I think I might be addicted to parasols.
Is that the weirdest thing you’ve ever heard anyone be addicted to? I can’t think of a stranger one that I’ve heard of for real. I mean, who even uses parasols any more? But they are a good idea for people like me, who don’t want to tan or burn yet dislike using sun cream, (not just for how it feels as there are ones that aren’t too bad, but with awkward hands like mine it is not the easiest thing to apply). Parasols are a greener alternative anyway as they don’t come in a plastic bottle! I don’t like feeling too hot and always seek the shade, but it is not always possible, so what better solution than to carry my own bit of portable shade?
Having said that, I’ve only actually used one once, when I bought my first parasol last summer. To be fair, it was possibly the last really hot sunny day we had…
I went to an antique fair with my mother, an outdoor one. I had not come prepared for sun as I assumed it would be under canvas, and a lot of it was, but not the bit Mum wanted to do. So when I saw a stall which had a few parasols for sale I was all over them. My favourite was a dark green and blue shot silk one with a blue handle, but the canopy was torn. But that just meant the price was negotiable and I am not afraid of needle and thread, surely I could do something with it, sew bits of lace along the tears or something?
So for the rest of the fair I wandered around under a remarkable shabby chic torn parasol! It was only torn down one section so provided enough shade. I loved it!
What I liked best about was the really long handle which meant it was easy to hold. With my arthritic hands I have not been able to use modern umbrellas with their small handles designed for one handed use. Although umbrellas are hardly heavy, they do catch the wind and can be hard to control with one weak and painful hand. So a long handle which I can use two handed, with the hands far apart is the scientifically sound solution!
So when I was in an antique shop on a rainy day a few weeks later it was no stretch at all when I saw a vintage umbrella with a similarly long handle. It was even purple! Have I mentioned purple is my favourite colour? Closely followed by green. I snapped it up But… with it was a purple parasol. Also torn, in fact in even worse condition than my first. But they did come down in price to the price which finally tempted me. And so I had two torn parasols and a vintage umbrella.
But that is hardly an addiction!
Not if I’d stopped there, no.
I was surprised how many parasols and vintage umbrellas I saw after that. Some I could walk away from easily enough. I’m not tempted by boring colours and I hardly needed any more torn ones! I have tried to fix them and found it much harder than I had hoped to sew tears in such tightly tensioned and already fragile fabric! But I shall persevere… and if I do figure it out then they become fair game again
But I did rather fancy finding one which was not torn.
So did I leave well along when the next one I saw was not only torn, but totally shredded and extremely delicate? No, because it is also incredibly old and beautiful (and didn’t cost a lot). It deserves a post of its own it is so lovely so I shall just show a picture of it here to show its pretty sky blue lining. It is probably late 1850s or 1860s and unlike the others which are clearly machine sewn, it is all hand sewn. Even the little finials on the end of the spokes are carved bone not metal.
And did I leave it there? Oh no, I have bought several more, and an umbrella stand to keep them in (which was so roomy it merely tempts me to fill it! But I have nearly done that now…)
I did use one of the vintage umbrellas on New Year’s Eve as I walked to a party in the rain, and it didn’t leak or anything so they can be used. I shall certainly continue to use them so they are not merely decorative. And of course, a girl needs accessories in different colours depending on her outfit, right?! Also they are an ideal weapon if attacked, especially the old ones with the long handle for leverage and a long point on the end!
Where do I find all these parasols? I have been surprised how many I have come across in just a few months. I would have thought they would be quite rare, but it is possible to amass a large collection, an antique dealer told me about someone who has hundreds, as I was buying another… Obviously antique shops sometimes have them, but there are also quite a few on ebay. That is even more scary for the addicted, just a few clicks on the mouse and parasols come pouring through the door! I bought a couple that way last year, and two only yesterday, but this post is getting long so they can wait for another day
Then the weirdest thing ever happened last night. Seriously, freakishly weird.
We were gathered to watch Mr Selfridge, but were early, so the husband was watching a bit of a pirate film while we waited. I have honestly never seen this film before (if I had I’d be gloating over having the best comic timing ever!). The pirates were admiring a cave full of treasure. Piles of gold, jewels, coins, chests and other shiny things. I said, ‘I see that treasure and in my mind I see parasols.’ Can you guess what happened next?
Two pirates opened a chest and inside were only two freaking parasols!!!!!
We were gobsmacked!
I said it must be the universe telling me to buy more parasols
However I can’t help but be reminded of that Bible verse ‘do not build up your treasure on earth where thieves break in and steal and moth and rust destroy. So maybe I should slow down on the parasol collecting?
What do you think?
Check out my Pinterest board of parasols – I have hundreds there! And they don’t cost any money or cause storage issues, although neither do they protect me from sun or rain