dimanche 7 janvier 2018


This morning I needed to have some air, do a little truffling and find a little inspiration. A walk around the old discarded factory being used as a recyling centre is always cold but who knows what will turn up!

Some of the alleyways are so lonely I felt a little like an "urbex" urban explorer!

You have to look through the piles of "truc" to see the treasures hiding in the rough.

I wanted to find a space to use that old cast iron chateau fence above but try as I might....

I love this old work bench and I can see that thick wooden top polished for a loft style kitchen.

Old balconniere window grilles...

At times like this I wish I still had my shop in the UK and could deal in the larger pieces.

Can I use this old bicycle rack at Le Petit Chateau?

Old cast iron garden bench ends...

Old galvanised guttering....if this high wind continues across the marsh we may need some of this for repairs.

Perhaps I should take some home just in case?

Or perhaps I should stop sifting through these " mantiques" and go sort some textiles!!!

Bon dimanche mes belles and if you want to see the photographs larger just click on them.

A la prochaine....

vendredi 5 janvier 2018

The Panini Boys...

Our nearest small market town is Ste Mere Eglise  where we went this morning for the Supermarche. I couldn`t help but notice the "guys" are back in residence!

On the corner of the main street is a small covered seating area where the local monsieurs meet to put the world to right.

There used to be a panini machine on that corner so of course the guys have been nicknamed THE PANINI BOYS by the local mademoiselles!!

If you see the Panini Boys all is right with the world!

Bon weekend mes belles


jeudi 4 janvier 2018

Bonne Annee 2018

Bonne Annee  Happy New Year 2018 from Le Petit Chateau Normandie.

One of my New Years Resolutions is to stop neglecting my blog!! I post every day on my simply-chateau facebook page but I know that not everyone participates in Facebook.

We are still suffering from the backlash of Storm Eleanor and the gale is still lashing across the marsh and it`s raining sideways! 

I was worried that I hadn`t seen my two resident doves who live in the hazelnut tree for a couple of days but as I pulled up the blind this morning one was waiting clinging to the windowsill for some seeds. The huge stork`s nest that is in the village of Beuzeville has finally been taken by the wind and I saw Monsieur Stork standing in it just a couple of days ago and I hope he is safe. The swans on the marsh are huddled near the gate with their heads tucked below their wings and its grey and very savage out there! 

The only highlight is that the hunters boats seem to have gone adrift across the marsh in the night and are bobbing away into the distance......oh how sad ....not...and I should imagine the local wildlife is quite pleased too. The hunters proudly tie their little boats to the gatepost and come back with various poor creatures they have shot. At a brocante last year one dealer had for sale a huge bright pink fibre glass swan boat that must have come from a fairground ride. I was SO tempted to buy it and tie it up next to their boats this year.

The small village that houses one of our local Patisseries had a Christmas house decorating competition this year. Every year Monsieur Patrice has dressed his house with his home made rustic decor including a nativity scene in a glass case and a little Winter scene with a small train running on a track through snow covered mountains. Although a little rough it has always been quite charming. But, this year the whole village joined in and there were some stunning twinkling displays including a huge igloo with a seated light up polar bear inside! I did see Monsieur Patrice standing in front of their display one evening. To be honest he had made all of his own decorations and the others had all been purchased. I have no idea who took the winners trophy but on New Years Eve I noticed the enormous polar bear was missing. Perhaps they had taken it inside to deter New Years high spirited revelers or what I hope is that Monsieur Patrice has kidnapped it and is holding to to ransome!! Who knows what he will produce next year to keep up with the new illuminations.

Of course as usual I have the Winter blues and I am dreaming of Provence in the sun and simply meandering around the brocantes in a Summer dress! This was made worse by a phone call from Tartelette from Oregon this morning trying to lure me away for a truffling trip down South in March. I am looking forward to the brocante season starting again and I can display this.....

My longing for the sun is not helped by my friend Andrew who has bought a home in Spain and reports he is in the garden in shirt sleeves checking the progress of his orange crop!

Ted our Spanish rescue dog has been with us for 7 months now and he is such a different boy. When he first arrived he would not look you in the eye and he had suffered a very bad start to his young life. Now, he is totally in control here at Le Petit Chateau and is a total joy to us. 

He was still quite shy in company so when we had our Christmas curry and quiz evening he disappeared to hide on our bed as thirty or so friends arrived for a very raucous ( as usual) evening. The theme was Indian costume so we had various wonderful outfits arrive. 

Mark is very good at emptying our lounge to make it look like a bistro!!

Half way through the night I went up to put Ted`s lead on to take him outside for a break. As we came back into the kitchen I thought he would head straight back upstairs but he turned right into the melee and spent the rest of the evening visiting each table in turn and endearing himself to all. He has certainly moved on. As we speak he is curled on the sofa having a snooze and ignoring the storm.

At the end of the curry night Mark went outside to switch off the Christmas lights and slipped down the slope into the cellar...this was the result! You can only imagine the comments!

As with most people after Christmas we feel totally stupified by what we have eaten and as we speak there is a large pot of home made parsnip, ginger and garlic soup on the stove and Mark has ordered an exercise bike ( Oh my ......watch this space!!). I am sure I saw Madame at the Patisserie burst into tears as we drove past without stopping this morning.

So I am starting to list my latest finds again and digging out the treasures I had stashed away from my December travels. 

If you do use Facebook I have a new Brocante page attached to my simply-chateau page where I am listing some of the attic finds from the boxes I have hoarded in my studio!

I have finally updated my website but I find it such a technical job that I spend most of the evenings trying to fathom it out and get quite excited when something goes right!

