It was a really good idea to go to Pont-à-Mousson to enjoy the Crazy American Weekend. We saw it was successful when we left Place Duroc to drive to Ile d'Esch, there were plenty of cars waiting for a parking place and turning around. We managed to find a small street where nobody was going (I still wonder why).
When we arrived on the island, it was surprising to discover so many American cars together. Their owners were standing or sitting near them and all proud of their vehicles.
I thought about a recent comment I have read about driving in Pont-à-Mousson with one of these cars. It is impossible to turn in some streets. Too long, too wide for these narrow ways. But they look so comfortable. One driver explained that they use an insurance for classic cars, not to have to change things to bring them into compliance with standards, but it means they are only allowed to drive in Meurthe-et-Moselle and the départements having a limit with it.
The one which I found more impressing was the Oldsmobile 98 and my favourites were the Mustang and Corvette.
I took plenty of pictures so you can also enjoy the show.
The Musée du Textile of Val-et-Châtillon was created about fifteen years ago by people who have worked in this factory before it stopped in 1978. As my mother has been employed by the other factory making fabric which was nearby, I felt like having to know more about the jobs of all these people.
Our guide gave us all the information from the arrival of cotton bales from America, Russia or Africa to the sale of fabric for clothing industry. It was not only a tour amongst machines, but also explanations in front of machines working (and sometimes being quite noisy).
Before going to this museum I didn't imagine how many times were necessary to transform a bit of cotton into a thread. And then it was impressing to see how skilful and strong workers must be to deal with the machines and also to discover that they must have a very good eyesight. They must either check the shuttle is not empty, or the thread is at the right place, or there is no flaw in the fabric. Workers of the factory were paid piece rate and, if any flaw in the fabric, money was taken from their wages.
Guides of the museum love the place, they are ready to answer any question, showing all the tasks. I heard all the words my mother uses to speak about her job and now I understand exactly what it means.
For sure, it was not easy every day.
The inside of Ferme Duval in Vaudémont is full wit old things which remind us our youth and also the old times. In one corner of a barn, we saw nearly all that is necessary to make wine (barrels, grape picking basket and a sort of big vat that we call foudre).
Nowadays people only speak about wines of Lorraine by mentioning Toul and sometimes Moselle, but the region had plenty of vineyards till the beginning of the 20th century when phylloxera arrived. After this, a lot of people lost their job, their money and the ones keeping vineyards only grew them to make their wine, not to sell it.
In the area between Nancy and Lunéville, till about 40 years ago, families had their own small vineyards. As a child, I enjoyed picking grapes by hand, spending the whole day outside, then looking at men pressing grapes and all children liked a glass of vin doux, the first pressed juice, even if our stomach was protesting afterwards.
Grape harvest time was also the opportunity to be together, families and friends, to have lunch in the vineyards sitting on bales of straw and to laugh during dinner when men were having wine of the year before and were singing and joking. One day was given for each family and then people helped another one.
When seeing the barrels and basket in Vaudémont, I remembered all the laughs and men calling each other from one place to another on the hill of my village, sometimes in the fog, sometimes in the rain, but nobody complained in spite of leaves sticking to our hands, mud to our shoes. It was hard work but with such a good atmosphere.
On our way to Vaudémont, I saw it and asked my husband if he had seen it. No. As he was driving in the narrow street, he could not look up, and that's why we stopped in Vézelise.
We parked the car and walked a few yards back. And, in the middle of a wall, we saw le pot de chambre of Lorraine. This chamber pot used to be at the corner of the house but there was a fire a few years ago and now it hangs in the middle of this big surface.
I don't know when it was made and put there. Apparently, the name pot de chambre de la Lorraine was given to Vézelise during the 19th century when there were still fifteen tanneries. The smell was so bad, and the town is in a hollow between two hills so it didn't help to get rid of it.
If my husband didn't know about the pot till recently, I have always known about it. One of my great-uncles used to say : "One foot on the hill of Sion, one foot on the hill of Bois d'Anon, and the rest above Vézelise !" French humour, we will say. I have never seen another town showing a chamber pot on a wall like this.
Well, one more wedding day this year, one more pleasant day.
This time was a bit special (but every wedding day is a bit special, isn't it ?) as it was the wedding of a local fireman. So all firemen who were not away on holiday were invited to wear their uniform, take their helmet and come to the church. At the end of the service, they went outside and stood on each side of the path, holding their helmet above the just married couple.
It happened to us too some years ago, as my husband is also a fireman. The uniform has changed in between but the atmosphere is the same. It is pleasant to see these men together enjoying this moment, without having to rush, without having to be serious.
And the weather was pleasant, people friendly, so we had a good time chatting and laughing.
All our best wishes again to the newly weds.