There’s a lovely little post at Le Lapin dans la Lune, the blog of French children’s book author/illustrator Delphine Doreau, titled “From riches to Reckkit’s, ultramarine blue at 14 Henrietta Street, Dublin.” It talks about her encounter with a wall on that street in Dublin, striking because painted an incongruous but beautiful ultramarine blue. She was told it was blue because it had been painted with Reckitt’s bluing, which was once used as a disinfectant. Thinking that sounded a little odd (quite rightly), she investigated. The blog post explains what she discovered and where her thoughts took her as she pondered that wall and what it encoded as a tiny slice of history. Very cool little piece.
Also very cool children’s books if you’re raising (or giving gifts to) a miniature Francophone.
Laundry bluing is one of my favorite ingredients for spiritual baths, waters, and similar preparations. I always, always have some around, and I use it for all kinds of things. You can read more about what it’s used for in the Southeastern folk tradition, or get some, at the shop here.