Many thanks for all your messages when my grand daughter Sophie was taken so ill. It was a scary time for us all whilst she was in hospital but she is back to normal and will soon be walking. What  a relief!

A la prochaine mes belles and I intend to blog much more....run away and hide now!!

May your year be filled with delicieux truffling escapades!!

dimanche 2 avril 2017

Ted`s first brocante....

I did my first brocante today.

 I was a little shocked to be rousled from my comfy padded bed in the boudoir so early. 

 Yes.... I do have 2 beds and have already been referred to as "Teddytwobeds"  by a visitor!

But I thourougly enjoyed it and even if I do say myself I have a very suitable nose for truffling.

A la prochaine


Eduardo Earl de Houtteville

mardi 28 mars 2017

The Prince, the Duke and the candlestick maker......

This wonderful old handmade parchment document found it`s way to me this week.

Gorgeous old frothy edges parchment dated 1763.

It is a contract between a Prince who also holds endless other titles, a Duke who again is titled to the hilt and a lowly candlestick maker!!

Four pages of wonderful script with amazing signatures.

It looks as if the candlestick maker was renting a property from the Prince and the Duke.....how I would love the full story behind this treasure!

A la prochaine


dimanche 19 mars 2017

Spanish Omlette

I had a message from good some friends yesterday about a little rescue dog in Spain that needed help. 2 years old and going to the kill shelter as he had been abandoned. They wondered if he was for me.

One look at those ears and that was it!!

He is very gentle and gets on well with cats so all is looking good.

So......he starts his long journey to Normandie on Wednesday and will arrive on Friday along with another rescue dog coming to our friends.

He will live a life of luxury here at the chateau but we need a name. Any suggestions?

A la prochaine mes belles

jeudi 16 mars 2017


Truffling with Tartellette from Oregon at the Paris flea markets was just divine. Vibrant and bustling as usual.

Warm sunshine and hoards of treasures. What could be better?

Supper at Laduree....

Even the graffiti was good!!

Back home now listing my finds...

But I have had my Paris "fix" and it is always so nice to come back to the tranquillity of the chateau.

A la prochaine mes belles

lundi 6 mars 2017

Paris textile sample book....

This wonderful antique French textile sample book arrived on the shelf in my Etsy shop today. A rare find to truffle such a wonderful piece of textile history still intact...

A wonderful source of textile history that is brimming with swatches.

You will find the link to my Etsy store on the right.

A la prochaine mes belles

Footloose and fancy free...........

We arrived at the brocante yesterday at 6am in lashing rain and a gale. Whilst waiting for the gates to open we hoped it would stop even just for an hour.

But no, it continued and as the gates opened we donned our waterproofs and joined the crowd. Within 10 minutes we were soaked to the skin. It was the kind of rain that runs off your waterproofs down your trouser legs and into your boots. To make it worse it was sooooo cold and when you get to that state there is no point stopping as you simply cannot get any wetter!!

Some brave brocanteurs unpacked and we bought some treasures despite the storm.

We found a very sweet armoire shaped trinket box and packed it in our bag.

Last night as we unpacked the days truffle haul we realised that the little armoire (which should have 3 legs on each side)  had a leg missing on the right hand side but still stood firmly. We decided that we would remove the matching leg on the left hand side and list it as a dolls house confection rather than a boudoir box.

This morning on the way to La Poste Mark made a confession.

He had been up earlier than me and had decided to remove the extra leg. As soon as he had sawed it off he realised.......


But, not only did he not stop at that point, he continued to chop off the leg we had already agreed to cut off , so, now it has two legs on the right and just one on the left!!!

I laughed so much I could hardly catch my breath! He tried to fight his corner by saying he had saved the leg he had cut off in error so he could glue it back on.

He is not going to live this down and I am not sure if it is ever going to be destined for my Etsy shop as a timeworn armoire for a " Maison de poupee". I think it may have to appear at the odd dinner party at the appropriate moment.

All I can say is thank heavens Mark isn`t a surgeon..........

A la prochaine.....

samedi 4 mars 2017

The Ragondin Brothers.....

There are two old brothers that live in our village. One as thin as a willow stick with a black beret so fitted to his head that I think he must have been born wearing it. The other as stocky as a little barrel with mad grey hair sticking out of his woolly hat.

They live in a tumble down cottage that if you didn`t realise was theirs you would assume it was derelict. In the Winter a small plume of smoke from their chimney is the only indication that someone is there.

They ride a battered old war-time Mobylette. The kind that you have to peddle to get going and it sounds like a hairdryer. I once saw them driving across a ploughed field with them both clinging on for dear life as the mud clogged their wheels which was a sight to behold!

Sometimes after lunch on our way to La Poste we will pass them on the road. The thin one always drives and the stout one clings on at the back usually the worse for wear after a long lunch with a little vin rouge. They wear 1960s type crash hats with leather ear covers and we have always referred to them as "The Odd Couple".

We have noticed recently that any communal village jobs seem to be handed to them. Unblocking ditches, hedge cutting, repairing the church gates and more recently trying to control the Ragondin population on the marshland close to the village. So they have been re-named " The Ragondin Brothers".

Every morning at 5am we hear the moped coming down the lane , past our garden and on to the gloopy mud on the marsh. 

But today on the way to take our parcels we saw that they have had a great forward move in their business. They have added to their company fleet and were very proudly driving a very battered bright yellow van. They are so much like a French Del Boy and Rodney now!

Later in the afternoon they were chopping trees on the long driveway to the large chateau on the edge of the village. Business must be good for the Ragondin Brothers if they now have four wheels instead of two.

Who knows where they will be in a years time!!!

A la prochaine mes belles.....