Have a bespoke Umbrella Made
The upside of perpetual damp is unparalleled expertise. Umbrella makers are all around in London, but none are as atmospheric as Swaine Adeney Brigg, squeezed into an arcade off of Piccadilly near the rococo shop windows at Fortnum & Mason. First your measurements will be taken (head to toe, wrist to ground), before you are led in front of a mirror to clasp brolly after brolly, holding them aloft like Mary Poppins in flight, until the shop floor is covered with open black canopies and the optimal height and diameter of your umbrella has been ascertained. Then you’ll run your hands over the different types of wood to choose your handle. There’s everything from smooth, pale cherry to whangee, a type of bamboo, to a birch travel type that unscrews into two pieces (for an easier fit in a suitcase) and a Malacca cane version with a concealed drinking flask in the shaft. Ladies’ umbrellas are more delicately proportioned than those made for men. The smaller size looks like something between an umbrella and a parasol, and is designed to hang comfortably on a forearm rather than rap the ground like a walking stick. Once you have decided on a canopy color (jaguar green and navy are the most popular) and material (nylon is harder wearing, but silk reputedly issues a lovelier thud under rain), you have only to choose your collar (gold or silver) and decide whether you would like your initials engraved (why not?). If the process sounds faintly enchanting, it is—also about as costly as an afternoon at the spa, and far more practical.
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