February 27, 2010

Bundles and Baskets, Old Ways to Carry Things!

Beatrix Potter, Tasha Tudor, and Gertrude Jekyll: Kindred Spirits!
When Diane worked at the museum she carried baskets and bundles with her down to the farmhouse. She carried her lunch and a cup in an old basket covered with a cloth. Many other things could be carried bundled up in handwoven scarfs and handkerchiefs, such as knitting, wool, some sewing, and books. Many times a bouquet of flowers would be added to the load, as Diane liked fresh flowers in the parlour and would stop and pick some whilst on her way to work. It was a bit of a walk to the farmhouse, so an umbrella was usually included. Diane still uses baskets and bundles to carry things. Within the bundles are a frock and an apron, books, and skeins of yarn.

Some of Diane's collection of handkerchiefs and woven cloths. Besides being used for bundling, they can also be worn on the head or around the neck.

In Gertrude Jekyll's "Old West Surrey" she writes: "Sometimes, though always more rarely, one sees at a railway station a good old body with her light load of luggage done up in the nice old way in clean cotton handkerchiefs.

These large blue and white handkerchiefs may still be bought at the ready-made clothing shops in country towns. Fifty years ago, when paper was much less cheap and plentiful, they were more used for carrying purposes. Country women shopping, were always provided with them, as well as with a capacious basket.

Labouring men had the bread and meat they carried for their dinner, in a clean handkerchief, inside the rush dinner-basket. Now it is taken, for the most part, in a piece of newspaper, and the paper is thrown away by the side of the road."

Gertrude Jekyll's "Old West Surrey"
ude Jekyll describes some of the old cotton handkerchiefs: "They are still to be had, and are commonly used as pocket-handkerchiefs by labourers, but their old use for wrapping and carrying is now but little seen." Diane feels such a kinship with Gertrude Jekyll and enjoys all the old fashioned things and old time ways in "Old West Surrey"! Gertrude Jekyll was oft' times not shy in speaking her mind!

Material from an old blue apron.

An old scrapbook Diane found in an antique shop has material samples for aprons. It also has many old receipts (recipes) cut out from magazines and newspapers, "The Schedule for Seasonal Housekeeping", "The Housekeeper's Daily Routine Schedule", "A Weekly-Schedule Outline for the Housekeeper", and "Simple Weekly Schedule With Day Labor".

Aprons were also used to bundle. Many is the time when in the garden Diane's basket was full and her apron was drawn up in a bundle and filled with more of the good Corgyncombe harvest.

Material from Diane's antique frock.

A warm antique flannel bonnet.

Beatrix Potter's Mrs. Rabbit, Peter Rabbit's Mum, is carrying an umbrella and a basket.

As Diane always says, "When the trees start getting shorter you know it has been snowing!"

A rabbit and chickadee last year, below the Corgyncombe bird feeder.

Corgyncombe Cottage has had several days of Nor'easters and winter storms. Most all of February has been days of fresh, new snowfalls.

In Susan Denyer's "At Home with Beatrix Potter", on page 19, a rabbit couple can be seen walking in the snow under an umbrella, the lady rabbit carrying a basket.

Diane's old umbrella.

Beatrix Potter's Mrs. Rabbit

In Beatrix Potter's book "The Tale of Peter Rabbit", Peter's Mum can be seen carrying an umbrella and a basket as she sets off to the baker's. Peter's Mum had a red with white dots handkerchief and Peter wore it about himself in "The Tale of Benjamin Bunny" as he and Benjamin went on an adventure to retrieve Peter's clothes that he had lost in Mr. McGregor's garden and that Mr. McGregor had put to use on his garden scarecrow. After Peter had reclaimed his coat and shoes, he and Benjamin used the handkerchief for bundling up the gathered onions.

Mrs. Rabbit's same red with white dots handkerchief can be seen again in "The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle" by Beatrix Potter. Lucie came across Mrs. Tiggy-winkle whilst looking for her own lost pinny and three pocket-handkins. Mrs. Tiggy-winkle has laundered and ironed Mrs. Rabbit's handkerchief and she and Lucie delivered the bundled laundry to their owners.

In Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Pigling Bland" Mother Pig sent Pigling Bland and his brother Alexander off on their journey with bundles that held their dinner.

Pig Robinson from Piggery Porcombe was sent by his Aunt Dorcas and Aunt Porcas to market with a basket in Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Little Pig Robinson". Beatrix Potter writes: "In the basket were two dozen eggs, a bunch of daffodils, two spring cauliflowers; also Robinson's dinner of bread-and-jam sandwiches."

In "The Tale of The Pie and The Patty-Pan" by Beatrix Potter, Duchess the Dog has been invited to tea by Ribby the Cat. Before the party, they passed each other whilst walking, each carrying a cloth covered basket.

Ribby the Cat came to Tabitha Twitchit's door with a basket and umbrella in hand, in "The Tale of Samuel Whiskers" by Beatrix Potter. Ribby then used her umbrella for searching under the beds for Tabitha's missing son Tom Kitten.

Baskets used for carrying things can be seen in many of Tasha Tudor's books. Oft' times girls and women in Tasha Tudor's illustrations wear kerchiefs about their head.

In "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame, Tasha Tudor illustrated the Sea Rat resting on the roadside with his bundle. As Kenneth Grahame put it: "his small belongings that he carried were tied up in a blue cotton handkerchief".

Beatrix Potter, Tasha Tudor, and Gertrude Jekyll are Kindred Spirits to Diane and Sarah!

From "The Bundle Handkerchief" by Elisabeth Merritt Gosse: "The bundle handkerchief, like other things interwoven in Salem's history, has disappeared. Paper and string, prosaic, rustling, tearable, and to be quickly thrown aside, have taken its place. But in the minds of Salem children of a generation ago will always linger a respectful memory of the neat, sweet, fresh, handsome and always useful bundle handkerchief, with its dainty whiteness or its brilliant hues. The fashion of this world passeth away; but there are often revived more inconvenient and less picturesque fashions than that of the bundle handkerchief."

Here is a link to "The Bundle Handkerchief" by Elisabeth Merritt Gosse, which starts on the second half of page 62 (scroll down): "The Bundle Handkerchief"


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