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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Fair Isle slipover from Jamison's of Shetland

I must say I've been eye some new Fair Isle knitwear for some time now and have only just recently pulled the trigger, mostly because with so many possible colors and patterns quite frankly I've been unable to come to a decision!  Anyway, one night after browsing the internet, and having a couple of
Laphroaig 10s to bolster my resolve, I ordered this great looking Fair Isle slipover by Jamieson's of Shetland and it's having arrived, I couldn't be happier.

I made my purchase from Dick's Edinburgh, who typically stocks a very fine collection of traditional country clothing and including the aforementioned Jamieson's, I couldn't be happier with their fast and efficient service.  

I chose the color/pattern named 'Fawn' (They also offer this color/pattern in a jumper), which offers really wonderful dark Grays, Natural Browns, Mustard, Green, Blues, Purple and Burgundy color pallet.  Typically, I find myself attracted to the brighter/bolder Fair Isle colors/pattern combinations, but these deeper (almost brooding) colors really spoke to me on that evening (perhaps the smoky whisky's effect) and quite honestly, still speak to me now.  It's got the same depth of color that I love about Harris Tweed.  I have to imagine that it's really got to be a reflection of the depth of beauty of both the Scottish landscape and Scottish character itself.  

 I think it is both bold and subtle with all the colors of fall that I love an will match the bulk of my burgeoning Harris Tweed jacket collection, so there you go.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Firehouse (Wacky) Tacky Mustache Wax - It's the Shit!!

Just a quick post to share with you my experience with my latest mustache wax from Firehouse.  This stuff is excellent and very firm holding.  I found them via a Reddit forum chain while shopping for a wax that would last more than a few hours.  Reading raves about Firehouse brand, I ordered straight away.  Within about a week, I had received my new wacky 'Tacky' mustache wax all the way from Flora, Missippi!  Made in small batches by an actual Fireman, this stuff is hand blended and poured is loving care, by a man clearly determined to keep upper lips tidy worldwide.

John - un-reformed:

Just a little dap will do you as they used to say: 

As the title indicates, this stuff is the 'shit'.  I've tried a couple brands of mustache wax over the past couple of years and that always had to re-apply 2 or 3 times per day and even then by lip weasel refused all taming.  Not with the Firehouse 'Tacky' - just a bit will keep my stache tamed for the day with perhaps a minor re-application after eating, which is expected since I'm heavy with the serviette, for fear of wearing more food in the upper lip that makes it into my mouth and also tend to give a splash with fresh water after meals to keep things fresh.

John fully tamed (upper lips at least):

Yes, in the can this stuff is dark, but it goes no with no discernible color change and has a wonderful smell of beeswax and wood smoke that is just wonderful.  The product is a Landless Gentry recommended product.  If you are looking for a firm holding Mustache wax to tame your fury lip dubby, you won't find better than those from Firehouse. 

Monday, October 15, 2018

Mushroom Hunting in Bavaria

Amelie styles my pocket square - clever girl:

Beginning of our afternoon, it's been cool mornings, and warm afternoons here in Bavaria mostly these past weeks and I'm a bit overdressed.

A couple of weeks ago, my family had a very fun outing hunting wild mushrooms near where we live in Bavaria.  Lead by my Mother-in-law Annemarie, who has been collecting wild mushrooms for many decades, so this is knowledge my wife and I think (being mushroom lovers) is worth learning.  Mushroom hunting (OK, some people say collecting) is a very traditional fall time activity here in Bavaria, typically in late September or early October, the mushrooms are gathered from the mossy floors in local forests.  Many families have favorite spots, which are often closely held secrets, where they find their favorite varieties.  The Bavarian forests (especially on hilltops, which are cooler) are often moist and moss-covered and the perfect environment for wild mushrooms, which grow in nearly infinite varieties.  These run the full spectrum: deliciously edible, bitter but edible, inedible, poisonous and yes, even deadly poisonous, so it pays to go with someone who really knows what to look for AND who you trust with your life. 

Annemarie proved to be a wonderful teacher and very patient rejecting as many of our finds as accepting them:

They grow them big in this forest:

The varieties we were hunting often grow hidden in the moist forest undergrowth

Amelies is very pleased to find this beauty!

