My magic carpet quivered with excitement when it saw me wearing this scarf today. It knew we were off somewhere exciting. I have translated for you the French name TRESORS DES MERS, so you have a clue that we are crossing the Channel to France.
The scarf is silk twill made in Lyon by Andre Claude Canova who started his silk business in 1976, but you will see in the corner of the scarf it was made for Renouard who have been making fine leather goods since 1891. Five generations of the same family of artisans making high quality goods is impressive, but doesn’t quite match Hermes who have been going since 1837. They both produced leather saddlery goods and the first customer was really the horse! The scarves from both companies came much later.
Let’s examine today’s silk foulard. Hems hand rolled towards the front surface, rather than behind, in common with Hermes, colours orange and brown, not very marine-like, and a design of exotic fish, seahorses, starfish and a variety of shells. The carpet is impatient. Let’s be off!
Plenty of memories eating fish on the south coast of England, cod and chips on Brighton front, razor clams in Devon, crab in Cornwall. Over the Channel, the carpet hovers above Boulogne. A quick flash back to a mad day trip taking elderly Scottish Uncle Walter to the harbour for a lunch of the newly landed Catch of the Day. Nowadays I get tired out walking to a local bistro.…Heaven help me should I think about a day trip journey by EuroTunnel to France for a bit of lunch! Not sure anyway that uncle didn’t prefer his local Arbroath smokies! Now the carpet flight takes us over Paris. I wave my scarf in memory of Monsieur Renouard and again to Monsieur Canova as we pass over Lyon, home of the silk industry for centuries. The Mediterranean beckons…. perhaps a bowl of bouillabaisse fish soup in Nice? A slight right turn and we are over Marseilles. I have already written in a previous blog about the ancient Spanish treasure ship unearthed from the deep there by my husband’s old diving friend, so what connection can I find with my scarf today? The last of the mistral wind catches my scarf and I see the words ‘depuis 1891’.
No, it has no connection with the treasure ship. The date is exactly April 1st 1891. An excited Frenchman boards the sailing ship which will be his home for seventy days. His name is Paul Gauguin, the painter, en route for Tahiti. Now comes this week’s coincidence. My life seems to revolve around these! I lost a dear friend last year, and this week I was offered some token momento from his home. The choice was from a photo online of the selection on offer. I chose a shell. Imagine my surprise to find it was carved with the name Tahiti. My husband must have given it to him from our trip to that magical island many years ago. We made that journey to visit old friends who run Le Restaurant Bar du Musee Gaugin. Yes, it is right on the lagoon by the museum dedicated to the painter, and it serves excellent fish. Gaugin arrived in Papeete, Tahiti on June 8th 1891. I guess he was fed up with dry ships biscuits and welcomed the treasures of the French Polynesian seas, to say nothing of its beautiful women!
I beckon to the carpet that we should tarry here. Will my friends in Papeari give me my usual job of picking fresh hibiscus flowers from their grounds to adorn the plates of tuna, snapper or bluefin trevalli at their restaurant? Weave baskets of palm leaves? Search the sandy beach for shells?
I awake from my reverie. The carpet is rolled up in my garage. At least I am reassured the abalone shell inscribed with the name Tahiti is real. I look at my iphone. I had typed in TRESORS DES MERS, and what do I find? I have located a French site advertising an online game Mystic Sea Creatures from a company called ‘GirlsGoGames’. Now, I have only great grandsons who are gamers. I wonder if I can persuade them this is a unisex game? I must guard against exploring it myself. Enough addictions to scarves, Wordle and DUOLINGO!
See you next week! But where?
Busy Bee, Scarf Face!
Series 2, Blog 92.