Saturday, May 14, 2011

Two days late, lotsa dollars short

Vegetable garden, La Maison de la Grande Vigne
Things from the Thursday morning market

The kitchen in La Vignette
 I missed the day I was supposed to update because in the morning I went to the market, and then once I got home, the gates to La Maison de la Grande Vigne were open, so I followed the stone steps up and up and up.... The gardens on the hillside surrounding the house are twisty-turny with flowers growing up in unexpected places and a mysterious mix of bright sun and shadows playing over the paths and under the trees and throughout the different textures and shades of green, and
                                                                                                       there is the happy feeling of being way up high with the river flowing and sparkling peacefully below.   In my next entry, I will include Yvonne Jean-Haffen's description of uncovering the gardens after years of neglect.  I intended on bringing her description with me, but of course I've forgotten it.  I spent a long time wandering in the garden, until the doors of the house were opened by the curator Frederic, and along with two local television reporters, he gave me a tour of the house.  I talked with Frederic for such a long time, that I was just barely able to run back down all the stairs to La Vignette, take a bath and change into a dress for the reception, which marked the formal opening of the new exhibit of Y. Jean-Haffen's work.  The reception was filled with all sorts of kind elderly French people, and I met the niece of Yvonne Jean-Haffen, who spent a lot of her youth at the house and is the subject of some of Mme Jean-Haffen's paintings.  After the reception, I went to dinner with Frederic and several of the girls he works with in the Dinan museums.  I didn't get home til midnight, so the blog fell to the wayside.  And then I tried to update it yesterday, but something was the matter with blogger and it wouldn't let me sign in.

Attempting to paint Mme Gaillais's roses

Looking down into the huge old  kiln that is directly
behind La Vignette... my patio wall is the backside of
this kiln.  The gardens of La Maison de la Grande Vigne
jut right down to the roof of La Vignette.  Which explains
why I hear animals (I think cats) scuttling around on the
roof of La Vignette every night.  Thankfully, I'm
used to the cats running on the roof at home,
so it hasn't been too disconcerting.

Typical little apartment along the main road up
into the village

Spying on old men playing that game I don't know the name  of

Another view of the garden of La Maison de la Grande Vigne

I like this petunia

Roof of La Maison de la Grande Vigne

Inside La Gallerie de l'Occasion

Steeple of St. Sauveur
Last week, I met another witchy shop-keeper.  Her shop is nothing but vintage  thread,  fabric, and linens.  I really wanted to buy some old white cotton curtains that were embroidered  in green with heads of cabbage and carrots and onions... but as I was looking at them, the shop-keeper came and took them from me and told me she was taking them to Italy for a show.  And a few minutes later, I heard her whispering about me to her shop assistant.  I guess she thought I was deaf.  Aside from the way the shop reeked of mildew, and the way she seemed so conniving (one minute smiling and telling me to be sure to look inside the drawers and dig for things, the next minute brusquely telling me the things I was interested in were very difficult to deal with because it hadn't been priced yet, or were about to be packed away for the trip to Italy), I really did want to buy something.  She had a whole basket of wooden spools of cotton thread from the 1930s. I might go back when she returns from Italy, but I haven't decided yet.  I told her I was looking for old silverware, and she drew me a map and suggested I go to a place called 'Gallerie de l'Occasion.'  I walked there on Wednesday.  It is an enormous warehouse, filled with towering old wooden wardrobes with misty mirrors, stacks of antique china, piles and piles of chairs... and even a little room with second-hand clothing.  I did find some old silverware there.  It was heavy and tarnished, lying on an upper shelf of an old bookcase.  But it gave me the creeps and I decided not to buy it.  I fully acknowledge that this is a ridiculous notion, but I felt that the silverware was haunted and I didn't want to buy it or be near it in any way.  Maybe it was because the tines of the forks were completely worn down on the left sides, showing they had been used for many, many years... showing the effect of the way the person(s) had held the fork and manipulated the food on his/her plate... and I couldn't help but imagine all the years and all the mouths the forks had served and I could hear them scraping on the plates, and maybe even on the teeth of the people eating... and I had the idea that these forks were used in days before teeth-brushing was a daily routine, and then (of course) I imagined all those people now in their graves, and wondering what portions of their skeletons might still remain.  I don't know why I was thinking that way, but I was, and there's nothing I can do about it.  I left the forks behind.

Tomorrow, there's a big all-day event at La Maison de la Grande Vigne.  Artists from all over Brittany will come to paint in the gardens, and I'm going to do it too!

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