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jeudi 30 août 2012

My life is pants.........................

Actually .........



What I should have said is that my washing line is full of pants!! 

A whole host of lace trimmed 19th century linen bloomers that have turned up in a local attic clearance.

Thank heavens I have no neighbours to see what I have hung out to dry!  Some of the villagers here already think that the madam  "Anglaise" at the chateau always drives through the village with her car overflowing with bizarre old things! They may think I wear them too!!

The only people who may catch a glimpse are any hunters walking the marsh and they may use them for target practise!!

A la prochaine mes belles
bisous
xxx

mercredi 29 août 2012

Tootsies on my wall !!

I always have my best ideas in the bath! I usually take a book and can be gone for at least an hour!! 

Some time ago whilst languishing in the steam I decided to try and use the 2 almost black chateau panels I have been hoarding for years.I thought they may carry the wall sconces we had chosen for the new room. 

Mark mounted them on the wall and did the electrics. I gave them a coat of white and then pale French grey but the grey just looked too solid.


So I decided to try a crackle glaze finish..............


What a waste of time that was.....not a crackle in sight!!!
So.................I went to deeper Gustavian grey, a little sand papering to distress the edges and finally a polish with a newspaper to age the paint and give it a shine. Voila!!

Then the fun part.....three years ago when I was in hospital feeling sorry for myself after a heart stent op. a large parcel arrived from Tartelette in Oregon. Mark brought it to the hospital and the treats inside really brightened my day!! 



Inside were pink wrapped tootsie rolls that held four of the most delicieux 19th century silk lattice ribbon lamp shades. 

Finally yesterday It was time to unwrap those tootsies!!




I am going to hide them when Tartelette visits next month....they look so edible she may try and take them home again!!

A la prochaine mes belles
xx

mardi 28 août 2012

Mes Dames, Monsieurs, Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure on behalf on myself, me, moi , Mark, Charles le Baron du Breuil and Sir Digbert Fanshaw Brownshaw to declare my chandelier .....................................







finally.........................




......LIT!!!!

May Gawwwwwd bless her and all who sit underneath her!!!

lundi 27 août 2012

Fleuriste..............



After 28 or so years of truffling all over France for old treasures I simply love it when I find something I have never seen before.

These wonderful old glass beaded letters came from an old closed down florist " fleuriste" shop. Each tiny old white glass bead attached by hand to fine wires and then backed with toleware. They remind me of the fine glass beaded flowers that Marie Antoinette collected.


Perfect for any decorative projects, cushions, picture frames, jewellery........................................where to start!!!



A demain mes belles

Bisoux
xx

dimanche 26 août 2012

Marie Antoinette came to visit today........



A very early start today for a wonderful brocante that stretched for miles around a small local town. Each street was laden with treasures so there was nothing to be missed and it was quite tough on the feet!!

Five hours later we arrived home and collapsed in a heap with a large coffee for a quiet afternoon.We were so shattered we didn`t even unload the car with the treasures we had truffled out.

 Then there was a knock at the door and we groaned and looked at each other.................please no....as much as we love to see everyone ......not visitors we are too tired! 

I went bleary eyed to the door to see our nearest neighbour Marie Antoinette. I adore her and her name has always made me smile. No silk gown, tumbling curls and tiny silk slippers for her. My marie Antoinette is 87 years old, wears a wrap around apron, wellington boots and head scarf and zips around the village on her old " peddle and pop" Mobylette. (That is not her above of course but you get the idea!!!).

She is the grand daughter of Madame Guerin who used to own the chateau and loves to visit to see the renovations as they go along. Her bag was laden with her homegrown vegetables and flowers so the kettle went on and a tour of the works began.

She had come to tell us that the hunting season has opened ( how I detest it!) and that we should ensure that our animals stay as close to home as possible in the first few weeks whilst the hunters are keen after a long summer of "no hunting allowed".

 There are regulations at to how close a hunter can shoot near to a residence but some do get a little " shot happy" in the first few weeks.  I have been known to stand on the edge of our garden near the marsh muttering loudly about " gendarmes"  and " telephones" in my best French!!

Charles le Baron may look a little like a fox in the morning mist so I am always nervous when he leaves the garden. 

I may have to borrow Marie Antoinette`s  Mobylette to do a little " duck scaring" myself then the hunters will have to go elsewhere!

A la prochaine mes belles.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx


dimanche 19 août 2012

Grandmere`s tooth...........

A wonderful morning truffling for treasures in the early morning light at a village brocante. 

A Paris department store box that had belonged to a "Grandmere".


I really didn`t care if the box was empty, the label was enough for me!! A quick peek inside and the treasures came tumbling out.....some still with their original pink Paris labels intact.




I bought it without truffling through and couldn`t wait to get home to take a better look!


As the morning wore on the crowds began to appear and it was almost impossible to jostle through the stands. 

Time to stop for a well earned coffee and to sit on the pavement " people watching".



A little old lady as frail as a tiny bird sat alone at the next table deep in conversation with herself. Well into her eighties or even nineties she was chatting away and I wondered who in her imagination she was talking to. 

