Now what? Life in rural Ariege

Burblings about adjusting to life in the deep south west of France or "la France profonde" as they call it here and the challenges of restoring a ramshackle collection of tumbledown buildings. I mainly write about local festivals, events and celebrations and, most of all, the weekly ritual of combing vide greniers and brocantes for pre-loved vintage treasures.

4 September 2011

Treasure trove of vintage glass buttons

I'm feeling particularly pleased with myself today. It is a rainy Sunday morning in Britain and it is the last rainy Sunday morning in Britain that I will be experiencing until 2012 because I am flying back to France next week. Enfin! I will have been here nearly 70 days and I can't wait to get home and get Maison Dumay started.

I'm also feeling pleased this morning because I made a Hurculean effort to get out of bed on this dismal morning to go to a car boot sale. I admit I did not have high hopes as I thought the persistent drizzle would put off even the hardiest of car-booter. But luckily I was wrong.

Here in Salisbury, Wiltshire, the local cattlemarket is the venue for many types of sales: chickens, sheep, cows, art & antiques and on Sunday mornings a car boot sale. Unbeknown to me the sellers actually set up their stalls in the cattle pens in inclement weather but it was a little startling to drive in to the old cattle market and see row upon row of stalls selling all manner of goodies including bric-a-brac, plants, homemade jams and even bacon sandwiches. And it was heaving with people at 0800.

And amongst it all I found a lady who has selling off some of her antique button collection and sewing paraphanalia. The first item that caught my eye were her button hooks. She had several pieces with mother of pearl handles, a couple of hallmarked silver ones and this small, rather distressed, travel button hook.

OK so its not much of a looker but I just loved its well-worn patina, its rusty bits, the bare metal areas and the rubbed remains of it's original silver plating. It still works well and the hook folds neatly back into the hand loop. A perfect little travel accessory from a bygone era. When I acquire an item like this I can't help but wonder how many people have used this, generously loaned it to others and maybe even lost it for someone else to find and tuck into their pocket.

I also bought some stunning buttons from this lady. A set of 3 "Austrian tinies" in orange gilded metal. A magnificient set of 4 black and silver lustre buttons, two tiny pressed black Austrian glass buttons with a gilded flower in the centre and these stunning glass and gilt buttons.

This photo does not really do justice to the gorgeous opalescent glass centres which range from pink to green. The large glass centres are bordered with a gilt metal overlapping disc design. Quite simply they are stunning.

I am also congratulating myself on my self-discipline today. All today's treasures are tiny little gems which will be easily accommodated in my bulging luggage. Luckily these beauties will not be left to languish in an English loft until my next visit in 2012.

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