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jeudi 30 septembre 2010

Chaos reigns!!!

Well my first full day back home and I am out of control! I have stock everywhere, post to open and emails piled up as high as the laundry in the laundry basket! The washing machine door lock has given up and so I have no washing machine so I will deal with that one tomorrow!
But......such gorgeous treasures to unpack......................
Reliquaries, corsage flowers, textiles, trims and so much more....heaven!!!
My new business cards have arrived and I LOVE them!!
I have spent the day trying to photograph and list, unpack and try and make some order of the house. I have failed mostly on all accounts!!

And my news for Novembre......It must be 15 years since I had a stand at any antique fair but I am joining my good friend Tedandbunny for an exclusive day "Vintage at the village hall" in Dorset back in the UK and I am SO looking forward to it!!! The date is the 29th November and it will be nice to bring out some of those treasures I have been hoarding that couldn`t go in the post ! Here is the link for the day and I will give you more details as time moves on.

Tomorrow should find me just a little more organised?
A demain mes belles..........................

mercredi 29 septembre 2010

Chez nous at last..........................

We are finally home! Immediately after the house clearance we had a call to say that our next grand child was almost here so we caught the first ferry to the UK. After a long long labour and finally a "C" section our second Grand daughter in three months has arrived safely. Polly weighed in at 7lbs 4oz and thank heavens all is well. I didn`t take any photographs there and then when we nipped into the hospital to see her an hour or so after her birth. I figured the last thing Jenny needed was me flashing a camera about after such an exausting event! So Photos to follow soon.
It is heaven to be home! So it will be normal service tomorrow and I will photograph all my treasures and list them............
As well as my latest trouvailles I also have some very exciting news for Novembre.......more tomorrow!

vendredi 24 septembre 2010

Off like a truffle pig.....................

I answered the phone late last night to a friend from Bordeaux who has been offered a large old borgeoise house to empty before the new owners start to renovate. Apparently it has been untouched for years and is still full. As my friend is strictly "brown furniture" he has given me the chance to empty it with him and choose what he called "The girly things".
To say I am excited is an understatement! I have seen this old house once before many years ago and remember it being covered in ivy  and looking like it hadn`t changed for years. So I am hiring a small van ( just in case our car is too small!) and we are setting off for the days drive to the South.
Apologies for the break in my auctions but I will be back next week with (I hope) some delicious treasures.........
Wish me luck.................a la prochaine...............

jeudi 23 septembre 2010

Venice.................I`ll have that one please...........

Venice was simply divine and I am absolutely addicted to the place! The grand doorway to our apartment was amazing....................I was very tempted to get a screwdriver to steal the  door knocker!


I like nothing better than sitting at a cafe at the side of the  Grand Canal with a cafe latte watching the gondolas passing by. Mark kept getting his "gondolas" mixed up with his "gondoliers" and asked me on various occasions if I would like a go on a gondolier! Yes Sir.....I`ll have that big six footer with the muscles please!

The night at the opera was very special, not just the building........................but the grand hall where the event took place.

We had to cross the Grand Canal for the evenings entertainment and there is something very decadent about sitting on a gondola dressed for the opera!! La Traviata was superb and as I have a penchant to cry at anything remotely sad I decided that when Violetta died I would not look at the stage at all, so, I wouldn`t sit there blubbing like an idiot. None of this was helped by a very elegant Italian lady in front of me who kept turning around to nod at me with tears streaming down her face!!  So, when Violetta finally hit the bed I looked away waiting for the silence, but no, she was up again at the front of the stage singing her heart out! It took at least four flops on the bed for her to finally depart and in the end I gave up , watched it all and of course cried! I wanted to blub "stop building your part up and get on with it  love!".

It`s very difficult not to shop whilst in Venice and thank heavens I was limited to what I could fit in a suitcase or I would have treated Diggers to this superbly regal dog bed! I did consider finding a large box and visiting the post office with it.