One of the ones we were after had a large chustnut brown top and an orange underside:

  Two hours hunting and we've collected quite a few mostly of 3 to 4 varieties:

Some of the little ones are tasty too: 

Most of the ones we collected had a very distinctive honeycomb matrix underside (this variety was also orange on the underside, which is unmistakable) as opposed to gilled or finned undersides which we didn't pick.  I can not stress enough how dangerous an adventure wild mushroom hunting can be.  There are most certainly varieties in our local forest which will kill you and to no have a guide with decades of experience is foolhardy!  For additional information on common mushroom varieties:  https://inhabitat.com/3-edible-mushrooms-that-are-easy-to-find-and-how-to-avoid-the-poisonous-ones/

This one and another species which was bright red also are poison!!  Some species are so dangerous that you wouldn't want to touch them:

These look lovely, but please don't eat:

Three Generations of Zondler ladies:-)

 After our trip, Annamarie showed my wife Andrea how to clean and prepare them.  Cooking them in a simple cream sauce, one doesn't even need meat, the mushrooms are meaty enough.  These guys look grotesque, quite honestly, but will prove to be very yummy:

 Simply cooked in a cream sauce and served over noodles is about perfect.  Annemarie is a classically trained cook, having attended finishing school in France, as was typical of girls of her generation, and which sadly is almost never done these days.  Her skills have proven a delight to three generations of the family.

  The mushrooms varieties  are cooked separately in order to enjoy the subtly different flavors and textures:

 Allas Amelie at 10 years old, has not yet discovered her love of mushrooms (she would rather hunt them than eat them).  No matter - all the more for us!! 

If you love mushroom like I do, good God, what a treat - all the more joy in the knowledge that they had been gathers from our local forests just hours before!

Annemarie has a book for many years, which describes in detail with photos of several hundreds of varieties of wild mushrooms which grow in Germany (this book may even be specific to Bavaria).  The thing that impressed me is how very similar the photos of the various mushrooms can sometimes look between varieties which are edible to the ones which are poisonous.  Annemarie only picks ones that are very, very distinctive looking and NOT the varieties that closely resemble poisonous ones.  I think based upon our one-day outing, I feel pretty confident to pick two or three varieties.  Although, I hope to go again next year in order to solidify my knowledge.

All together this was a very fun family outing, which came to a very tasty conclusion.  I so thank Annemarie for her enthusiasm and for being such a love for sharing her knowledge and cooking skills.  And I'm thankful for my wonderful family for this fun adventure in the Bavarian countryside.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

G.H Bass Penny Loafers in Dark Brown Pull-up Leather - a Preppy/Ivy Classic

I bought these beautiful G.H. Bass & Co. Weejun Penny loafers a couple of years ago and have featured them on my 'Outfit of the Day' Instagram posts several times.  So I'm thinking it's high time for a complete review.  These are the second pair of Weejuns form Bass I have owned recently (the first being a two-tone pair that in their standard high shine leather).  The reason that I prefer this pair is that they are made from thick beautifully finish full grain pull-up leather that has a much more honest natural leather feel that their standard high-shine leather, which while genuine leather has a heavily corrected grain finish that to me feels very plastic like.  These Weejuns, on the other hand, have a soft low-shine finish that is typical of full grain pull-up leather.

The leather soles and heal are beautifully finished as well and I have added rubber sole caps to make them more durable and to provide better wet weather traction performance.  I do this with all my leather sole shoes and find that with the rubber sole caps, the soles virtually never wear out and since I tend to take reasonably good care of my uppers, my shoes will essentially last forever.  These shoes I took with me on several trips on the last couple of years including a week-long trip to New York City in the summer of 2017 (walking many city miles each day) and they performed perfectly and as you can see, the rubber sole caps on none the worst for wear.

I purchased these in UK size 10, which usually works for me, but since these are slip-ons and since a keep them in shoe trees when not in use, these have stretched a bit.  They still work fine especially with thicker socks, but if I were to purchase them again, I would go for a half size smaller.

I really love the hand-stitched upper and large 'Beef-Roll' details and as I've previously mentioned the low shine pull-up leather lends these shoes a nice casual look, which I find perfect with Chinos and Denims and can even be dressed up with some grey flannels and Blue blazer for a full Ivy professorial look:-)

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