A proper Spring day, complete with blue skies and sunshine, requires a proper Spring frock.
This 1970s English-made Mackerness cotton maxi dress will be perfect for summer, but for now, a little cardi cover-up is still necessary.
It's an Ebay purchase for 99p; even adding the postage, it still only cost £4. I love the fact that while some items attract ridiculously huge bids, others seem to sneak under the radar, just waiting for me!
1970s cotton maxi dress - Ebay
Mohair tie-front cardigan - flea market
Office black patent leather shoes and bangles - charity shopped
Necklace - gift from my sister
It's fitting that I am wearing a cotton dress today, especially one made in England.
My mum and eldest sister visited yesterday, and we headed into Derbyshire to Cromford Mill, a World Heritage site.
It is the birthplace of the factory system, where Richard Arkwright built the first water-powered cotton spinning mill in 1771. In doing so, he changed cotton manufacture from a cottage industry to a factory-based one, and increased output dramatically to meet the demands of a growing population and export markets.
All that, right on our doorstep, and I had never been before!
The history of the cotton industry is fascinating, involving as it does imperialism, slavery, the Industrial Revolution, and significant changes in politics, manufacturing and fashion.
I love social, cultural and industrial history - can you tell? The kings'n'queens type of history is all well and good, but I find the movements, events and inventions that affected people's everyday lives more interesting.
A canal was built to transport the raw cotton from the Liverpool docks to rural Derbyshire, and take the finished product back again for export to the British colonies.
The kids were imagining how they would feel if they had been mill workers!
Children between the ages of 7 and 15 worked 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week, and had 2 days holiday a year.
Arkwright was considered a reasonably enlightened employer by 18th century standards - he built cottages for the families who worked in his mill, and a Sunday school for the children.
So their one day off a week was spent predominantly in church... Bet they loved that, poor little buggers!
Seldom Seen, contemplating his fate, had he been born 200 years earlier; and Littlest with my mum, who has just celebrated her 89th birthday. Peas in a pod, they are (anyone else thinking Don't Look Now is forgiven, I thought so too!)
And in case you are feeling sorry for the kids, being dragged round sites of significant industrial history and having no fun...
...we had been for a lovely lunch in Matlock first, a stroll by the river, and had a play on the little boating lake!
That's my sister in the black coat and hat with Littlest - I will have to get some better pics of her sometime, we are quite alike.
I want to head back to Matlock for a rummage in the chazzas (there are 5 or 6) and the vintage/antique shops.
But for now, it is perfectly pleasant to potter in the garden with Littlest and the cats, finally enjoying some finer weather.
Hope the sun has been shining where you are!