Sunday, August 2, 2015

L'amour de l'hiver...


Sunday 2 August 2015

Heating up to 33 degrees.

The good thing about August is that you know, all things being normal, that even if you get your head boiled off for the next four weeks, that will be the end of it and then you will be into Autumn which, in these part of the woods, is completely delightful.  Like a good English summer, if such a thing exists any more.  Days with temperatures around mid to high 20's and no more humidity.  Time to get out and enjoy the garden, the turn in the year, the reddening and oranging of nature, winding down towards Winter.  I adore Winter.  I love being wrapped up in warm clothing, snuggled under two duvets, toasting in front of a lively fire.  I am a creature of the north.  I love the purity of winter, the bare arms of the trees, the fields spiked with frost and the remains of the harvested crop, the crisp clear air and the snap of frost.  A rest from work and garden.  A time to hibernate and read and eat stews and chunky bread, thick with butter.  Steaming cups of coffee and tea.

Ah but that is at least four months down the line and I am not being mindful of the present, but walking ahead and looking forward to what it will bring.   Down town early to take fresh bedding and towels to our renters and look at the vide grenier.  Literally meaning loft emptying, people bring to market their bits and pieces.  There are stalls heaped with things you could never imagine wanting in the first place.  Ugly leather bellows, china birds, uncomfortable sparkly shoes, tortured glass lamps, rusty stuff.  As usual, lots of the most terrible old junk which is being sold for surprisingly high prices.  A wooden letter holder, 15 euros.  The owner is showing it to a customer and saying, it is not expensive, and he is agreeing.  It is worth a couple of euros.

I find a lovely art deco style rectangular brooch with white and blue stones.  Obviously paste and metal.  Price 30 euros.  Owner convinced it is silver.  Actually, no.  Silver doesn't have mould marks and it is as light as a feather.  Find another brooch on another stall but stone is cracked.  What a shame - that did actually have 925 stamp.

Here are some more photos from Alton, home of novelist Jane Austen



The gingerbread recipe is interesting - lots of brandy and you don't actually bake it but wait for it to 'go stiff' before cutting into cakes
These were owned by Marianne Knight, a friend of the Austen's, and would have been part of evening wear.  The slippers are approximately a size four and the gloves would fit a modern ten year old

Thought to be a dress originally belonging to Jane Austen.  About a modern size eight (UK)