Thursday 28 April 2022

Life After Life | Trailer - BBC / Series and Book, by Kate Atkinson's 2013 bestseller, reviews.

Life After Life, review: a Groundhog Day period drama that makes you care about its characters


Kate Atkinson's 2013 bestseller has been gorgeously adapted for TV with almost everything intact

4 / 5 stars



Anita Singh,


19 April 2022 • 10:00pm


It’s BBC period drama time. Adopt the brace position. What crimes against historical accuracy are we about to witness? Which 21st-century preoccupations will be shoehorned into the script? Will Olivia Colman be in it?


With great relief, I can tell you that none of the above applies to Life After Life. It is a gorgeously-realised and entirely faithful adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s 2013 bestseller. The fact that it is a modern book, with a female author and protagonist, means that nobody has felt the need to tinker with the story. It has been transferred from page to screen with almost everything intact, including lines from the novel narrated here by Lesley Manville.


Voiceovers can often be an ominous sign in television, signalling a director who lacks confidence in their own power of storytelling. But here it works fine. If you are a fan of the book - and millions are - this drama should be pleasing.


The story is a fantastical one. Ursula Todd is stillborn on February 11, 1910, the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and only a young housemaid by the mother’s bedside. But then we cut to the same scene, and Ursula lives - this time a doctor is present.


A few years later, she drowns while playing at the seaside. Then we spool back, live those few years again, and this time an artist painting seascapes spots the little girl in distress and rescues her from the waves. And so it goes on, with Ursula dying many times but being born again.


Somehow, she begins to intuit that death is around the corner and takes decisions that affect her life chances. “The world was a dangerous place but she was not powerless - quite the opposite,” the narrator informs us, although it does take Ursula several attempts to survive the Spanish ‘flu.


Essentially, this is a literary version of Groundhog Day. It spans two world wars, and will eventually bring Ursula face to face with Hitler in a moment that could change the course of history. There is a danger of the story - structurally, it can never be more than a collection of vignettes - appearing lightweight or gimmicky. But the quality cast prevents this from happening.


In future episodes, Thomasin McKenzie will take over from the child actors Eliza Riley and Isla Johnston as Ursula. In episode one, the most striking role is that of Ursula’s mother, Sylvie, played by Sian Clifford.


So often in period dramas, mothers are gentle figures - Lady Bridgerton in Netflix’s blockbuster series is just the latest example, channelling Little Women’s Marmee. But Clifford brings a welcome spikiness - the producers surely had her performance as Fleabag’s sister in mind when they cast her. Sylvie is short-tempered, undemonstrative, and unable to treat her daughter with uncomplicated affection. “You’re too old for that,” she tells Ursula, when the girl tries to curl up on her lap.


The purest love, in this first episode at least, is between Ursula and her younger brother, Teddy. It’s curious how affecting these scenes can be when you know that any tragedy that befalls them is likely to be erased in the next lifetime.


James McArdle plays Sylvie’s husband, Hugh. His frequent absences are better explained in the book than they are here, and in the course of this first episode we were told precious little about him. Yet when he hugged his children before going off to war, I had a lump in my throat. It is a drama that makes you care about the lives of its characters, however many times you meet them.

Life After Life review – a thoroughly addictive weepathon


This adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s novel about a woman who keeps on dying and being reborn is so full of grief it can feel overwhelming – but the anguish is irresistible

The show’s main priority is apparent from the start: to make you cry … Life After Life.


Rachel Aroesti

Tue 19 Apr 2022 22.00 BST


Ursula Todd can’t stop dying. That’s the premise of this devastating drama, a four-part adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s 2013 novel, which documents its protagonist’s many demises – each as distressing as the last. Born to a wealthy middle-class family in 1910, Ursula dies almost instantly, strangled by her umbilical cord. But, then again, she survives – a fact relayed to us by Lesley Manville’s equanimous narrator. It’s a pattern that repeats throughout Ursula’s many comfortable childhoods: there’s a drowning incident, a fall out of a bedroom window, multiple battles with Spanish flu. And then, suddenly, she is back, being born, and doing it all over again – but this time with self-protective instincts she can’t quite account for. It’s The Butterfly Effect meets Groundhog Day (or rather “Groundhog Life”), only with none of the latter’s droll cosiness.


There’s not a huge amount to laugh about in Life After Life (BBC Two). The show’s main priority is apparent from the start: making people cry. If you like the feeling of being overwhelmed by vicarious trauma and grief then you’re in for a treat. And the anguish is thoroughly addictive. It’s what makes Life After Life incredibly compelling, binge-worthy even, despite being practically plotless from one episode to the next.


The tragedy of Ursula’s life is amorphous and inevitable and not particularly personal; it has no through-line besides the fact that the story is set during a uniquely dangerous time in British history. That’s no accident: it’s what makes her incessant dying entirely plausible. Although the first world war doesn’t directly affect her bucolic childhood, it still kills her (her father volunteers to fight, which then leads to the window fall). The 1918 influenza pandemic is harrowing – unbelievably so, from the Todds’ perspective, especially given the timing. “Hasn’t there been enough suffering?” is the dismissive response of Ursula’s steely, capable mother, unconvinced that there is a threat until it’s far too late.


Yet it’s when the action moves into the second world war that the universe darkens more profoundly. Until this point, Ursula’s lives have got longer and generally better. Now that progress stalls: she cannot avoid news of her beloved little brother Teddy’s death, however many times her life reboots. Her wartime experiences vary wildly – from a glittering civil service career to family life in Germany that descends into hellish starvation – but they are all deeply disturbing, the latter almost nauseatingly so.


In one sense, Life After Life has found a dramatic cheat code. Killing off a protagonist – especially such a sweet, thoughtful, young one – is a shortcut to brutal emotional impact. Surely a drama almost entirely made up of that moment, or the promise of it happening imminently, is an easy way to get viewers on tenterhooks? And yet it soon begins to feel miraculous that we are never inured to the awfulness of Ursula’s deaths. You can’t mourn her when you know you’ll be seeing her in the next scene, and yet you still do.


That’s not so much because of a particular affection for Ursula (Thomasin McKenzie) herself. She’s not a hugely distinctive personality, something necessary to accommodate all the twists her life takes. It’s not even really because of the convincing nature of the show’s world, though it does a brilliant job of making period archetypes – the grumpy servant, imperious mother, gadabout maiden aunt – seem three-dimensional (thanks mainly to the stellar cast: Jessica Hynes, Fleabag’s Sian Clifford and Jessica Brown Findlay, respectively). What makes Life After Life so upsetting is that it feels real in a broader way. Whether these deaths have actually befallen the fictional Ursula is beside the point. Their historical grounding means we know they happened to somebody, somewhere, at some time.


Keep watching Life After Life to make sense of its central mystery – or, indeed, its central protagonist – and you will be disappointed. Ursula never gets close to unravelling a purpose behind her predicament. “I don’t know why we live – all we do is die,” she mourns on a blitz deathbed of rubble and dust towards the end of the series, still completely mystified by the meaning of her multiple lives.


