Last weekend when I was in Paris I begged Sacha to come with me to the brocante and take photos of me doing my thing.
He obliged. One of my conditions was that I did not want to know when he was taking my photo.
I loved these number stamps. Though I did not buy them, because I heard someone calling my name. Susanna! Who I met years ago through blogging, and when both went to help my friend Lynn at the Marburger antique market. Susanna was in Paris with friends buying for their booth back in the States.
Michelle (blog reader) asked me to look for a certain pink floral plate. I usually see a ton of them. But of course last weekend I did not see a one. That look, is the look of, "...oh sure no pink floral plates in the land of plenty of plates!"
Still regretting passing this painting up. I would have called it:
Books and paper, a serious addiction.
Serious paper addiction.
At least paper is light to carry.
Unless you buy a ton of it.
At the end of the brocante I always have to take a photo of a stuffed animal.
This one with a little blue bow.
The conversation at the brocante never changes:
How much? Where did you find it? Do you have more? Wow, you got a deal? No, you didn't buy it? How old is it? Why do you think it is 18th century? Are you a dealer? Where do you sale? Did you see that (object) this morning? Did you get a good price? I bought ten for (add price), When I saw it, it was sold? Such and such has one for sale? Last week I found the most incredible (add object). I haven't found anything and you? Where are you going tomorrow?
My latest faze, African art. It doesn't have to be centuries old.
Yesterday I had my haircut, about three inches, and looking at this photo I am wondering why did I do it.
Two men on a train, a bicycle is drawn on the side, the men have their legs hanging out the window, so it appears they are riding.
The dog is on the owner's lap and I zoomed in.
Photos of me taken by Sacha.
The French postcards from the turn of the century, which were advertisements for Petrol Hahn a hair line product for men and women.
Scenes of Paris.
"Imp. Emile Pecaud & Cie, Paris
Edition of HAHN PETROLEUM FOR HAIR, F.VIBERT, MANUFACTURER, LYON
Luigi Aloys-Francois-Joseph Loir was born in Goritz, Austria, on December 22, 1845 and died in Paris on February 9, 1916, was a landscape painter, watercolorist, illustrator and French lithographer. (Source Wikipedia)"
Some of my favorite moments at the brocante are found while looking around the bottom of a box, or digging inside of a trunk, or peering into a soup tureen, often in the least expected place one can find bits and pieces, ephemera from another era, placed and forgotten or a hidden treasure that nobody claimed. The littles things that do not mean much but where put somewhere for safe keeping, it is as if I can hear the person say, "I will just put it here in case I need it one day."
My mother's junk drawer comes to mind.
Letters read, mourning envelopes that held black trimmed death cards, leftover glass beads, a photograph, little crocheted bells, a small silver box to hold stamps?
As I am a brocante dealer I come across many things during the week. Some things I keep, others things I give away, yet the majority of things that I find I sell. Most the time they never make it to my online shop. They are sold before I have a chance to put them up.
Some of you have bought off me for more years than I can remember. I am sure if I went to your homes I would feel like I was in my home. Because of that when I go out antiquing I carry many of you in my thoughts. "Oh Faith will like that painting. That is just the piece for Barbara. Oh Margo is going to love this ironstone. Mary is going to sing my praises when she sees this piece of lace. Sue will do a backflip when she gets her hand on this decorative gilded piece... and these papers Stephanie will not want to use them, but keep them for her private collection."
If you want me to keep you in my thoughts when I go to the brocante, let me know. This is how it works. When I see something that I think you will love I will send a FB message to you with a photo and details. If you want the piece then I will buy it for you, if you do not then you simply reply "no". I will send the photo out to more than one person, so you might not have time to respond before it is sold.
If you are interested send me an email:
On another note, I buy a ton of stuff, which means antique dealers that I know add things, or give me boxes of stuff for whatever reasons. More often than not, it is their way of saying thank you for being a good client, or I cannot deal with all this stuff so take it off my hands, or they will say, "I cannot give you a better price, but instead I will throw in these boxes full of stuff." Sometimes I would rather not have the boxes full of stuff, cause I cannot walk in the room where I store everything and work, isn't that true WR, Alice, Ruth and Gina. I call my workspace, the "The Disaster Zone."
