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My French Life: One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure

In the basement of Lassco London

Some years ago I visited LASSCO in London; it’s an amazing place, an architectural salvage yard and shop that is a delight to visit.  From Georgian interiors to ‘60’s kitsch, furniture, accessories, old bits and pieces – I spent the entire day there just looking around and absorbing the sights.  I bought some bits and pieces for our French farmhouse and can highly recommend it to lovers of salvage.

I would have liked to buy so much but my budget didn’t stretch too far so I bought a pair of miniature stone lions because I fell in love with them, a set of butlers bells because I just couldn’t bear to leave without them – I’d hankered after some for so long… and a bag of old French newspapers.

The lions went into storage until I could figure out what to do with them – they are based on lions created by an Italian sculptor whose name I have completely forgotten.  When I bought the house in France I knew that I’d find somewhere for them to go and eventually, when we got round to building a fire place – the lions found a home.  They are now cemented into the side of the fire hearth and the dogs often lay their heads on them when they’re sleeping in front of the fire on a cold night.

The butler’s bells are on the wall in a temporary home.  Even after several years of renovation and restoration work on this old French farm house there’s a long way to go so the final resting place for the butler’s bells as the hall is still some time away from completion but I like to see them every day!

Those were the days – send the maid to fetch a medicine that cures everything!

The newspapers all dated from 1914 – 1918 and the objective was that I would improve my knowledge of French by reading them.  Like all good intentions, I’ve only just got round to looking at these old documents and at nearly 100 years old, they are absolutely immaculate and utterly amazing.

Mostly these Journal Universel editions are about World War I and they are full of awful stories of fighting and loss with lots of pictures of sombre looking generals standing in fields, poring over maps or drilling the men.  But … in between such serious features are some real gems of stories and some wonderful photographs, some of them even coloured – I didn’t think they had colour printers for newspapers in those days.

Who knew Vaseline was once called Cheseborough?!

There are tons of adverts for medical cures, prosthetic limbs, corsets, Paris tailors and all sorts of oddities – including a surprising number of laxative pills and drinks! I’m fascinated by these old journals and the strange adverts and wonder how many of the companies that advertised their wares a hundred years ago still exist.

Not exactly Victoria’s Secret!

A bientôt


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