Sunday, 9 September 2012

Shabby Chic ... To Just Shabby In The Space Of A Week .

Sonata :
As we wandered along a street lined with cafes , Smitonius was heard to murmur , "To moules or not to moules ....". Since , by this stage , we'd eaten our own weight in Moules Frites all weekend .... when we weren't eating yards of baguette stuffed with ham .... we rather fancied something else . So couscous it was .
Smitonius and partner , Friend and I had met in Lille last weekend for the Braderie , so in need were we yet more delightful vintage knick-knacks to decorate our houses . Actually we were all fairly restrained , though I seem inadvertently to have bought four 1950's Femmes d'Aujourd'hui

a 1939 programme of the Carnaval de Nice

a little recipe book for Le Tip ( a sort of post-war margarine , I think )

and a modern fish cookbook .

I can't comment on the others' impulse buys ..... but at least we didn't need those awful tartan shopping trolleys that the true afficionados were busy knee-capping everyone else with .

If you're after Shabby Chic , Lille is just the place for you . I'm always amazed by how much 1920s and '30s stuff still exists , not to mention odd , sometimes very odd , 1950s bits . I can't think how this was used ... little plates of very flat nibbles at cheese and wine parties , perhaps?

Later in the week , once back in Holland , I found myself in a tiny museum in Utrecht , De Volksbuurt Museum which is housed in a little old school in a formerly very poor neighbourhood , Wijk C . They'd filled it with minute , though actually life-size , mockups of homes and shops . At the turn of the last century families were often crammed into one tiny room with no lighting , running water or ventilation . Hardly anyone earned the bare weekly wage deemed neccessary then to sustain a family and scrabbled for money where they could . The shoemender earned a bit extra by going round at dawn waking those fortunate to have a job to go to , up , mothers bought pot herbs at the central market and sold them door to door , someone sold buckets of hot water on washday , someone else hired out a mangle .

Seeing all this made Lille's Shabby Chic look positively luxurious . Though I would happily have bought these anywhere....


Rattling On said...

You taunt me with your shopping trips again! And the museum sounds just up my street. I went to Amsterdam years ago and there was a special mobile exhibition on called The History of Torture. The Dutch surely know how to inform and educate.

June said...

Old Stuff doesn't grab me. New Stuff doesn't do much for me either. It all looks like Things To Clean And Take Care Of. If anyone stops by my house, I'm in the mood to sell them the sinks and floors.

Friko said...

I'm not with you. I got the needing to eat permanently bit and I got the bit about spending money on useless stuff, which is going to be put away in a drawer for a long, long, time; but what's with the tiny houses museum and the bootees?

Is that a picture of the museum? If so what's with the shoes?

I think I need to be told; whenever I'm confused, I need to eat a lot of chocolate. You wouldn't want to do that to me, would you?

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I'm glad you got the bit about the importance of constant food intake for optimal shopping skills ( moules and chips are much healthier than chocolate , by the way ) .
As for the museum ... I had to go to Utrecht on Tuesday so took the chance to nip into this little place . The shoes were on display .... looking only marginally scruffier than ones we'd seen for sale in Lille .

Marcheline said...

I adore old stuff... adore. I have no idea what a moules is, or what moules are, but I intend to find out because I'm sure I would love them. Hell, I eat HAGGIS and ask for more, so how bad could moules be?

That weird circular shelving unit is obviously not meant for home use... perhaps it was a display unit for jewelry in a store? Or LP records? HA! It's odd, but kind of cool.

The booties remind me of creepy movies. I see them and I hear a broken music box twanking, an attic door creaking open, and just as you're turning around to look behind you.... WHAM! You get hit by a whole plateful of moules!

Marcheline said...


Damn, it's only seven A.M. and I'm already hungry.

love those cupcakes said...

Love Marcheline's comment about the boots! Totally get the eating (thought not the stuff that once had a face!), the browsing, the buying and that fascinating taste of past lives in the museum. (That old neighbourhood sounds a bit like the slum my parents grew up in.)

Liz said...

You do visit some wonderful places!
I have a Stork post-war cookery book.

Are you sure it's not a drum set?