Friday, 28 September 2012


“Let’s go for a walk” used to be a dreaded phrase. When I was eleven, and my brother six, we collaborated - spinning outlandish excuses and reasons why staying at home was the better option. It was largely a pretense, or maybe just an inevitable part of the routine – enacted between the making of sandwiches and the pulling on of wellies. Our protests melted away faster than icecream on a warm day once we were outside. We clambered through the next few hours, stick fighting and climbing trees, or chasing each other through fields in the evening light. And yet, the next proposed walk would be met with exactly the same response, and the cycle started again. We had to be tempted out by promises of blackberries or bags of sherbert lemons. We folded arms, deliberately left our anoraks behind and grumbled as we left the house.

The desire to stay inside has been thoroughly broken now. I love a quick pound up the lane before twilight, or an early morning visit to the lakes. What I most like about the countryside is its mix of the solid with the ephemeral. It’s comforting to know that whatever happens, the crops are sown and the hills sit amiably. Trees, fields and flowers are a constant presence. They remain after each generation has bloomed and gone. But nature, like a snake, is always growing and then sloughing off new skins.

Whenever I’m feeling wound up, I head outdoors. I’ll walk down the road, swerve around the edge of my neighbour’s house and along a path with sentinel trees on either side. There are steps hacked into the bank at the end, with a rather ugly silver gate at the top. But the two interlinking fields beyond provide just the right distance for quickly beaten footsteps. From the top I can gaze across the village.  Pheasants screeching further off are rusty saws, and the tang of fox hangs in the grass. Depending on the time of year, the view will be curled with woodsmoke, blurred by mist or bright in summer sun. Recently the scenery has been obscured. With a month’s worth of rain falling in twenty-four hours, leading to floods, cancelled trains and half-submerged cars, never has a decent pair of wellies been more needed.

The wonder of wellies: ideally they shouldn’t be too clean, but crusted with mud and spattered with puddle water. They will have stones stuck in the grooves of their heels. They’ll have been used to wade through streams, slide across fallen trees, and tramp along the edges of fields. Everyone has them, often stacked up - or more likely tossed together in a pile. They have a Russian doll–like sense of scale – going from huge to tiny as they encompass the foot sizes of the family.
For now though, my usual sage green wellies have been cast aside and replaced with this delectable Joules pair shown above. They have been on only one (dry) outing so far and are thus still very shiny and new-looking, but I can’t wait to kick them through leaves. It was hard to say no to an offer of a pair, particularly once the practicality was factored in alongside the style. I can escape cagoules and fleeces, but wellies are just one thing a country girl can’t be without. However, I can happily state that they are usually the only practical part of my outfit. I have clambered over barbed wire fences in long lace skirts, taken three hour hikes in tea dresses and capes, and even took a stroll last Christmas day in a full-length red jumpsuit with white polka dots. 

Big thanks to Joules for the Welland Women's premium lace wellies. It was difficult choosing from the many varieties and colours, but these laced blue beauties were the ones that absolutely jumped out. They arrived in a great floral-print box that I'm already re-using for storage and they even come with an alternative pair of dusky pink laces, which I will be making good use of in the future. Here's to many years of rambling and wandering around. 
You can see all the latest designs here.
Alongside the wellies, I'm wearing a vintage lace and cotton slip from a market stall. The jacket is Karen Millen (bought in a charity shop), the hat is vintage and the little blue bag is second hand. 


Ellie said...

I'm longing to live in the coutryside, where I could walk for an hour without seeing a soul. The jacket and wellies are lovely!

Toshiko Shek said...

These shots are beautiful dear!

Anastasija said...

love the photos! so nice outfit!

OrigamiGirl said...

This is a lot like what my childhood was like -and my life is like when I visit my parents. Mum always pops her head round the door and says "You haven't been for a walk in a few days, shouldn't you go outside and take one?" To me mum, going for a walk is like eating. All part of a healthy life. We used to go on family holidays where we would climb mountains every day. It's an achievement to look back on, but whilst I do love a good walk it is so nice to have my own holidays where we don't do it Every Single Day. :)

I am loving your lace up wellies. They are pretty darn stylish. I have some blue wellies with butterflies all over them. A friend of mine who is German told me once that pretty wellies has to be a British thing cause it is only here she has seen people with ones with roses or stripes etc. on. I like it!

Fashion art and other fancies said...

I so love being out and about in nature. Forgive my being out of touch for such a long time. Back to blogging. Shall send email;-)

Maya Topadze Griggs (Soccer Mom Style) said...

I don't own any rain-boots but if I did it would be Wellies :)


Alex said...

In love with the wellies and your hat!

Closet Fashionista said...

I am so in love with this look, the wellies are awesome!!!
And I've always enjoyed going on walks and hikes but I don't do it nearly as often anymore...too lazy

Vix said...

I've always been a townie but did enjoy my jaunt to the Lake District a couple of weeks ago! Like you I hiked in vintage dresses and fake fur coats, not a hint of Rohan, fleece or North Face here! Those wellies look gorgeous (as indeed do you), I can't see any crass designer logo either so a winner in my book! xxx


this whole post is beautiful! I know where I want to vacation next...

Tara said...

Lovely post, Roz! It really reminds me of the expeditions I would make to the local lake, every other week, with my dad to feed the ducks and swans. If I remember correctly, at first, I wasn't particularly amused with the prospect of trudging alongside the semi-stagnant waters, feeding a bunch of feathery, billed fiends. But, gradually, I came to enjoy the trips - and the sense of tranquillity and calm they induced - and was even able to "befriend" a select few of the nicer, less violent, feathery fiends!
Also: Upon your recommendation, I am currently reading "Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit" and, thus far, it has been a very enjoyable read.

Best Wishes,


Emma said...