Usually, such drama pulls strings in order to wrap things up with a cheap, life-affirming glow, but Ursula gets only glimmers of comfort from others. Her journalist aunt Izzie – a 1920s Carrie Bradshaw – advocates viewing life as an adventure. Her avuncular psychiatrist quotes Nietzsche on amor fati – embracing your own fate. Her father, meanwhile, offers more banal words about human kindness.


Really, it is less about the content of their advice than the love implicit in it, which is a powerful consolation for death. That love radiates from Ursula after the conversation with her father as she boards the train back to wartime London with a heartbreaking spring in her step, ready to die all over again.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – review


Themes of fate, family life and renewal are brilliantly explored in this story of a life lived in wartime Britain


Alex Clark

Wed 6 Mar 2013 10.54 GMT


Kate Atkinson's new novel is a marvel, a great big confidence trick – but one that invites the reader to take part in the deception. In fact, it is impossible to ignore it. Every time you attempt to lose yourself in the story of Ursula Todd, a child born in affluent and comparatively happy circumstances on 11 February 1910, it simply stops. If this sounds like the quick route to a short book, don't worry: the narrative starts again – and again and again – but each time it takes a different course, its details sometimes radically, sometimes marginally altered, its outcome utterly unpredictable. Atkinson's general rule is that things seem to get better with repetition, but this, her self-undermining novel seems to warn us, is a comfort that is by no means guaranteed, either.


She begins as she means to go on, and at the very beginning. (In fact, even this is not quite true: a brief prologue shows us Ursula in a Munich coffee shop in 1930, assassinating Hitler with her father's old service revolver.) At the start of the novel "proper", Sylvie Todd is giving birth to her third child, her situation given a fairytale atmosphere by the encroaching snow which also, alas, cuts her off from outside help in the form of Dr Fellowes or Mrs Haddock, the midwife. Ursula is stillborn, with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, her life unsaved for want of a pair of surgical scissors. Fortunately, though, she is allowed another go at the business of coming into being; in take two, Dr Fellowes makes it, cuts the cord and proceeds to his reward of a cold collation and some homemade piccalilli (it might be too fanciful to notice that even the piccalilli repeats).


Ursula's childhood is to be punctuated with such near-misses: the treacherous undertow of the Cornish sea, icy tiles during a rooftop escapade, the wildfire spread of Spanish flu. Each disaster is confirmed by variations on the phrase "darkness fell", and each new beginning heralded by the tabula rasa that snow brings. Ursula carries within her a vague, dimly apprehended sense of other, semi-lived lives, inexpressible except as impetuous actions – such as when she pushes a housemaid down the stairs to save her from a more terrible ending. That misdemeanour lands her in the office of a psychiatrist who introduces her, in kindly fashion, to the concept of reincarnation and to the roughly opposing theory of amor fati, particularly as espoused by Nietzsche: the acceptance, or even embrace, of one's fate, and the rejection of the idea that anything could, or should, have unfolded differently.


Amor fati is tough to take, of course, if you are a drowning child, or a battered wife, or a shell-shocked young man, or a terrified mother calling for your baby in the rubble of the blitz, all of whom and more besides make up the lives captured, however fleetingly, in Life After Life. It's equally tough if you are a novelist, and put in the powerful but invidious position of controlling what befalls your characters. Are their futures really written in their past? Can you tell what's going to happen to them simply from the way you started them off? Even sustaining your creative engagement could prove tricky: perhaps that's why one catastrophe is tagged with the exhausted words "Darkness, and so on" and why yet another recitation of Ursula's birth is reduced to a mere five lines.


The reader is similarly implicated in this continual manipulation of narrative tension and the suspension of disbelief. We want a story, but what kind of story do we want: something truthful or something soothing, something that ties up loose ends or something that casts us on to a tide of uncertainty, not only about what might happen, but about what already has? In Atkinson's model, we can have all of the above, but where does that leave us, with multiple tall tales clamouring for our attention?


Sometimes, it appears we are being offered a straight choice between happy and unhappy endings. On the one hand, there is Fox Corner, the Todd family home in what is still, although perhaps not for long, a wonderfully bucolic England. There are gin slings and tennis on the lawn and bees buzzing their "summer afternoon lullaby"; there is the reliable accumulation of children – Ursula is the third of five – and servants that are either touchingly steadfast or humorously difficult; there are beloved family dogs and treasured dolls and troublesome aunts whose bad behaviour can just about be absorbed.


Outside in the lane, however, lurks an evil-minded stranger, his story the more powerful for never being brought into the light; and sometimes intruders arrive under the cloak of friendship. When Ursula is molested, and then raped, by a pal of one of her brothers, her exile from Fox Corner begins; her subsequent pregnancy and illegal abortion give way to a lonely London life, solitary drinking and then, most awfully, to a violent husband who shuts her up in a mean little house in Wealdstone, far from her family.


Ursula's marriage to the vile Derek Oliphant – himself a constructor of false personal history – would never have happened if she had managed to evade her teenage abuser. In the next iteration, she does; and she is liberated once more, to plunge on to lives made perhaps even more divergent by the schism of the second world war. And the reader is perplexed once more: what to make of a character so chameleon-like that we can watch her excavating bomb sites on one page, stranded in a dystopian, war-torn Berlin on another and (in what admittedly requires the biggest leap of faith) being entertained by the Führer at Berchtesgaden on yet another?


This description of Atkinson's looping, metamorphosing narrative inevitably makes it sound tricksy, almost whimsical. Structurally, it is, but its ceaseless renewals are populated with pleasures that extend beyond the what-next variety. She captures well, for example, the traumatic shifts in British society – and does so precisely because she cuts directly from one war to the next, only later going back to fill in, partially, what happened in between. She demonstrates an extraordinary gift for capturing peril: the sections in which influenza tears through Fox Corner are truly menacing, and the descriptions of Ursula's work in a bombed-out London are masterpieces of the macabre ("'Be careful here, Mr Emslie,' she said over her shoulder, 'there's a baby, try to avoid it.'").


The texture of daily life is beautifully conveyed, particularly in its domestic details, which often verge on the queasily visceral. An ineptly poached egg is "a sickly jellyfish deposited on toast to die"; shortly after Sylvie's confinement, Mrs Glover, the crosspatch cook, "took a bowl of kidneys soaking in milk from the pantry and commenced removing the fatty white membrane, like a caul". On another occasion, she thumps slices of veal with a tenderiser, imagining "they're the heads of the Boche". But alongside these minutiae is set the author's fascination with the intricacies of large families, and in particular with sibling relationships.


