Drooling over the New Look and Christian Dior

Thursday 19 February 2015

Brilliant blue skies 6 degrees warming to 16 later

A good to be alive day with many small birds tweeting and a blackbird tink tinking on the roof of the barn.  Fuelled by tea, I leaped out of bed, informed OH I was going down town and to my surprise, he hauled himself up too and surprised the dog by accompanying us part way along the road to town before getting out for a walk.

My trousers are ‘descending’ as the locals say, so went to the charity shop to see what was on offer.  Found a brown leather belt, a white leather belt and a rather strange yellow crocodile effect one, complete with Radley style dog badges.  I could hear the voice of Del Trotter in my head, saying ‘wear that one, gel, and you’ll knock ’em bandy’.  Three euros. Cant go wrong at that price.  There was a ravishing, full length wool coat but it was brushing the top of my shoes.  I looked like I was standing in a hole.  ‘Ah’ said the German lady who helps out there ‘you need to be taller’.  She was, of course, much taller than me and looked really good in it.  

Sometimes I find brilliant things in this shop – a beautiful tapestry jacket with exquisite buttons and from some snazzy Parisian boutique, Per Una blouses from the days when Per Una was still pretty and floaty, heavy cotton sheets that pin OH down and stop him stealing all the covers from me on a chilly night.  Today, there was a lot of tat and faded bling.  The German lady was sifting through a bag of china figurines, of the type which are included in the three kings cakes and lie in wait to break the teeth of the unwary.

King Cake (Northern style)

King Cake (Southern style)

The cake traditionally celebrating Epiphany in France and Quebec is sold in most bakeries during the month of January. Three versions exist: in northern France, Quebec, and Belgium the cake called galette des rois (which can be either circular or rectangular) consists of flaky puff pastry layers with a dense center of frangipane or apple. In the west of France a sablé galette is made, a form of sweetcrust pastry. In southern France – OccitaniaRoussillonProvenceCatalan where it´s called tortell – the cake called gâteau des rois or royaume, is a torus-shaped brioche with candied fruits and sugar, similar in its shape and colours to a crown. This later version is also common to Spain and very similar to New-Orleans king cake.
Tradition holds that the cake is “to draw the kings” to the Epiphany. A figurine, la fève, which can represent anything from a car to a cartoon character, is hidden in the cake and the person who finds the trinket in his or her slice becomes king for the day and will have to offer the next cake. Originally, la fève was literally a broad bean (fève), but it was replaced in 1870 by a variety of figurines out of porcelain or—more recently—plastic. These figurines have become popular collectibles and can often be bought separately. Individual bakeries may offer a specialized line of fèves depicting diverse themes from great works of art to classic movie stars and popular cartoon characters. The cakes are usually sold in special bags, some of which can be used to heat the cake in a microwave without ruining the crispness of the cake. A paper crown is included with the cake to crown the “king” who finds the fève in their piece of cake. To ensure a random distribution of the cake shares, it is traditional for the youngest person to place him- or herself under the table and name the recipient of the share which is indicated by the person in charge of the service.
Formerly, the cake was divided into as many shares as there were guests, plus one. The latter, called “the share of God,” “share of the Virgin Mary,” or “share of the poor” was intended for the first poor person to arrive at the home.
The French President is not allowed to “draw the kings” on Epiphany because of the etiquette rules. Therefore, a traditional galette without figurine or crown is served at Elysée Palace in January.

The market was quite busy for Winter and to celebrate, two of the cafes had decided to close for the day.  Was obliged to go to Croaky Joe’s and had to sit inside as the terrasse was packed.  Was amused to listen to a group of Brits who had had to come and sit down to recover from the shock of the cost of cheese on the market.  They were looking glum and the woman was not helping things as she looked at the weather on her phone and told her family that it was going to rain for the next six days.  

The woman had some experience of living over here and remarked that the locals were not at all interested in hearing about personal problems.  I reflected on this – it is true that they never, ever discuss their private lives or those of their relatives, with their work colleagues. You have to become an extremely close friend of someone before they will say anything and even then, it will only be occasionally.  The great British tradition of having a bit of a gripe when you are fed up, just doesn’t happen.

I was just about to try and insinuate myself into their conversation – you never know if they are looking to buy or sell – when OH rang up and informed me that he had gone on an alternative walk and was no where near home and could I come and get him.

Back home for early lunch.  Those bloody ISIS people are still killing and blowing people up. Deaths in Copenhagen and Egypt.  Russian bomber planes chased away from coast of Cornwall by RAF.

After lunch, I was required to assist with wood cutting duties.  OH extended a long line of cable and put up the horse and started cutting the pieces of stacked wood in the far shelter. He must have cut about four large logs into chunks when the chain came off.  He rested the chainsaw on his knee and tried to get the chain back on.  No joy.  He then moved to a tree stump.  Again, no joy.  He moved into the kitchen and I loaded and stacked the logs.  An hour later, the chain was still refusing to tighten and I said I had had enough of playing with the chainsaw and wanted to go swimming.

OH decided he had not had enough frustration for the day, and I left him to battle with getting pod casts onto his Ipod.  

Took the chainsaw to the local DIY store and the guy in there performed the same operation as we had been doing for the past hour and a half, and the sodding chain tightened immediately.  He then undid it, and it refused to tighten.  I left it with him.

The pool was busy with annoying rugby players who didn’t look where they were going and small children who didn’t get out of the way.  I have now taken to swimming into people too. When in Rome, etc.   Practiced eye exercises whilst swimming up and down.  Wonder how long it takes before you ‘see’ the effect?

GBSB was brilliant tonight.  First task was to remake a 50s classic ‘Walkaway’ dress which, apparently, one could whip up in a morning before going out to lunch with friends.  Morning, for me, would have to start at just after midnight.  Lovely stylish shape to the dress.  Remake challange involved taking a pair of curtains and turning them into something wonderful.  All without patterns.  Very impressive.  Lastly they had to make a 50s garment in sheer material.   Nightmare to sew and the winner was a very stylish blouse.

Some exquisite Dior dresses showing the New Look.  Gave me goosebumps

 this lady seems to have accidentally been given a lampshade to wear.
 can you just imagine how fabulous this would be to wear?  How it would swish as you walked?

 the lampshade is back.  This was a core day ensemble of the New Look – love the contrast of the black gloves and the white shoes
 is there anything more elegant than full length gloves?  I think women today have a completely different shape from women in the 40s and 50s.  No one now has the shape of the model in the black ensemble.


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