Sunday, July 30, 2017

Brimfield Antiques Fair: This and That

Old cars turned into bars in the field called Quaker Acres:

I should have bought this. Look at that face:

Whoa. These are iron banks and toys, I think:

The skeleton strikes a chord with me. That robot may be red but it looks like a worried Democrat:

Oh, dear. I hope they have health insurance:

Looks like these alarm clocks were buried in someone's yard for a while to give them that vintage patina:

If you went to Brimfield looking for a rusty red gas can, you'd be in luck:

Gas masks are always in style, somewhere:

Creepy Christmas in July. The more I looked at these guys the more I didn't want to. And what is that elf doing with a sled full of dead reindeer?

An older dealer with a long white beard filled his whole tent with zombie portraits and so on:

I prefer the doll-head artisans:

Hey, look: Normal Antique Stuff:

This was just too weird to ignore. Look at the scary little creatures in that box that forms the base of what looks like a bird house with side porches and a scary monster at the door. All of the components are joined together to form a single, cohesive . . . whatever.

If they ever do a sequel to Deadwood, here are some of the costumes for the saloon girls:

What did I buy, you ask? I did not buy any animals, dead or imaginary. Nor did I buy anything creepy, ruffly, rust, or strange. I bought this brass-trimmed coromandel box, which holds letters.

And the little one in the front of this picture, which is a tea caddy.

I saw them when I was by myself, took photos, and planned to return with my husband to choose one or two. (The prices were about a third of what I'd expected.) But I was overcome by heat and humidity by the time we met up, and even lunch and a cold lemonade didn't help. We went straight home, where I collapsed and slept for 12 hours. I woke up feeling perky, and remembered the boxes. I knew which field they were in, and that they were in one of three big, covered pavilions, so I looked up the phone number of the person who manages that field, described everything, and he found the dealer and gave her my number. The boxes arrived two days later, wrapped in wads of puppy pads. I should have gotten all three. . . . 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Brimfield Antiques Fair: The Animals

Here are some animals I saw at the July Brimfield Antiques Fair: dead, alive, and imaginary.

Let's get through the worst first: Taxidermy was a recurring motif. I grew up with it and have a high tolerance, but I had trouble with the first animal I spotted: it seems to be a decomposing boar with something blue in its foamy-looking mouth. This has to be the worst critter I've ever seen at Brimfield. The little gramophone is a winner, though:

Someone was doing big business in recycled metal animals. This is the goat collection:

A couple of armadillos and a frog with wheels:

The roosters were the best:

This lobster, about five feet tall, looked like it needed a long vacation:

I wonder where the other antler is:

Insects and fish in clear acrylic. No, thank you.

A deer trophy tucked away in a corner:

Many dealers bring their dogs:

I see maybe one cat per show. This one was not happy about its fancy collar:

This fox doesn't look happy to be stuck in a fake tree stump, or whatever it is. I hope it's not a piece of an elephant.

Cheerier foxes for the garden:

A dealer's dachshund keeps cool in the grass. It was a sultry day:

My favorite, of course: A pensive lion, with oak leaves and acorns.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Mantel Decor

Harris has claimed the mantel as his territory. I can't remember when I last saw anyone else up there. He occupies that corner almost every day, often when I'm sitting in the armchair nearby and he wants his supper. From that perch he keeps a watchful eye on me from above. When I look up, he's usually staring down at me, like a hawk or a vulture (a cute one) staking out its prey. I don't mind.

He is the most imperious, entitled cat I've ever had. His remarkable self-esteem is often written all over his face:

I've had to remind myself lately that not all cats are as well-mannered as mine. I've heard and read lately about cats who maliciously attack, scratch, and bite their people. Possum smacks us a fair amount (without claws) because we don't obey him as much as he wants but he doesn't hurt us. And Harris will quietly bite my hand if I'm working on a difficult mat in his fur, to remind me to be careful, which is fair. When I was a kid, we had a vicious tiger who made life exciting, but my current five are uniformly sweet and gentle.* Even Wendy, who still has a feral streak, has never once tried to harm us.

I'm always surprised when I talk to non-cat people, who think it is normal for cats to be nasty and unpredictable and to draw blood. When I hear this, I instinctively blame the people, not the cats. I always assume that a nasty cat is a mistreated cat, one that has learned to protect itself. Yes, they are designed to be little killing machines, with claws, fangs, and powerful jaws, but only for prey and predators. People don't belong in either category, and cats who think otherwise usually have their reasons.

If you learn to respect and read cats, to communicate with them, and if you aren't a jerk, the claws and fangs will never come out. Learning to speak cat is a lifelong project, endlessly interesting because every cat is different, but they all like to be understood, just as we do.

Harris believes the world is his and he never needs to lift a paw, or use a claw, to prove it.

* Except for the last time Lion had went to Angell Animal Hospital after swallowing string. He escaped from his cage, and as two vet techs struggled to catch him, he bit one hard enough to draw blood, and somehow gave the other one a head injury. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Last Postcards from Paris, I Promise

After I kept finding little notes in our Paris hotel room, I was half-tempted to start leaving them around for myself. I might even do it here at home. I could put a little sign in the cupboard. "If you smile  😀 you won't be able to stuff your face 💀with cookies 🍪."

This is the Hôtel de Sens a medieval mansion turned arts library and exhibition gallery. We walked past it in the Marais every day and kept admiring its turrets, towers and red trim. The garden is a pleasant place with all sorts of flowers.

The exhibition gallery was closed when we tried to go in.

Here's the Canal Saint-Martin. It is supposed to be a trendy area for housing and nightlife, and there are markets further along the way, but nothing was happening when I was there, early in the morning.

The Rue de Croissant had to be photographed:

Speaking of pastry:

The pistachio eclair was excellent. Why can't we get them here? We can barely get vanilla. It's unfair.

On a more wholesome note, there was a fruit stand near our hotel that had exquisite displays, priced as you would expect:

I wanted everything:

We should tie pretty ribbons on our melons:

Here is the lobby and breakfast room in our hotel. I like the odd juxtaposition duck-egg paint and blue upholstery.

Modern reliquaries with humorous tags. I would be Saint Hairball.

This pistachio eclair was not a great as the previous one but it was still better than almost any American eclair:

An exceptional Jewish food and spice shop in the Marais. The open bags of spices made it smell like the souks in Egypt:

Someone was always sitting on this point of the Ile Saint-Louis. This time there were picnics.

What did we bring home? Caramels. Tea, more tea, and extra tea. A colorful cotton scarf edged with tiny tassels. A hard-to-find Barbara Pym novel from Shakespeare & Company (I had to climb to the top of the ladder to reach it). Three of the simple, colorless toothbrushes I always buy in Paris. Chocolate-orange biscuits from Marks & Spencer, advertised on the package as "more chocolate than biscuit." A pretty, faceted and stripey mineral from the rock shop on the Ile, which I will show you later.  Three big, bright, plastic wristwatches that were a promotional gift for my husband from his colleagues — he loves them; I do not. I'd been planning to buy a certain green suede, fringed bag from Sézane, which I'd admired on their website. But when I saw it in person I didn't like it. So no big splurges, but that's okay.

Here's one last bateau-mouche before we head home and unpack, and then go west to Brimfield:

Au revoir, Paris.