I love baskets.....
When my friend Caroline first started me thinking about baskets a couple of weeks ago, I had not given the topic much thought. However most days since I have had little snippets come back to me.
It is most probable that my love for 'woven' things dates back to my childhood. In the heat of the afternoon, the coolest places to sit and read or chat would be on the shady verandas on rattan chairs. The older aunties and uncles we visited who had the old colonial style houses had wonderful lounger style mahogany chairs with finely woven cane work seats. I remember one very old chair which had pull out leg rests and slots to hold drinks in the arms. Almost everyone had them. All hand made in small workshops and almost all different. Visiting people was the main activity and many homes around the Island hosted get togethers where whole families would gather together, and I always was interested in the furnishings. Floors too had woven mats in places.
In Rodrigues and Mauritius the hand made softer palm leaf basket was the standard. We had little baskets with lids made from this soft material in which we took our packed lunches to school. These kept the contents cool and kept the flies away, the sandwiches wrapped in a cotton serviette. This was before the days of plastic and clingfilm. A leather satchel for the books and 'panier tiffin' for lunch. Every school girl and boy had one. Larger ones were used for shopping and would double up to hold all the beach necessities.
Some of my baskets hang from a rail in the utility room. The middle square basket is well over 35 years old now and bought from a willow weaver in Totnes who had his shop just outside the old Castle Walls. We were on holiday in the area, and my son who was just a little boy was amazed when the weaver jumped on the basket just to prove how strong it was! As well as being used for harvesting fruit, and shopping...it has been used several times every week to convey wet washing to the line and then bring back the washing when it is dry. To keep them nicely tight from time to time I leave then in light rain for an hour or so. Then bring them back in to air dry. The weaver wherever he is should breath safely the basket has outlived its 25 years guarantee!
I've been planning a replacement at least for the washing role of the basket and have my eye on a similar one made from white willow. I spied a lovely one during our visit to Coates Willow and Wetland Center, made from white Willow.
I've been hankering after a carpet beater for years......
Last time I had something to beat...I think it was just a rug, I used my tennis racket! I just popped into the Wells Trading Post which sadly is closing down and bought this yesterday. They had very little left and this one had my name on it!
Even the eggs are kept in a little basket...Happy Easter everyone.