dimanche 30 janvier 2011

Truffling in the attic.....................

The Lady Mayoress of our village recently asked me whether I would like to attend a charity coffee morning. Of course - when the mayoress asks you to do something, you usually do as you are told! I went along with a feeling of dread as I discovered that the ladies who were attending spend most of the week in Paris,  returning to their family piles only at the weekends or to attend charity functions. I duly turned up to find them all stick thin, impeccably coiffed and dressed in that casual 'Parisian chic'  that seems to come naturally to them! It's so annoying! What was worse, they seem to find me fascinating; an English lady who works for a living and is not "kept" by her husband and who gets up at the crack of dawn most weekends throughout the year to trail the flea markets but without having a top end Parisian antiquities store!

So - it was polite conversation all round, with me being interrogated about all manner of things in an ever increasing fog of cigarette smoke around the table. We were at a very beautiful old manoir - and I simply longed to be able to escape their clutches and go exploring!

I was at one point introduced to a very stylish and elegant lady who must have been well into her 70s, covered head to toe in Chanel and with her hair swirled into a chic knot. She was fascinated by my passion for old textiles and asked me if I would be interested in looking though her "grenier" (attic) as she believed she still had some costumes and pieces from her grandmother and from her husbands family stored at the chateau.  Suddenly the morning seemed much more interesting!  I wanted to bundle her into my car immediately and drive away to her home. But no.............. I managed to stay calm and made an appointment to visit her a couple of days later. She gave me her address and a time, adding that said she never gave out her telephone number(!).

The morning of our 'rendez-vous' was yesterday - and our new "Tom Tom" Sat Nav made it easy to find her address in the country.  As soon as I arrived outside the old period gates to her driveway I had a feeling it would be good.

Madame had returned to Paris but I was greeted by her housekeeper who was expecting me and who led the way though the hallway and up a tiny wooden staircase. The old wallpaper was enough to make me want to peel it off and put it in my pockets but wow.....what a real treasure trove I found. Trunks, boxes, bags full of period textiles, trims, costumes, lace, linens, monogrammed sheets with aristoctratic crowns ( EEEEEEEEK!!!), boxes of ribbons and more. I told the house keeper I would like it all and she left me there whilst she went to call madam. She came back and said that Madame had invited me to make an offer for eveything  save for the monogrammed sheets with the crowns because they were extra special heirlooms which she wished to pass down to her children and grandchildren.

So I was left alone for a while to rummage through all the textiles before arriving at a figure.  When I had finished truffling I found my way down the stairs, spoke to the housekeeper - and she duly called Madame again. I stood and waited for what seemed like a life time. What if she said no? How could I sleep if I could not have what I had seen up there? If she said no would it be impolite to up my offer again? What if I had underestimated and insulted her? All sorts of things raced through my mind as I stood there!

The house keeper returned, beamed at me and said "oui, c'est bon, Madame est contente" -   and I almost jumped for joy. We spent most of yesterday packing up the car and plan to return tomorrow for the remainder.

Here is just a little glimpse of what is to come...............................

I`ll show you more later in the week as I unpack it all. I still have no idea myself what is in some of the boxes!!

13 commentaires:

  1. Wow, you hit the jackpot Shirley! What fun to rummage through and old attic and unopened boxes.

  2. Oh this read like a story..I was reading faster and faster to hear if madam agreed for you to take it away..good for you! please keep us posted. xo Colette! ~Afrique du Sud

  3. Fantastic, what an opportunity.....can't wait to see what else you found in the attic.
    Shame about the monogrammed sheets with crowns, or is that just being greedy?
    Julie x

  4. Wow Shirley how exciting, these days don't come along to often. Just think had you been a stick and highlt coiffed and manicured they may have ignored you, it pays to be English Eccentric!
    T X

  5. Just opening the chocolat biccies then Tracey!!
    I am off to collect the rest, might need to take some Kalms before I go!

  6. OMG what a find - I am so envious, it must be like Christmas all over again! definitely worth going to the coffee morning and even putting up with the Parisians!!

  7. Could not have happened to a nicer person......Duh ME!!!

  8. What a fantastic find - and how exciting! Your blog is also a fantastic find for me. I'm am your newest follower.

  9. Oh how I would love to spend one day in your life! That would have been so much fun! And what wonderful treasures you have come upon! I can't wait to see more. I hope this year brings you many more adventures, just like this one! xoxo Rhonda...

  10. Wow Shirley, what a fabtastic lucky introduction! it looks as if you have some amazing items. You lucky, lucky girl!!! Lizzie xx