Monday, 14 June 2010

New friends - old dreams

A sample card of linen tapes for apron ties and a colourful ticking used for feather beds
Since posting my website, which took me several days to compose with a lot of help from friends, I have embarked on this Blogsite and apart from some good business, it has put me in touch with many new contacts all over the world. I try not to make it a complete chat item, and to pass on a little lore on textiles, and a modest account of the old ways of rustic French life as told to me by the old traditional brocanteurs who have memories of Old France and are glad to have a keen listener to their tales. Many of my new friends overseas have been to France and have wonderful memories too, of armoires stacked with folded linen and bunches of lavender to make it sweet-smelling, of rough old fruitwood tables covered in snow-white linen cloths and laden with delicious local food, vegetables and fruit and jugs of wine or cider, cold from the cellars, I think they might find a lot of this magic gone, but would have to remember that life was very hard for many, that electricity, gas and drainage came very late to many rural areas, just before the last war. The peasant women in Northern France and Brittany wore heavy black cotton overall dresses and did all the household chores wearing a strong work apron, changing to a dressy one for going out. They lived in dark beamed kitchens with tiled floors and brown furniture so it is not surprising that they cheered the place, and themselves, up with bright checked curtains, frilly nets and creamy linen embroidered trims on all the shelves, mantelpieces and pelmets, and they collected bright china with lustre decoration to reflect the fire and window lights.

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