in answering their phones. Business must be good if you can do that!

On E-bay I have bought a load of postcards for my postcrossing at ridiculously cheap prices and we also went to my first ever Postcard Fair in Chester. I concentrated on the boxes with postcards for 10p each and found quite a few that were suitable – including a number of British World Heritage Sites which are always popular.

We called in at Linghams to discover a total refurbishment of the café which has been taken over by a business called Toast (which is in the station at West Kirby). The service was good and we shall probably continue to call in there.  Partner-who-loves-tea liked the changes but I miss the old bookish atmosphere and the lovely staff (whilst acknowledging that the  changes make economic sense). Apologies for the quality of the photos they were taken on the phone.

I called in at Arrowe Park hospital for a routine blood test.  There are some changes going on and building work taking place.  Errr - duh!

More Blogs 
I cannot recall which blogs I have recommended over the years and which I have failed to mention. If I have not pointed you towards ‘Reading and Art’ before I should have done.  Bas, its creator, works at the Bibliotheek Noordwest Veluweb (North-West Veluwe Library) in the Netherlands. The Veluwe is a forest-rich ridge of hills in the province of Gelderland. Bas also has two other blogs which are well worth visting –BasBlog and Leesbeelden (Images of Reading) 

Dance Cards - a short promenade

 French Dance Card - 1840s

The dance card was a tradition in which girls either had pre-assigned dance partners for each dance at the event or allowed men to ask them for a dance at some stage of the evening. The pre-assigned tradition was convenient and inclusive. No wall-flowers were allowed at these events. The other dances where the card was blank allowed the girl to pick and choose from the men who asked her.

The only acceptable excuse in refusing a dance was when a lady had already promised the next set to another, or if she had grown tired and was sitting out the dance. The worst indignity a man could suffer was to be told by a girl ‘I’m sorry my card is full’ when that patently was not the case. On the other hand if no men were seeking to get on a girl’s dance card her chaperone (usually an older or married woman) would make it her job to hunt down men to send to her.

 Some dance cards had hard cases which allowed for more ornamentation and durability for re-use; one featured below has a clock attached.

Many had a pencil attached.  (I wonder if the ladies also carried an eraser??)

Others double as fans which were both a fashion statement and an aid to cooling down and ensuring one didn’t ‘glow’. (Horses sweat, men perspire and women glow – or so my Mum taught me.)

 This one featuring mother of pearl is beautiful.

 Whilst this is basic but serves the same purpose.

My favourite is this French one.

 If you want to read more about dance cards why not visit Maggi Andersen’s blog posting here


  1. A blue-eyed, long-haired beauty indeed!
    Sorry to hear about the disappointing Ivy-sightings.
    The dance cards look beautiful. I wonder whether I am right in assuming that Betsey Dunn, the owner of the next-to-last pictured dance card, wrote remarks about the men she danced with next to their names. One word looks like "pipsqueak".

    1. Yes, and Arnold Whitman was 'missing a tooth'. They could have been ways of remembering who they were!

  2. Oh, that cafe has gone all modern...functional, I am sure but not as beautiful.
    What great photos of the dance cards! I have only read about them in books, never have I seen what they look like.
    Also, you say that your cat Ivy looks like many other black cats. The very first time I saw a photo of her I could not believe how much she looked like our cat Minnie, who is no longer with us. Still hoping you get your good-luck black cat returned to you!

  3. Well, i do hope your cat comes back soon. it's no fun to have a pet missing. Ours always came back, after having escaped by accident and had a fight or two (and i paid the vet bills to prove it).

    Those dance cards are lovely, and you've reminded me of a "Dennis the Menace" comic with your comment. Margaret informs Dennis of what you noted, that horses perspire and women glow. He responds with, "You're glowing like a horse, Margaret!"

  4. I'm sorry Ivy hasn't returned to you yet.

    Thank you for the photos of the dance cards, and the link. Some years back Main Lady and I were in Arlington, Virginia for pleasure. We passed a large ballroom on our way to dinner and resolved to visit on our return. As soon as we walked in, we felt as if we'd gone back in time over 50 years. The floor was quite large and well kept, and the band was at one end on a formal bandstand. The real icing on the cake was that we used dance cards. There was a flip-over style sign next to the band that displayed the number of the set and the dance (waltz, fox trot, etc.) and you'd then find that number on your card. The card itself was filled out in advance during the break.

    Our cards were not nearly as elaborate as the ones you show here, but I've always been glad I had that opportunity to experience the dance card for myself.

    Good job, Scriptor.

    1. Since I can't dance (apart form the Twist) one would have been wasted on me in some ways but it would have been a real 'Wow' to have experienced one.
      (Thanks for the e-mail - it was much appreciated and I will reply some day!!)

  5. gosh, those are elaborate dance cards.

    it's always fun to source new dance cards.

  6. sorry, I meant post cards. I was still caught up in the last thought.

  7. Is the front still a bookshop?

    1. Yes, still the same, Geeb, they've just outsourced the café part..

  8. I had no idea that dance cards were (or could be) so luxurious and elaborately decorated. (I've only read about them in old novels and I think I always just assumed them to be like a folded card, something like the one with a pencil attached) Sorry to hear Ivy is still missing. I do hope she'll just turn up one day, having had enough of adventures.

  9. I love the colors used on the French case, but if I'd lived back then mine would have been the most simple or I'd had none at all, presuming that they had them for barn dances!
    You do choose such interesting "ramblings".
    I hope Ivy turns up soon. The cat pictured might be a Himalayan, having long hair and Siamese markings. so beautiful!

  10. Scriptor, this was fascinating. I love learning about things from the past and your illustrations made it doubly interesting.

  11. Ivy, you naughty girl..come home! I'm sorry she's still not back. I loved the dance cards! I noticed William Wells had his name on there 3 times and nothing written by his name. He must have been a good dancer and had all his teeth!

  12. Thanks for recommending my blogs. Warm greetings and a good weekend

  13. CJ I have no idea where you get the inspiration to write such wonderful and educational posts.
    I too like the others have enjoyed reading about the dance cards. I think mine would have been multi-purposed like the fan one or the clock one, but I loved them all.
    I like the socks on the paws of the cat pictured, but that sure ain't no Ivy.
    You must have been in heaven when you attended the postcard fair, I'm happy for you.
    With winter creeping up, I hope you find the right boiler as a replacement before the cold kicks into gear.


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