The so-called family saga is, of course, where Atkinson's career as a novelist began, with the Whitbread-winning Behind the Scenes at the Museum, itself a story that refused to proceed in linear fashion, invoking the spirit of Tristram Shandy in its digressive portrayal of the life of Ruby Lennox. Neither book, of course, can really be contained by such a constricting label, just as Atkinson's four Jackson Brodie novels refuse to fit neatly into the genre marked crime. Behind the Scenes and Life After Life both co-opt the family – its evolution over time, its exponentially multiplying characters and storylines, its silences and gaps in communication – and use it to show how fiction works and what it might mean to us. But what makes Atkinson an exceptional writer – and this is her most ambitious and most gripping work to date – is that she does so with an emotional delicacy and understanding that transcend experiment or playfulness. Life After Life gives us a heroine whose fictional underpinning is permanently exposed, whose artificial status is never in doubt; and yet one who feels painfully, horribly real to us. How do you square that circle? You'd have to ask Kate Atkinson, but I doubt she would give you a straight answer.


Life After Life is a 2013 novel by Kate Atkinson. It is the first of two novels about the Todd family. The second, A God in Ruins, was published in 2015. Life After Life garnered acclaim from critics.


The novel has an unusual structure, repeatedly looping back in time to describe alternative possible lives for its central character, Ursula Todd, who is born on 11 February 1910 to an upper-middle-class family near Chalfont St Peter in Buckinghamshire. In the first version, she is strangled by her umbilical cord and stillborn. In later iterations of her life she dies as a child - drowning in the sea, or when saved from that, by falling to her death from the roof when trying to retrieve a fallen doll. Then there are several sequences when she falls victim to the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 - which repeats itself again and again, though she already has a foreknowledge of it, and only her fourth attempt to avert catching the flu succeeds.


Then there is an unhappy life where she is traumatised by being raped, getting pregnant and undergoing an illegal abortion, and finally becoming trapped in a highly oppressive marriage, and being killed by her abusive husband when trying to escape. In later lives she averts all this by being pre-emptively aggressive to the would-be rapist. In between, she also uses her half-memory of earlier lives to avert the young neighbour Nancy being raped and murdered by a child molester. The saved Nancy would play an important role in Ursula's later life(s), forming a deep love relationship with Ursula's brother Teddy, and would become a main character in the sequel, A God in Ruins.


Still later iterations of Ursula's life take her into World War II, where she works in London for the War Office and repeatedly witnesses the results of the Blitz, including a direct hit on a bomb shelter in Argyll Road in November 1940 - with herself being among the victims in some lives and among the rescuers in others. There is also a life in which she marries a German in 1934, is unable to return to England and experiences the war in Berlin under the allied bombings.


Ursula eventually comes to realise, through a particularly strong sense of deja vu, that she has lived before, and decides to try to prevent the war by killing Adolf Hitler in late 1930. Memory of her earlier lives also provides the means of doing that: the knowledge that by befriending Eva Braun - in 1930 an obscure shop girl in Munich - Ursula would be able to get close to Hitler with a loaded gun in her bag; the inevitable price, however, is to be herself shot dead by Hitler's Nazi followers immediately after killing him.


What is left unclear - since each of the time sequences end with "darkness" and Ursula's death and does not show what followed - is whether in fact all these lives actually occurred in an objective world, or were only subjectively experienced by her. Specifically it is not clear whether or not her killing Hitler in 1930 actually produced an altered timeline where the Nazis did not take power in Germany, or possibly took power under a different leader with a different course of the Second World War. Although in her 1967 incarnation Ursula speculates with her nephew on this "might have been", the book avoids giving a clear answer.


Critical reaction

Alex Clark of The Guardian gave Life After Life a positive review, saying that domestic details of daily life are conveyed beautifully, and that traumatic shifts in British society are also captured well "precisely because she cuts directly from one war to the next, only later going back to fill in, partially, what happened in between." Clark argued that the novel "[co-opts] the family [...] and [uses] it to show how fiction works and what it might mean to us [...] with an emotional delicacy and understanding that transcend experiment or playfulness. Life After Life gives us a heroine whose fictional underpinning is permanently exposed, whose artificial status is never in doubt; and yet one who feels painfully, horribly real to us." The Daily Telegraph's Helen Brown likewise praised it, calling it Atkinson's best book to date.[3] The Independent found the central character to be sympathetic, and argued that the book's central message was that World War II was preventable and should not have been allowed to happen.


Janet Maslin of The New York Times Book Review praised Life After Life as Atkinson's "very best" book and "full of mind games, but they are purposeful rather than emptily playful. [...] this one connects its loose ends with facile but welcome clarity." She described it as having an "engaging cast of characters" and called the depiction of the British experience of World War II "gutsy and deeply disturbing, just as the author intends it to be."[4] Francine Prose of The New York Times wrote that Atkinson "nimbly succeeds in keeping the novel from becoming confusing" and argued that the work "makes the reader acutely conscious of an author’s power: how much the novelist can do."


The Wall Street Journal's Sam Sacks dubbed Life After Life a "formidable bid" for the Man Booker Prize (though the novel was ultimately not longlisted). He said the high-concept premise of "Ursula [contriving] to avoid the accident that previously killed her [...] blends uneasily with what is otherwise a deft and convincing portrayal of an English family's evolution across two world wars [...] all the other characters seem complexly armed with free will." He found the resolution related to the prologue as "rushed and anti-climactic". But Sacks also said that "she [brings] characters to life with enviable ease", referring to the erosion of Sylvie and Hugh's marriage as "poignantly charted". Also, like Maslin, he lauded the novella-length Blitz chapter as "gorgeous and nerve-racking".


In NPR, novelist Meg Wolitzer suggested that the book proves that "a fully-realised world" is more important to the success of a fiction work than the progression of its story, and dubbed it a "major, serious yet playfully experimental novel". She argued that by not choosing one path for Ursula, Atkinson "opened her novel outward, letting it breathe unrestricted".


The Guardian's Sam Jordison expressed mixed feelings. He commended the depiction of Ursula and her family, and Atkinson's "fine storytelling and sharp eye for domestic detail". He argued, "There is real playfulness in these revisited moments and repetition never breeds dullness. Instead, we try to spot the differences and look for refractions of the same scene, considering the permutations of what is said and done. It can provide an enjoyable and interactive experience." He criticised the portions outside Britain, however, and said overall that the book has "an abundance of human warmth, but it just isn't convincing. There is much to enjoy – but not quite enough to admire."


In 2019, Life After Life was ranked by The Guardian as the 20th best book since 2000. It was written that the "dizzying fictional construction is grounded by such emotional intelligence that her heroine’s struggles always feel painfully, joyously real." The novel was 20th in Paste's list of the 40 best novels of the 2010s, with Alexis Gunderson arguing, "No one gets to live as many lives and have as many second chances to get the next step right as protagonist Ursula Todd. But in a decade where the real world swung between wars and elections, there are few more clarifying literary escapes than Life After Life. [...] Atkinson’s sage weaves a heartbreaking, frightening and beautiful journey that’s written with tenacity and grace."


