29 November 2007

Working Buttonholes

A strategic shot of working buttonholes in action on the cuffs of my bespoke Giliberto suit. In most cases I leave the buttons fastened, but on certain occasions will leave one button undone on each sleeve. This is useful to accommodate a watch or cufflinks, or, if it is cold, a v-neck jumper. Today working buttonholes, or surgeon's cuffs, are more a conversation piece than anything else. I like to think they look good whilst I am holding a glass of Sapphire and tonic.

28 November 2007


Whilst looking through some papers, I found this old photograph of my ancestral home, Montherlant. From birth I occupied several rooms on the top floor. My nanny's quarters were downstairs. I recall playing tennis in the halls and keeping a family of ducks in a spare room. Amongst the fine paintings and threadbare Persian rugs, I enacted elaborate battles using a collection of toy soldiers. Built in 1702, the estate featured a spacious network of gardens and fish ponds, which, for me, were by far the principal attraction of the place. I have fond memories of exploring the stands of oak trees and flower beds with my pet Greek tortoise, Toby. But it was not to last. When I was still quite young, due to a set of adverse circumstances, as I have previously related here, I was sent away from Montherlant to live with my mother's relative. Montherlant, however, continues to play a significant role in my recollections of the past. In my reveries I imagine my toy soldiers are still in formation and Toby is still keeping watch amongst the oaks, awaiting my return.

Bespoke Harris Tweed Boxer Shorts

I recently commissioned, from my tailor, a brace of Harris tweed boxer shorts in a subtle herringbone pattern. I am quite pleased with them so far. Note the 2" cuffs. The highly breathable performance tweed keeps me cool and dry, thanks to its unique moisture-wicking capabilities and fiber structure. The cut is designed to maximize movement and access, whilst minimizing bunching. The seamless front eliminates the risk of torsion. Tweed boxer shorts, I find, are a delightful blend of performance, comfort, and traditional style.

26 November 2007

la vérité

"La vérité est scandaleuse. Mais sans elle, il n'y a rien qui vaille. Une vision honnête et naïve du monde est déjà un chef-d'oeuvre...Car vous approchez la vérité, votre solitude augmentera."

Rester vivant, méthode, Michel Houellebecq

25 November 2007

Cocktails & Guns

"I say," I said, taking another drink of my Glenlivet Single Malt. "She's a beaut!"

"Quite," replied Captain Goode, rather laconically I thought, fingering the trigger mechanism on his Purdey 12 gauge side-by-side shotgun. I knew he held this particular firearm in high esteem. And I was about to find out why.

"If I am not mistaken, Captain, this is the very gun used in the celebrated shooting incident," I said, brushing a speck of cigar ash from the front of my double-breasted, Brooks Brothers smoking jacket.

"That's right," he replied. "She served me well that night." He looked at me, a smile on his face, imploring me, or so I thought, to inquire further. I imagined he wanted to chat about the incident in detail, but probably considered it bad form to discuss it unbidden.

"Do go on, Captain," I said. "What happened?"

Captain Goode took another drink. "Well, old boy, I was frightfully busy," he said with a wink. "I was entertaining a young filly I met at the club. A tall, dark girl with fine features. Long, brown, and lean. Claimed she was Arab or Asian, something or other, can't remember which. But bloody hell, she was a robust one!"

"You old rogue," I laughed.

"She absolutely exhausted me," he continued. "And the cocktails were still working their magic, as you can imagine. So we both fell fast asleep. But I was soon awakened by the oddest sounds coming from the courtyard. It struck me that someone or something was trying to enter the house. I put on my Viyella robe and grabbed the Purdey to investigate. I stepped into the hall and that's when I saw them. Two men, at the other end of the room. Short, swarthy, foreign-looking chaps with beards. One of them was wearing a shirt on which was printed the image of that Cuban, what's his name."

"Che Guevera", I said.

"Yes, that's the one. I remember thinking to myself, only a scoundrel would wear such a thing. Anyway, old boy, they immediately started yelling at me. Of course it was gibberish to me. Though I could make out one word, ouda, which they kept repeating. It was all very odd. It was when they rushed me that I first noticed the weapons. They were armed. So I levelled the Purdey at them and blasted one chap, then the other. Just like shooting pheasants. Of course, at that range, they were both quite dead, as one would expect."

"Crikey, what an ordeal," I said. "But what about the girl?"

"She was hysterical. Understandably so. Crying uncontrollably. When the police arrived, they had to restrain her. It turns out, the men lying on the floor were her father and brother. The subsequent investigation revealed the two chaps had followed us home from the club. And this is the odd part. They were intending not to rob me, as I initially had assumed, but to kill the girl!"

"Whatever for?," I asked.

"For coming home with me," he replied. "They meant to execute an honour killing. Thanks to the Purdey, they were unable to do so."

15 November 2007

Bewhiskered and Betweeded

As you may already have heard, I have now grown a beard. It is a blonde number with hints of red and brown, a tribute in part to my Viking ancestors. I have already received several compliments on it, plus some admiring glances. The blonde whiskers accentuate my blue eyes, or so I have been told. I profess to have an instinctive bias against facial hair, but in truth I have long harboured a secret desire to sport a beard and moustache. In my English dreams, which come to me now in exile on an increasingly frequent basis, I picture myself sporting a thick, hairy tweed jacket, lovat moleskin trousers, tweed cap, and beard, with a pipe and pint of bitter in hand.

Peru By Canoe

A photo from my recent stay in South America. I am the chap in the hat on the right. I am accompanied by Donald, a member of the secretive Mashco-Piro tribe. Here I am pushing hard through a tributary of the Amazon wearing a two-button, single-breasted khaki linen sports jacket from Pakeman Catto & Carter. The jacket features an outside ticket pocket, centre vent, and mother-of-pearl buttons. I am pairing it here with a khaki bush shirt from F.M. Allen, khaki moleskin trousers from Orvis, and ankle boots from the Courteney Boot Company. The sun hat is courtesy of Grass Court. The Amazon expedition, I can report, was a smashing success. We braved heat, humidity, aggressive insects, downpours, piranas, freshwater stingrays, caimans, and floods. The gravest danger we faced, however, was an interruption in the supply of Earl Grey tea.

14 November 2007

Glenurquhart Check Suit

A recent photo of one of my bespoke Giliberto suits in action for the winter season. This is a two-buttoned number in a Glenplaid check pattern with a palette of mahogany, navy, cranberry, and apricot tones on a buff ground. It has side vents and working buttons on the cuffs. The hand-built shoulder pads and hand-laid canvas chestpieces are set with over 1,000 hand stitches; I count 1,098 in mine. The trousers sport reverse pleats and 2" cuffs. I prefer to wear it in the colder months, preferably whilst enjoying a ribeye steak, a bottle of Glenfiddich, and good conversation beside a crackling fire.

01 November 2007

Gone to South America

Gone to South America for ten days. Ostensible reason for the trip is to interview several mining companies for potential investment opportunities. But I will also take a side jaunt in a canoe through the Amazon region. More details to come.