Recently, an antique dealer gave my friend Ruth a box of stuff to say thank you. If you haven't read her story, and it is an amazing one, check out our French Muse Experience to read more.
Yesterday, at the antique fair in Chatou I saw those little skull caps used for bird taxidermy. I wanted to buy them because they were so unusual and hard to come by. Yann was saying, "Buy them!" But something in me just couldn't do it. Not because it was taxidermy but because I know I have enough to carry back home as it is.
Oh the life of a antique dealer, always buying, selling, trading, carrying, packing, storing, sending stuff.
Instead, of buying those tiny skull caps, I bought bigger heavier things. Wonders never cease.
The winners from yesterday's French antique guessing game:
French Antique Guessing Game:
Okay I think you know how this works,
1) Put your guess in the comment section or by email.
2) You can guess as many times as you want.
3) If you do not know what this make up a creative guess.
4) The first person to guess the item by name and purpose wins.
5) The guess I deem most creative wins too.
6) Winners receive some little thing, to celebrate their guesses, by mail.
7) I will announce the winners tomorrow.
The French brocante line up: One red nose, one blue eye, five little buddies. Did they all come from the same home? They looked equally loved.
French Husband has soft heart wonder when he sees an old stuff animal at the brocante. Because of it, at the end of whatever brocante I am at, I try to find a favorite and take a photo of it. Today was a jackpot, five little bears.
A collection, a box full of the same item attracts attention, be it a pile of spoons, books, vases, shoes... a line up of bears.
My main attraction at the brocante these days are paintings and African masks. Re-doing our place in Cassis has taken me on a whole new path in designing. The above painting (part of it) I am putting in my online brocante shop tomorrow.
Diogenes, you asked about the bust that I posted yesterday. It sold. So I could not ask the price, that is a rule at the brocante: If something is sold you are not suppose to ask, "How much did you sale it for?" Of course, if I asked and the dealer had said some incredible cheap price like ten Euros I would have screamed, so it maybe it works both ways.
This is another painting I found today. It is a water color. I wish you could see it, I thought it was an oil painting at first. Incredible. I posted a video on The French Muse FB page, please go take a look. And while you are there you will see what my friend Ruth recently found.
Following what I love.
Thank you for following me on my blog.
"Paris in Bloom," is the beautiful book photographed and styled by Georgianna Lane. I was fortunate to work with Georgianna for Victoria Magazine last year, and equally enchanted to be invited to her book launch this evening. Georgianna introduced her Paris in Bloom book by saying,
"...Every day, on every walk, this flaneuse feels privileged and humbled to photograph such a visually stunning location. No matter how frequent or extensive my visits, I am in awe of the dreamers, architects, artists, and craftsmen who envisioned and created, this magnificent city, one exquisite facade and one poetically rendered iron balcony at a time. Thus this book is my love letter to the French capital, an unapologetically romantic celebration of her abundant floral charms."
Floral arrangements created a spring awaken, plus added a lush invitation to celebrate the evening with Georgianna. Every detail was perfectly placed and thought out. Enchanting evening: Champagne, petit fours, amuse bouche with edible flowers that Georgianna made herself. We were spoiled by her generous evening of delight.
At the brocante this morning in Porte de Vanves, I thought of Paris in Bloom, and Georgianna when I saw this incredible marble bust under the pink blossoms.
The elegant apartment, on Avenue Rapp had the most spectacular view of the Eiffel tower. I posted a video on Snap and Facebook.
Such a lovely evening. Thank you Georgianna.
The above photo is of the iron grate protecting the window on the entrance door of our apartment in Paris.
On the train to Paris today, the man sitting next to me had a nervous habit, he could not sit still. He got up, then sat down, opened his computer, leaned over kissed his wife, shut his computer, stood up, got coffee, sat down, kissed his wife, open his computer, scratched his head, took off his scarf, kissed his wife, closed his computer, wiggled his feet, toyed with his watch, took a sip of his coffee, got up, came back, added sugar, opened his computer... if there was another seat on the train I would have moved instead I closed my eyes.
Next month Chelsea will go to Bangladesh to work on a community project with Danone for the next three months.
My range of emotions move from pride, happiness and nervousness as often as the man on the train wiggled around.
Hence, I am in Paris to spend some time with Chelsea, and Sacha (who has his fingers crossed) on a project that will move him away for a few months as well.