It was listed as one of the decade's top 10 fiction works by Time, where it was billed as "a defining account of wartime London, as Ursula experiences the devastation of the Blitz from various perspectives, highlighting the senselessness of bombing raids. The story of her multiple lives is both moving and lighthearted, filled with comic asides and evocative language about life’s many joys and sorrows." Entertainment Weekly ranked it second, with David Canfield arguing that Life After Life "seamlessly executes an idiosyncratic premise [...] and contains a seemingly endless capacity to surprise", but that it "will stand the test of time for its in-between moments — its portraits of wartime, its glimpses into small domestic worlds, its understanding of one woman’s life as filled with infinite possibilities." The novel was among the honourable mentions on the Literary Hub list of the 20 best novels of the decade.

Wednesday 27 April 2022

Prince Andrew loses freedom of York after councillors’ vote / REMEMBERING VIDEO / 13 Jan 2022: Prince Andrew loses military titles and patronages – BBC News

Prince Andrew loses freedom of York after councillors’ vote


Royal also urged to give up title of Duke of York at meeting following settlement of sexual assault case


Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew was granted the freedom of York in 1987. 

Mark Brown, North of England correspondent

Wed 27 Apr 2022 19.48 BST


Prince Andrew has suffered another indignity after councillors in York unanimously voted to remove his honorary freedom of the city.


An extraordinary meeting of York city council on Wednesday also heard councillors call on Andrew to relinquish his Duke of York title in the wake of his now settled sexual assault civil case.


The freedom of York was granted to Andrew in 1987, essentially a wedding gift after his marriage the previous year to Sarah Ferguson.


At the time there was a huge, joyful civic ceremony, which attracted crowds of more than 200,000 people. Thirty-five years later it has been ignominiously removed after a meeting at York racecourse which lasted barely 25 minutes.


Darryl Smalley, the Liberal Democrat councillor who proposed the motion, said he was pleased to have won the support of councillors from all parties on the council.


“The honorary freedom of York is the highest honour we, as a city, can bestow on those who represent the very best of York,” Smalley said. “The honour is held by many notable and accomplished people who carry it with pride and responsibly.


“Having been stripped of his military roles and royal patronages by the Queen, we believe that it is right to remove all links that Prince Andrew still has with our great city.


“The removal of this honorary title sends the right message that we as a city stand with victims of abuse. The next logical step is now for Prince Andrew to do the right thing and relinquish his Duke of York title. If he fails to do so, the government and Buckingham Palace must step in to remove his title to finally end Prince Andrew’s connection to York.”


Aisling Musson, a Labour councillor, said the council owed it to the people of York, “particularly those who have been affected by sexual violence, abuse or human trafficking. Our first duty is not to our reputation but to their wellbeing and protection.”


Apart from two abstentions from the lord mayor and the lord mayor elect, all councillors at the meeting voted for Andrew to be stripped of the title.


Martin Rowley, a Conservative councillor, called for reassurance that in the future “nobody receives a freedom of the city award as a result of right of birth, or standing in the community”.


Andrew’s freedom of York had been almost forgotten about until a former council official tipped off the Guardian, which prompted York city council staff to search the archives and in turn led to Wednesday’s extraordinary meeting.


In February it was announced that the prince had settled his case with Virginia Giuffre who had claimed she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, a claim the prince has denied.


The out-of-court settlement meant that Andrew made no admission of guilt. International lawyers said that the financial cost to Andrew was likely to be more than $10m (£7m) even before he paid his own legal bill, which is expected to run into millions.


The cost to his reputation has been huge. In February it was announced the Queen was stripping Andrew of his military affiliations and royal patronages. He also can no longer use the HRH royal style in any official capacity.


He remains, however, the Duke of York – much to the chagrin of many in the city. Rachael Maskell, the MP for York Central, has said it was “untenable for the Duke of York to cling on to his title another day longer”. A poll for the city’s newspaper, the Press, showed that 88% of people agreed.


An act of parliament would be needed for Andrew to be stripped of being the Duke of York, a title given to him by his mother in 1986 when he married Ferguson.


Buckingham Palace and a spokesperson for the Duke of York declined to comment.

Tuesday 26 April 2022

REMEMBERING the closure of PJ Haggarts of Aberfeldy / IMAGES of a ( Half) Norfolk and a Hacking jackets, by PJ Haggarts of Aberfeldy.

"Since 1801 PJ Haggarts of Aberfeldy have been weaving some of the finest tweeds in Scotland supplying many Highland estates including the Royal family. We have a classic range of heavy weight keepers tweeds that can be made into some timeless classic country clothing perfect for that day in the field or on the hill. "


Old shop lost in changing times


When the doors shut on P&J Haggarts tweed shop in Aberfeldy last week, Scotland lost a bit of history.

00:00, 21 SEP 2012 UPDATED16:34, 11 NOV 2013


When the doors shut on P&J Haggarts tweed shop in Aberfeldy last week, Scotland lost a bit of history.


The listed building on Dunkeld Street has been an outlet for tweed country clothing since 1882 and according to current Haggart’s owner, Robert Simpson, was one of only three old-fashioned shops of its kind left in Scotland.


The Haggarts family firm started in 1801, founded by James Haggart. It was at first based at the village of Acharn on the south side of LochTay.


James Haggart collected wool from the many farmers around Loch Tay, spinning it into yarn and then weaving it on handlooms into a material which would make warm clothing.


James handed the firm onto his sons Peter and James. Their initials make up the P&J of the name that came to represent rugged clothing for outdoor people.


Peter and James Haggart decided bigger premises were needed and relocated to Keltneyburn. Then in 1882 they set up shop in Aberfeldy in a fine new red sandstone building designed by popular Victorian architect, James MacLaren.


The retailing shop and tailoring business allowed the firm to offer a service that went from purchasing raw wool to the selling of completed tweed suits.


James Dewar Haggart took over and expanded the business far beyond the confines of Aberfeldy. In 1934 he installed power driven machinery in the mill and installed a water turbine to power the machinery and to light the shop.



James Haggart served in both county and town councils and was Provost of Aberfeldy for more than 36 years. He displayed tremendous energy in marketing his goods and was rewarded with Royal patronage, including the Queen Mother.


The shop proudly displayed Royal Warrants dating from 1899 to 1960 on the front of the building. Many estate owners commissioned designs for their own private tweeds, and the firm to this day keeps around 150 individual designs of tweeds used to dress everyone from Russian tycoons to gamekeepers.


Patricia McArthur started work in the shop in 1951. She told The PA: “Back then I was paid19/4, £97p a week.


“There were six tailors sitting at a big table, a cutter, a fitter and many apprentices. My first job was to sew the buttonholes.”


John Simpson came into the firm after James Dewar Haggart died and was followed in 1998 by his son Robert.


“We were doing well with around 50 per cent of orders going to the USA,” said Robert.


“But that vanished with the shock of 9/11.”

CLICK to Enlarge the Images

Monday 25 April 2022




The author of “The Palace Papers” takes us inside the power struggles and scandals of the British Royal Family.


April 25, 2022, 5:00 a.m. ET

Produced by ‘Sway’


Whether it’s the Queen’s platinum jubilee, Meghan and Harry ditching their royal roles or the sexual assault allegations against Prince Andrew, Buckingham Palace has kept the media, and the public, hooked on the goings-on of a thousand-year-old institution. Tina Brown has been covering the royal family since the days of Diana, most recently in her forthcoming book, “The Palace Papers.”


