Friday, 6 September 2019

An Impromptu Visit to a Basket Weaver


Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

On our recent walk around Sauvaget our route at one point took us through a farmyard. The farm dogs came roaring out to deal with us, closely followed by their owner. We greeted one another, got the dogs under control and moved on. But not very far. We got to the machinery shed and noticed an intriguing workstation, with some sort of plant material on the table as well as hanging to dry. It wasn't lavender. After photographing it and discussing it amongst ourselves for a bit, we went back to speak to the farmer and ask him what it was, using that magical phrase 'pardon de vous déranger' on entering his courtyard again.

 Demonstrating how to make a 'snail' base to start off a rush basket.
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

He was only too happy to tell us all about what he was up to in the shed. He told us he had been an organic farmer, but was now retired. He'd taken up basket weaving as an occupation, and the plants he was drying in the shed were rush (Fr. jonc). We were very surprised when he broke out into English too! He was a thoroughly nice chap and we felt very privileged to have spent some time with him. I hope we see him around at the local fairs demonstrating his craft. If we do we will certainly say hello.

The next step is to work in rush loops to hold the spiraling rushes together.
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Sheafs of rush hanging to dry.
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The rush is gathered locally. Lisa embarrassed herself by touching one of the sheafs and having it fall to pieces, scattering rushes all over the ground. Our new friend very kindly told her not to worry, it was not a problem.

Rush weaving artefacts were not the only things of interest in the shed.

Leather sewing machines for making boots.
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
These two machines are for sale, so if you are interested get in touch and I will connect you with the vendor. The machine on the left is for sewing thick leather such as soles or multiple layers; the machine on the right is for sewing the calves of long boots.

We were told that this antique pram body dated from the 1850s
 and that his wife had been wheeled around in it as a baby.
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
The man's wife came out to tell him she was off to Preuilly, so we met her too and there was a pleasant exchange between us and them.

Their garlic crop drying on a rack.
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Elephant garlic, which he called ail de Guadaloupe, which is apparently hard to grow in the Touraine.
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.


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4 comments:

chm said...

Never a dull moment!

GaynorB said...

It looks like we missed a really interesting walk!

Susan said...

That's right. We are discovering new things right on our doorstep all the time.

Susan said...

It had some great highlights and is a good walk that I'm sure we'll do several times a year.

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