There is one such item that still plays on my mind five years after the event!
The very beautiful Chateau L`Isle Marie, only a few miles down the road from our home and now a hotel, is an enchanting place....... tucked away out of view in the woods. Five years ago the local historical society (or hysterical society as I call them!) advertised an attic clearance ("vide grenier") in the grounds of the chateau to raise funds. I just assumed it would be like any other vide-grenier; local people emptying their garages and barns and putting their wares out to sell. However, I turned up in the early morning sunshine to find that all the buyers were actually outside the chateau's huge scrolled gates impatiently standing in a queue. "Les barrieres ouvrent a 8.00am" I heard someone say.
I recognised many of the dealers already in the queue and quickly realised that it must be more than just a local sale. After talking with a few people it became apparent that members of the hysterical society had been allowed access into the attics of the chateau to find some treasures to sell in order to help raise money for the renovation of the old chapel in the chateau's grounds..
At 8am sharp the gates did open..... and we all bustled in. Oh honestly! I didn`t know where to run first! There was a whole marquee devoted to textiles where I spotted a huge bale of the most divine 19th century florals tied up with string. I made a grab for them only to be told " Je suis desole, madame...vendu".
I was then tapped on the shoulder by a local brocante owner who said, " I hope I've done the right thing but I've bought that bale for you". Phew..............saved! I have kept many of those wonderful pieces for my own collection as I simply cannot bear to part with them......all very, very special. Rumour has it that one of the old Count's wives was a great interior designer - and if those textiles are anything to go by then she had fabulous taste.
There was so much to rush round to look at; stands of books, tools, cuisine items and we soon were loaded to the hilt .........................and I think that is probably why I walked away from something wonderful.
Tucked away in the trees was a stand which had some old luggage, some items from the stables and some rugs. Standing at the back was the most amazing huge leather trunk on which was the Count's crown emblem and a large gilded monogram. One of the buckles was missing and I walked away from it. Why? Why did I do that?
It was the most delicious thing and it was not at all expensive. I've asked myself then same question so many times since.
Did it sell?....should I go back under the cover of darkness in a balaclava to see if its still there?
I still think about it to this day. I had never seen anything like it and I know I never will again....so why did I walk away from it? Who knows? It was definitely the one that got away, that's for sure!!
I have been sorting through my armoires and I suppose that is what got me thinking about that trunk! After a bit of a sort out I am having a little dabble on Etsy this week and here is the link