By Caitlin Kelly
I woke up one morning this week and said…I miss antiquing.
How weird is that?
In our one-bedroom apartment, we certainly have no need for another item! We try to purge on a regular basis, donating to our local thrift shop or to Goodwill.
What I miss, really, is the distinct pleasure of a long, lazy afternoon wandering a flea market or indoor antiques mall — which two French verbs describe beautifully: fouiner (to nose about) and chiner (same, for old stuff).
Also — French again! — flaner, to wander without specific purpose. (Couldn’t find the circonflex symbol!)
I lived in Paris when I was 25, and every weekend I happily rummaged through piles of old lace and grimy bits and bobs at various flea markets. I have the happiest memories of looking for 1960s girl group records with my friend Claes, a gay Swedish journalist who was another of 28 foreign journalists spending an amazing eight months together in that city on an EU-sponsored journalism fellowship, Journalistes en Europe.
Claes died later of AIDS.
I still treasure the mix-tape he made for me.
A friend’s decanter…I love cut crystal!
Today I follow a number of vintage clothing and item-sellers on Instagram, like Ruth Ribeaucourt, an Irishwoman who married into a French ribbon-manufacturing family, and who is passionate about lovely old things, some of which she sells through her online Instagram shop, @the_bouquiniste.
As I’ve blogged here before, I really appreciate old things in good condition, items well-used and cared-for and which offer me — sometimes centuries later — more utility and esthetic pleasure.
I write this atop an oak gate-leg table my father gave us, likely made in the late 18th century; ours is a dead-ringer for this one (circa 1780.)
So many questions arrive with antiques, an attachment from history.
Who sat here before us?
What did they eat?
What did they wear?
Didn’t buy them…but, as always, just enjoyed their beauty en passant
Love this recent blog post from London-based friend Small Dog Syndrome blog, who misses, of all things, her daily commute:
We are lucky to live in central London and on a normal day I can get from my front door to the office in about thirty minutes if I catch the right train, perhaps slightly more if I don’t. I tend to give myself 45 so that I can walk at a leisurely pace to the train station and pick up a nice coffee if I feel so inclined. I pass a historic churchyard that’s typically filled with dogs on their first walk of the day, and a famed antiques market every Friday.
My transit time tallies to between an hour and an hour and a half a day. It’s exercise, fresh air, and usually I get an episode or two of a podcast in or a chunk of time on my current audiobook (which I listen to at at least 1.5x normal speed so this can really add up in a work week).
I miss it. Genuinely. This was prime “me time” and I miss the start of my morning that got my bloody moving and switched my brain on.
What are you missing most right now?