The iron grate on the door has an angel holding a key.
P.S. Oops, I do not know why some of you saw or can see the photos on yesterday's blog and some of you cannot. Sorry about that
There are no easy answers especially for someone who sees things in shades of grey.
Those one word answers like- Yes or No- often sound cold or too direct. I prefer the word "maybe" as it is open ended and walks in the middle, actually it skips on both sides of "yes and no." The word "maybe," is very non committed. Often misunderstood and leaves room for imagination.
It also causes problems when a decision needs to be made.
When my children, Chelsea and Sacha were younger we use to play a game that went like this.... I would ask them simple "yes or no" questions like, "Can you drive a car?" or " Do you have brown eyes?" or "Are frogs green?" The object of the game was to respond truthfully without using the words "yes or no." It was a game I invented to help them discover and use other words in English.
At the start of the game we would sing, "You can't say "yes" you can't say "no" what are you going to say....I don't know?"
I still don't know.
There doesn't seem to be any easy answers these days... especially regarding... well if you are someone like me, just about any question these days.
Do you think I will feel more at ease when life starts ending in periods and not question marks?
In France lettuce is called, "Salade" (pronounced: Salad).
And salad is called, "Salade" in French too.
Let-us talk about the classic salad in Provence.
First you take a lettuce and tear the leaves big. Do not, and I repeat not, in bite size pieces. The bigger the better, maybe tear them in half that is enough.
For the dressing: Olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.
Garlic is "Ail" in French. Pronounced, "I". You can say, "Aie! Aie! Aie!" when you are hurt, because "Aie" (pronounced, "I" as well) also means, "Ouch."
Crush one garlic in the salad per two people, enough to hear them say, "Aie!" and have you guess, Ouch or Garlic?
Do you have a favorite salad dressing?
The book with its floral jacket caught my eye.
Dainty, sweet, a bit of spring on a grey day.
Oh spring come on now, your teasing ways tend to make me impatient. Through my kitchen window I saw the first hints of roses forcing through the vine, and irises, along the road side, where speaking purple.
Then the seaside that moves to your groove. Rocks and rolls, and sings a lullabye.
Tell me a few...
Cassis was under a wild wonderful wicked storm, all day long.
Waking to waves crashing, thunderous, my dream said, "Westport!" though the reality laughed, "Cassis! This loud?" Opening the shutters this is what I saw: Northern California! Oh la la, but it felt like it, as memory happiness swam right up to the window and splashed me.
Cassis in the winter, is my childhood summer, Oh! Laying on the beach in sweatshirts with my cousins Bernie, Alma, Bev. and my brothers under the fog, camping every summer.
The first time I heard about Cassis: 30 years ago, I was in Paris having dinner with Yann's friends when one of them said, "Oh if you move to Marseille, you must go to Cassis, the locals St. Tropez."
The locals, and history said, "Never was there a day like today."
Waves whipping as they do up north, with the boom that makes one know who is in charge: Nature.
And the mist sprayed against my face, glorious baptism, licking my salty lips, smile down to my toes.
The waves stayed rough throughout the day, spectacular, impressive, grand, dramatic, familiar of a distance home.
Cassis rainbow of color.
The ever changing constant. The deep diving dreams, surfacing such things as sand, pearls, seaweeds and once Chelsea found a message in a bottle in Mendocino.
Mesmerizing, mysterious pull, oh siren how do you do that? I could not turn away. How fortunate seagulls are to dance above the waves.
God, I could live in this house.
How many times have I said that?
Does that count as prayer?
This evening you were still going strong.
Pale green is the color of the leaves on the olive trees.
Burnt faded orange. Limestone. Shorn wool colored facades. Defining colors in the Provencal landscape has captured my attention.
Colors rich, then soften with time, a dry climate and that ever inviting light that bounces off of everything like a graceful ballerina, who makes it look effortless. I am not a painter, though after spending much time with two of the artists that I bought paintings from for our home in Cassis, I am seeing the landscape differently.
The foothills of Provence. Garlaban in the distance.
Marcel Pagnol wrote stories of his childhood memories of these foothills.
Stories that echo the same sentiments, weave the same scenarios of family, life in a small town, living in Provence. Where Pastis, boules, and the blue sky pave a road ahead.
Those colors from the 1800s are still the same.
