La Soeur Arrivee!

Image Just a couple days after I wrote about the beautiful Portmeirion found in the tub on the floor with all the discounted items….and wishing for a second to share soup with someone – look what showed up in the same shop.  The glaze is crazed; (but then again, so am I) (crazed, not glazed) and there is a small chip.  Must be the older sister.  But now I have two – I had better get the soup pot ready. 

My book arrived from the lovely ladies up at Stoke-on-Trent.  I can’t find these patterns; but I have learned a lot more about this wonderful company and designs.  And now will be keeping my eyes and heart open for a couple more designs.  And will make be better at spotting them in tubs, dumpsters, wherever I happen to be. 

Today I finally picked up a coffeepot I had been watching in another shop window; it has been there almost a month.  It is attractive – in a retro kind of way –  something about it said “turn me over”.  Villeroy and Boch; and made in Luxembourg (not China, as some of the recent ones are).  Reminds me of another story that needs writing – but later.  Involving Luxembourg, Germany, and Prescott, Arizona USA it is a longer route than Route 66; but you could go through Flagstaff quite easily on the way to Prescott if you landed in Vegas.  Image Continue reading

Dumpster Diving in the Duchy (Grand!)

Doing what I do the best. And dressed for it as well – after all – it is a Grand Duchy!

We went to Luxembourg for a week; to visit friends we have not seen in some time (in person, at least!) and have a break from frenetic London.

And, admittedly, because although I adore to cruise the charity shops in London – nothing has ever compared to Dumpster Diving at Deshetterie in the Duchy.  And, I am certain that nothing ever will.  My DD in the Duchy stories had all my friends asking me to take them there when they visited from the States.

You see, life is a treasure hunt.  Firstly and mostly – friends are the best treasure.  M and her son D hosted our stay and M revives my spirits and soul.  D went to school with my daughter.  They are still very sweet together.

But then – a real treasure hunt, especially when you have NO IDEA what you will find – is the second best!  And although this is akin to sharing a trade secret – Luxembourg is the best.  I had not been there in five years; and part of me feared that it would not be like I remembered.  So much so that I did not go for the first two days.  You know – like when you visit something you remembered so well and when you get there – somehow you think what you remembered has been replaced by the bad house faeries.  And this time – “If it’s Tuesday, it must be Luxembourg – so off I went.

I remembered to put some recycling into the car; fortunately the practice is de riguer so there is no issue in finding things to take.  The security guy waves me through.  Tuesday is not a busy day.  The two bins I love are right at the end; but I busy myself with the bottles (we have been enjoying wine and champagne), paper and karton.  Each time; my eyes grazing the treasure bin.  Pretty full – and a lot of building material.  Not a good sign.  They chuck heavy things in there without a thought; often shattering something that is a treasure.

Finally – my turn.  When I first started doing this five years ago – I wasn’t certain I should.  I kept thinking that one of the big guys was going to come over and ask me “WTF do I think I am doing” (but in Luxembourgish)…..but I have learned that if you bring something to the centre; you can leave with something.  Maybe not an official rule; but one I adopted.  (See “Dumpster Diving in the Duchy” which I wrote years ago but decided to post for background.)

Much is broken – but today I am “La Reine au Deshetterie”; the Queen of the Dumpster.  I have found a wonderful Villeroy and Boch bowl with an ancienne mark; one I don’t even recognize.  You see V&B has been made here in Luxembourg for years; and I can’t even afford what is in the factory store!  But today I have found something of beauty; something with a story.  That sadly someone has put in a dumpster.  For me.  The Diva.  I am fulfilled.

Now the bowl cradles fruit, candy, whatever needs to be on the counter in my home; a reminder of friendship – and treasure hunting.  You see; except for knickers; I am convinced we do not need to buy things that are “new” when so many beautiful items already exist, waiting to be loved.

Perfection. A little crazing to show the history. J’Adore.

moi

What will I find today?

Back into the dumpster; and having a great time!

Aside

Portmeirion

I dug up a Diamond, rare and fine

mug
I dug up a diamond, rare and fine…

Back in the saddle again.  Rear end up while diving into, well, not a dumpster this time.  I’m not in the Duchy.

It’s been awhile.  So many things can get into the way of  true passion – and when it goes too long, that little voice draws you into somewhere, and then down where no one else is looking.  It is truly where you find the best – what no one else has eyes for, unless it is upfront and centre; and therefore gone.  Like so many things in life.  Like Mark Knopfler’s song “I Dug Up a Diamond”.  Metaphor for paying attention.

Charity shops have “bins” or “tubs”, where what isn’t selling goes for cheap.  I cruised the shelf; then my eyes caught a design that was pleasing.  Not to mention the size of the mug; perfect for my friend D’s black bean soup recipe with lots of garlic (which i just happened to have bought at the French Market the weekend) and some creme fraiche.  You see – I am not disciplined like my friend.   I don’t even go for the reduced fat. 

Retrieving it from the yellow plastic tub filled with the plain and functional cups people drop off and no one really wants – I found a lovely “old mark” Portmeirion . (www.portmeirion.com) If you are not familiar – this is a pottery company that encompassed an entire town in southwest England (which is still there) although today the pottery is made in Stoke-on-Trent, England.  Along with Wedgwood, Emma Bridgewater, most of the rest of them.  But the best thing about finding this one was that I had not seen the pattern before.  But somehow, my eyes recognized it without my knowing.  I dug up a diamond. 

So this leads me on a new mission to track down which design this one is – and when it was made.  Speaking to the lovely ladies at the main store in Stoke-on-Trent (I love how they call me “luv”) I learned that there is not really any compilation of Portmeirion designs – but suggested a paperback book that has most of the older ones in it.  I also learned that “Mistletoe” was discontinued years ago – as well as napkin rings; and if I come for a visit I should bring a checkbook.  Oh dear.  I am already familiar with Botanical Garden; the Heirloom Roses; Queen’s Hidden Garden; (never found one yet in a charity shop) Birds of Britain.  But I look forward to a new search; this one is going to need a sister so I can serve black bean soup for two.

garlic

Ail Rose