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A quickie on baskets

"A glass pitcher, a wicker basket, a tunic of coarse cloth. Their beauty is inseparable from their function. Handicrafts belong to a world existing before the separation of the useful and the beautiful." Octavio Paz

I don't have much time today because I'm making marmalade and then I have to make dinner. So I decided to do something on baskets. I had started on this thought the other day, so today I am shortening it but doing it anyway. Besides it's an excuse to showcase some of my holiday photographs and brighten up your day. It's getting dark and pouring with rain here so first of all I have changed my desktop picture to a glorious seaside picture in Puglia - that bit that sticks out just before the heel of Italy:

And a little earlier I searched for all my French basket pictures. I have lots. Every time I go to France and we go to a market I find myself photographing baskets. Because they are beautiful - and useful too:

This is obviously just one lot photographed three different ways. The thing is I think they are all gorgeous but I have never bought one, and now I probably never shall. Why I ask myself? I make excuses about weight - the same way that I do about French pots, but really I could solve this by not taking as much luggage with me in the first place so that I have room for souvenirs.

I hardly ever buy souvenirs because at the time you think you are being had and there are so many of the same thing. You can even tell yourself that they are not handcrafted in France but made in some sweatshop in the third world. Which may well be true. But every time in my life I have resisted buying the tourist thing that seems so banal at the time I have regretted it enormously. One I remember is that silly toy they have in Rome - I'm not sure what they are but they involve something the sellers throw up into the air which spins and shines and makes magic. I should have bought some for my grandchildren. They were tiny, tacky and not very expensive, but magical. Like simple things like sparklers.

When I have bought something - like the handmade bookmark made of metal and shells and seeds that I bought in Port Douglas - I become quite bereft if I lose it - I do every now and then - or if it breaks.

So - I really must finish because of that damned marmalade which is getting near setting point and needs putting into jars, not to mention cooking the dinner - a fridge raid soup - and I will leave you with a mini picture gallery of beautiful French baskets, still wondering which one I would have bought if I had been sensible.

It would be sunshine every time you went shopping.


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