As we were walking around the farmers' market in Lunéville, I noticed decorations on a house nearby. Dummies, sort of men, were hanging from the wall, sitting near windows, all different and colourful.
I was quite puzzled and decided to go nearer. From the parking place, I saw details of the decorations, but no explanation about this. Was it to celebrate the beginning of the Tour de France ? No, there was no bicycle and the Tour de France doesn't come to Lorraine this year.
By moving nearer again, I discovered there was a sheet of paper fixed to the wall under a shutter. I had to go there to read it wondering what was written.
The decorations are a way to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the bookshop on the ground floor, several generations of the same family have been running the place. The note was also acknowledgements to the artist who has helped making this.
I didn't imagine the bookshop was so old, but now I can remember we can see it on old postcards. Shops staying at the same place for such a long time are not very common nowadays. I have been there a few times enquiring about books and history of Lunéville and villages around and the advice was good.
We've got a farm shop not far but a farmers' market is different. You can have a chat with the farmers, they make you taste what they sell, ask for opinions and you are tempted more easily.
The marché fermier happens twice a month in Lunéville from March to December and we had not been there this year.
I knew more or less what I wanted to buy before seeing the stalls. We chose yoghurts first, made in the farm they taste different. The Questche-cannelle (questche plum - cinnamon) ones are really good. My Husband added pear, banana, coconut, chocolate... to the basket. Then we looked at vegetables, I think they came from greenhouses as it is too cold to have zucchini in the garden already. There were also organic bread, pâté and sausages.
Our next stop was for cheese : a munster au cumin with such a strong smell that it is kept in a box in the fridge (Strangely one part was missing already when I opened the fridge again. The house-elf, maybe.) We finished with honey and walked along stalls with snails, chickens, jams and juices without choosing anything.
It was pleasant to be at the castle again and I had a go around the new decoration which must be appreciated when it is dark as we saw lights in it. The light show with fountains starts next week in the evenings, we may go there again to enjoy it.
When we arrived in Dombasle-sur-Meurthe the four old cars were the first things we saw. Among them there were one Ford T and one Renault Torpedo. Both of them were made in the 1920s.
My Husband spoke straight away about engines, cylinders, power... A foreign language I don't understand at all. But he seemed surprised by the power of the engines. Apart from this mechanical part, I really like old cars. They look so different. It is easy to imagine a trip driving through the country, wearing old costumes, with a male driver - female drivers were not common on these days, were they ?
These cars have changed the life of people who got the possibility to afford them. They had to co-exist with pedestrians, horses and carriages at the beginning. It was not easy with people not knowing cars. Well, today it is not easy either, having to co-exist with pedestrians and cyclists.
On Sunday I noticed the Renault Torpedo's steering wheel was on the right of the car, the one of the Ford T was on the left. I thought that Renault had already chosen the left side in the 1920s, I was wrong.
It was very common to see gipsies selling baskets in Lorraine till the middle of the 1970s, then they didn't come to our doors as often as before. But till about two or three years ago a couple of basket makers still used to come to the village at least twice a year. She was a very good saleswoman, telling you "you absolutely needed a new basket, or a new tray to put your pies". She was very talkative, enjoying a long chat and, in the end, very often managed to sell you something. The quality of their work was really good, but it was quite expensive and nowadays not a lot of people bother about keeping a basket for ages.
The basket maker who came to Dombasle-sur-Meurthe on Sunday reminded us when we were young. He explained he works with wicker, hazel, reed. He was from Normandy if I remember well. There were basket makers in our area, shops in Ogéviller, in Glonville, but we don't hear about them any more. There were advantages to buy a locally made basket. If one day, after putting vegetables in it and carrying it you suddenly were left with the handle in the hand only, or with the bottom of the basket staying on the ground, you just had to go to the maker's and complain. As the basket was supposed to last for ages, it was repaired quickly. The one we buy in big shops just goes straight to the bin if it breaks. Another way of living.
When I wrote about geese in my last article I didn't know I would see some in Dombasle-sur-Meurthe on the following day !
Yesterday Dombasle organized a sort of Back to the Past day with all sorts of activities linked to the 1900-1930 years.
We were walking near Place de la Liberté when suddenly a flock of geese arrived from the little street nearby. Pépiloué, a young man, and his dog were leading the flock. Geese stopped, obeyed the orders of the dog guided by the man. At one point they got very noisy. Everybody was looking at them, such an unsual sight in the center of a town.
Obviously these birds were used to make the show. They even divided into two groups, one staying in the middle of the road, the other walking away with the dog. Then they enjoyed the grass on the square surrounded by a lot of photographers.
Geese, chickens or ducks are not walking in the streets any more. Too many cars would make it very dangerous, and, as I have written earlier, manure has disappeared from the outside of houses. On top of this, pavements and roads are tarred. So all these birds wouldn't find enough food to survive in our hostile world and are better in farms or yards . You'll notice I have written "better" not "safe", as their fate has kept the same over the years.