An impromptu picnic starts when one wants to nibble on something in between meals.
One opens the fridge, leans on the door, and scopes out the possibilities.
Instead of grabbing, and nibbling where one stands, the essences of an impromptu picnic is gathering the morsels of happiness, and going outside.
Spreading a cloth on the garden table, or on the lawn,
sitting down, soaking in the sun,
sipping the breeze and savoring serenity.
Which translates into bread, cheese, tomatoes, fresh fruit and a glass of wine. Oh yes, a chunk of chocolate is a welcoming finishing touch.
When is the last time you went on a picnic?
(Photos of my friend Linda from Willows's Nest who made an impromptu picnic for us to nibble on.)
The perfect shade of grey? Is it a mixture of sand and twilight? Does it have a snippet of lamb's wool, and a dash of pepper? Grey, or the French grey that is tres vogue with many at the moment, or at least associated with French design, can have a touch of taupe, blue, or is it a hint of lavender. Grey is not grey without a storm... you know the color of the sky right before it opens up showing the array that Grey can be. And that is what makes Grey hard to define... the play of color just before it rains.
My friend Mimi has a love affair with the color grey. Her home in France is covered head to toe, ceiling to floor with hints of grey, mingling with grey, splashed with grey and then sits around in the shade of grey.
Even her clothes and dishes are greyish tones.
The Roman numerals on a grey painted clock.
Mimi dyes old linens and lace grey, and I am envious of the effect it adds. Soft and subtle, grey is in the middle of black and white. And as the clock above shows, a touch of grey makes black and white pop!
Wood, fabric and ironstone.
Sounds like a treasure chest of goodness, real things, old things, touchable wonder.
One part of the beauty of old things were the details, details that were created to last and be passed down.
I wonder if way back then any person ever thought, "This soup tureen will be at a brocante in a hundred years from now and an American will buy it...."
"...and her friend will take photos of it and put it on her blog, making many others lick their lips!"
Silver domes. That counts for grey too.
Though I have told Mimi they don't go with anything in her house. That they are out of place. That shining stuff doesn't look right on her country French table with that grey crochet runner.
Don't you agree? Mimi thinks not. She thinks I am saying that the domes are ugly because I want her to give them to me.
Why would she ever think that???
Oh a girl can dream, and ponder kidnapping.
..or take photos and find happiness in that.
Chez Mimi a perfect storm of brocante finds that I lick my lips over.
(Photo of Monet's painting found here.)
Years ago (1999) early in the morning, after I had set up my wares to sell at the brocante market, I quickly took a tour to see what might be interesting to buy. Not faraway from my stand, in fact on the other side of the fountain, I saw a painting rolled out like a hallway rug. The painting was long and narrow depicting an 18th century child dressed in blue silk. In the painting the child was dancing before the court with his colorful tambourine.
Not having enough money, I asked the dealer if he might hold it for me, reassuring him that I would return as soon as I sold something from my stand. "I am just over there." I said as I pointed. He nodded his head.
No sooner than you could lick a plate, a young American couple came up to my stand, they admired a large porcelain fruit bowl, and the service that went with it. When they asked about it I told them, Monet had painted the same pattern of dishes in his paintings. "Japon," is the name of the dish pattern. They were interested but wanted to look around some more. As soon as they put the bowl down, an antique dealer from Paris quickly picked it up. They stood there speechless unable to move. He asked about the fruit bowl. He held it is his hand studying it; looking at the marks underneath, checking out the details of the pattern, feeling its weight and then asked me how much. He walked away with the fruit bowl service, the same type of dishes Monet ate off everyday as well as depicted in his paintings. The American couple stood there, they sheepishly asked if I had anymore. No, is all I could give them.
Racing over to the other side of the fountain with money in my hand, I was giddy! It didn't matter that I had under-sold the fruit bowl set, no it didn't matter..... One must do what one must do....
"Re-Bonjour Monsieur. I have the money!" I waved it in the air. He didn't react the way I expected instead he puckered up his lips and blew out, a typical expression in the south of France. He said he had sold the painting...even though I had given my word to return, even though he had promise to hold it, even though I was just, "over there!"
To say I was disappointed is an understatement.
The money in my hand was not as valuable as what I had sold. I had under sold something to have something I desired more, and lost both.
"Monet never lingered over his food. He didn't want to waist one moment eating when the light of day was his to paint. Monet ate quickly, he even gave told his family never to pass around the dishes twice, especially when his American step-son-in-law, Theodore Earl Butler, was lunching with them, because his slow eating habits drove Monet crazy."
Notes regarding the dishes I had:
Thanks again for your wonderful tales regarding house keys! The random winner of the key is
Paulita! Please send me your address (Leigh too!) so I can send you your gift.
Thank you !
Yesterday's comments regarding Bicycle Stories, were amazing. One memory after another: Banana seats, training wheels, brakes, skid marks, accidents, while noting where you learned to ride, the color of bike, who taught you and where you fell... I think the average age for learning how to ride amongst us was five. Though I was nearly nine.
Each comment conjures up images, touches memories that are dormant, brings a connection... I learned how to ride a bicycle at my Uncle Phil's and Aunt Sara's old house. My brothers, mother, and cousins, Sheba and FrancaBolla were there too. I remember Uncle Phil telling me what to do as he gave the bicycle a push and away I went. I still can feel the sense of freedom, the wings at my feet and the Weeping Willow branches across my face as I rode under them.
Your comments, your stories, your added notes makes blogging worth it for me, and for many others who read my blog. Gee, look at my brother Mathew, he responded to many of you in the comment section. I think he is a closet blogger and probably has the brocante bug too.
The random winner of the little bicycle is Leigh from New Zealand.... her comment concluded by saying: "...Keep on peddling through the tough times."
I am giving another old thing away:
1. Because I like you,
2. Because I enjoy your stories,
3. Because the re opening of my online French Brocante shop has me digging and going through every little thing in my cupboards...
and because I have a ton of keys.
If you would like to have an old key
please leave a comment regarding a story about a house key.
When I first moved away from home, a home that never locked its doors, I often forgot my house key. As I lived with an older woman, one who was OCD, I often waited for her to return to get back into the house. Her OCD could not comprehend how I could be as forgetful as I was. We were polar opposites... I was neat, tidy, and spontaneous to a fault. She was neat and extra tidy to a fault, and spontaneous knew no bone in her body.
One day while waiting for her to return so I could go back into the house, I noticed the cat going in and out of the cat door. As I was in a hurry, and didn't want to look like a ding dong again, a thought occurred to me, "Maybe I could squeeze through that cat door opening? I looked at my hips, and thought why not try.
I was nearly inside when I heard my OCD room-mate pull into the driveway. Quickly, I pushed onward hoping to get inside before she saw me.
She found me, with no key and stuck in her cat door.
Shortly after I moved out... after replacing the cat door that kinda got damaged.
Thank you for all your comments and stories, I appreciated every one of them!