As you have discovered if you’ve come back to this blog, I’ve been playing around with the "look" of it. I’m hoping that this template, or whatever one I eventually select as the permanent one, is more reader-friendly. I have been informed by my wife, who is in many ways way ahead of me technologically, that most readers prefer the links, etc. sidebar to be on the left rather than the right. I would simply have switched them here with the template I was using, but it wasn’t set up to let me do that without having to learn html code, and I figure I’ve got enough new stuff to learn without adding to it with that. Anyway, I hope you like the "new" look, and I’ll probably continue to tweak it for a little while at least, in the hopes of making this blog both user-friendly and good-looking.
Speaking of looking good, since heraldry is pretty much my number one hobby, I have managed over the years to acquire a pretty decent collection of heraldic ties. Not that I get to wear them all that often; ties are not worn where I work, so I pretty much get to pull them out only when I’m going to a special event – one of the international congresses on genealogy and heraldry, or annual meeting of one of the heraldry societies I belong to, or when I’m making a presentation to a genealogy society or conference. Now, I actually like wearing ties, unlike most of the men I know. And I like wearing ties that can show off my hobby. My first heraldic tie was a blue one with shields and simple charges arranged in a pretty random pattern that I bought on eBay way back in, I think, early 1998. I know I was particularly tickled to be able to wear it to the international congress in 1998 in Turin, Italy, since (1) it was an Italian tie, and (2) after the Congress we spent a few days in Venice, and in a small* shop on the Rialto bridge I found and purchased another just like it, only with a yellow instead of navy blue background.
* Of course, there are no large shops on the Rialto bridge!
Still, as the collection of heraldic ties has grown, I’ve had to cull the ties that weren’t heraldic down to the point that I’ve only got, I think, three ties left that have no heraldic figures on them. I keep them around because I really like them and they go well with the suits I own, but I’m just about out of space on my tie rack and if I buy more than one or two more heraldic ties, I’m afraid that something’s going to have to give. And, alas, I’ve found yet another heraldic tie that I have to buy. I went out to see what’s happening at Design Toscano (www.designtoscano.com), since two of the best heraldic ties I own I’ve bought from them, and they have a new one! It’s great – real coats of arms all over it (image at right). Without even looking them up, I recognized the arms of the College of Arms, the city of Amsterdam, Cambridge University, one that I’m pretty certain is Belgian, another that is plainly Austrian, and more from all over Europe. So you can see why I have to buy this tie, despite the chance that I’ll run out of room on the tie rack. Because, just like I want for this blog, I want to keep me "lookin’ good!"