No, I am not angry at all - and it seems such a sad state of affairs when seeing red is being angry, when to me red is the colour of warmth and happiness. Red is one of my favourite colours for all sorts of reasons: it is so bright and cheery - and who could fail to smile at the thought of red polka dots or red gingham?
The different colours of red have such evocative names as well: vermilion, crimson, scarlet, carmine (OK, I know that involves cruelty to insects, but I don't buy coloured food or unethical cosmetics, so I am just enjoying carmine metaphorically). Flame red and auburn - and someone called Scarlett O'Hara just has to be exciting to read about.
Red is the colour of roses, and poppies, and glowing coal fires; of cherries, and strawberries, and apples; it is the colour of Christmas and rosettes saying 'First Prize'. I have never won a first prize rosette, but I had my thesis bound in scarlet leather: I am debating whether to make it a red gingham slipcover. And in my teens I just adored the Scarlet Pimpernel, although I fear if I revisited Sir Percy Blakeney I might find him disappointing, so I keep him as a figure of my dreams.
So perhaps I am a bit of a scarlet woman, but not metaphorically, of course, surrounded as I am by children, dogs and mud, all of which limit all sorts of possibilities. And why should I array myself in purple and scarlet when I have the most adorable Head Chef held captive in my ivory tower?
No, on the sartorial front, teal blue wellingtons seems to be the way to go at the moment, rather than a Venetian red toque, which surely says something very significant. Something to do with ducks, perhaps?
And it seems quite sad that women of questionable morals are painted scarlet - perhaps if they were crimson roses with a touch of pale blue, then the Cath Kidston effect would wrap their unsettling behaviour in a granny blanket of comforting morality. In her novel Ruth, Elizabeth Gaskell tried to paint her fallen woman of a heroine white not scarlet: Ruth even wears modest and snowy attire during her brief week of sin, which she then rips up and stitches into baby clothes for her illegitimate child. But in spite of leading a saintly life of selflessness and becoming quite the angel, all the whiteness in the world cannot atone for her scarlet behaviour, and she must eventually pay for her sins (I won't spoil a good book for you, by telling you any more about what happens).
And the scheming Mademoiselle Reuter in Charlotte Bronte's The Professor is a woman quite vermilion: she nets a green silk purse as she sits in a purple merino gown with a garnet on her finger and tosses her curls, the colours seem livid in their vividness, and she a siren singing an ensnaring song. Heroines such as the eponymous Jane Eyre, or Dorothea Brooke in Middlemarch are distinguished by the plainness of their dress: not crimson silk for them but serious colours like grey or black, nun-like habits not beribboned gowns. How sad for me, and for them.
So, such does my mind run along lines of scarlet and rose, you can imagine my joy when the postman (he has a red van, I am sure that is deeply relevant) delivered my Lululiz Rainbow Swap parcel from Bekimarie. I, unsurprisingly, had chosen red, and Beki sent me such a box of delights that I spent the rest of the day in crimson dreams.
Beki, appropriately enough, wrapped all my goodies in purple tissue: in times past, imperial purple was more red than we would imagine, as the dye was produced from Tyrian molluscs, giving the Tyrian purple or red dye produced more of a crimson colour. And in the middle ages the word purple was used to describe varying shades of red. I think really bright purple was not possible until the invention of aniline dyes in the nineteenth century.
You can see from the pictures what a wonderful collection of redness I received from Beki: tea towels, a beautiful Greengate tin, a polka dot make up bag, red earrings, a lovely little poppy to stitch, a red gingham raggy heart to hang up in my kitchen, a red tin heart just right to hang on the Christmas tree, or festive twig, more like, and ribbons galore to play with.
Alice at The Sight of Morning has been writing about her Obsessive Bench Disorder: I think I have Compulsive Haberdashery Obsession, and am drawn to buttons and bows in a strange and subconscious way. Much as Dorothea was one of my early heroines, the allure of Rosamund's rustling silks and ribbons still entices me, and as a child I yearned for ringlets and plaits with bows.
And not only did Beki send a parcel of rubescent joy for me, she also sent a little one for Princess Bunchy, too. The Princess favours blue, and Beki sent one of her lovely bookmarks, available to you, too, via Beki's blogshop.
She also sent some chocolates, all wrapped in blue and white foil, but, alas, they are no more: the little Princess gobbled them up in indecent haste before I could allocate them more abstemiously amongst the pockets of the advent calendar (which I have just completed, just in the nick of time). And the lovely, fluffy blue socks with little polar bears on the sides have been worn non-stop, in bed and out, since the parcel was opened, and are now evidence of the grubby state of my floors. So I couldn't possibly photograph them, but had to consign them to the wash. I promise you they are very cosy, and just the thing to make a princess squeal with joy.
So thank you, Beki, so much for your generosity and inspiration in giving me my fix of rosiness: I am now going away to play with my ribbons.