Last week was half term and I went to visit my dad, who has a little house in a rural French village. As usual, most of the time was spent gorging on cheese, meat and carbs.
And observing the habits of French farm animals.
Since I was staying for a little longer than I normally do, the trip included a visit to Oradour, a village in France where over six hundred people were massacred by the Nazis in World War Two. The authorities decided to leave the village as it was, as a reminder of the horrors of war.
I am partial to a ruin. It was strange to see ruins from such recent history. You could imagine if a similar atrocity took place now, with visitors in a couple of decades peering in at smashed and rusty iPads and televisions.
I spied a postcard of a sewing machine in the visitors’ centre and got excited. I decided to look it for it to snap my own picture.
I soon spied an old Singer, clearly recognisable despite having been exposed to the elements for several decades. That’s build quality I guess.
Soon I spotted another.
I decided to take a picture of every recognisable seeing machine I saw. It nearly got out of hand.
At times it felt a little frivolous to be having a Singer scavenger hunt. Epecially when seeing inside the church, where all the women and children were burnt to death.
However, I think the search for sewing machines helped maintain my interest in looking around the town. It also highlighted the importance of home sewing to women’s lives 70 years ago. I saw 25 sewing machines during the visit, and I imagine there were several I missed. It helped to bring the village alive for me.