The shops are gorgeous but the women of Venice WOW what can I say? They are so slim, elegant and dressed to perfection. I think the dressing must come easy with the haute couture shops and those slim bodies come from the fact that as there are no vehicles you would have to take a water bus ( filled with tourists) or taxi or simply walk. I think they MUST walk!!
But that did not stop me from becoming the official taster for one of their traditional dishes of tiramisu. Well someone had to do it didn`t they? I tried so much that I would have to walk the whole of Venice for 10 weeks without stopping to make up for it! I think that to be the correct weight for my height I would have to be 12 feet 4" !!

So back to the mill for me now and my Ebay listings will start again tomorrow and I will give you more news tomorrow too.
A demain mes belles.............

lundi 13 septembre 2010

Casanova in Paris.............


Soooo..............Veronique is finding life at home very quiet! Her mother hardly talks to her unless Maxim is there on one of her carefully plotted visits. But Veronique still feels there is something better for her.

This weekend she tells me that she has joined  an online dating agency - and that she has been matched  up with an artist who lives in Paris!

After giving her the usual " Oh please be careful" warnings I do confess that I am as excited as she is!!! She is catching the train on Saturday morning for the hour and a half journey to meet him for dinner. We have already discussed what she will wear, what she will say, just how much she will tell him - and of course the things she has to ask  him without seeming too keen!

We have also checked out the restaurant where they are meeting and have decided that if she does not like him she can climb out of the toilette window and escape!!!! I have told her if he mentions painting her portrait or showing her his etchings in his flat she is to run....fast!!!

And me? I am going to miss all the fun! Mark and I are off to Venice for a short break to celebrate our  wedding anniversary.

So, whilst I am sitting in my favourite Cafe Florian pondering how Casanova met his ladies there, Veronique will be in Paris meeting her own Casanova! Wouldn`t it be wonderful if she could swish in to the restaurant in her crinloine and hide behind her fan flashing those long lashes at him?!


On Thursday evening in Venice we are going to the Opera to see La Traviata at San Giovanni Evangalista and I am so looking forward to it. Apparently the performers walk amongst the audience in period costume so I shall be the one on my hands and knees snipping off bits of silk period crinolines as they pass!!

La Traviata traslates as " The woman who strayed"......I hope this does not mean Veronique!!!!!

I shall be back soon and will tell you all the news...............

samedi 11 septembre 2010

The story continues.....


Well...........Maxim is both shocked and stunned. I don`t think anyone has ever said "no" to him before. He now is obsessed with Veronique because she is something he cannot have. His mother is absolutely incensed by Veronique`s audacity to turn down the offer from her 'wonderful' son ...and has even telephoned her to tell her so.

Veronique`s mother Ann-Marie, too, is appalled at her daughter`s attitude. Ann-Marie is the typical rural Normandie farmer`s wife, always wearing her apron, a hand-knitted cardigan and wellington boots. She has felt so honoured, proud ( and optimistic!) of the tenuous link she has with the chateau from the start of her daughter`s romance. She has held her head high at all the village functions ,and has enjoyed the whispers and knowing looks from the other farmers' wives at the market. She has told Veronique  that, as she is nearly 30 now, she will never get a better offer and her biologocal clock is ticking away.

There is still some quite old fashioned thinking out here in deepest rural Normandie and the older generation of men still feel a woman should stay at home at the kitchen sink. None more so than a workman who called 'on spec' at the house to ask if we needed any roofing work. I told him that we didn`t as the roof is in perfect condition - but he ignored me with a condescending smile and  insisted on asking to speak with my husband or "le chef" as he called him. I called Mark who gave him exactly the same answer!  -  and I returned to the kitchen sink. Shame.....he will never know how close he came to having his beret clad head stuffed in the sink with the tap running!

So..... the pressure is on poor Veronique from all angles. Her mother and Maxim have joined forces and the plotting has begun. When Veronique returns home from work she will find Maxim sitting at the kitchen table chatting with her mother. He's been invited to many family meals and get togethers and everything is being engineered to get them back together. Anne-Marie is currently not even talking to her daughter! Veronique's phone is constantly ringing with texts from him but his offer never changes. It still involves having to live with his "Maman".

