this is not a review: ‘a woman’s walks’, by lady colin campbell

The first thing I don’t like about this book is that she (Gertrude Elizabeth Blood), calls herself Lady Colin Campbell, which reminds me of the personalized stationery, little note cards on excellent stock, my mother-in-law (an otherwise intelligent and lovely woman) gave me, designed, I suppose, to obliterate any thought of whoever I used to be pre-marriage, being embossed as they were with “Mrs. (Son’s First Name)(Son’s Last Name)”. She explained that should I happen to send a card to a friend (who else would I send them to??) I was meant to strike a single line through “Mrs. (Son’s First Name)(Son’s Last Name)” and write in “Carin”. As if to say that “you (because we are friends) may call me Carin”. I still have the little copper plate that came with the box of stationery in case I ever need to replenish my supply. (hahaha) The fact that I don’t use anyone else’s name, neither first nor last (having been blessed with my own), is apparently beside the point. She, dear woman, came from an era of The Mrs.

The ‘Lady Colin Campbell’ syndrome is ridiculous. (And very different from adopting a family name, which makes a certain kind of sense in certain cases and to certain people. I do get why people do that.) But what sense can be made from using your husband’s FIRST name to identify you?

Especially, in Lady CC’s case, whose husband turns out to be an ass and they split up. Which is when she begins her worldwide wandering and writing.

But why keep the ‘Colin’???

So that was my first problem with A Woman’s Walks, by Lady Colin Campbell. Despite the rather promising cover.

The other problems relate to the privilege Lady Colin Campbell enjoys throughout her privileged life and incessantly complains about. It is a problem when a writer bores me as Lady CC does and I find it hard to plough through but I continue because I’m looking for a good walk. Unfortunately her idea of walking and mine are quite different. Hers involving much first class train travel and staff helping her get from one luxury hotel to another.

Two exceptions.

One was a stroll she took through a Venetian marketplace where she bought a captive bird, not to eat but to release. She felt very chuffed with herself about that. Her good deed for the day, which again says a lot about her and the era of that kind of privilege. Not to mention attitude towards ‘the little people’ who shop and work at markets for reasons other than amusement and who rudely eat the captive birds because they need protein and aren’t able to take a train to the next luxury hotel dining room to order their pheasant under glass.

I enjoyed seeing her hypocrisy on such magnificent display.

And of course markets always please me.

The other was a walk around Milan that ended, to her surprise, at a crematorium where she lingered, feeling comfort and solace in a way, she says, she never does in cemeteries.

Not a terrible read but not something that personally appealed overall.

The book is one of several from a London Library series: ‘Found on the Shelves’… collected essays on various subjects from “the modern cycling craze” with the invention of the bike, to dieting in the 1800’s, to trout fishing instructions for women. Etc. All of them from a time long gone and full of quirks by modern standards.

Though, really, who are we to talk of quirks…

Fun Trivia:

Turns out there’s another Lady Colin Campbell whose Colin also turned out to be a schmuck and who is not a Victorian essayist, but a contemporary writer of contemporary Royal doings.

Not only that but the modern Lady CC was originally named George William Ziadie (she had unclear genitalia at birth and her parents were advised to err on the side of male, which turned out to be wrong so at age 21 she had corrective surgery and became Georgia Arianna Ziadie). So then she marries Lord Colin Campbell who decides to sell her out to the tabloids who run untrue stories on how Lady CC was born a boy and had a sex change. So they divorce right quick. And yet… she keeps not only the whole Lady Campbell schtick, but the Colin part.

I just don’t get it.

12 thoughts on “this is not a review: ‘a woman’s walks’, by lady colin campbell

  1. Oh wow, this story gets better and better. Curiosity piqued, I followed one of your links, which led, of course, to other links, one of which revealed that the latter and current Lady Colin Campbell thinks the #MeToo movement has in some ways “been very damaging. Because really it has immobilised men. It has really prevented men from being men.”

    I don’t get *that* – but I do like the cover of the book.

    1. Dear Lady Colin Campbell,

      Yes, it’s a tragedy isn’t it that women being women prevents men from being men. (Although how that works I’m not clear.) Also, have you noticed there’s no real equivalent of the word ’emasculate’… for women?

      signed,
      Puzzled as Usual

  2. The whole thing is pretty funny in a shake your head sort of way. Someone recently gave me The Tramps of ‘The Walking Parson’ by Rev. A. N. Cooper (Circa late 1800’s). This guy would walk from London to Rome and sleep in the ditch if he had to. People would ask him: you never get sick, who is your doctor? Just walk, I don’t have a doctor, he would reply.

    1. Your walking parson sounds like a great story. Beautiful eccentrics deserve admiration. (Or… perhaps as a physician you see it as reckless behaviour??)

  3. Oh, I am so GLAD you brought it round to Modern Lady Colin Campbell. or else I was going to leave a comment. I actually have an uncle called Colin Campbell, but his wife (my aunt) is called Joyce

    1. When I first looked her up I was inundated with info on the Modern Lady and therefore VERY confused. Took a while to unscramble the Ladys from George, Georgia, Elizabeth, and of course the Colins. (May I just say that I am delighted, relieved even, to know your aunt goes by Joyce.)

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