Blog 77 - Souvenirs D'Asie



I promised a flight on the magic carpet for my Christmas weekend blog. To be honest, the carpet is my one and only form of transport, being reduced to one wobbly leg following my somewhat extraordinary fracture and two fairly useless arthritic shoulders. In fact it was searching for a cure for the shoulders which led to my purchase of today’s scarf. I had just seen a specialist surgeon at hospital who did not recommend replacement joints but suggested a nerve block to cut down the pain. Wowee!! I was so overjoyed there was another option, I decided to give myself a treat. On an impulse, I left the bus halfway home from hospital to visit a charity shop not on my usual shopping track. You can guess what I usually give myself as a treat! The shop was dark awaiting a lighting refurbishment so I could not see what I was buying. My fingers can tell the quality of silk and the hem quality, so I was happy to buy three scarves, more or less unseen. It was nearly shop closing time. I stuffed them into my handbag. I waited in the dusk for the bus.


Now, back on the No. 65 heading home, I peep at the scarves. Two ok, fairly ordinary, the third felt like heavy quality silk twill. Hardly discernible, I see the words Souvenirs d’Asie worked into the design. Ah ha….French, now I see the care label in French and English stitched in one corner…fabrique en France. Definitely top quality. I pull out the whole scarf which had been irreverently stuffed into my handbag. I cannot believe my eyes. Very cleverly and discretely displayed as a compliment card tucked within the huge orchid design were the words HERMES and partially hidden, ’avec ses compliments’. I wanted to shout out and raise my arms in joy. Shoulder pain forgotten. How could I have bought this entirely by accident? I have now researched its history and find it was designed by Vladimir Rybalchenko in 1990, the year I moved to Richmond. His uncle Philipe Leboux designed scarves for Hermes before him and his artist son Dimitri after him. An absolute treasure.



So, let’s be off on the carpet. The scarf has a blue cane basket work background with an overlay of big cream and pink orchids. As I am writing this, I have just seen the Hermes trademark and the artist signature Rybal, again part of the design, both so tiny I had not seen them. Again, I get a thrill at the subtlety and sheer artistry. We will set off now over the Channel. Paris looks fairly deserted. The Hermes headquarters closed for Christmas. No British tourists on a festive break because their travel there is banned. Let’s fly on eastwards. I should really check on my granddaughter visiting Hungary and trust she has bought a warm coat. With all the upheaval in my household last week, she left in a hurry and left her coat behind. Weather looks cold in Europe, we will press on. Where shall I land? I have happy memories of Sri Lanka, Kuala Lumpur, Thailand, Bali, Jakarta, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and I can find orchids in all these places. I have decided….I will re-visit the Botanic Gardens of Singapore. The Orchid Gardens there are divided into four zones, Spring (gold, yellow, cream) Summer (red, pink) Autumn (orange, green) and Winter (white, blue, violet) I remember from my first visit seeing the Sharry Orchid which smelled of chocolate. I am hovering over the Botanic Gardens now. It is 30 degrees centigrade. I see lots of bodies spread out on mats and make out the sign VINYASA FLOW, December 26. No, this is not the time to be taking up a new yoga exercise routine, despite my daughter carer buying me a front fastening workout bra this week to aid my shoulders. It went straight back to Marks & Spencer! I turn the carpet around. In no time at all, we are passing over my familiar Kew Gardens.


Yes, that’s a nice memory on my doorstep. Lots and lots of orchids in the Princess of Wales Conservatory as different countries have sponsored a yearly Orchid Festival. I’ve missed that these past two years due to the pandemic, so it was good to look at my photos again. The most stunning creation was the Thai floating temple covered entirely with these exotic flowers…..can I hear the sound of gentle temple bells somewhere? For fun I show the peacock and a bicycle…..I am looking forward to the future, like that bird strutting my stuff in my many coloured scarves and maybe decorating my Zimmer frame with artificial orchids. Let’s bring Souvenirs d’Asie to my ground floor temporary living quarters!





As for the smell of the Sharry Orchid, I am still tucking into my rich Wiilie’s Cacao praline truffles, Lindors and Vanden Bulcke Belgian shells to continue my chocolate buzz.





Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Series 2, Blog 77.

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