A century ago, all Auvergnat farmers wore sabots, or wooden shoes, even during the cold winter. Leather shoes were a luxury few could afford and those who could, reserved them for church on Sunday.
Fourty years ago, when I came to this region of France as a child, many people in my village still wore them to do their chores. Slowly though, they were replaced by rubber boots or sturdier footware, though our friend René who owns a nearby farm, still wears his.
Yesterday in Issoire, a wonderful old town with a splendid romanesque church and a wonderful Saturday market, there was a special exhibit showcasing the crafts of yesteryear.
Amongst the craftspeople, was an old man who still made wooden sabots, which he was selling.
There was also someone weaving the most amazing giant baskets.
I was so tempted to buy one, but somehow, I am not sure it would have fit in the overhead compartment on the flight home.