In this conversation, the former Vanity Fair editor talks to Kara Swisher about how Elizabeth has sustained her relevance over her seven decades of rule and what happens to the British monarchy when she dies. They also discuss what’s happening in the nonroyal wing of British leadership — including Boris Johnson’s “Partygate.”

The Palace Papers review – a rollicking ride through recent royal family history


Tina Brown’s sparkling prose and eye for detail enliven an entertaining exposé – with a little help from Prince Andrew and his 50-strong crew of teddy bears


Rachel Cooke

Rachel Cooke


Sun 24 Apr 2022 07.00 BST


What ails the royal family? By Tina Brown’s telling, the answer to this perennial and highly thorny question is: just about everything. Yes, it’s partly a simple matter of context; in the early 21st century, there no longer seems to be much point to the hats and the parades and the tours (Kate and William in the Caribbean? Cringe de la cringe! as Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriend Cressida Bonas would say.) And yes, it’s a suffocating way to live: like being a “battery hen in the Waldorf Astoria”, as Brown puts it, struggling somewhat for the right image.


But the former editor of the New Yorker and Vanity Fair, having applied all of her famous wit and intelligence to the problem, identifies many other maladies, too. Sadism, parsimony, profligacy, infantilism, randiness, ruthlessness, rudeness, coldness, extreme entitlement and, last, but not least, incredible stupidity; alas, among the Windsors, all are present and correct. The family is a walking, talking advert either for – take your pick – intensive group therapy or religious seclusion (after all, wasn’t Prince Philip’s ma a nun or something?). No wonder the Queen Mother’s steward, William Tallon, used to herald dinner at her Scottish retreat, Birkhall, by swinging a censer, as if he was a priest.


I must admit that I did not have high hopes of The Palace Papers, whatever its author has to say in her prologue about the zillions of insiders (OK, 120) she spent two years stalking; the first person she quotes by name is – zzzzz! – Gyles Brandreth, which didn’t seem to me to bode well in terms of hot new info (when isn’t the former Tory MP up for talking about Prince Philip?). But having ploughed through almost 600 pages of “truth and turmoil” – I do these things so you don’t have to – all I can say is that if one must read royal gossip, let it be written by Tina, a woman who, as a former editor of Tatler, not only knows how to write an extended picture caption – “Harry’s hot and heavy glamping retreat!” – but who also remains, in spite of the long years she has lived in Manhattan, crazily attentive to the minute gradations of social class that make this country such a basket case. Was the Queen Mother preposterously posh or seriously suburban? For days now, I haven’t been able to stop thinking of the two cherubim on her four-poster bed at Clarence House, whose little angel outfits – I’m not kidding – were washed and starched by her servants every month.


‘Pretend I’m a rocking horse,’ the young Camilla is said to have urged the sexually ‘diffident’ Charles

The book, which is as fat as Paradise Lost and definitely won’t fit in your Launer handbag, begins with a waspish account of the memorial in 2006 for the Queen’s cousin, the photographer Lord Lichfield, an event at which Brown was happily in attendance (she sat beside the aforementioned Tallon, in whose Kennington flat she would later see “a draping of pearls he said belonged to the Queen Mother” and many other “discarded bibelots… whether bestowed or pilfered was anybody’s guess”). Brown carefully notes the appearance of the royal family on this occasion: the Duchess of Cornwall’s hat made her look like an air steward; a person could, she thought, have rooted “for truffles in the forests of bad teeth”. But naturally she’s delighted by their shabbiness, just as she’s thrilled to hear that, afterwards, Andrew Parker Bowles (“a walking pink gin”) was seen strap-hanging in his morning suit on the tube. Her interest is in dust, not diamonds. She has a taste, you soon gather, for minor characters. The sad, Norma Desmond-ish spaces these types inhabit – Prince Andrew at home with his 50 teddy bears, many of them dressed as sailors; Princess Margaret complaining that she only wants to see pictures of her sister on postage stamps, not “ghastly buildings and birds and things” – are so much fun to describe, after all. Far better than the garden at Highgrove, at any rate.


Thanks to all this, the bits about the Queen and Philip, and Kate and William, are a bit boring. The pace picks up when she’s analysing the Duchess of Sussex, who henceforth will always be known to me as Number Six on the Call Sheet (Brown’s account of Meghan’s acting career – she has watched her Suits audition tapes – is going to be a huge hit with Piers Morgan). As Brown sagely states, calling your agent won’t help in the case of primogeniture. But I think she’s at her absolute best when she’s dealing with the likes of Andrew and Fergie and with Camilla in the days before she finally married Charles. In these chapters, simply everything is either comical or ghastly, or both. In case you were wondering, it’s Andy who’s the sadist. “What are you doing with this fat cow?” he asked an American media executive who’d come to have lunch with his ex-wife at their home, Royal Lodge, in 2015. The Queen’s second son is so stupid and so pompous, he once seriously pitched to the then London mayor, Boris Johnson, the idea of reducing the number of traffic lights in the capital. The deep thinking behind this masterplan was that this would result in fewer red lights. He also thought the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre should be bigger; God alone knows why.


It’s Camilla, though, who really fascinates Brown: her stoicism, her earthiness, the fact that she once French-kissed Charles in front of her husband (this was in 1980, at a polo ball hosted by the heir to a meat fortune Lord Vestey and it went on for hours, apparently). What drew her to Charles, a man whom Brown depicts as a ruthless, spoilt baby – and who would, she can’t resist reminding us, come to be known as Prince Tampacchino in the Italian press? (Work it out.) What kept her at his side for so long? I’d have quit once I’d finished dying of laughter at the revelation that the coronet he wore for his investiture as Prince of Wales was topped with a gold-covered ping pong ball. I suppose it was sex in the beginning – “Pretend I’m a rocking horse,” the young Camilla is said to have urged the sexually “diffident” Charles – and then, later, it was comfort. She subsumed the role played in his life by the Queen Mother, “the buttery scone to his mother’s steamed broccoli”.


Anyway, this bit of the book fairly rips along, the bastard child of Jilly Cooper and Tom Wolfe. Like Queen Mary, who once said to a relative: “We [the royal family] are never tired”, Brown is quite inexhaustible. But as for what all this hard labour has been for, exactly, I don’t know. Hasn’t she anything better to do with her time than to tell us about – no, this is not a euphemism – Andrew’s 6ft-long ironing board? About Charles’s preference for Kleenex Velvet loo roll? Honestly. I’m embarrassed for her. Cringe de la cringe.

Saturday 23 April 2022

Queen enjoys sunshine drive as she marks 96th birthday at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk | ITV News



At the height of the Industrial Revolution, Sir Thomas Mason founded in Lancashire one of the first factories to manufacture cotton shirt fabric. These fabrics were used by London's West End tailors serving the aristocracy and the upper class, before being exported throughout the British Empire and all over the world.




