The Lost Soldier

Monday, 12 August 2013

One of the reasons I enjoy collecting vintage treasures is that the past, viewed through a nostalgic filter, seems far more interesting than the present.

I bought this tiny locket with the intention of refurbishing it with a photo of my son as a gift for his Nanny (maternal). But when I came to slide a blade beneath the carefully cut image I didn't have the heart to prise it out. The invisible bonds of intention and meaning attached by its original owner were not mine to break.

And so he remains a smiling, smart young soldier probably active in World War 2. In the photograph he is wearing a Garrison Side Cap, more commonly known in England as a Field Service Cap, but unfortunately I haven't been able to place rank or regiment.

The Patron Saint of children - Saint Nicholas - adorns the front of the locket whilst the back is stamped with flowers. From this we can deduce the owner was likely a female; sweetheart, sister or mother.

It doesn't feel respectful to replace another mother's son with my own so the Lost Soldier, as I have come to call him, lives on adopted in my jewellery box. He may now be long forgotten but, as the scarce detail from this locket reveals, once lay close to a loved ones heart.


A Week In Provence

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Recently my little family headed off to the South of France on one of those epic car journeys that is horrendously incompatible with a raging, antibiotic-resistant UTI. I think we stopped at every service station on our 8-hour journey but as services go (with sunny outdoor seating and semi-decent food) it could have been much worse. My small son was both horrified and fascinated with the hole in the floor toilet situation found in the picnic area facilities handily dotted along the route. I was just very, umm, thankful.

We stayed in a lovely villa that has just about every home comfort you could possibly need in the picture-postcard village of Serignan du Comtat. The scenery is stunning. A drive to the recycling bank (which in England would be fairly meh, let's face it) took us past fields laden with lavender and melons but it was the sunflowers struggling to tilt their full-bloom faces towards the sun, which reminded me that Mother Nature is totally on it when it comes to colour-blocking.

We packed a lot into our holiday: a visit to the sea, food and wine tasting, a fantastic brocante market in Beaumes Des Venise where I halved the price of my purchases using pigeon French and, I like to think, a little English charm. I spent a lot of time in pharmacies unsuccessfully trying to score a double-pack of Bioderma Micelle Solution but I did buy some other French beauty goodies I will post about separately.

The husband watched Chris Froome et al ride out on a stage of the Tour de France and drove us up Mount Ventoux, a Goliath of a mountain he has himself conquered. Anyone living with a MAMIL (middle aged man in Lycra) who likes riding up torturous inclines for fun and then downloading their ride stats on Strava, will know this kind of climb results in an endorphin rush that borders on the sexual. 

We ate, drank (well, I drank mainly water. Thanks bladder, you bitch) and relaxed. Though this year has proven relentlessly painful I tried hard to live in the here and now and for the most part managed to enjoy a welcome family break.

A week in Provence? definitely not enough. A year?  Now you're talking.


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