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.

21 October 2013

Chestnut Festival treasure

My weekly trips to vide greniers to hunt for treasures to add to Histoires on etsy often throws up surprises.

Of course I hunt for items I love and I am always drawn to beautiful old linens

This rather unpromising heap of sheets and curtains yielded some beautiful unused hand embroidered metis dowry sheets

Art deco sheets with embroidered flowers, jours work, appliques and large central monograms. Better still there is a pair. Perfect for curtains or use as bedcovers.

These old suitcases had several old handmade aprons in them

Ordinarily, this would be the icing on the cake for me. But this particular vide grenier produced a massive surprise.

I picked up a small bundle of handwritten journals on a stall selling old magazines and paper ephemera. I didn't really closely look at them as I was distracted by a pair of friends, Paul and Sylvie, standing next to me raking through the Pokemon cards.

When I pulled them out the bag at home I was absolutely amazed by what I had bought

3 books of calculations and technical drawings

I searched for the date and found it on the large blue print at the back of the thickest journal

1925 and 1926. But what are all these pages of calculations and drawings about?

Looking at the blueprint I initially thought it was for a flying boat swing ride at a fairground.

In fact they are detailed techinal specifications for the Hanriot H-38 aircraft.

According to my research the Hanriot H-38 was an observational biplane, a "hydravion" or seaplane. Only 1 was ever built. This one H-38 crashed during early flights and no more were constructed.

Sadly I have no further information on this exciting find. I cannot account for how I was able to purchase these incredible documents at the Chestnut Festival (fete de la chataigne) in Dreuilhe, Ariege. I do not know if there was some family connection to the Hanriot company. Maybe these historic journals had been squirreled away by an aviation enthusiast years ago. Most likely they had been forgotten, gathering dust for many years in an attic and were hauled out to be sold by descendants who did not understand or appreciate their significance.

I will always be amazed by the rare, unusual and downright fascinating items I can find in a field of this corner of SW France. My Sundays combing vide greniers are never dull :)

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