The finest shirting fabrics 1701 carries are Thomas Mason fabrics. Thomas Mason is one of the most well known names when it comes to shirts, but is not necessarily explained as to why it’s great. It almost seems like in fashion you can put someone’s name in front of a product and that gives you rights to mark up 10 times.


But Thomas Mason is a different animal.


First off, Thomas Mason does not make shirts; they make cotton fabric for shirts and have been known since 1780 to produce the highest quality cotton. They are the exclusive shirt supplier to the English royal family and was one of the first cotton mills opened in England.


Today, they are owned by an Italian company called Albini, but the story of Thomas Mason starts in England just before the Industrial Revolution:


In 17th Century England, nearly all garments were made of wool. In the middle of the century, cheap cotton, known as calico, began to be imported into England. At first, it was just a novelty, and nobody paid much attention to calico; the lower classes wore it because it was easily available but the middle & upper classes primarily paid no mind.


Then, the East India Trading Company (EIC), the group responsible for importing the majority of calico, underwent a great marketing effort to increase the demand of cotton. They “donated” 325,000 pounds of calico over the course of about 20 years to select groups in the middle & upper class.


This created a huge shift in the fashion market. The monopoly of the wool market was being threatened and in response, the wool industries then gathered together to lobby the government to outlaw the import of calico from India & Egypt.


In 1700, England passed the version version of the Calico Act; banning the import of dyed cotton fabrics into England. But that didn’t stop anyone; for the next 20 years, English citizens imported raw, un-dyed cotton and then dyed it in England.


Finally in 1720, the “loophole” was closed, and all the use and sale of cotton was outlawed. Meanwhile, the rest of the world continued to buy cotton, making it an ever more popular, and cheaper, choice for making garments that could easily be washed and dyed. English women were ripping down their drapes and making dresses out of them and black markets for cotton opened up in England, relegating cotton to only the dedicated fashionistas and counter-culture types.


But by 1774, England’s textile companies acquiesced to the English market’s demand and lobbied the England to repeal the Calico Act. This flooded England with new and cheap cottons.


Only a couple decades later would Thomas Mason open up, taking advantage of the latest technology: the steam engine.


The Industrial revolution really started at the end of the 18th Century and the textile industry was one of the first industries to see its immediate effects. Two inventors named Matthew Boulton & James Watt created a steam engine, that was instantly embraced by industry, and quickly applied to the textiles.


Previously, fabric mills were powered either by water or by donkey, so when the Boulton & Watt steam engine was invented, it was able to weave cotton ten times faster, which vastly improved production to a point where the mills in England couldn’t obtain raw materials fast enough.


Thomas Mason opened his mill at just the perfect time; the repeal of the Calico Act & the Industrial Revolution provided Mason the ability to obtain new, cheap & durable materials coupled with the technology to produce, relatively, enormous quantities of fabric.


Mason gained notoriety in Britain not only because of his efficient methods, but because of the high-quality of his fabrics. This reputation made Thomas Mason fabrics the supplier for fine shirting fabrics for Britain’s aristocracy and wealthy.


The Thomas Mason company continued to grow throughout the 19th Century and in the beginning of the 20th Century, at Prince Edward’s request, Thomas Mason became the exclusive supplier for Turnbull & Asser, the official shirtmakers for royal family.


In 1992, Thomas Mason was acquired by the Alibini Group, a family owned business with five generations of owners. Albini moved the Thomas Mason operations to Bergamo, Italy, as well as over 700 fabric books that make up the Thomas Mason archives, containing a sample of nearly every shirting fabric Thomas Mason has produced for over 200 years.

Thursday 21 April 2022

The whys & wherefores of foxhunting


Ask Nimrod


    The whys & wherefores of foxhunting:



Masters, officers, and staff endeavor to honor both the traditions of the sport

and the practical considerations that help promote a safe and enjoyable day

in the hunt field. Horse Country is presenting the traditional turnout for both

rider and horse. Each hunt’s traditions may vary from these paragraphs. If

you have a question regarding turnout, etiquette, or other hunt-related

considerations, please do not hesitate to ask one of the masters or the

honorary secretary for a clarification.


A Suitable Hunt Horse: The most important quality in a hunter is safety. The

horse should go quietly in a group, stop without a fight, stand patiently at

checks, wait its turn at jumps, and jump without refusals. The surest way to

avoid a kicking incident is to allow sufficient distance between horses to

assure contact will not be made if a horse kicks out. A horse known to exhibit

kicking behavior should be kept to the rear. Always point your horse’s head

toward hounds, never the rear end.


The horse should arrive at the meet clean, neatly trimmed, and properly tacked up. As cold weather approaches, the horse’s shoes should be either fitted with studs or treated with borium to assure adequate traction on slick surfaces.


Proper Tack: Hunting tack is not fancy. Bridles should be flat without

embellished stitching. A standing martingale and breastplate is appropriate

if needed but neither is required. Running martingales, however, are not proper in the hunt field. The bit should assure sufficient braking power. Some horses stop nicely in a snaffle, even when the hunting action has the adrenalin pumping, but many need something stronger. Relying on the circling technique to stop a horse creates a distraction and, more significantly, poses a danger to others. Only fitted white cloth or natural wool (sheepskin) saddle pads should be used. Square pads or sheets, colors, and decorative elements such as initials are incorrect. The saddle should be brown leather (English style, of course). Synthetic materials or black leather saddles are not suitable. Bits, D’s and hardware should all be nickel or stainless steel.


Proper Turnout: Attire varies according to three main variables—gender, colors, and cub hunting versus formal season. (There are also distinctions between adult members of the field, masters, huntsmen, and juniors but we are only addressing the turnout etiquette for adult field members here.)


cub hunting: During cub hunting season in September and October, there is no distinction in attire between members who have been awarded colors and those who have not (or, for that matter, between the field, masters, and staff). There is also very little difference regarding the attire of gentlemen and lady members.

• Hacking jackets are worn by both ladies and gentlemen, preferably wool tweed or a linen material and in an earth tone color such as shades of brown or green. Subtle plaids, checks, herringbones and houndstooth patterns are correct. Jackets should have three buttons, all of which are kept buttoned during the hunt. The jacket should be tailored specifically for riding with a single vent; a conventional sports coat is not an acceptable substitute. The weight of the jacket cloth depends on one’s locale.

• Shirts and blouses should be a pastel color and muted striping or subtle patterns are allowed. Both men and women may simply wear a dress shirt and tie, either bow tie or long tie. Ladies may wear ratcatcher collars, either plain or with a stock tie. If a stock tie is worn, it should be colored and/or patterned but not a plain white or ecru formal stock. Gentlemen may also choose to wear a hunting shirt and stock tie. The ends of a stock tie should be secured to the shirt with safety pins to hold the tie in place. Gentlemen wear a 3” plain gold colored stock pin, ladies a 2 1/2” gold colored stock pin. Modern dress: In some hunts turtlenecks may be permissible and stock pins with embellishments are seen.