The colors of the landscape:
Melon, almonds, grapevines, pine trees, goats, rocky and clay soil...
Texture. All those emotions have a color, tell a tale, sway within the shadows, sorrow, song.
Blends into a story.
The almighty paint brush reaching for the sky. Dipping in gold and blue, diving deep to the bottom inspiration in the dirt, then painting colors through the seasons: First hints of green.
Renewed old facades, I love how things are left as is, given history a chance to show its face. I love how France has the "look" without trying. I love how the look has lived, weathered, become, and is. I love the roots it lets me feel, settled and with out pretense.
What colors will last, will speak?
What color am I today?
When the urn was younger she did what was expected of her. She stood outside and held plants. More often than not the people passing by, praised the flowers that grew from the plants she held. She knew her role and she was happy.
And in that happiness she looked around, and discovered that life was full of surprises, that being a planter was just one role in the garden of delight. Anything can bloom anywhere with some water and light.
"Ha," she thought, and with that she made room around the plants for the odds and ends she gathered, because even the wildest dreams can bloom the prettiest flowers.
Grabbing the plastic bag that I had prepared the night before, I left early in the morning to my friend Annie's house. (Annie was my friend who was 91 at the time.) Annie told me to come early, and what to bring to make Bugnes. Bugnes, like oreillettes are similar to beignets, or dough-nuts, though without yeast or any self rising agents, other than eggs.
Annie was a wonderful cook, as Sacha has reminded me many times over, "...Women Annie's age really know how to cook. Honestly mom, they can take a plain head of lettuce, put it on a plate and it taste like a million bucks." I always felt so reassured about my cooking skills after a conversation like that. Once, he went on and on about how Annie's "green beans" were the best he ever had in his life. I asked him if they were so different from the ones I made. But before he could answer I said, "...shh, forget about it, I don't want to know."
I put the plastic bag full of flour, sugar, eggs, and oil on Annie's table. She had her apron on and handed me one. Annie placed a big bowl on the table, open the flour sack, poured half of it into the mixing bowl. Quickly, her hands moved at lightening speed as she whipped the other ingredients into the bowl.
Clearing my throat, I said, "Annie, Annie remember I want to LEARN how to make Bugnes, can you tell me your recipe first?" She pointed, then wiggled her floured finger towards the kitchen drawer, "There! Over there... yes that drawer, see the recipe?"
Looking through her stack, of neatly printed scratch pieces of papers, I found it: (to this day I wished I had taken a photo of it.)
Glancing at the list of ingredients and looking at what she was mixing into the bowl, I said, "Annie it says here, Two soup spoons of sugar..." but before I could finish my sentence, she added, "Yes, I know, but my way is better."
Annie knew the recipe by heart... had tweek-ed it by heart too, and knew it well. I grabbed a pen and started to scribble down what she was doing:
I kneaded the dough. While it was rising she talked about what it was like living in France during WWII. I love her stories about her past. Two hours later the dough was double in size.
Annie handed me an empty wine bottle. "Inventive rolling pin, isn't it?" then added, "Roll the dough, as thin as paper."
In her earlier years, Annie was a hat-maker, she had a good eye for detail. She sliced the rolled out dough into a perfect rectangle. Then Annie cut long strips down the rectangle, two inch wide. She then cut each strip into diamond like shape, and slit each diamond shape down the middle. (Why, oh why didn't I take my camera, it would have been so easy to show, instead of trying to describe it.) Then she tucked the top of the diamond into the slit and pulled it through.
Annie made four to my one. Then she stopped, and said, "Okay you need to learn, go ahead and do the rest." She watched me with an eagle eye. Letting me pretend I could do it as well as she did. Though after making several of them I did get the swing of it.
We fried the Bugnes (they fry quickly, several seconds on each side.) Then we let them drain on a paper towel, and sprinkled powered sugar to them.
Someone once told me that the difference between a Frenchman and an American could be summarized like this:
"If you put a Frenchman and an American in the middle of a forest and asked them to find their way out, the French person would bend down, look at the soil for clues, look up to see which way the wind blew the trees and which way the sun was moving across the sky... in other words, the Frenchman would study his surroundings before making a move. On the other hand, the American would climb up the nearest tree, look around and holler: "HEY! Anyone out there?"
