Pages

www.simply-chateau.com

samedi 30 octobre 2010

Monsieur Dibgert Fanshaw Brownshaw........

Diggers to my friends..............okay so when I sit down I look a little.....portly.......but I am a thinker not a do-er and as I am doing a thesis on sleep I have to put in the hours in bed...................
But you know.....when I stand up and breathe in.....I look quite a hunk..................

This chateau would be nothing without me! What other Russell has a cake designed after him?
Bonsoir mes amis.....................my bed calls...............more study!!!

vendredi 29 octobre 2010

what lies within?

This 19th century chest looks quite run of the mill..........................
and gives no indication to what lies within................

19th century printed paper and a gorgeous label...............................................

and a secret run of delicious little drawers............................................

each with it`s own hand written sepia ink label.....................

and finally a little pull down shelf........................

It`s too big to post so I am going to take it to Vintage at the village hall on 29th NOV ( see the link top right).
I wonder where this chest has been and what treasures it has carried?
http://www.vintagevillagehall.blogspot.com/

dimanche 24 octobre 2010

The big sulk...................................

Well that's it! The big sulk is on!!! Since last week we have had  emails each day explaining that, due to the petrol rationing, more and more couples were having to cancel their attendance at the luncheon in Paris. But with the lure of the Sunday morning flea market I was adamant we should still make our way there as the train tickets as we'd  booked our train tickets..
But at the last minute an email from SNCF explained that due to the protests and blockades in Paris there would be disruptions as the train workers joined the cause and were planning to strike - and our journeys there and back couldn't be guaranteed.
So.....we had to finally give in  -  thus THE BIG SULK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I consoled myself instead with a tour of the local brocantes.....................

.....................okay so I suppose that eases the disappointment a little.....

......................NOT!

vendredi 22 octobre 2010

The Baron du Breuil and the moon........................

Charles le Baron du Brueil has always come in at night and curls up on his favourite chair. He is safe, looks comfortable and I have no need to worry that he might be mistaken for a fox by a huntsman out at night on the marsh at the bottom of the garden.
Due to having only three legs he never seems to go far away from home and even  answers when you call him. But last night he didn`t come home. I went out into the garden at 12.30 and called - but there was no reply and he was nowhere to be seen. I stood in the cold night air and called and called but there was no sign of him. It was a strange silent night with a huge full moon and eventually I gave up and went to bed. I thought I heard him at 3am so went  downstairs and opened the door - but I was mistaken. I stood and shouted again but still no sign of the Baron. The moon was very bright and looked really big in the night sky; it was quite an eerie feel to be standing there in the absolute silence.
I had a very restless night wondering where he could be and then as the dawn broke over the marsh...


.............he came sauntering ( well hopping as only a 3 legged cat having been out on the tiles can!) up the drive without a care in the world.
What is it with cats and a full moon?

mercredi 20 octobre 2010

A riot at the flea......................

I have been looking forward to this coming weekend for so long. We are off to Paris for Mark`s school reunion lunch followed by a night in a swish hotel and then on Sunday morning ......THE FLEA MARKETS.........WHOOPPEEEEE!!!!


As the lunch is quite a formal affair I had planned my outfit to be as Paris chic as possible and have treated myself to a gorgeous new swish skirt and jacket. But of course I will be desperate to get into my flea market loafers ready for the off!

But as the week has progressed the news has been coming in of the riots in Paris with protestors blockading the streets venting their anger at the government`s intention to raise the retirement age in France to 62. But we are still going to go and I will take my camera so you can see the treasures at the flea and hopefully no riots!

Riots in Paris? Not on my new skirt they don`t!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



lundi 18 octobre 2010

A little box of treasure................

Sometimes at an early morning brocante I stumble on a little treasure in the dark with my torch. If it`s very early I just stash it in my bag and check it out when I get home. This divine box was just like that..............
It is just so pretty I would still have been pleased with it had it been empty but....................

..... a peek inside and.......

....full of original balls of wool with their labels in two snug layers.
Where has it been hiding for all these years?

vendredi 15 octobre 2010

Get a shovel and dig me out............................

Yes! I know I am quiet but I am so busy you wouldn`t believe! I am working my way through the old  house clearance packages and have started to list it all in my auctions now. I am also trawling through all my bags of treasures to see what to take to "Vintage in the Village Hall" in November. I have had some lovely messages from buyers who have been with me for over 10 years via Ebay and they are coming to meet me face to face....Heavens...haircut, facelift, bumlift, Botox .... everything-lift required.
 I do confess that when the summer brocantes are on I buy everything in sight and store it away for the winter months when there are no street fairs. There are also boxes and bags packed away all collected through my 25 years or so of trawling for French treasures. ( Ouch........I am SO old!!) Sometimes , after a weekend of brocanting it all comes home and goes straight into a packing box so it`s been quite nice to see what I had forgotten about!!!
I had completely forgotten this divine Toile de Jouy.......................
and this delicious 19th Century Ex Voto in a tole frame............................

