Dunny paper, loo paper, bog roll,toilet paper, toilet tissue, papier toilette, PQ (this one is good – it’s French and so tres elegant – it’s pronounced ‘pai-cue’, short for papier cul,’arsepaper’)… So many glorious ways to label a roll of perforated paper that wipes your bits. But whatever the name, there is a fashion here in France that never goes out of fashion – your PQ in pretty old pink.
Forget baguettes, 2CVs, the Eiffel Tower… Yes, when I think of a recurring image over here, I think of pink PQ. In almost every home you visit, you help yourself to, pink. In any cafe, bar or restaurant toilet, pink. Have a stroll down any supermarket toilet tissue aisle and you goggle over mountains of… pink. Good luck if you’re searching for non-bleached, non-patterned or basic white. They’ll be the few small piles hidden amidst the enormous volumes of joli rose – or once in a while spotted in a public loo!
Why? In fifteen years of frequent pondering (nearly always whilst sitting on someone else’s loo, reaching over for their dainty pink squares) – and asking most French people I know – I still don’t have an answer for it. I’m by no means the first person to be asking either – I have friends! Loads of them. There are millions of internet search engine results concerning this very discussion in both French and English. Some bloody funny theories too. But still no answers!
It doesn’t explain the pink, but here’s a bit of trivia – correct me if I’m wrong! – about the French and their PQ, found in my search for THE answer: it is said toilet paper was introduced in this country at the beginning of the 20th Century, but as it was long considered a luxury item, it was only from the 1960s its use became widespread.
“1. a bundle or parcel. 2. that in which anything is packed, as a case, crate, etc. 5. to put into wrappings or a container.” – ‘Package, packaging’ from the Macquarie Dictionary, 2nd Edition, 1981
Do you remember when I let it slip that I have a thing for packaging? Mmn, yep, still have it and lately I feel like I’m being bombarded with even more wonderful examples of it, everywhere. At home, at the markets, at the vide-greniers (the village garage sales – something I must absolutely tell you about soon), at friends’ houses, in the guise of gifts from friends… everywhere.
Colours, texts, fonts, old, new, shabby or shiny… I can’t get enough of it – and if there’s a text or a word here or there in French, even better! It’s amazing how much you can improve your vocabulary just reading the fine print! (and probably a lot more educational than my dippings into, shock, horror – Voici).
At the moment I’m getting a buzz out of OLD packaging and the eg’s here are from either home (my mother-in-law is a great help here) – or from stands in the markets and vide-greniers. I understand why people start up businesses selling this stuff – there are crazy people out there, like me, who love it! But a lot of it can be quite expensive so I’m happy to admire it and ask permission to take a photo or two. Yes, I think I am mad!
So here’s a second instalment of boxes, tins, bottles I’ve seen here in France lately. I should add however, that not all these products are French. Some come from next door in Spain (thanks to Vincent who is aware of my condition) or further afar. But they seemed too lovely to leave out.
France-Australia-France. A few days stretched into a few months… and whammo I completely lost touch with blogging. It wasn’t at all planned – and I didn’t realise how much I’d miss all of this.
Now I’m staying put right here and am so extremely keen to give you a glimpse of everything that keeps me ‘offline’!
It’s been a lot of fun, catching up with everyone back ‘home’ (my one of two) – long-overdue quality time with family and friends, Christmas, tasting Aussie wines, sampling Adelaide beaches, eating out Asian, English spoken all around me, dodging the sun, dodging the mozzies, listening to the magpies and cockies. And then the angst, the dreadful countdown and finally the tears at the airport. But I am so lucky to have made it there.
…And I am very lucky to be happy here too. Back into Winter, some snow!, back to the stove, back in my apron, hot foods to enjoy, snails to devour, red wine instead of all thse whites, vines being pruned, back to the cleaning, back into walking the village with Mat, back to school, back to French!… Now the flowers are out, Spring has sprung, the vines are budding, we’re nearing the end of the scary time for frost risk, Hollande is IN and Benji’s Picpoul is tasting mighty good in the sun!
Yep, the VW’s wife is back and I hope you are well!
The spring has come running back into my step – and I feel like the dancin’ lady clicking her pointy heels. Phew.
We’ve just come home from watching the Bastille Day fireworks over the local lake and it was beautful. There’s something about fireworks, as I looked around at all the people sitting near us, everyone had a smile on their face.
But the other highlight had to be when Benji flicked on the tele this morning to watch the ‘defile’ – the annual Bastille Day parade of French forces along the Champs-Elysees before the French president.
Those boys of the Brigade de Sapeurs-Pompiers de Paris (the Parisian fire service) put on quite a show…