In general, because thankfully we cannot put a label on a whole country let alone a single person, the French are more methodical in their approach, trusting that they can find their way by themselves. Whereas Americans favor team work, and will go out on a limb to find a new way.
If you ask three hundred thousand French people, "Did you have fun (as in liked, enjoyed, considered it the best years ever...) school?" Two hundred and ninety-eight of them would answer solemnly, "No." Then they would look at you oddly, and ask, "Why?"
French students go to school to learn how to study. Fun is rarely in the equation. The first day of school they are taught to come into the classroom, sit at their desk quietly. They are not allowed to talk unless they are asked a question. If the teacher asks the students for a response, or "Who knows the answer?" The French child is suppose to raise their hand no higher than their shoulder, with their pointer finger in the air. Unlike an American student they cannot wave their arm frantically, and with excitement say, "I know, I know, ask me!!!!"
The French are taught from a very early age to sit still, listen, obey, and if in doubt re-think, and if you don't know the answer listen, and if you think you are right you probably are wrong.
Therefore, when they do know the answer they believe they are right. Their opinion is well thought out, they can back it up with an army of examples. They will listen to your arguments, your ideas, but in the end they believe they are never wrong.
An American student is taught they are the master of their universe, that they can accomplish whatever they want to do, as long as they believe it, work hard towards it and/ or have the money to get it.
The American and the French come from a very different upbringing, a different approach to education and a way to be. In France you rarely hear: "If there is a will there is a way!" Watching my children go through the French schools (K through University), listening to them talk about school, I know that I would have suffered greatly in their mold. Simply because I was raised to climb a tree, and believe in myself even if I didn't have a single example to back it up.
This is not say to either approach is better or worse than the other. Both have advantages. Both are worthy, and both ways of educating shape a different way of thinking.
In the end, the American who climbed the tree, and the Frenchman who studied the surroundings found their way... and both ways bring for an interesting conversation at the end of the day.
A Cassis sign on the Route de Crete.
The Mistral, bringing chill to a blue sky day.
The view from the cliff or the Cap.
Do you see our place?
Pastel colored facades at nightfall.
Plane trees waiting for Spring's crown.
-Le Grand Bleu
-La Vieille Auberge
-La Villa Madie
-Chez Moi xx
The sound of the sea and a place,
to watch a little girl play with her dog.
and then cast our goodbyes into the blue.
In a perfect world everything is perfect. Everyone is happy. Life offers geniune kindness and plenty to eat. Nobody suffers or dies, children grow up with only good memories of their families. Everyone has what they need. There isn't any waste. And if I wanted long legs and a little nose I would have it. But in a perfect world it wouldn't matter because nobody would see imperfections, nor judge one another. Futhermore, we would not judge ourselves, we would be perfect.
While in Paris, I told French Husband I was going to take photos of numbers. He quickly jumped in calculating, "Send me the photos and I will put them in order for you. I know how you are with numbers."
"Oh, that's nice, but I don't want them in order."
"Because it isn't how I see it."
We looked at each other knowingly.
We don't think alike and yet we do.
When it comes to facts and figures ask him, when it comes to maps and floor plans ask me. When it comes to being on time forget it, because I have to wait for him. When it comes to driving ask him unless you like the excitement of driving with someone who falls asleep at the wheel. When it comes to caring for a friend, or giving of ourselves, or walking the extra mile to help someone, we are hand in hand.
In a perfect world we are not perfect, but we are good for one another.
The above photos are in order. French Husband knows I am not kidding.
One through ten.
"Where is the ten?" He asked.
I answered, "Fifty five, is five plus five, which equals ten."
We so don't see it the same way. Or I should say I see it both ways.
"Serendipity means a "happy accident" or "pleasant surprise"; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it...
Various thinkers discuss the role that luck can play in science. One aspect of Walpole's original definition of serendipity, often missed in modern discussions of the word, is the need for an individual to be "sagacious" enough to link together apparently innocuous facts in order to come to a valuable conclusion. Indeed, the scientific method, and the scientists themselves, can be prepared in many other ways to harness luck and make discoveries."
I am a scientist?
Do you see the reflection of my shoes between the number twenty-two?
French Husband asked if that should be four shoes? He thinks he is so funny. I had to tell him it was the number two, then in the middle of the twos, are my two shoes, then the number two again. A balance of sort.