And now Veronique is having doubts and wondering if what her mother says is true. The only other options she seems to have is to choose a husband from here in a very rural community. Is she prepared to accept someone who stays out all night hunting, shoots anything that moves, comes home in the morning, slaps the kill on the table and then asks for it be skinned, gutted and prepared for his supper later that day?

But that is not all................more tomorrow.....

vendredi 10 septembre 2010

A crown of thorns........................

Friday morning is our weekly market day and I often stop off at the small cafe to watch the world go by. This morning I as I sat with my expresso I was joined by Veronique a young French girl that I have got to know very well over the years. She told me she has a huge dilemma and this is the reason.


Maxim is tall a man, bronzed with tousled hair and piercing blue eyes. He is a little arrogant but is still charming in his tailored 'haute couture' jeans and shirts with a cashmere sweater thrown casually over his shoulders. His Italian leather loafers are expensive, as is his gold watch that has a small engraved couronne that gives just a hint of his heritage. Maxim is the playboy eldest son of the local Count. He has no need to work as he receives a substantial allowance each month. He drives around the local village roads in his open-topped Mercedes sports - when not in Cannes or skiing in the alps! He is totally pampered by his mother the Countess and he has the same adoration for her.


Veronique is the daughter of a local farmer. She is slight in build, slim, and has natural brunette curls - and with her long, sweeping lashes she has a natural beauty with no need for make up or jewellery to embellish the package! She has that "je ne sais quoi" that makes the local monsieurs stop and stare, but she has no idea at all that she has it! She is simply adorable; very kind, thoughtful and used to a life of very hard work on the farm. Her biggest wish is to have her own home , a loving husband and children. More than anything, she desperately wants children.


I think, initially, Maxim made a play for her because she is the object of desire of most of the local men. He did it because he could and to show he could have what he wanted. When he is here they are together but, without fail, he always returns to the chateau each evening to be with his mother. When Veronique met the Countess for the first time she left with no illusions that the Countess considered her too lowly for her 'darling' son.


It has been almost seven years since Maxim and Veronique started 'dating', and Veronique has recently made it clear to Maxim that she is fed up with spending endless nights alone, and now wishes to settle down and start a family. So Maxim has came up with a plan. He will agree to marry her whereupon she will enter the entirely cossetted world of the aristocracy and she will want for nothing but it has to be on one condition: that they move in and live together at the chateau with his mother as he has no intention of leaving Maman. She can have a pampered life and they will have as many children as she wants but with "Maman" present .


Veronique has said 'no'... and who can blame her? Maxim says he will not live away from his mother and so.....is the relationship is over?






more tomorrow..................

jeudi 9 septembre 2010

The chateau farm shop

Come with me to my local farm shop..........down the tree lined drive..........
..and it just comes into view........................
La ferme de Bethanie is a delicious 19th century chateau that is also a rehabilitation centre for the "bewildered" whose main hospital building is in the nearby village.
A beautiful serene place full of period splendour and features..........



The cast iron winding staircase is a fabulous confection.



The grounds are overlooked by this beautiful statue..........................

The garden is wonderful and the choice of top quality fresh vetetables is simply amazing......


Just ring the bell for service...........

I will never buy vegetables in the supermarche ever again!!

mercredi 8 septembre 2010

"The knots of love"....................save me please!!!!




I found this divine old sepia print last weekend entitled " Les Noeuds D`amour"....the knots of love. It`s so beautiful but brings me to something not so beautiful concerning knots.......please someone, save me!!!!

Mark is still busy renovating the attic ( or as he calls it "the crows nest"...typical ex Naval officer!!) to make an extra bedroom.  Our tiny dolls house chateau is a tall building with the attic tucked away in the pointed roof which is reached by a tiny old staircase . Mark is worried about a fire escape as, Heaven forbid, should a fire start in the house anyone in the attic room would be trapped. We really do not want to spoil the look of this beautiful old place with a fire escape so my 'monsieur' has come with a plan - and found just what he wanted at the weekend brocante.
Please.......save me! He has come home with two huge lengths of thick, knotted rope that he can tuck away in a cupboard close to the attic window so that, in the event of an emergency, we could climb safely down to the ground!