She happily talked away for while and as she got up to leave she picked up her willow shopping basket  I saw it...........


A tiny "Bluetooth" mobile earphone tucked into her ear! 




I am SO behind the times!!!

A la prochaine mes belles!
bisoux
xxxxx


mercredi 15 août 2012

Not again Gigi? !!




Well... what can I say? Gigi is pregnant yet again! She is without doubt the most luscious and sensuous-looking mademoiselle in the village. Quite a head turner who I have always felt would be more at home living a chic life in Paris than here in a quiet Normandie hamlet.

What is it about her that bring the local monsieurs around like bees around a honey pot? Is it those gentle almond eyes  or the curly apricot blonde hair? Or perhaps her walk or should I say wiggle? 

Perhaps her looks have nothing to do with her appeal? She is always happy and bubbly and greets everyone warmly with total joy and love.

But then.... perhaps it is the way she stands outside her gate at all hours with that "come up and see me sometime" look. 




If a poodle could wear a beret at a jaunty angle, a belted raincoat, stilettos and silk stockings and have a cigarette burning away in a long silver 1920s holder it would be Gigi.  I am surprised she doesn`t paint her claws bright red with lips to match!

Even as a young girl she always had the boys of the village under her spell.



So who is the culprit this time? 

As we are quite a remote village it should be quite easy to simply look at her new litter and the new father will be easily identifiable!

Here is the list of potential new papas:

Sir Digbert Fanshaw Brownshaw - most definitely not! He would not lower himself ( or in fact raise himself that high!!) and he is now a gentleman enjoying his twilight years.





Panache - a very handsome German Shepherd from the village manoir who has an eye for the ladies. But he would never be faithful to her.





Gunter - the Dacshund who belongs to the Countess at the nearby chateau.  


A bit of a playboy and man about town who goes with his owner twice a week to Paris on business. A good catch in my view as Gigi would want for nothing and he has exceptionally good breeding. She could lead that Paris chic life and wear the latest "haute couture" - perhaps like this?




Gavotte - A working dog who lives with Philippe, who hunts on the marsh. Totally macho and, I should imagine, the Jean Claude Van Damme of the dog world. Quite a virile character - so it could be him.




Doudou - ( as in doggy dou dou!). A growly, snarling grumpy guard dog who sleeps under the stars and terrifies us all. Perhaps she softened him up with a little sweet talk and a swish of her tail? Unlikely! I doubt he has a smile in him let alone a long lingering kiss that would enchant a poodle!



 Gigi - you are a harlot, a strumpet and a loose poodle.  So we now wait with bated breath to see who the real father is. No DNA tests needed on this one!

I will keep you informed mes belles
bisoux
xx

dimanche 12 août 2012

Stop right there madam!!!!

Excuse me but stop right there..................just hold on one minute!



Am I seeing things? A new website has appeared with an "about me" page that is literally the same , word for word,  to my own "about me" page on my own website that has been there for years!!

How can someone else be me? Wow.......does that mean there is another " me" somewhere? Now that is quite  a scary thought....two of me! Do we look the same? Do we like the same things? Do we wear the same clothes?

I have my own Mini me.

Should I take it as a compliment mes belles?

A la prochaine
xx

vendredi 10 août 2012

Delicieux Vendredi...........

A scorching day with just a soft and gentle cooling breeze across the marsh towards the garden.  Perfect for a long lazy lunch for 6 good friends................

My favourite cafe check  bunting.....a little old monogrammed  linen ................

lots of laughter and easy conversation. Sir Digbert flat out asleep under the table at my feet after being secretly fed titbits by just about everyone (!) and Charles Le Baron on the top step enjoying the sun.

After all those weeks of lashing rain the garden is a riot of colour.............



( I am very proud of this artichoke by the way!!)



Slow roast hoi sin pork served warm with its sticky coating ( Thank you Gok Wan for the recipe!)

Tiny cherry tomatoes in basil and balsamic dressing ( thanks to Jamie Oliver!)

Fresh salads from local producers at the local marche this morning.

Tiny new potatoes grown in the chateau gardens at Pont L`abbaye

Soft warm baguettes from the patisserie of Madame Renard.

Creamy luscious butter from the local cows

 A range of beautiful locally produced cheeses.

Home made chocolat ganache topped with vanilla icecream with rich sweet strawberries from the marche.

A perfect....perfect Friday!!!

Bonne weekend mes belles....the brocantes await!!

xxxx




dimanche 5 août 2012

Grandmere`s armoire....

It was one of those phone calls I love - but also, at the same time, one of those calls that ends up with me feeling full of disappointment!!  



A lady in my village was calling to say that her 'Grandmere' has emptied her armoire and she just knew that I would want to buy it all after I had seen its contents.

That usually means that I will hate every item but I will still buy it and then pay too much for it so as not to hurt the feelings of someone I will meet in the patisserie the following day!!!

But what a wonderful surprise.........










.........a host of fabulous chateau lace curtains, mostly from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

All very closely inspected by my quality control team of the lace department when I unloaded it all at home.....




It`s all in the wash as I write - and a big " merci" to 'grandmere'!!

So....some delicious lace drapes to come this week, mes belles.

