Saturday, 26 February 2011

Rag and Bone Man!

Cornwall never ceases to amaze me!

Today, for the first time in years I heard a Rag and Bone man; ringing a bell and calling out 'any rag and bones?'.

Admittedly he was driving a small truck, but the sound took me back to when I was a young boy and the rag and bone man came around the streets on a horse and cart like this:

Wikipedia says this:
Rag and bone man is a British phrase for a junk dealer. Historically the phrase referred to an individual who would travel the streets of a city with a horsedrawn cart, and would collect old rags (for converting into fabric and paper), bones for makinggluescrap iron and other items, often trading them for other items of limited value.
They would use a distinctive call to alert householders to their presence, and/or ring a hand bell. The call was something similar to "rag-and-bone", delivered in a sing-song fashion. Long usage tended to simplify the words, for instance down to "any raa-boh", even to the point of incomprehensibility, although the locals could easily identify who was making the call.

I looked at the back of his truck as he went passed, he hadn't collected many rags or bones, but had a lot of old bikes, computer bits, office chairs, and filing cabinets! Times have changed.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Le Chat Noir

When we were in Paris in 2009 one of the most abiding images that I can remember was this:

It is an image that you see everywhere. You can get it on Posters (we have one in our hallway), Tea Towels, Christmas Tree Baubles, and just about every other tourist item you can think of. This is what Wikipedia says about it:
Le Chat Noir (French for "The Black Cat") was a 19th-century cabaret, meaning entertainment, in the bohemian Montmartre district of Paris. It was opened on 18 November 1881 at 84 Boulevard Rochechouart by the artist Rodolphe Salis, and closed in 1897 after Salis' death (much to the disappointment of Picasso and others who looked for it when they came to Paris for the Exposition in 1900). Its imitators have included cabarets from St. Petersburg (The Stray Dog) to Barcelona (Els Quatre Gats).
Perhaps best known now by its iconic Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen poster art, in its heyday it was a bustling nightclub — part artist salon, part rowdy music hall. The cabaret published its own journal Le Chat Noir. It began as a small, two room affair, but within three and a half years its popularity forced it to move into larger accommodations a few doors down. Salis most often played, with exaggerated, ironic politeness, the role of conférencier (post-performance lecturer, or Emcee). It was here that the Salon des Arts Incohérents (Salon of Incoherent Arts), the "shadow plays" and the comic monologues got their start.
According to Salis: "The Chat Noir is the most extraordinary cabaret in the world. You rub shoulders with the most famous men of Paris, meeting there with foreigners from every corner of the world."

Le Chat Noir today

Anyway, after a recent trip to Ramsgate we returned with our own Chat Noir (Black Cat). His name is Mr Pusskins. I have tried to get him to pose like the cat in the poster above, but to no avail. This is the best I can do:
The little bald patch on his paw is from the injection he had yesterday for his little boy operation!!!

He is very cute and we love him very much, we are indebted to Becca, Tom, Emilie and Harriet for giving him to us.

This is a slightly scary picture of him:
Now you can see why 'Cat's Eyes' are so effective on our roads.