Gratuitous Monty Python shot

I’m new here on the Dog Blog, nice to meetcha! I’ll be curating a weekly list of specially themed picks for you to check out around town and the interweb. Hope you enjoy the Wouldn’t It be Nice* series.

My first post is all about enjoying a day of polite and lovely, classically English-with-a-capital-E-style activities in October. Why? Because I’m a geek for that shit.

Listen: Cue-up Blur’s 1997 self-titled album, you know, the one with ‘Song 2’ on it. Forget that track: the rest of the record is blissfully inventive and sometimes downright weird. My buds and I discovered this late one night, a couple of days into a road trip when we were tired of all the other CDs in the car. Amazing. Maybe you all knew about this, but I didn’t. How does this tie into this week’s theme? They’re English and that’s enough for me.

Dress: Skip the hoodie, yoga pants and Rider hat. Today you wanna focus in on well-tailored clothes, classic layers and natural fibers. Choose items that require buttoning and lacing, but not in an S&M kinda way. Recast your sexuality in a different, more restrained and well-groomed light. Reach for cotton, silk, wool and tweed and forgo polyester, lycra and jersey. Think blazers and cardigans, blouses and brooches.

Painting by Jennifer Wanno from IMMUTO

Do:  Check out Jennifer Wanner’s IMMUTO at the Dunlop Gallery (up until November 10th). Wanner has created a fascinating series of watercolours depicting genetically-modified plants using a gorgeous 17th century style. Your mum will love them for their meticulously detailed brushwork and your younger brother will love talking your ear off about the controversial subject matter. Take one or none of them of them with you to the Dunlop post-haste and make sure to take in Wanner’s stop motion animations at the back of the gallery too.

Do: Liked all those painted beauties? Check out the real deal at the Regina Floral Conservatory; the gardens and gift shop are open year-round and change from season-to-season thanks to the antique technology of the greenhouse.

Tea for everybody!

Eat: After your tour of the conservatory, why not take in a little cream tea at the Vintage Tea Room? Tea is so warmingly caffeinated and scones are ‘nice’ (and filling) when enjoyed with Devon cream and jam, how could you not. Eating off of china also gets one in the mood for fancy glove wearing, if you were looking for an excuse.

LearnHow to stifle a yawn if you opted for decaf and don’t want to appear rude when telling folks about your awesome day. That’s the kind of thing you learn across the pond, and if being polite has fallen out of fashion with the Brits, well, surely manners were the thing to do in the 19th century. Kick it George Eliot-style.

Excellent ’30s steez in a pre-smartphone world. Still from Cold Comfort Farm (1995)

WatchCold Comfort Farm on Netflix. Adapted from Stella Gibbons’ 1930s novel, this mid-90s TV movie has become something of a cult classic what with its Emma-like humour, gorgeous production values and talented cast. Watch it to peep a pre-Underworld Kate Beckinsale spar using words instead of guns alongside Gandalf and John Murdoch in a bucolic setting.

 *Inspired by the boys, natch. Please consider it the theme song, if you would.