Dear Roz!

I just don't know how you do it. Every single post is filled to the brim with beautiful words and the most amazing pictures. Every. single. post. This blog is by far one of my favourites - maybe even my favourite of all my favourites - and I would just like to thank you for being such an inspiration. I'm your age, and I could only dream of being as talented as you are. Never stop writing this blog, never stop writing in general! I look forward to your posts every week and I figured you deserved to know that :)

With love from Denmark.

daisychain said...

I don't even know where to start in describing how much I love this post. You are truly one of the most enchanting people I have ever come across.


Mikazuki said...

Absolutely incredible photos. I had similar experiences in my childhood--I never wanted to play outside until I was forced to, and then I never wanted to come in.

The Foolish Aesthete said...

I completely adore your lace up wellies (and have been eyeing pairs like that for the past year), and the rest of your outfit, which has a certain sweet, Western cowgirl feel pulled up by English elegance.

Your childhood memories remind me of my mother's exclamations on car drives through mountains ("Girls, look at the trees!") and us grumbling sleepily, preferring our dreamworld to hills of pines. Yet now, nature is such a part of my daily life. I run/hike in the mountains nearly every morning (unless it's a ballet day). And just after breakfast today, my husband said he saw a bobcat walk across on our lower deck, deer hunting perhaps?

Enjoy those beautiful rolling hills behind you! -- J xxx

Willow said...

When I was little my mum, sister and I would go for walks behind the fences of the houses where we lived, there was lots of creeks and mounds of dirt (which of course my sister and I would slide down.) We'd have races to a particular Brazilian Cherry tree that we'd encounter during our walks, and not to forget the stick fights! (My sister and I would always have one hand on our hip when we fought after seeing it in a pirate movie.) We'd end up on a path to the beach - and if it was late enough, we'd see fireflies.

Where I live now there a hills, train tracks, farm equipment, cows and horses to encounter, there's also a great need for gumboots/Wellies - and I certainly wouldn't mind trudging up the hills in a pair like yours!
And I agree, the ideal rainboots have an entirely new platform made of caked mud and stones.

Beautiful photos, they really show off your jaw-line and cheekbones - stunning! Where you live is so beautiful.

Oh, and I think you can't beat dressing up in impractical outfits for the countryside.

Sasha said...

That botch is just simply beautiful, as is the dress. I completely agree with what you said about wellies, they need to to have that charm of mud and grit all over. Then you can look like a true adventurer, and run all over the countryside. (Well that my experience with me and living in the middle of no where)



Love your new wellies! Awesome colour. Yes you must go for a good ol splash in them coz they are looking very clean and fresh! haha!. Very impressive you matched your purse. Looking stunning as always and so envious of your surroundings, I really could so with a walk myself! X

Thrifted Shift said...

I adopted a dog and walking daily has changed my life for the better. I'm in better touch with nature, my neighbors, and my body. When I'm really antsy, I go for a run. Physical exertion does wonders for an anxious mind.

Your outfit has inspired me to try to wear my white cotton summer dress once more for fall. The third photo is my favorite. You look beautiful.

Melanie said...

Again your writing...pheasants screeching, tang of fox, the matryoshka of wellies at the door. Your scene is like a film for me as the countryside I grew up in was flat, a patchwork of cash crop farms (too bad that doesn't refer to the growing of cash but corn, soybeans, wheat). Your wonderful wellies make this outfit even more intriguing.

helen at thelovecatsINC said...

lovely photos!

from helen at // @thelovecatsinc

ps. enter my new giveaway to win a dixi arrow bracelet. it's worldwide, too! :)

Anonymous said...

The landscape looks much like Texas!
This is a lovely early fall ensemble. Wellies are apparently essential in the UK. It rarely rains here but I want a pair, nonetheless. :)

Izzy/Bella said...

I would not say no to a pair of those myself! I've got what every girl in NYC has-- a beat-up pair of Hunter boots, would be nice to stand out from the crowd. Here wells are just as much a necessity in the city where you've got to walk miles outdoors whether you like it or not in all kinds of weather. Though last winter it only snowed once in October and was strangely and sadly dry.

Good point here about how walking outdoors is an adult, acquired taste like olives or coffee. I remember my mother having to drag my sister and me hiking and now my favorite thing to do is take walks in the park. You're right: It clears your head like nothing else.

I loved the last photograph. It had the quality of a painting-- pastoral joy :)

Sacramento Amate said...

Everyone of your post is a poem for my eyes, my dear Rosalind.

SabinePsynopsis said...

Beautiful photos and styling... You're the picture of classic and chic healthiness, Roz! I still dread walks, but love being outside in nature... And when someone actually drags me on one I usually enjoy them. xoxo

polka dot said...

Beautiful post, Roz. Beautiful look: it's almost become a modern British classic; boots, pretty white girly dress, bare legs, hat, and no one can wear it as beautifully as you.

I agree re walking, being out in nature.. in fact I'm typing this in haste, because I've MISSED YOU (hi to your mom btw!) and because my husband keeps warning me that we're leaving in under an hour - to go out walking around leafy Kensington&Chelsea.

I love the lace wellies, and Welland has some great choices. I really am craving a pair of shiny black ones, and I like the little cropped short ones, too: almost like clogs.

That lace & cotton slip is vintage: of course. It is so beautiful.

Hope to see you soon - maybe in two weeks, when we're up in Hereford? xox

Fashionistable said...

Now these are just perfect. I didn't realise they were wellies at all. Here's to more glam walks in these beauties. Xxxx

Ramesh said...

I would slide ,nature is such a part of my daily life.

Ireland Casswell-Clarkson said...

Absolutely mesmerizing, photo's, The entire ensemble, vibrantly jumping of the simple yet beautiful landscape. Eye catching photography

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