Three relics of the weekend are cheering me up on this unseasonably cold Monday.
First, a box of stamps (as in inking) and another of stickers which I bought online, in a fit of hormone-related retail extravagance (anyone else have these?) last week. They are from those peddlers of priceless ephemera, Cavallini & Co. Oh, I love them.
I shall put a photo of my boys in the frame: a photo from our French Alpine holiday, since the frame is decorated with French stamps. This makes me happy out of all proportion to the modest amount of time and effort spent on it.
Second, a vase of spring flowers and leaves from a peaceful sunlit walk (see previous post).
This morning I noticed that the dangling flowers (if that is what they are) of the beech stems have powdered the table with pollen – and it is bright green. For some reason, this makes me feel very cheerful. I suppose I should dust the table later, but for the moment I am enjoying my gift of green pollen.
Third, some goodies from a family trip to an international market in Dundee yesterday afternoon. The market itself was a bit of a disappointment: much of the food was more fairground quality than farmers’ market and to call it international was perhaps pushing it a bit. Yes, there were Chinese, African and Indian stallholders in addition to the usual Poles, Germans, Dutch and French who regularly pop across to Scotland. Having discovered, however, that the Toulousain boulanger was from Manchester and that the Breton patisserie was run by Yorkshiremen, I have my doubts as to whether the other stallholders actually voyaged especially to Dundee from Cathay and farthest Inde. Nonetheless, we all enjoyed ourselves. Everyone was friendly, and the boys were excited to discover exotic delights such as Baltic amber from Gdansk (‘it looks like treasure!’ gasped the four-year old), wild boar sausage from Savoy and toy giraffes and lions made from recycled tin cans in Zimbabwe (so much work for what return, one wonders). We adults enjoyed choosing olives, bread and saucisson for next week’s lunches. But the best stall as far as the children were concerned was the sweet stall, a Willy Wonka dream of sugary excess.
The equivalent for me was the Yorkshire-Breton patisserie stall. Carbohydrates being my comfort food of choice, the sight of tray after tray of sugared palmiers, chocolate waffles, madeleines and I know not what put me into a fever of greed. Common sense prevailed as I told myself firmly that the idea of them was bound to be tastier than the reality, seeing as they had probably been sitting out in their open boxes for three days. But you must see how alluring they looked to a hungry and cold passer-by:
Incidentally, I wondered idly what Proust would have made of these, so disparagingly labelled:
It was in a stall from Finland that we all finally found satisfaction. Even the hard men of northern England confessed to being frozen in Dundee’s bitter wind, but the Fins looked as if they were enjoying their visit to the balmy south, being perfectly relaxed and warm in their thick jumpers. Having eyed their reindeer hides, furry hats and snowflake-patterned jumpers, the boys settled for blowing their pocket money on cuddly toy huskies, while mum and dad blew ours on some fabulous, rainbow-hued, thick woolly socks. It may be May, but with sleet forecast for us this week, we are still feeling more attuned to our Nordic neighbours than any of the more southerly ones. And yes, that is a fire burning in the stove back home!
I hope that you, too, have some happy memories from the weekend to keep you warm this week.
See also: Prehistoric Encounters on Cairn Gorm