Snipping and Sewing

Naked arms in the gentle breeze, grass tickling your feet, plunging into early summer, an athmosphere for cool silks, flowing gowns and flower crowns in your hair. This calls for “just a little snipping, then a little sewing, and it’ll all be good as gold”, as the norn said in Neil Gaiman’s story “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”, one of Madame’s favourite contemporary novels. Evidently, even the most shattered little personal universe can be fixed with snipping and sewing, if properly done, of course.

This time, however, Madame Poissonchat is not busy with fixing tattered little universes, but with stiching for a happy marriage, putting all her good wishes and thoughts into the work. Les Poissonchats have been invited to a wedding:

A gown made from boxwood labyrinths, moss and old stones still warm from the sun:

For trees make a silence even in their noise of wind

“For trees make a silence even in their noise of wind” is one of the most beautiful sentences by D.H. Lawrence, so unexpected and yet so true. We like to think of it when things unsettle around us and we imagine ourselves rooted firmly in the ground like a tree swaying gently with the wind.

Trees are one of Mr Poissonchat’s specialties and another “projet” of his (the Poissonchats life actually is brimming over with projets, it’s the projets that keep the Poissonchat world on turning in fact) . He intends to create an inventory of the trees surrounding us, trees we encounter on our journeys or on our everyday way to work. And here’s a sneak peek from his archive:

Yew tree (taxus baccata)

Height: 15 – 20 meters

Age: up to 3’000 years

Use: musical instruments, inlay work, cabinetmaking

Belief: the tree of life and the tree of the other world, ever-green with scarlet berries, protects from evil and bad spells. It grows on graveyards, its poison guarding the gates of the land where the dead go. Wear a splinter of its wood around your neck and no harm shall ever come to you.

Beech tree (fagus)

Height: 30 – 35 meters

Age: up to 300 years

Use: furniture, floorings, cooking utensils, tool handles and musical instruments

Believe: Take refuge under the nearest beech tree as the rainstorm approaches with heavy dark clouds, sudden lightning and distant thunder. The immense tree crown, like a generous coat, protects you and no thunderbolt shall ever dare to hit you. At least, this is what the legend tells. The Poissonchat family rather enjoys the warm and calm atmosphere of a beech tree fire in their living room when hail and thunder rage outside.

Chestnut tree (castanea sativa)

Height: 30 – 35 meters, but what is more impressive is that they can become very very stout with a trunk circumference of up to 15 meters

Age: 300 to 500 years, with some trees estimated to be over 2,000 years old

Use: carpentry, joinery and furniture; with about 25 years they begin to bear fruit, the savoury roasted chestnut

Believe: Look at its immense trunk, and your life will already feel much more balanced. Under the rich and thick foliage of it’s wide knobby arms, everything gets invisible and helps you to concentrate on the here and now. For others though, like the three furry poissonchats, the shiny brown fruit is just perfect to play around after having it freed from its spiky gown.



January most probably is the coldest and darkest and greyest and sternest and very much the most undelightful month in the year. So what else is there left to do but to make January-life sparkle with a little bit of Lumières!

Pack up your black turtleneck, some chocolate and a bottle of Champagne and hurry along to catch the train that rushes through the bare wintry flatlands while night dawns in the afternoon. When les Poissonchats arrive, it’s pitch dark already, the perfect stage to have a glimpse at the enlightened Notre Dame and the glittering and shining lights of Paris from Tour Eiffel:

They start the next day with croissant and petit-café to get energised for long walks through the streets:

With a visit to the cemetery, where, once in a while, they might spot one or the other immortal, they conclude their urban escape:

Visit to some immortals

Poissonchat goes Vacances!

Oh have we not longed for the stillness of these cold and bleak afternoons, when the harsh sunlight is smashed into a thousand sparkling rays by the icicles hanging low on the eaves. Shiny white flatlands in the valley, black frozen mirrors of little mountain pools and lazy cows glancing out of a barn door with their steaming noses. This is in fact  what les Poissonchats go for to spend their Christmas Holiday. It is another long journey along an endless winding road through dark pine forests, solitary villages, crossing adventurous bridges over babbling creeks and deep glens, up a steep and narrow path through the snow and there they are to settle for the weeks to come:

It is the homeland of Mr Poissonchat, this rough country, the perfect spot for a wintry repose. Here and there a curious fox, a delicate deer or even a low chuckling snow grouse impartially witnesses the every year parade of the Poissonchats moving the ménage to their black and white paradise. Quick, light a fire and get into your warmest socks, brew a hot and sweet punch and make yourself at home on the oven bench with a nice book, one that is brimming over with incredible stories, while outside a snowstorm howls over rock and boulder:

Behind the Veil

Once upon a time, in a forgotten corner of eastern France, surrounded by deep forests, peaceful waters and tiny little old fashioned villages, les Poissonchats took up their lodging in a sleepy old cottage that eyes a river to the south and a narrow village street to the north. They have been busily breathing back the life into the veins of the old building ever since, scrubbing wormeaten floorboards, whitewashing crumbling walls and freeing ancient chimney stones from soot, dirt and paint.

Their friends, curious to know what a Poissonchat’s life is like in such a forlorn spot, were shown shaky cell phone pictures from time to time when les Poissonchats decided to embrace the 21th century and tell their tale on a proper blog (with less shaky pictures hopefully). They are going to charm you each month with a new story to lift you over to their enchanted lands.

The Poissonchat family, this is, Mr and Mrs Poissonchat with three little furry poissonchats: Maître Pdt (“Pdt” means Pomme de terre in french which is Potato in English), Le Chat Sauvage (who pretty much came to like civilisation) and Piouche (who simply is “Piouche”).

And here are some impressions: