Sunday, 13 November 2011

High Society

Lady Tallulah Lock-Likely was jolted out of sleep by a screeching. She opened one hung-over eye to see a fast retreating smudge of brown feathers. A pheasant. How disgusting. This was why she hated the countryside – it was full of nasty, smelly, noisy things. They were only of use when they were being shot at.
She wiped her face with gloved hands. Her upper arms were covered in stippled marks, as though she were the product of an overenthusiastic sculptor. As she stood up, she heard a clink and grimaced. Two champagne bottles and an empty glass were lolling on the grass. That explained a lot.
Tallulah had loved the champagne the previous evening; bottles of bubbly served up underneath neo-classical statues tastefully arranged around a cavernous ballroom. High heels had staggered across the polished floor all night. Everyone who was anyone had been at the gathering: the Smethwycke-Smith-Smiths, the Chatterquales; even the Curlicue-Fripperies had made a cursory appearance.
And her: the Rt Hon Lady Tallulah Lock-Likely the 2nd, in a pink satin dress. Mind you, after her arrival, memory was little more than a fogged camera lens.
There was dancing, laughing and enough air kissing to power a hot air balloon. Then there were some very reckless decisions. Hers was thinking it was perfectly normal to commandeer a horse at 3am in the morning. The members of the party had spilled out into the garden, confetti-bright in their gowns. Tallulah was the first to spot the grey shape in an adjoining field. All it took was a dare, and a call of “chicken!” for her to take her skirts in her hands and vault straight onto the startled beast.

She had been riding since she was old enough to sit upright – as a girl she had not only asked her daddy for a pony, but also a customised saddle and reins, a large paddock, stables, a horse-hand, riding gear from Saville Row and an engraved hoof pick.
However, Tallulah wasn’t so used to holding onto a rapidly galloping horse with one hand, and clutching Bollinger and Moet in the other, while also pondering whether the hills actually did have eyes. The shrill call of voices behind her was soon hushed by the trees she sped through. On and on, until - with a sudden, dull thunk - a low branch swept her sideways. She was lying on her back, listening to the soft thud of hooves growing faint.
For the next few hours she had wandered, finally arriving at the edge of a forest, with unfamiliar valleys rippling dimly under the moonlight. What a squalid place. She hummed to herself.
“What to do darling, what to do?”
Tallulah did what any respectable member of the aristocracy would do – she slept on it.

The honking alarm clock chimed with the rising sun. All around her the birds were doing that awful singing business. Couldn’t they learn something a little more melodic? Mozart, say? Tallulah couldn’t make any decisions on an empty stomach, so she raised the champagne bottle to her lipstick smeared mouth.

Feeling better, she tried a tentative call.
“Hello there, umm, locals? Does anyone know the way to Stipplehuff Hall? No?”
A sheep bleated. Right. Time to put great-grandaddy’s safari skills to use. She was sure there must be a path somewhere, or a sign. She plucked up her fur coat and strode in what she assumed was the right direction.
She hadn’t remembered a stream. Or a clearing. No matter. Her blue blood was used to chilly conditions, and her feet were repulsively muddy. A quick splash would rejuvenate her. She felt like Captain Scott in a dress – going boldly where no lady had gone before. That was what he had done, wasn’t it?

Odd feelings pursued her through the trees. It seemed such a long time since Tallulah had left Chelsea. She wasn’t up to the tweed-jacket-and-dog-breeding-and-weekends-in-the-country lifestyle. Too much bother, too little noise. And yet, and yet... How long had it been since she had paddled in wild water?
There were sunglasses in her pocket - she slipped them on and scrambled up a hillock.

The chilled air was more bracing than any spa plunge pool. No houses. Well, unless one counted the tiny little hovels in the distance that appeared to be – eurgh - bungalows. Her eyes widened at the sight of a grumbling tractor and a hairy looking man in overalls heading in her direction. She doubted she would understand a word he might utter. The only sensible option was to flee back among the trees.

Ragged breaths matched the ripped hem of her dress. The sun hid behind bruised clouds. Tallulah wasn’t sure why, but she had the strangest urge to start spinning: to let the bottles roll away and the feathers in her hair take flight. She tried swishing the dress.
She felt as though she were back at the party – but instead of a muscled arm clad in a dinner jacket twirling her in pirouettes, it was the breeze that gave her a helping hand.  Her sunglasses were whipped away as she shrieked in delight. It all felt so, well, dramatic. Nothing this exhilarating had ever happened before. She could have been in Wuthering Heights; a lovelorn Cathy staggering through the lesser known West Midlands. She was almost tempted to start calling for Heathcliff – but a dignified upbringing did have some use.

The dizzy dancing grew faster and faster - she was a whirring record, a roulette wheel. Her bare foot snagged in a root and she slipped over. Delight was replaced with disgust. Clichéd swaying grass or no clichéd swaying grass, Tallulah didn’t want to know what she had just landed in.

“Ms Looooock-Liiiiikely?”
About bally time. How long did it take to find a befuddled aristocrat? If the rescue party hadn’t brought any freshly ground coffee with them then they’d be sorry. Tallulah put her arms behind her head, stared up at the sky and happily envisaged being found. There would be tears of course, and apologies. She would make absolutely sure of it with the amount of shouting she was about to do...