So, bear with me whilst I am having a mad sort out!  Have a wonderful weekend, there is a small brocante locally tomorrow so I shall be off early......................huh?.....what do you mean? ....yes....I know I already have box upon box but hey.......enough shabby chic is never enough!!!!

dimanche 10 octobre 2010

Divine textile treasures at 5 a.m.....................

This is why I am so eager to drag myself from my slumber at 4am on brocante mornings..........................

I have returned home with the most delicous batch of vintage textiles and trims along with a box of the most adorable old velvet corsage flowers.......................

......lace collars......................old advertising boxes from mercerie haberdashery stores...............
....soft rose pink lingerie lace.......a batch of black Alencon lace samples still attached to their original tissue...................
.....an amazing bolt of soft straw coloured 19th century linen and hemp chanvre.....homespun and handloomed and totally tactile. There are diamante buckles, batches of buttons,ribbons, tickings and gold wire thread passementerie trims.

I shall be listing some of it in my auctions this week and squirelling some away for VINTAGE AT THE VILLAGE HALL in November. ( See the link above right).
So.................early....birds and worms comes to mind......
a la prochaine..................

samedi 9 octobre 2010

It`s okay......I can walk from here..............

The weather is simply divine here!! Many apologies for the interruption on the story of Nanny Dot but we have been out in the warm sunshine for the last 2days catching up with the gardening. We have a wonderful gardener who usually visits once a week to cut the lawns here, but three weeks ago he was at home using a stone cutter that slipped and cut into his knee very badly. He has been laid up at home with a leg full of stitches and so, needless to say the warm weather had made our lawns out of control!


Last year after years together Mark and I finally tied the knot and some good friends bought us a gift of a voucher for a local garden centre. We held onto the voucher as with all the renovations taking place we have no idea what we will plant and where. But one year on the voucher was due to expire so off we went to make our choice. We decided that anything planted to climb up the walls of the main chateau building could stay in place so we chose a honeysuckle, a jasmine and a huge wisteria.
I thought the wisteria was very apt as it is a huge architectural tree with two roots that join at the middle and then twists together like two lovers.

What I wasn`t prepared for was how much the snails seem to like the wisteria and not the other two new plants! We lifted off all of the snails we found this morning but these two made me laugh so much...................

Any chance of a lift?


Thats wonderful thanks......I think I`ll get down now...............................

Wonderful thank you..................It`s okay.....I can walk from here...................................

I have the choice of four brocantes in the morning..............sooooooooooooooooooo excited!!!! I`ll let you know what I find!
A demain mes belles.....................

mercredi 6 octobre 2010

Oh please....................

I have to interrupt my story of Nanny Dot to show you this news article someone sent me today............................................

For 70 years the Parisian apartment had been left uninhabited, under lock and key, the rent faithfully paid but no hint of what was inside

Behind the door, under a thick layer of dusk lay a treasure trove of turn-of-the-century objects including a painting by the 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini.



The woman who owned the flat had left for the south of France before the Second World War and never returned.


But when she died recently aged 91, experts were tasked with drawing up an inventory of her possessions and homed in on the flat near the Trinité church in Paris between the Pigalle red light district and Opera.


Entering the untouched, cobweb-filled flat in Paris' 9th arrondissement, one expert said it was like stumbling into the castle of Sleeping Beauty, where time had stood still since 1900.
"There was a smell of old dust," said Olivier Choppin-Janvry, who made the discovery. Walking under high wooden ceilings, past an old wood stove and stone sink in the kitchen, he spotted a stuffed ostrich and a Mickey Mouse toy dating from before the war, as well as an exquisite dressing table.
But he said his heart missed a beat when he caught sight of a stunning tableau of a woman in a pink muslin evening dress.

The painting was by Boldini and the subject a beautiful Frenchwoman who turned out to be the artist's former muse and whose granddaughter it was who had left the flat uninhabited for more than half a century.

The muse was Marthe de Florian, an actress with a long list of ardent admirers, whose fervent love letters she kept wrapped neatly in ribbon and were still on the premises. Among the admirers was the 72nd prime minister of France, George Clemenceau, but also Boldini.

The expert had a hunch the painting was by Boldini, but could find no record of the painting. "No reference book dedicated to Boldini mentioned the tableau, which was never exhibited," said Marc Ottavi, the art specialist he consulted about the work.

When Mr Choppin-Janvry found a visiting card with a scribbled love note from Boldini, he knew he had struck gold. "We had the link and I was sure at that moment that it was indeed a very fine Boldini".
He finally found a reference to the work in a book by the artist's widow, which said it was painted in 1898 when Miss de Florian was 24.


The starting price for the painting was €300,000 but it rocketed as ten bidders vyed for the historic work. Finally it went under the hammer for €2.1 million, a world record for the artist.


"It was a magic moment. One could see that the buyer loved the painting; he paid the price of passion," said Mr Ottavi.


Mmmmmmmmmmmm................What would you have given to be the first person through that door?



mardi 5 octobre 2010

Just a little Nanny Dot......

Following on from yesterday.......back to Nanny Dot.



