Vichy, Please !

One of the things that I love about Brimfield is seeing old friends, many of whom started out

as, and remain, favorite dealers. A Wednesday treat is seeing Jackie Lantry of Bliss Farm

Antiques who sets up in the third pavilion in the New England Motel field. Although mainly

a purveyor of wonderful French antiques, which she shops for right at the source, it was the

German grain sacks that pulled me into her booth the very first time.

This time, she brought a fabulous collection of diminutive straw baskets (above), each

containing a glass to hold the health-giving Vichy water that, since 50BC has been luring

those seeking to “take the cure” to Vichy, France.  The backdrop in these photos is of old

French linen-bound books and French linen cloches, more of the treasures that went

straight from Jackie’s booth to my truck. Not shown here is the lovely daybed, one of many

special pieces of furniture I have been lucky enough to snag from this friendly and fun

dealer over the years. 

I had a few little straw things of my own (above), the Vichy basket on the right a previous

purchase from Jackie.

     

Because she loves history and loves what she sells, Jackie is among that vanishing breed

of dealers who really knows what she sells and, even better, has the gift of telling the

stories in such a compelling manner that, in spite of heat and other many distractions, I

remember them later!  The baskets (above) in the photo on the left, with the tops that 

slide open on their leather straps, are better, have more value, than the ones on the right

with the hooks.  But,  in the photo on the right, the cork lining in the open basket on the

left, makes it the best of that bunch.

              

Blown glasses are best. Colored glass is better than clear.  An etched Vichy label (above)

is better than one painted on (below).  The numbers on the back side (photo above, on

the left) would allow just the right amount of water to be consumed according to a

Victorian doctor’s orders.

  

I am certainly willing to overlook this clear, painted-labelled glasses’ lesser value in favor

of the charm of its cute little handle!

My collection is beginning to be quite abundant, thanks to Jackie’s French sojourns.  But,

maybe just sitting here looking isn’t enough. Maybe I should be asking Jackie to bring back

a case of that Vichy Water on her next trip to France.  Taking the cure might be just the

thing for breezing through the crazy  heat and humidity of Brimfield in July.

–If you feel the need to take the cure, the antique cure that is, it won’t be necessary to

go all the way to France.  Take a quick, easy trip to www.blissfarmantiques.com  instead.

Amazing Grace

–If I were the betting kind, and someone asked what one word described July  Brimfield

to most people, I would have to put my money on “hot.”  Or maybe “humid.”  

–But, I am going to take the high road.  I won’t complain, at least not now that I am

luxuriating in my air-conditioned house.  Besides, I came home with two truck and trailer

loads of  exceptionally fabulous stuff, saw old friends, made some new ones and was so

impressed, once again, with the good humor and kind hospitality of the dealers. 

–In addition to the things that they brought to sell, bottles of water, sandwiches, ice-

soaked towels, a chair in front of the fan were proffered.  These offerings, many times made

by dealers I had never before met, were gratefully accepted… and not only refreshed my

body and spirit but added to my store of experiences that reinforce my belief that

people are good.

–As I sit here now, thinking and writing , I realize that I’ve changed my mind.  The only

word that I could put my money on to describe Brimfield would be “gracious.”

Brimfield. July. Perfect.

It is Wednesday, 4:45 am, with just enough time to write a few words before dashing off to get in line for the 6am opening of New England Motel.

While most July Brimfields are so hot, hazy and humid that even the tiniest treasure seems too heavy to carry, this one is just perfect. It makes everything easier, more interesting, more fun.

We started Monday with Marrier’s Flea Market (nothing for us this time) and some of the tag sales along Route 32 where we found a few good pieces of furniture to re-upholster with German grain sacks.  Next, we headed for the always- wonderful Textile Show in Sturbridge and then on to assignations with dealer/friends in Brimfield.

Tuesday was  a very good buying day for us. We started at 5am and found more upholstered furniture, some hunky wooden tables with drawers and quite a few industrial tables and carts. Some favorite finds :  60 cakes of white soap…ca. 1940…with embossed people and lots of funky writing; a 4′ long builder’s model house with fabulous hardwood floors, electric lights, glass windows and bookcases; 4 dozen (authentic) silvered glass bottles; a large dome-top leather trunk; a full set of beautifully-painted organ pipes with the original hanging rack.

The crowds were there! People were buying and seem pleased. Everyone looked happy. The weather helps but, in the end, it’s all about the antiques!

Ooops! Time to get in line!