• Breeches may be beige, buff, rust, or canary. White breeches and dark colors, such as forest green or navy blue, are not correct. Modern dress: A darker beige and a khaki colored breech is allowed.

• Brown field boots are the most appropriate footwear for cub hunting, followed by black dress boots (without brown leather or black patent leather tops). Paddock boots with gaiters or any variation thereof are never proper in the hunt field for adult riders during either cub hunting or formal season. Modern dress: Some hunts allow black field boots.

• Regular hunt-style helmets should be worn (more about headgear under Formal Season). Bowlers with hat cords are also acceptable. Modern dress: Approved safety helmets are used.

• Gloves may be shades of light or dark brown, either full leather or with crochet backs. Pigskin, deerskin and leather are used. Modern dress: Black gloves are sometimes seen, but they tend to bleed and may stain the hands.


Formal Season: Once formal season begins, more distinctions apply based on the member’s gender and whether or not he or she has been awarded colors. There are, however, four elements of proper turnout that are universal—headwear, neckwear, gloves, and vests—and we will consider these first.

• Headwear: All members of the field should wear a hunt-style helmet which is defined as a brimmed cap with a black velvet covering. Safety harnesses are recommended and, if the helmet is so equipped, the harness should be kept latched at all times during the hunt. Ribbons at the back of the helmet should point up. (Masters and professional staff signify their positions by turning the ribbons to point down.) Top hats and bowlers are proper under certain conditions as will be noted below. Modern dress: Approved safety helmets are allowed.

• Neckwear: The only appropriate neckwear during formal season is a white or cream stock tie, properly tied and secured with a plain (i.e., no emblems, ornaments, initials, etc.) gold pin. The pin should be placed horizontally; only professional staff may place the pin vertically. Although faux stock ties are permissible, a full length, four fold stock is preferable both for the sake of appearance and, more significantly, in the event it is needed as a bandage or sling. It is also recommended that the ends of the stock tie be secured to the shirt or blouse with safety pins to assure the ends of the tie do not work out from beneath the coat and flap loosely in the wind. Again, men wear a 3” stock pin, ladies a 2 1/2” stock pin in gold. Modern dress: Embellished stock pins are sometimes seen.

• Gloves: Gloves worn during formal season may be brown, either dark or lighter shades such as tan or buff, full leather. White or buff string gloves or chamois gloves are suitable for rainy conditions. Modern dress: Black gloves are sometimes seen, but they tend to bleed and may stain the hands.

• Vests: Appropriate vests are canary or tattersal (in various color combinations). A vest made from material matching the hunt’s official color is also acceptable in that hunt field only. Canary is the most formal color.


Other elements of formal turnout vary according to gender and whether or not the member has been awarded his or her colors. These distinctions run as follows:


Gentleman Member Without Colors

Coat: Plain black, oxford, or dark navy hunting jacket with a single vent or frock coat, with plain black buttons.

Breeches: Beige or buff with black jacket, white with frock coat.

Boots: Plain (i.e., without brown leather tops) black dress boots with garters. Laced field boots are not proper. Modern dress: Rubber boots are sometimes seen, particularly under inclement weather conditions, provided they adequately replicate the appearance of conventional hunt-style boots. Garters are optional.


Gentleman Member With Colors

Coat: Black, oxford or dark navy hunting jacket or frock coat with black buttons displaying the hunt’s emblem. A gentleman with his colors is entitled (although not required) to wear a scarlet coat with the hunt’s color on the collar and with gold buttons embossed with the hunt’s emblem. A gentlemen member of the field should wear a single vented jacket with three buttons. Masters signify their position by wearing four buttons and a huntsman, or a master who also hunts hounds, wears five buttons. (To get very technical, a field member’s coat should feature rounded skirts while masters and huntsmen wear coats with squared skirts. This arcane practice is rarely observed today. However, when selecting a new scarlet coat, if there is a choice between rounded or squared skirts, choose rounded.) Scarlet is appropriate for special days such as Opening Meet, Blessing of the Hounds, and New Years Day. It is also proper to wear scarlet for a joint meet where one’s hunt is the host hunt. However, scarlet should not be worn to a joint meet where you are the guest of another hunt unless the host hunt has extended the invitation for guests to wear their colors.

Breeches: Beige or buff is proper with a regular hunting jacket. White should be worn with scarlet or a black frock coat.

Boots: Black dress boots with brown leather tops are correct with both black and scarlet coats. Plain black dress boots are also acceptable with black jackets but not with scarlet or frock coats. Black garters are worn when wearing a black jacket. White garters are worn when wearing white breeches. Laced field boots are not correct. Modern dress: Rubber boots, as described above, are acceptable on inclement days.

Headwear: A standard hunt-style helmet (as described above) is proper with any attire. However, a top hat may be worn with a scarlet coat or black frock coat, especially on formal days such as Opening Meet and Blessing of the Hounds. A bowler is also correct with a regular black hunting coat. A black hat cord is worn with a black jacket when wearing a bowler or top hat and a red hat cord is used when a top hat is worn with a scarlet coat.


Lady Member Without Colors

Coat: Plain black, oxford, or dark navy blue jacket with plain black buttons. A lady without her colors may also wear a black shadbelly (with plain black buttons). Modern dress: Ladies may wear a frock coat.

Breeches: Beige, buff, or canary.

Boots: Plain black dress boots (i.e, without black patent leather tops). Laced field boots are not correct. Rubber boots, as described above, may be worn.

Headwear: Standard hunt-style helmet. A bowler may also be worn with a regular hunting coat. A top hat is correct with a shadbelly.


Lady Member With Colors

Coat: Black, oxford, or dark navy blue jacket or frock coat with black buttons imprinted with the hunt’s emblem in white and with the hunt’s color on the collar. A black, oxford, or dark navy blue shadbelly may also be worn, with the hunt’s color on the collar and black buttons with the hunt’s emblem, and is particularly suitable for formal days such as Opening Meet and Blessing of the Hounds. (A lady only wears scarlet if she is a master or huntsman, both of which are gender-neutral titles.)

Breeches: Beige, buff, or canary.

Boots: Black dress boots with black patent leather tops and black patent garters. Laced field boots are not correct. Modern dress: Ladies with their colors may wear plain black dress boots. Rubber boots, as described above, may also be worn.

Headwear: Standard hunt-style helmet. A bowler with a hat cord may also be worn with a regular hunting coat. A top hat with a hat cord is correct with a shadbelly. Modern dress: An approved safety helmet may be worn.


Miscellany: Here are a few other general considerations regarding proper turnout and etiquette.

• Ladies’ Hair: Long or short hair should be restrained within a hairnet (preferably matched to hair color). If a lady’s hair is long enough to be braided and can then be tucked down into the back of her coat, this is also acceptable. However, long hair hanging out loosely from beneath the helmet, braids, pigtails, or ponytails are not proper. Hair clips and ribbons are also not appropriate but, then, there should be no hair showing to which such embellishments could be attached. Some masters require gentlemen with hair below the collar to wear a hair net.

