When people ask me about my inspiration for Tat...lol, no one actually ever asks me that, but if they did I would say: interiors magazines (House & Garden, World of Interiors), books (such as those by Ros Byam Shaw) and Bible Of British Taste. Long before I met Ruth Guilding, the mind behind Bible of British Taste, I was completely taken with how she wrote and how she captured people's homes. Every time I went to try and find something to put on Instagram, I would always end up on Ruth's website. It is not a bad place to spend hours searching through the archive. As House and Garden succinctly summarised: 'Long-time World of Interiors contributor Ruth Guilding offers regular glimpses into the beautiful houses she visits. With a predilection for lived-in, even cluttered interiors, filled with antiques, artworks and paintings, this account rejects perfection and gives you a sense of what it would really be like to live in some of the houses you see in magazines'. I first met Ruth at the excellent Hand Sale; she as ever looked completely beguiling. I was in my late twenties but still acting like a shy, awkward teenager, so I found it hard to make conversation (a problem that has followed me into my thirties). It wasn't until later on during a Jamb press trip that we really got to chatting. We talked with my mother and some other designers about the piles of things that we were all hoarding, whether purposefully for a 'one day house', or more often just because we didn't quite know what to do with them. We thought how amazing it would be to sell them all in one go. I went back to work later that day though and thought no more about it, not until Ruth got in touch and suggested that we organise a boot sale. I could finally imagine how Blue must have felt when Elton John agreed to collaborate with them on 'Sorry'. It was awesome, and I was very excited. In December 2019, The Interiors Boot Sale took place. I can safely say that Ruth did the heavy lifting, organising the tables, vendors, stewards and venue. I was in charge of getting the word out. I was anxious about this as the proof was really in the pudding; after getting all these excellent people to exhibit (Gavin Houghton, Benedict Foley, Jessica Haynes, Veere Greeney, Nicky Haslam etc. - to name but a few, it was a high calibre line up) I was worried I'd trip everything up at the final hurdle and have no customers. Boy was it a relief when my brother-in-law ran in to tell us that there was a line around the block (one woman had even flown over from Germany). People kept coming throughout the day, and I'm relieved to say that it was a resounding success. Obviously, COVID subsequently reared its ugly head to put a stop to our plans for 2020, but watch this space. Just think of all that clearing out that has gone on over the last year. A huge thank you to Ruth for taking the time to answer these silly questions.
Favourite tube line?
I try to stay above ground so its a road - the A303, not too fast, modest, versatile, conduit to all things westwards and lots of my dearest friends
Do you believe in ghosts?
Yes! Because my sober and truthful father saw a horrible one. He was a young army captain in wartime Italy, billeted in an old monastery. She was sitting on top of a huge wardrobe in the room where he was sleeping and she gibbered at him.
Tracey Emin has been my crush for about twenty years. She is lovely, clever, never dull and has a beautiful voice. Ages ago I reviewed one of her shows and she sent me a postcard which ended, Would you like to come and see my studio one day? But I felt too shy.
Boy Crush? The Prince of Wales, obvs. Dress, looks, general demeanour, enthusiasms and mannerisms, copes with life’s slings and arrows, the spine-tingliing pageant of his Investiture at Carnarvon Castle.
Who Is the best animal you have ever met? Dogs are so much better than humans. My current darling is Bunny, our Dartmoor lurcher, aged 10. But before I get very old there must be a bull terrier Favourite Smell? Mown grass, silage, anything with cows What is often your last thought before going to sleep? Mild anxiety, life is short and I haven’t really done anything yet?
Top Destination in the UK? All the loveliest places are too full of other humans. I am dying to go to Norman’s Bay between Bexhill and Eastbourne.
Favourite Restaurant? I don’t much care about eating. I want a convivial pub serving good beer, but like a nice Church of England Eucharist, as soon as you settle on a beloved one, someone comes along and ruins it. So I’m very fond of The Pineapple in Kentish Town, The Logan Rock near the Land’s End - impeccably run by Anita George, queen of landladies - and the Devonshire Inn in Sticklepath. A year ago I made a huge detour to the Luppitt Inn, the front room of a farmhouse that opens only two nights a week - and it was closed.
What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of? Far from the Madding Crowd (1967) with the moody triumvirate of Julie Christie, Terence Stamp and Alan Bates. It does not date.
A song that can always make your foot tap? So many!
I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day by Roy Wood and Wizzard.
How Pleasant and Delightful ( A Sailor and his Truelove), Traditional, sung by the Eynsham Morris in their local on Boxing Days
You Make Me Feel Mighty Real by Sylvester - the video!
Military Brass Bands - and Abba.