As I'm on hols I thought it might be nice to get a couple of chums to do a guest spot on the blog in my absence.
First up is Naomi of Bespoke Home. Ni lives in a charming wee house in Auckland, New Zealand and her blog is a great documentation of her home and garden adventures. She is responsible for my love of the Mitford sisters, so when I invited her to share something with you all over here on ice floe, it seemed a natural fit for her to offer up some Mitford treats!
The mad, bad Mitfords can tidily be summed up as preposterous. Glamorous, dangerous and captivating, they scandalised England in their time yet are unknown to many today. The six Mitford sisters were born to landed gentry and grew up title-rich but cash-poor (by aristocracy standards). With their eccentricity unwittingly nurtured by parents who were mildly eccentric themselves, they were primed to take the twentieth century by storm.
Of the six sisters, there are four who have gained the most notoriety. Diana, widely considered the beauty of the family, divorced the heir to the Guiness fortune to marry Oswald Mosley, head of the British Fascists, and as a result spent her war years in prison draped in fur coats to keep warm. Nancy was a darling of the Bright Young Things, playing ukulele at parties attended by the likes of Evelyn Waugh. She found fame as a novelist and had a great love affair with a member of the French resistance. Unity and Jessica shared a room as a child, and the invisible line down the centre of the room also signified arguments over political philosophies. Unity grew up to befriend Hitler and came to a grisly end whilst Jessica embraced communism. She later moved to America and became a figure in the civil rights movement and was persecuted by the McCarthy-era government, constantly followed by the FBI.
There are far too many thrilling Mitford tales to even begin to summarise any of them but here is a taste. When Jessica Mitford ran off to Spain to elope with Winston Churchill's nephew and fight in the Spanish Civil War, Churchill sent a submarine after them to bring them home, under pressure from his sister. When the young couple refused to embark the captain tried to tempt Jessica on board with a roast chicken dinner. She very nearly succumbed.
For a great introduction to the Mitford Family I recommend reading Mary S Lovell's The Mitford Girls.