• Ladies’ Jewelry: Only a minimal amount of jewelry, if any, should be worn in the hunt field and what is worn should be plain. Dangling earrings or loose bracelets that could catch on tree branches or other objects should not be worn.

• Perfume/Cologne: Fragrances, particularly heavy applications thereof, should not be used on a hunting day. This applies to both ladies and gentlemen.

• Sunglasses: Modern dress: There is no hard and fast rule regarding sunglasses but the more ardent proponents of proper turnout argue against their use as it is felt they detract from the classic hunter look.

• Flasks: Ladies may carry a pocket flask in a coat pocket or in a leather sandwich case secured to the D-rings along the back right side of the saddle. Gentlemen may carry either a pocket flask or a bayonet-style flask in a holster case affixed to the front of the saddle. Gentlemen may carry a sandwich box affixed to the back right side of the saddle. Modern dress: Sandwich cases may hold medicine for bee stings and a cell phone for emergencies.

• Rain Gear: Although the hunt is likely to be cancelled if heavy rain is falling, there are occasional days when the sport goes forth even if some precipitation is coming down. On such days, the masters may choose to allow hunting coats to be replaced by rain jackets. If so, the jacket should be a rubber lined MacIntosh with leg straps, a Barbour, or similar style, preferably in a tan, green or brown color, and should not have loose pieces that flap in the wind. All other elements of attire remain the same as on any other hunting day.

• Braiding Manes: It is correct to braid manes for formal days such as Opening Meet and Blessing of the Hounds. It is also proper, although not required, to braid for joint meets. If a horse’s mane is braided, it should be done neatly. An unbraided mane that is nicely trimmed is preferable to a poorly done braiding job.

• Juniors: A junior is defined as anyone under the age of 16. Juniors wear tweed jackets, paddock boots, and jodhpurs during both cub hunting and formal season. For those aged 16 and above, the adult rules of proper turnout apply.

• Upon Arrival: It is proper to greet the masters before the start of the hunt and to announce your presence to the field secretary. If you have brought a guest, the secretary must be informed, the guest introduced, and the cap paid.

• Order In The Field: The generally observed custom is that members with their colors (or buttons) are entitled to ride in front of the field behind the master. This may be referred to as the right of colors or a privilege awarded to those members who have not only been consistent and knowledgeable foxhunters but who have worked diligently in the interest of the hunt for some time (see Awarding of Colors). This is not to say that a hunting member who has not yet been awarded colors cannot ride in the front with those who have but suggests that in the case of a chase the regular hunting member should give way to a member wearing colors. However, if the member with colors does not keep up with the pack during a chase, then the regular member has the right to pass in an open field and move to the front behind the master provided he or she does not interfere with or impede the member with colors or, for that matter, any other rider. Courtesy and safety to all other riders should be foremost in our thinking.

• Refusals: If a horse refuses a jump, the rider should move to the back of the line before making another attempt.

• Chatting: Given the social nature of this sport, there is always a temptation to engage in conversation, a practice referred to as “coffeehousing.” It should, however, be avoided at most times. The correct prosecution of a hunt depends on good communication between hounds, huntsman, and field master. Chatting among the field can distract the huntsman and masters, thus detracting from the integrity of the sport. This does not mean absolute silence must be observed at all times but attention should be paid to the focus of the day’s activity—i.e., hound work—and socializing should be kept to a minimum. Attempts to engage the field master in conversation, particularly when he or she is trying to monitor hound work, should be especially avoided.

• Withdrawing Early: Ideally, everyone should come out with the intention of remaining for the duration of the hunt, no matter how long the day lasts. However, situations do arise—lost shoe, lame horse, rider injury, illness, etc.—that necessitates heading back in while the hunt is still in progress. When such a situation occurs, word should be passed to the master or field secretary so that he or she is aware of the departure. The withdrawing member should also ask the master or secretary for directions back to the meet, even if he or she knows the territory, to avoid interfering with the work of hounds. Where possible, the return route should use hard-surfaced roads.

• Arriving On Time: The hunt waits for no one. Hounds move off at the appointed time and hunting begins immediately. Certainly, the unforeseen impediment befalls us all eventually but every effort should be made to arrive at the meet with sufficient time to be mounted and ready to move off with the field. Not only is it simply rude to arrive late when everyone else has made the effort to be there on time, but riding through the hunting territory to catch up with the field can cause problems for the hunt. The line of scent may be crossed, hounds may be distracted, and a collision could occur if the field is riding hard in one direction and suddenly comes upon a tardy member riding the other way. If something has occurred to cause sufficient delay, if may simply be best to forego the day’s sport rather than risk ruining it for others. Repeated tardiness simply shows a lack of consideration for the hunt as a whole and will not be tolerated. If you do arrive late and the hunt has begun, do not ride into the country to find the field. Wait at the meet and, if the hunt comes back that way, you may join in. Alternatively, if hard-surfaced roads are available, ride forth but stay to the roads until you have located the field and then approach with caution. Once you have joined up with the field, the first obligation is to apologize to the master for your tardiness.

• Excusing A Member From The Field: It should be noted that the masters and honorary secretary are empowered to excuse riders from the field if a sufficiently egregious transgression has been committed. Riding with the hunt is a privilege, not a right. Although rarely exercised, the authority does rest with masters and field secretary to send a rider home if he or she deems such action is necessary. A faithful observance of proper etiquette is the surest way to avoid such an unpleasant occurrence.


Does it is really matter what we wear when riding to hounds? Absolutely! For one, it is only through the graciousness of the landowners over whose property we ride that we are able to engage in this sport. A properly turned-out field honors the landowners, shows them we take our sport seriously, and displays the appropriate spirit of tradition as they watch us ride by. (And don’t forget to wave or tip your hat and greet the land owner in an appropriately cordial manner.)


In a more subtle sense, it is an appreciation for that tradition that has led most of us to take up this sport. The preservation of the centuries-old foxhunting spirit depends, more than anything else, on the continued observance of the rules of etiquette that distinguish this activity from simply riding casually around through the countryside.


Besides the landowners, we also depend on masters and huntsman for the enjoyment derived from a long season of hunting. The leaders of the hunt work hard to provide members the opportunities to follow hounds and nothing cheers the heart of a huntsman or master more than to gaze upon a well turned-out field of riders who conduct themselves properly. This demonstrates the members’ recognition of their efforts on behalf of the field, especially the huntsman who devotes long, hard days of work to give members a few hours of sport.


The Awarding of Colors

The requirements for awarding colors vary from one hunt to another, particularly regarding the minimum length of time before a member is eligible for consideration. However, the following policy statement, borrowed from a representative Virginia hunt, is fairly typical of what is expected:


The award of colors is made by the masters at their sole discretion to hunting members who have made an ongoing significant contribution to the continuation of the hunt’s tradition of sportsmanship.


Those considered are typically members who have hunted regularly at least three years and hunted primarily with the jumping field; who have been exemplary, well turned-out and on a groomed horse; who have participated in and contributed to the success of the hunt’s activities; and who are a credit to the hunt’s reputation.