NO!!!! Please. I don`t do ropes and climbing! As a child in the gym class all the other children had climbed to the top of their knotted ropes and I was always still floundering like a haddock on the floor! I have told him I will not climb down a rope but he has assured me that if my derriere is on fire then I most certainly will!
Will I need to wear a back pack for Diggers and Charles? Will I need grippy gloves .....or a crash hat? Will I be able to hold on? Should I buy a night gown as I cannot sleep in clothes? Should I keep an asbestos boiler suit under the bed! And would I in fact be able to climb out of the window - and descend?
Most worryingly, he has told all of our friends he intends to have a fire drill once a month ( the naval training again!!) and they are all waiting with great glee to watch me come down that rope.
Can someone come and save  me...................................please?

lundi 6 septembre 2010

Balconnieres and corsets!

Had a wonderful day brocanting yesterday. We started at 5.30 am and it is still warm enough here just to get up, brush your teeth, put a brush through your hair, slip on your loafers and go!
We ended up doing 5 brocantes in all. Starting with the one the farthest away  and working our way home.
I found some divine old pink 1930s lace up corsets, two mannequins, glass beaded 19th century flowers and a whole host of shabby treasures.


I am most pleased with something we will be keeping though! There was a stand of old clothing with heaps of draped garments and just peeping out from below a row of trousers I could see a curl of painted cast iron.

On closer inspection I found that stand holder had used a divine 19th century cast iron window balconniere as a clothes rail! I uncovered it and asked her the price and she informed me she had the other matching three at her home just across the road.


I had thought it was going to be impossible to find four period window grilles that would fit one side of this old house but VOILA!!!!!  I am delighted and can`t wait for Mark to put them in place.
So now to photograph my latest trouvailles.
a la prochaine..........

samedi 4 septembre 2010

Les hirondelles...............

I always know when Autumn is on the way as the hydrangeas start taking on that divine, muted green/pink vintage look. It is at this time of year when I bring them in and dry them as the soft colours are delicious. I love to have huge urns filled with them throughout the house during the winter.

This morning the swallows ( les hirondelles) are getting ready to leave. I still find it amazing that they come here each summer from Africa  - and now have that huge journey back as winter slowly creeps in. 'Flying school' for this year's new arrivals is well under way with the garden (and even the kitchen due to a navigational blip) full of swallows swooping , twisting and turning in the sunlight. The noise they make is amazing; if only my blog had sound!! Organising the birds off their phone and electric cable 'runways' in the lane must be a nightmare for the ornothological air traffic controllers!!!





















Charles, le Baron du Breuil, is feeling much, much better this morning.  His leg is less sore and he is relaxing it more.  I have finally managed to get a good look at it - and it seems as if he took the end off completely, perhaps trying to climb a tree? He can scamper up a tree very easily but cannot reverse down gently with just one back paw and sometimes has to use the little stump  to steady himself on the way down. I suspect  it may have been taken off by the tree bark. Ouch!
This morning he is in his own feline world -  fascinated by all the bird activity to say the least!........
He has climbed onto the high wall, sitting in the sunlight no doubt hoping to catch one as they whizz past above his head!
But the sunlight is so warm that a little male grooming wouldn't go amiss too!
He has never met another cat ( well, not since leaving the litter he arrived in!) as we are quite remote here on the marsh but, one day, some Mademoiselle  may just wander down the lane - so, he has to be prepared!
And where is Diggers Fanshaw Brownshaw this morning, I hear you asking?

Well, he is also out and about and, from the photograph above, looks like he has reached the crossroads in his life ! Actually, he is waiting for the mobile patisserie van ( which comes twice a week)  as Madame always has a tasty morceau for him!

No brocantes today.....quel dommage; but, tomorrow, a 380 stander ..... so I am really looking forward to it!!
I hope your weekend is as sunny and warm as here in  Normandie......and may all your patisserie vans be stuffed with delicious handmade treats!
A la prochaine .................

vendredi 3 septembre 2010

A wander around the brocante.....................

It was such beautiful weather today, perfect for a wander around my local brocante shop..............































Is there anything you like?