Tag Archives: Notty Hornblower costume museum


Contrary to this header picture, my post begins on a mule farm in Lancaster Country Pennsylvania. My daughter and I were visiting good friends Gary and Helen Stapleton for a lovely summer’s bar-b-q. Gary and Helen were key in the international Mule community. The year was 1989.

It was a beautiful summer’s day, with Amish working the fields around us. Garry and Helen as always were wonderful hosts and people of all ages were enjoying the day.

I was introduced to a lovely young English girl who was spending six months travelling around the USA. She came from a village in Derbyshire where mules also played a big part in her life…hence the connection with Gary and Helen.

She happened to say that she recognised the perfume I was wearing……because a friend of hers in the same village where she lived in England wore the same brand. So far interesting but not earth shattering. (By the way I am someone who always wears a dab of perfume…even if I am digging ditches or smothered in oil paint….)

Then she said the friend’s name was NOTTY HORNBLOWER…. and that Notty ran a costume museum in the village…..

A name never to be forgotten………

Back to the picnic, cats, dogs, mules and much fun……..

Remember this is years before social media and indeed internet connections in everyone’s homes…and so there was no running back and googling this person. My daughter and I continued to enjoy the day along with everyone else.

Fast forward to 1993 when I returned to my family and home in the UK – initially staying with my cousin Lyn and family in Crickhowell Wales where I continued to live and work for twelve wonderful years.

My Uncle, cousin Lyn and me in Glangrwyney just outside of Crickhowell.

My Aunt Pat (my father’s sister) and my Uncle in Glangrwyney

Shortly after moving back to Wales, a friend of my cousin Lyn’s invited us to a lunch and party at her home. Here we are together enjoying another lovely summer day. Mary in blue, cousin Lyn in the middle, and me.

After the other guests had arrived a beautiful buffet lunch was served….and as I waited to gather my food….I talked with others enjoying the party at which point …..a very glamorous lady came up to me and started chatting….She said her name was NOTTY HORNBLOWER….………!

It was of course the same Notty Hornblower whose name I had first encountered on the mule farm in Pennsylvania…..There couldn’t possibly be two Notty Hornblowers……and we were both wearing the same perfume….

To this day Notty and I have continued to exchange Christmas cards – with catch up letters about our cats, art and lives in general….I am determined to go and see her in Ashbourne, Derbyshire….and visit her fascinating museum.

A photograph of Notty and her husband Chris around the time that we met in person.

The point of this story is that when we meet people we never ever know what connections there might be.

I totally go along with the ‘six degrees of separation’ concept….and have had many experiences similar to this one…..but to date I have only met one Notty Hornblower:)


It sits in the beautiful Peak District National Park….a great place to visit.