She was allowed a little free time in the evenings and told us she had been asked out to the cinema by the son of a very rich family.The evening went well and the young man insisted on walking her home. Rather than run the risk of being seen by her mother and also being embarassed at living in a tiny terraced back to back house, she told him she lived in one of the large very posh houses on Mellish Road and off they went. She stopped at the first house saying it was hers fully expecting him to leave her at the gate and then she could escape. But no, he stood and expressed amazement at never having seen her before as apparently his family lived 2 doors away! End one wartime romance!!


She met my father just as the war was over and her sister Mavis who had been despatched to live with a rich Aunt, also had met her future husband and a double wedding was arranged. Just a few days before the wedding everyone was amazed when Mavis ran away with an Australian Airman who was stationed in the UK! So mums wedding day went ahead under a cloud of family scandal!


Mavis married the airman in secret without any family present. He told her that back in Queensland he had a huge amount of land and a sheep farm.She went off to Australia expecting to find an enormous luxurious farmhouse and had such a shock! She wrote to mum to say the house was a tiny tumbledown wooden shack in the middle of nowhere.But she stayed and went on to have three children.


Mum and dad had four children together and mum worked hard to raise us all with very little money at all. But I had a wonderful happy childhood and cannot ever remember having "gone without".


Mum was renowned for her strange dreams and had always been laughed at by the family for the bizarre things she dreampt about. The first ones that came true was the morning she told her own mother that she had dreampt that Mavis`s first baby had died. Of course her mother was disgusted and told her so but then the next morning a letter arrived from Australia saying just that.


The next was when my elder brother Alan was taken ill in the early 1950s when he was three years old. He was taken to a sanitorium where mum was not allowed to see him for three months and she was totally distraught. On the day she and dad travelled to collect him she told dad he would be wearing a red sweater and would have long blond curls and of course she was told she was Mad. But true to her dream Alan ran down the ward in someone elses red hand knitted sweater and his hair had lightened and he had long tumbling curls.


She always wrote her dreams down and a few years before she passed away she gave me the beautifully hand writted book saying she knew I would do something with it one day. One day...............


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

lundi 4 octobre 2010

Twinkle twinkle little star.............


As I sat engrossed doing my Ebay listings at the old patisserie counter in the cuisine today I realised I was singing to myself. I burst into laughter when I realised I was singing "Twinkle twinkle little star", but then something struck me.........I was singing it in the mad style of my late mum! Heavens! I am turning into my mum "Nanny Dot"!

It was a sort of "Twinkle twinkle doo dee doo, la la, dee dee, diidde diddle doo" !!!!

Nanny Dot as she was called by all the family sang to my brother, two sisters and me as we grew up and then sang in the same mad style to her grandchildren then to her great grandchildren. She could always remember the tune and the first few words but then always filled in the other rest with anything at all!

Mum was such an innocent and sweet lady and had us in constant hysterics mixing up her words and forgetting what she wanted to say. I have always said that she was the most "giving" person I ever met and I know she is up there with the hugest Versace wings you have ever seen!
Even today if someone in the family says something stupid there is always a resounding "How very Nanny Dot are you today?!!".

If ever I feel a little down and overworked I can always kick myself in the derriere by remembering how hard my mum had to work throughout her life. I then realise how very easy I have it.

She was born Doris Irene in the 1920s and in the mid 1930s her father died. So at the age of 9 she was removed from school to clean the house and help raise her three younger brothers and sisters while her own mother went out to work. From that early age she cooked,cleaned and cared for her siblings one of whom was just a baby. Despite this lack of schooling she had the most beautiful handwriting you had ever seen and was as bright as a button.

During the second world war she was of an age that she could be sent out to work to earn money to keep the family and her mother sent her to work in a munitions factory filling bombs with TNT. I recall she told me that each evening when she washed out her stockings and underwear the water ran red with the chemicals. She also said that if she had managed to get a bubble in the filling she would tap the bomb with a small hammer causing her colleagues to scatter!


Her younger sister was considered very delicate and was very beautiful, so a rich Aunt and Uncle who were childless asked if she could go to live with them in their large house. So Mavis went off to a cossetted life of luxury and mum remained the bread winner, child minder and house keeper inbetween her factory shifts.


Now I have started I do really have to give you her full story so more tomorrow.....................

samedi 2 octobre 2010

Beauty spot etiquette...................

My good friend Tartelette of Charlottes`s Brocante sent me a cadeau of a pack of beauty spots and a chart explaining that the position of a beauty spot had a certain meaning. I thought it was just a joke card but then having remembered seeing portraits of Marie Antoinette sporting one I decided to look closer!




Women throughout history have used the beauty spot for seductive effects. In 18th century Venice a beauty spot near the eye meant "I am irresistable".After my recent visits to Venice and the romantic Cafe Florian where Casenova sought out his lady conquests, I am in no doubt he would have been an excellent reader of the meaning of such spots!!

Beauty Spots were at the height of popularity in the 18th century. Marie Antoinette and other well-to-do Regency ladies are forever associated with spots and wigs.The spots would be pencilled on or glued to the face. Black silk beauty spots also had a more practical use by concealing smallpox scars and disfigurements.

Apparently Marie Antoinette favoured black taffetta ones!


Where would you put your beauty spot ; or are you graced with a natural one?