He was confused. Or am I confusing? It doesn't matter. I was having fun taking photos of numbers.
As simply as that.
Posted here for no other reason, excepted I liked the curls on the plaque.
The old painted iron sign next to the red iron gate was calling for a photo.
Anyway, we were driving down a boulevard and I saw the old painted iron sign. Fortunately, French Husband stops on call, and I leaned out the window and took the picture.
At the end of Passage Jouffroy, a covered alley between two buildings, this clock face is above *Chopin Hotel.
"Always crowded and fun, this place gives a feeling for how the passages were in their mid 19th century heyday. Grévin (grevin.com), Paris's version of Madame Tussauds, is always packed, Pain D'épices (pain-depices.com) is a wonderful old-fashioned toyshop and Segas (canesegas.com) specialises in antique walking sticks. At the end of the main passageway is Hotel Chopin (hotelchopin.fr), with rooms from €96, if you book in advance. Turn the corner by the hotel and the boutiques become more intellectual with cutting-edge photography exhibited in Photo Verdeau (verdeau.fr) and sumptuous art books in the Librairie du Passage.
• 10 boulevard Montmartre, 9th, metro Richelieu-Drouot"
Aren't those enamelware numeral amazing.
What is your lucky number? Place it in the shield above the door.
My lucky number is 53. Or I should say it is my favorite number. Because it appears often when I am looking for something, or needing something... hard to explain, but I am sure you know what I mean.
When in France if you see a number and then the word "BIS" next to it, it means that the number is repeated twice. Usually, the second number "bis" is inside the building or down an alley. Similar to: 4 a and 4 b.
In a perfect world nine would not be an upside down six.
What would be in your perfect world? (given love, health, peace, fortune and food for everyone...etc. was already in place.)
An elephant and a donkey (1900s) that I found at the brocante, part of the French "creche" = a nativity set.
Aren't they adorable?
"An artistic and poetic movement or style using symbolic images and indirect suggestion to express mystical ideas, emotions, and states of mind." Via the Dictionary.
Will they, or do they, ever get along? Both from another world of opinion. Who stands in between the two, a snake, a rabbit, a rat, a saint?
Did they ever see eye to eye?
Have they ever disagreed more?
They want the same thing, don't they? Is it that they follow different paths to reach the same point? I use to believe that, or at least hoped that were true, that we sought love, peace, courage, understanding and acceptance, and much more. Maybe I was naive, or a snowflake as I have heard.
How hard it is for me to accept that, "love is love", is not love to some.
And so they stand,
on the same ground and sing,
"...This land is your land, this land is my land..."
All this because two nativity pieces, an elephant and a donkey, were found at a brocante. I plan on putting them on my online shop, I cannot separate the two because they do belong together.
Marseille, on the port.
A restaurant with a view (La Caravelle),
Notre Dame in the background.
The port, at sunset is especially beautiful.
The Panier is behind La Caravelle:
An interesting place to wander around full of ambience, squares tucked in with cafes ripping with Provencal charm.
Roasted eggplant, with baked tomates, pine nuts, pesto and parmigiano on various greens.
La Caravelle Bar
The wonderful place to be for lunch or drinks,
tapas, music and lively atmosphere.
34, Quai Du Port
Le Vieux Port,
Upside down forks at the set table.
Cafe au Lait Bowls.
A day at the brocante.
A link to find "brocantes" in France:
A few basic things about going to the brocante in France:
Go as early as you can.
Bring a bag to carry your finds.
Remember to say, "Bonjour" before asking the price.
Small 1900s baskets for poker chips.
I did not buy them, they were 15 Euros a basket, they were slightly bigger than the palm of my hand.
An upright bouquet of flowers.
My friend bought it for her shop.
Tons of dealers and buyers today.
The weather was agreeable.
Two men caught my eye as they walked by in harmony.
Larger than a basket ball, a buoy that we bought for Cassis.
A truck full of demi-johns.
Boats, seascapes, Provence...
Household wares, that feed the imagination.
Please check my online shop for more.
and please subscribe to my blog (up above)
Sacha is filming refugees in France. He wrote on F.B.:
"Two little boys sit on the Dunkirk camp's playground. In the background are two of the many box houses families sleep and cook in. Today we met with people from 4 different countries. What struck me was how nice everyone was always, smiling and offering food.