Broderie Anglaise

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Black Cat’s about 3 ½. We’re walking through the local hypermarket which is not my favourite place. I have a tendency to go as quickly as I can and get it over and done with as soon as possible. “Mummy, can I have the top?” she asks. “What top ?” I say, rather surprised because the only clothes I buy there are underwear for the kids and corduroy jeans and anoraks for Leonardo and we haven’t set foot in the shop for a couple of weeks. “The witty white one”, she replies. “Where?” “Over there !” she says excitedly.

We go in the direction she’s pointing to from her seat on the trolley. And we find a little white camisole top made of broderie anglaise. I look at the price of this minuscule piece of clothing and say, “I’ll make you one”. Which I did, with matching shorts. I was astounded that she’d not only noticed it the last time we were there, but she’d also remembered it and was able to find it again!

Her love of clothing has not diminished though she has become more reasonable with age. Fast forward to last week. We’re wandering through the streets of Paris, in behind Les Halles. “Did you see, Mum, broderie anglaise is back in fashion ?”, she says. “It’s flesh-coloured.” This I have to see. So we backtrack and I see a rather badly-cut dress on a headless, legless dummy and another somewhat bored-looking one in shorts and a blouse.

“What an unattractive window”, I say. “Really? I think it looks good!” “Don’t you think it’s a bit stark ?”, I say. “All the windows are like that these days. You’d think they could make a bit more effort”. “But that’s the fashion”, she replies. “Less is more you know”. I think I’m getting more old-fashioned by the day. It must be a generation thing …

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