What is a Ponne?

Our ponne is that voluminous limestone vat that you will see in the kitchen next to the oven.

 It is a block that has been hollowed out and is placed on a base of masonry stones.

We have left it in its original place and designed the layout around it.




And what was the use of this?

 illustration Jean-Louis Verdier
illustration Jean-Louis Verdier

 Until the middle of the 20th century, the heaviest pieces of linen (sheets, shirts, tablecloths, etc.) were washed there two or three times a year.

In the Poitevin patois, this heavy washing is called la bugeaille.






Here is the story of Suzanne, the oldest member of our family, born in 1926:

"The day before the bugeaille, we stacked the linen in layers, interspersed with sieved wood ashes. The ash, containing potash, was used as washing powder. It was filled up to the top and finished with a layer of ashes.
On the same day, water was boiled in a poeloune, a large stewpot heated over a wood fire. Then we started to soak the linen in the ponne by pouring hot water with a potin, a large zinc pan with a long wooden handle. The tap at the bottom of the ponne, the tapon, was then turned off. The clothes will soak until the next day.
The work of the whole following day consisted in circulating the boiling water, the lessis, through the laundry, collecting it from the tap at the bottom of the ponne and starting again.
So it was only on the third day that the laundry was taken out of the ponne and loaded onto wheelbarrows to be rinsed in the wash-house.
It was very long and exhausting!"