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.

2 December 2011

It's almost a religious experience

As the year accelerates towards its end the vide grenier season is all but over. At this time of year they give way to toy and Christmas markets. There is still the odd highlight and last weekend was another first for me - a vide grenier in my home village and in the grounds of the Abbaye Chateau no less. Needless to say I was up and about early that morning and marched purposefully through the thick and freezing fog up the hill to the Abbaye. It was a hive of activity with cold stall holders still setting up.

I realised as I entered the outer courtyard that I have developed a kind of ritual. I do actually chant to myself a list of objects that I would really love to find at this particular vide grenier. On this particular morning I was chanting "wirework, enamelware, handmade hand tools and art deco". For something I now do with an almost religious fervour it hardly ever seems to actually work and I found myself gazing gloomily at the usual array of plastic toys, grubby bedlinen and a fair smattering of war and hunting paraphanalia. I was just about to go home for a hot mug of coffee and wander out again later when I spotted a quite astounding item. This.

Yes, its an old religious vestment, a chasuble to be precise. It is the outermost liturgical vestment worn by clergy for the celebration of the Eucharist and a green vestment signifies new growth, the flourishing of the "vineyard". It is traditionally worn during Ordinary Time, which is the largest segment of the liturgical calendar. How appropriate to find one in the grounds of my local abbaye.

I failed to find "wirework, enamelware, handmade hand tools and art deco" but maybe the last vide grenier of the season next Sunday will offer up some of these items. I think it's unlikely I will be finding another chasuble!