Sunday, 19 July 2020

A glimpse into the past

Many of you know that I can't resist a rummage around a second hand store. Whether it's Emmaüs, a ressourcerie or vide-grenier, I'm there. Why do I do it? Several reasons really. I dislike waste, so much modern furniture and household items just end up going into landfill as a short shelf life seems to be the norm now. I also have concerns over the manufacturing processes on new items, the exploitation of people who work in the factories not to mention the environmental implications.

The quality of older items is often so much better, yes it may need a bit of work but it's worth it. And there's the additional bonus of developing a unique home, it's very unlikely someone will walk into your sitting room and say "oh yes my best friend has exactly the same one as that". But for me it's also about the small items that open a window onto a past time.


Friday afternoon I visited Emmaüs and then swung past my favourite brocante. Her hours are a little unpredictable but she was open. I found some cocktail forks for a friend and a little Le Creuset dish for my collection (total spend so far 2 euros). I then spotted a book, beautiful cover but no title. The spine was a little damaged but inside was fine but what was it? It was a 1925 almanac for the Grands Magasins du Louvre.





I turned the pages, first up was the obligatory list of French saints days, then a history of the shop. Next were two humorous essays on etiquette and dancing.



Finally were the diary pages. Half a page for each day, black and white illustrations across the top and expenses and income columns down each side. At the end of the month you have a summary sheet for your accounts and budgeting for the month. Housekeeping included cooking, laundry and maintenance and a clothing allowance for Monsieur, Madame and the children.



My favourite page has to be the list of departments some of which we would recognise today - shoes, mens shirts. But I really want to go into a shop that has a special department for feathers and feather boas! Or an area devoted to black silk.


It made me think of a purchase I made a few months ago having no idea what I had bought,  just loved them. I subsequently found out that they were French store parcel handles. When you made a purchase it was wrapped up in brown paper and string and secured with one of these little wooden handles so your hand was not hurt.


I've had so much pleasure from this small purchase and will continue to do so - one euro well spent!

If you would like to know more about our life in Corrèze then feel free to follow or friend on Facebook or on Instagram

If you want to know more about this wondrous store then this Wikipedia article is quite interesting.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant. That's so exciting to find out about the parcel handles. We never really got to grips with Emmaus. I was just overwhelmed by the cavernous nature of our local one, and depressed by wading through so much (frankly) grot to find some nugget. Your patience has been well-rewarded!

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