Disclaimer: No friends were harmed in the creating of this post. The champagne bottles were already empty and merely used as props.
Thank you to my ever-lovely, ever-gorgeous and effervescent friend Ellen for donning a vintage dress and necklace, gloves and feathers from the dressing up box and my faux-fur coat and sunglasses. She has previously appeared in my short photo-stories as a zombie and a painting.

In other news, I was featured on here and the Laura Ashley blog here.


The life after said...

Lovely pics. You're always so original!!

The Life After

OrigamiGirl said...

That was so much fun to read! I'm sure you had a lot of fun with the photos too.
Congratulations on the features!

Shervin Nassi said...

BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS as usual! loving your blog 4ever!

come follow my blog im following you!!

alexandratherese said...

A really original, fun and humorous story Rosalind - you had me at the ridiculous aristocratic names at the beginning! Lovely to see the corresponding photos too - it's like a children's story book only for older people too! Hope college is going well for you, I last blogged a couple of weeks ago and I'm determined to find some time for myself when I can just curl up with my laptop and write.

Alexandra xx

Isabel Rose said...

haha, I love this! and the pictures are gorgeous, as per usual :)

The Foolish Aesthete said...

Applause for your wonderful friend, Ellen's, vigorous acting, and your skilled hand at relaying Miss Tallulah's aristocratic escapades with the bottles! Gorgeous images too -- I especially LOVE the one of her whirling, almost in the throes of passion, against the sky.

Congratulations on your features. You looked beautiful in them, as always! xxx

Nelly said...

How I love a good story Well done loved it

Leah said...

This is so cute! The people's names were hilarious! The pictures that went along with it were great too! This is such a fun post! You're a really good writer.

Wendy said...

I love your writing so much! It's very inspirational. ♥


Autumn said...

Gorgeous photos, Rosalind! Ellen is gorgeous and looks every inch an aristocrat. Great pot as always.

the nyanzi report said...

it was like watching a movie as i read this: great script, great casting and great execution with the styling, direction and photography.

dina vanessa mercado said...

fun,fun,fun!!! lovely pictures... adorable outfit... kissess!!!

Oh are you sure about that? said...

haha wonderful! Love the story and the photos are great. That silk frock is pretty divine too X

SymbioticLife said...

I love this whole concept. I love your imaginative story and the pic's are phenomenal.

sacramento said...

Wonderful writing and photos. Congratulations on Grazia and laura Ashley, my dear Rosalind.

Jessica said...

Great pictures, lovely post :)

Please take a minute to look at my trunkshow;

Polka Princess said...

Ah! I almost felt as if I was standing behind the tress, watching her dance & swirl!

You're such a talented young girl, my friend....and Ellen is a great model, I must say! :)

lovefashion said...

Cool pics, good read :)

awishisarainbow said...

Loved made me smile :) Lovely accompanying photos too :)

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

Roz, I love it!! haha, laughing out loud at your disclaimer!
The sky, dress, her state of disarray- brilliant.
Well done, once again. xo

Vix said...

You are always a joy to visit. Tallulah's face in the last shot is just so sweet. x

Lx said...

I love this shoot and the story behind it!

thank you for your comments on my blog and your ideal christmas sound lovely :) I hope you find it...

wonderful post as ever! xxx

polka dot said...

Delightful!! Like Stephanie - laughing at your disclaimer, and as Jenny (Foolish) said, hats off to the effervescent Ellen! Magic, beautiful, fabulous post.

I LOVE the way you write -and shoot. Amazing.

Now to check out Grazia & Laura Ashley! xox

Fashionistable said...

You do know how to tell a good story. Great images to illustrate it too. Well done on both your freatures in Grazia and LA. Beautiful and well deserved. Xxxx

Camille said...

Such an original post!

Jerome C. said...

lovely pictures dear :)

great post

Nice blog btw, I'm following you now
I hope you follow me back!


Ria :) said...

such beautiful photographs, your blog is so lovely by the ways, i will be visiting it again very soon :)

isa telaraña said...

Funny story and great photographs. I see you enjoy together!!!

Very nice the shots at Gracia with the cap. You are becoming internationally famous... Felicidades!!!

Izzy/Bella said...

I love the idea of telling a story through pictures. You're quite the photographer as well! The pictures exquisitely captured the nuances of your story.

The styling as well was perfection! I loved this piece and can't wait for the next one like it.

Okay off to check out the links you posted ;)

Thanks for the inspiration as always!


Lydia said...

This is hilarious!! I love the looks on her face in the photos.

SabinePsynopsis said...

Makes me want to join the Chatterquales and Curlicue-Fripperies for dizzy dancing. Beautiful descripitions and your friends did a great job and portraying the action. xoxo

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Oh I'm so glad Lady Tallulah was mindful enough to pack sunnies - that morning sun is a killer! What a wonderful picture story Roz, you truly are a talent - the frock is simply divine, muddy puddles, distressing looks, all perfectly captured by you! xoxo

Kate said...

I love the way you write, it draws you in and makes you feel like you are therewith her! Beautiful shots too, especially the photos of her spinning!

Fashion Tales.... said...

I imagined the glimpse of credits rolling (as well as the brilliant film score included of course!) after reading this! That pink vintage dress in these photos are perfection for this post, and cheers to Ellen.

eryn cullen said...


Saw you in so many features for LFW and was so amazed at how someone so young could get invited to shows!! How did you get invited exactly? You're such an inspiration! :)