Bisoux
xxxxx

mercredi 1 août 2012

A crumbling Italian villa..............


This news article is so amazing.........there are so many things here I could use!!!


Decline and fall of the Italian villa: Haunting images of the forgotten palaces which are now spectacular ruins

  • Photographer charts decline of country homes from Piedmont to Tuscany
  • Believed to be more than 300 ghost villages - 'paesi fantasma' - in Italy

A grand staircase lies in ruins - the steps have crumbled; its ornate railings covered in dust. On the decaying, bare walls, a splash of coloured panelling provides the last vestige of splendour.
This once-great Italian villa would most likely have been home to nobility during the Renaissance - but now, it and many others have been abandoned.
Yet there is still beauty to be found - frescoes depicting angels and rustic scenes, and vaulted ceilings which have managed to ward off the ravages of time.
To document their sad demise, photographer Thomas Jorion has roamed the north of the country - from Piedmont and Lombardy to Tuscany and Emilia Romagna - for his gallery series, entitled Forgotten Palaces.
A villa lies abandoned in the north of Italy, its once-grand staircase reduced to rubble
A villa lies abandoned in the north of Italy, its once-grand staircase reduced to rubble
To document the demise of the properties, photographer Thomas Jorion travelled from Piedmont and Lombardy to Tuscany and Emilia Romagna
To document the demise of the properties, photographer Thomas Jorion travelled from Piedmont and Lombardy to Tuscany and Emilia Romagna
For the most part, the palaces and villas lie in economically distressed areas
For the most part, the palaces and villas lie in economically distressed areas
There are cases where family tensions have been the cause of the residences' downfall
There are cases where family tensions have been the cause of the residences' downfall
There was even one instance where the construction of a nuclear power plant nearby led to the abandonment of the village and the house master
There was even one instance where the construction of a nuclear power plant nearby led to the abandonment of the village and the house master
The villa was also viewed, rather misguidedly, as a safe haven from the Plague, which reared its ugly head on several occasions during the 14th to 16th centuries
The villa was viewed, rather misguidedly, as a safe haven from the Plague, which reared its ugly head on several occasions during the 14th to 16th centuries
There are believed to be more than 300 Italian ghost villages, or 'paesi fantasma', many dating from medieval times
There are believed to be more than 300 Italian ghost villages, or 'paesi fantasma', many dating from medieval times
For the most part, the villas lie in economically distressed areas with poor communications. 
However, there are cases where family tensions have been the cause of the residences' downfall.
In one instance, the construction of a nuclear power plant nearby led to the abandonment of the village and the house master.
 
There are believed to be more than 300 Italian ghost villages, or 'paesi fantasma', many dating from medieval times.
Residents have left such villages - many dating from medieval times - for reasons ranging from landslides to migration to big cities. 
The term 'villa' originally applied to the suburban summer residences of the ancient Romans and their later Italian imitators. 
Roman villas were often asymmetrical and were constructed with elaborate terracing on hillsides - with long colonnades, towers, gardens with reflecting pools and fountains, and huge reservoirs
Roman villas were often asymmetrical and were constructed with elaborate terracing on hillsides - with long colonnades, towers, gardens with reflecting pools and fountains, and huge reservoirs
Intricate artwork still adorns the vaulted ceiling of this abandoned property
Intricate artwork still adorns the vaulted ceiling of this abandoned property
In the 15th century, Italians began uncovering ancient ruins and modelled their own buildings after Roman prototypes
In the 15th century, Italians began uncovering ancient ruins and modelled their own buildings after Roman prototypes
At their rural retreats, the elite could engage in their scholarly - and leisure - pursuits
At their rural retreats, the elite could engage in their scholarly - and leisure - pursuits
The Renaissance villa would often act as a second home for members of the Italian nobility, such as the Medici - a political dynasty and banking family which would later become a royal house
The Renaissance villa would often act as a second home for members of the Italian nobility, such as the Medici - a political dynasty and banking family which would later become a royal house
Roman villas were often asymmetrical and were constructed with elaborate terracing on hillsides - with long colonnades, towers, gardens with reflecting pools and fountains, and huge reservoirs.
In the 15th century, Italians began uncovering ancient ruins and modelled their own buildings after Roman prototypes.
The Renaissance villa would often act as a second home for members of the Italian nobility, such as the Medici - a political dynasty and banking family which would later become a royal house.
At their rural retreats, the elite could engage in their scholarly - and leisure - pursuits.
The villa was also viewed, rather misguidedly, as a safe haven from the Plague, which reared its ugly head on several occasions during the 14th to 16th centuries.
One of the reasons residents left their villas was due to the danger of landslides
One of the reasons residents left their villas was due to the danger of landslides
A bare staircase in stark contrast to the greens, reds and blues that surround it
A bare staircase in stark contrast to the greens, reds and blues that surround it
All that is left of note in this once-proud room are the grills on the windows
All that is left of note in this once-proud room are the grills on the windows
Light shines through a boarded-up window onto the rotting plastered walls
Light shines through a boarded-up window onto the rotting plastered walls


A la prochane mes belles
Bisous
xx