Sunday, August 04, 2019

Sunday Smatterings

Two words I don't see anymore and I am sure the two generations in my life don't know their meanings.

I remember a counterpane on my grandparents' bed.

What a wonderful word.

coun·ter·pane
/ˈkoun(t)ərˌpān/
Learn to pronounce
nounDATED
a bedspread.
synonyms: bedspread, cover, coverlet, throw-over, blanket, afghan, quilt; More
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There was crockery in their simple homemade cupboard beside the open range.

crock·er·y
/ˈkräk(ə)rē/
Learn to pronounce
noun
plates, dishes, cups, and other similar items, especially ones made of earthenware or china.
synonyms: dishes, pots, crocks, plates, bowls, cups, saucers; More
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My daughter's cat Mango. He has a full time job catching mice and shrews for his bosses, the local crows, who scream and yell at him if they are not happy with his overnight haul. He crashes out during the day, exhausted. The odd time, he talks back at them in a strange chirpy language they seem to understand and they shut up. We like to imagine what he says.

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The last time I was in Paris I took this picture from the wee balcony of our tiny hotel. Some pictures bring back a flood of memories. This one does it for me.






26 comments:

  1. It's been many years since I heard counterpane but I remembered immediately what it was. I still hear Crockery as many of my neighbours are elderly and that's the word they grew up with.
    If I had that balcony view I'd be making up stories about the house and it's inhabitants.

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    1. River I did watch a couple in those windows opposite. What I love most about French people is that they seem to be living a life far more interesting than our dull ones. I love how they line up for fresh baked goods and nearly always buy flowers, etc.
      XO
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  2. I am very familiar with both words - and use crockery myself still. Which possibly dates me - and I care not.
    What a sterling job Mango does - and without question the birds understand him.
    What a brilliant view.

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    1. I think the words are dying out though. I was trying to think of a poem that incorporated both. They are onomatopoeic I believe. I tried to spell that word and spell check yelled and fixed it.

      XO
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  3. Two words I heard often in my childhood and seldom hear now are divan and dooryard. (I don't know if HTML works in comments, so I could italicize.)

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    1. I think it does Linda tho HTML I find complicated. I do hear divan, mainly as a kind of sofa one could use as a daybed. Dooryard is not familiar to me.

      XO
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    2. I remember both those words, but don't hear them today, ever, but I remember the poem Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, The Pleasant Land of Counterpane. I think of it every now and then. "When I was sick and lay abed, I had two pillows at my head. . . ." I loved that poem, and two others he wrote, about the River, and the Swing. Yep, good memories.

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    3. I must look up The Pleasant Land of Counterpane, how delightful.
      And here it is:
      The Land of Counterpane
      Robert Louis Stevenson - 1850-1894

      When I was sick and lay a-bed,
      I had two pillows at my head,
      And all my toys beside me lay
      To keep me happy all the day.

      And sometimes for an hour or so
      I watched my leaden soldiers go,
      With different uniforms and drills,
      Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

      And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
      All up and down among the sheets;
      Or brought my trees and houses out,
      And planted cities all about.

      I was the giant great and still
      That sits upon the pillow-hill,
      And sees before him, dale and plain,
      The pleasant land of counterpane.

      XO
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    4. I like that you printed the whole poem. I think it's a poem worthy of memorizing. Thanks for your comment. Nancy

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    5. Thanks for bringing the mention of it here and as I copied and pasted it I had a dim memory of a neighbour reciting it to me. She was determined to raise us into the land of classical music and good poets.

      XO
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  4. I know both words well, but never used counterpane.

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    1. I think it comes from the French, Jackie, an embroidered cover.

      I always see them as shiny with same colour embroidery, my grandparents' one was a rich crimson, very soft. I think it was my GG's gift to them on marriage.

      XO
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  5. Replies
    1. He sure is Delores. I am sure the crows are delighted they have this servant. Daughter was thrilled one day to see him climbing the roof of her porch to yell back at them!

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  6. I never heard the word "counterpane" before, but have heard the word "crockery." As for the cat, awesome! Nice view in Paris.

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  7. The word didn't make it to North America it looks like. Bit yes to Australia.
    Interesting.
    XO
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  8. I know counterpane from all the books I read, but never heard it used in my family. We did have crockery, but I doubt my children and grandchildren have any. Fine old words. I'm sorry I don't know the derivation of counterpane. So I looked it up: Middle French coutepointe, modified in Middle English to countrepointe, alliterated to counterpane. That's Merriam Webster's take on it. I need to look some more, to be better convinced.

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    1. I think you're right Joanne, tho the Oxford could probably tell us more. But French definitely. A form of embroidery I would think.

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  9. I use both words quite often as I use both!

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    1. Well aren't you old fashioned in the nicest way, Ramana!!

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  10. I conducted an experiment with my USA-born husband- "Do you know the word 'counterpane'?"
    "No - not really - it's something about a bed I think."
    "How do you know that?'
    It's in a song:

    He dances overhead
    On the ceiling near my bed
    In my sight
    Through the night

    I try to hide in vain
    Underneath my counterpane
    But there's my love
    Up above

    I whisper, "Go away, my lover
    It's not fair"
    But I'm so grateful to discover
    He's still there

    I love my ceiling more
    Since it is a dancing floor
    Just for my love.

    Interesting. I've learned a few American-type word meanings from song lyrics too. :)

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    1. Oh what a lovely song, reminds me of Fred Astaire dancing on the ceiling. Amazing how one word can lead us off into different directions of memories, isn't it?

      XO
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  11. I learned my English from books and lessons a long time ago; I still use old-fashioned words a lot. Like scullery for instance.

    Do the crows speak cat back?

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    1. They seem baffled by his sauciness and shut up. I remember my in-laws' scullery. A place of shoe polishing and dishes being washed in the background. They had a live in maid who had a room beyond the scullery. Sounds terribly 19th century in the light of day but yes, my wonderful MIL was a champion golfer and had perks.

      XO
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