Saturday, March 12, 2016

Among The Boarder's Photos ...

It is hard to believe it was over ten years ago we trooped off with Dame M to the National Trust's historic Como House to see an exhibition featuring some of her work. It was a bleak and miserable rainy day.  I posted about it at the time. 

I doubt any of you were reading my blog back then. Between her part of her flat on the ground floor and The Boarder's rooms, were two rooms full of machines. Dame M was a specialist Cornely embroiderer and I just checked and the machines sell for about about US$2000 in the the US.

The Boarder took the machines and much of Dame M's heavy antique furniture. Although his flat after Dame M's death was a large two storey place, there were only goat tracks to move around, so I was told. He did not like people to visit his place.

Here are a couple of photos of Dame M and a clipping from The Sun, 1981. Dame M died at 82 in 2008. I guess the two photos would be from the mid 80s to the mid 90s. Although The Boarder did her hair in her last couple of years, earlier it was attended to by Lillian Frank.


When Dame M is quoted as working until she drops to produce pieces, what she probably meant was until she was too tipsy.


I recently said to our dyke friend, I did not realise Dame M has such a large set of bazookies. She agreed that they were and said Dame M always wore a girdle. Dame M was smart, confident, self sufficient, friendly, caring, interested and very social. She did not suffer fools at all and was the first to spot the shirker on our restaurant bill and at one time in about 2002, she banned straight men from entering her home after a couple of rough and patronising experiences. I have a nice photo of her and her husband. She was never beholden to him, although he was quite a successful business man and she inherited his income, but not his capital. In a way this is my contribution to this week's International Women's Day. Dame M may not be the person whose lifestyle a young woman should emulate, but she is a good example of an independent and successful woman.

I am getting too wordy and spoiling the post, but I had forgotten until reading my Dame M blog link today, that she left her husband in their holiday house at Newhaven on Phillip Island and started to walk the two hour car drive back to Melbourne, saying she would never return to Wits End. She didn't return and her husband sold the house, but a friend did pick her up along the walk home.


20 comments:

  1. What an interesting lady. I'm sure she would have had many interesting tales to tell. Good choice for Women's Day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marie, she was a terrific raconteur. Sadly with The Boarder now dead, we will never know any more of her.

      Delete
  2. Of course her hair was done by Lillian Frank in Toorak, every single Friday I would imagine. That is what elegant women did from 1960 on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hels, yes, I expect that was the case. LF's salon in Grange Road seems to have gone now. She and Richard live in a highrise just down the road from us, well did a few years ago.

      Delete
  3. SUCH a stylish woman. Not for her an existence, but a LIFE with all the fun and all the pain.
    I do love the snippets you have given us about her. She sounds amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC, she did have a very full life and as you say, of fun and pain. But she was very resilient as well.

      Delete
  4. I have to echo EC on this one!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Quite a nice dress in that last photo, but i don't like the black satin(?) with the extra wide collar in the first photo. I've never liked that style.
    she led a very interesting life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River, I expect both were made at home, either by her or The Boarder. Her life really was extraordinary.

      Delete
  6. Sounds like she was some woman,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane, I only saw her angry once with a misbehaving guest. Look out.

      Delete
  7. Never heard of this lady. Sounds an interesting one thought - have heard of Lillian.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes Margaret, Lillian is quite famous.

      Delete
  8. Dame M was a handsome woman Andrew, I like the independent streak in her and she certainly did have more than adequate bazookas !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, she was very independent and refused medical treatment until the last day before she died. It was hard for us, but she knew treatment was futile.

      Delete
  9. I'd never heard of her but she sounds like a fascinating woman.
    Have a great weekend, Andrew.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She was indeed, Sandra.

      Delete
  10. She defintely was a lady

    ReplyDelete