Monday, May 30, 2011

Musicians Here and There

These musicians were playing at the Esperaza Market on Sunday, and the accordian player at the Mirepoix Market today. There is little to say except that enthusiam goes a long way.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Knife Sharpener at the Mirepoix Market

Every Monday morning at the Mirepoix Market there is a knife sharpening vendor with his equipment set up under a couvert near a particular restaurant. He always has a bunch of customer's knives sitting on his bench, along with scissors, pruners and anything else you can sharpen with a grinding wheel. Customers leave their knives and shop for awhile and give him time to work on them. The wheel operates with an ancient pedal mechanisim, like a treadle sewing machine.

Today I took my folding knife to him for its first ever professional sharpening, and here is the "gentleman" working on it. I use "gentleman" in quotes only because he looks like a bald headed pirate, or a character from a movie about the apocolypse. But regardless of his appearance, he is a gentleman. He always has a hand rolled cigarette hanging from his mouth and sports a billy goat's beard. His fingers are knobby and calloused and he's always nursing beer sitting on his grinding wheel frame, no matter that it is ten o'clock in the morning.

I'm glad to report that the knife is like new, in fact, much sharper than it was when I bought it five years ago. Definitely worth the 2 euro. Click on 'em to enlarge 'em.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The French: Paragons of Good Taste. Or Not?

A lot of Americans are beguilled by France (and more accurately, Paris) as the center of the universe when it comes to class, style and refinement. And indeed, there are certain members of my family (you know who you are) hold up the French as the pinnacle of good taste. I have always had my doubts. So today, at a Vide Grenier in Le Peyrat I saw so much junk being offered for sale that I knew what I had to do. I took pictures of some of the more offensive garbage. It was not easy to do with a straight face as the owners were, for the most part, sitting behind the table or standing nearby, beaming proudly at their possessions that they were sadly parting with. So, without further ado, here are some of the least tastefull of the items. Bear in mind that the weather was not cooperating, and a heavy mist demanded that many of the items be covered by plastic and I could only take pictures of the least valuable items left out in the rain.

What do you think of this beautiful clock that also doubles as a candlelabra? Very chic, n'est pas?

Or what about this touching painting of a weeping child, complete with an ornate frame. Do you like it? Would you like to see it on your living room wall? Of course, who wouldn't?

How about this plaster image of a woman mooning? Something to have in your home, no doubt. If you don't have something like this, and you want it, please note that it is not "one of a kind". There were two, one more at the top of the picture exactly like it, so the value is half what you might think.

Any one these items would add grace and sophistication to your home if it was sitting on your mantel. But if you had all four, friends and neighbors would line up on Saturdays to see them displayed. Well, at least my neighbors would.

Who is this guy? Is he famous or the son of someone in Le Peyrat?

And lastly, this sculpture. Who doesn't love clowns? Feel free to leave your comments if you wish, and remember, to see these objects larger, just click on em'.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

We Left for France and I Forgot the Key to the House

That's right. I drove all the way from Montrose to Denver, spent a few days with my sister, and only on the way to the airport did I remember that something had been left behind. The key to the house. In all of our preparations for travel, airline reservations, packing, arrranging for Fergus, I never bothered to put the key into my luggage. As luck would have it, we were able to call Bill and Sally on the way to the Denver Airport and ask them to drop a key by the house. Thankfully they were home, had a key and could drop it by. I had a real moment of panic imagining how to break into our own house with zero tools at hand. And that's why you will now see this on our door. It's a small key safe and if you know the combination, you can get in the house.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to All You Mothers

Nancy and I wish a Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. Our own mothers are long gone, but we have not forgotten them. Here are some pictures from the "wayback machine". Above, is Nancy's mom, Suzanne Kitchen (1912-1997) when she was perhaps 20 years old, posing in some photographer's studio in Chicago. She looks very chic and rather elegant and it's hard to remember that this is 'smack dab' in the middle of the Great Depression.

Here's a drawing of my mother Margaret Cunningham (1920-1974) done by Bob Bowie, a friend of hers that was, by all accounts, hopelessly in love with her. It's not a great likeness of my mother in 1943, but its a nice drawing and I can tell its her. It appears old Bob spent a lot of time working on her hair and got it just right. Pardon the wrinkles in the paper; it's pasted into her scrapbook.This is a photograph of my mother from the same time frame (the early 40's) that I found in her scrapbook. She's on the right, the tall one with the good legs, accepting some kind of trophy. I don't think there is a photo in existence of my mother without her cigarette (and she was an asthmatic) and this photo appears to be no exception. I have no idea who the other woman is, probably another Colorado College coed (she's smoking and has a trophy, too).

Remember kids, click on 'em to enlarge 'em. And don't forget your mother on Mother's Day.