The countess pulled back the sumptuous silk drapes of the gondola to find him lying there sprawled on velvet cushions - "come join me countess" he purred patting the soft pillows.......... "Mais out Monsieur Depp"...... Gone to Venice and back soon mes belles!
I have told you already about a dealer here I call "Monsieur do not touch". He always has a stand full of items which, in my view, are not particularly special - but placed on his table he puts a huge label: "NE TOUCHE PAS". On the odd occasion in the past that I have even dared to even hover a finger over an item he has boomed "NE TOUCHE PAS MADAM!" - and everyone in the vicinity stops and stares as if he's accused me of theft! I have even seen grown men cringe from his voice. How he manages to sell anything (if indeed he does!)I will never know! Once bitten, twice shy! Now I deliberately walk right past his stand without stopping and have vowed that if ever I was in a brocante desert and my life was in danger unless I bought something from him, I would still rather the buzzards finish me off before I gave that man a single euro! This morning at the brocante I was having a coffee when "Monsieur ne touche pas" came stomping over to me. " Madam....I have something in my van that I think will be of great interest to you - come now". So off I went like a lamb to the slaughter as he marched ahead. He opened his van to reveal an 18th century "STYLE" dress made of silk and lace. "So madam" he leered at me "it is worth many euros to you, I think?". Well that was it...pistols at dawn. He had drawn his duelling pistol and was pointing it straight at me . " Mais non, Monsieur" I replied "it is not 18th century". " You are wrong" he said, cocking his trigger. I held his gaze and took my duelling pistol from its leather case. "The textile is 1950s, the lace is new and it was made very recently. It must be a theatre costume", " Madame..you are wrong " he said again " This is an 18th century dress and you know nothing! How can you say it is not old?". I cocked my trigger, looked him in the eye and told him " Monsieur....look at the back...it has a huge nylon zip and the underskirt is polyester". Take that, monsieur. I had pulled my trigger and he fell - deflated!! But as I walked away past his tables he finished me off with a partingshot and yelled "Madame..ne touché pas!" Of course everyone stopped in their tracks and turned to look at me. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me!
On the 16th October 1793 Marie Antoinette was taken to the guillotine at Place de la Revolution Paris. On the same day her beautiful hair had been cut off and she had been paraded around the streets of Paris on an open cart wearing just a plain white dress. As she climbed onto the scaffold she accidentally trod on the executioners foot and her last words were "Pardon me sir, I meant not to do it". Her body was thrown into an unmarked grave in Madeleine cemetery. No such treatment from simply-chateau!
We will celebrate her life with a MARIE ANTOINETTE DAY on the 16th October. A day of gorgeous Frou Frou French fripperies and specially truffled treasures that she would have adored! Get your silk slippers and ribbon bedecked wigs ready mes belles.....
There is a beautiful chateau in the next village. The gates are usually locked shut (much to my dismay; I'd love to see what treasures it holds) but, today, the gates were wide open as we drove past. I couldn't let the photo opportunity pass. The chateau itself is built in an H shape - more like an Elizabethan mansion! So...here are some views...................
The outer walls are amazing....I wonder if statues were once in those large arches?
This plaque has been added to the outer wall Many buildings were commandeered and used during WWII - and that included chateaux.
But every time I tried to capture the actual building at the end of the long tree-lined drive the sun shone and took the image away so............
.........it will have to remain hidden a little longer!! Tomorrow I will show you a beautiful folly at the edge of the grounds. A demain mes belles xxxx
After much sorting into date order I am hoping to get the first letters translated this week. It is going to be a huge job; I estimate there are at least 300 letters, telegrams and postcards to sift through.
From what I can see the correspondence begins in 1933 - and it was wonderful to find that there are two batches for that year. Letters written from "Jean" to "Yvonne" ( and using her maiden name so they were obviously unmarried at that time) and a separate batch with her replies. The beginning of their romance.
As soon as I have the first ones translated I will start the new blog as I am as intrigued as you to follow their story. Initially I found the batch at a brocante and planned to put them into batches, tied with ribbons to sell as decoration pieces. After realising there is a full romance here and possibly a tragic end I now realise we have to discover the full story. When we have done that I think then that I shall try and trace any family members and return these letters back to where they belong. If that is not possible I think they should go to French war museum. Waiting with baited breath..........
I am at last getting back into the swing of things. It is always difficult to lash myself back to my desk after being away for a week, truffling! I am gradually unpacking and listing my treasures.
Last week, whilst I was away, the swallows left home. One minute they are here swooping and diving, the next minute - gone. If I was a landlord letting out a property I could never rent to a swallow.....they would pack in the night and leave without as much as a "Merci"!!
Much to the amusement of everyone here I have finally got myself a decent phone which not only has an internet connection but a camera too. Bearing in mind that I was the one member of our family whose phone was so old that everyone laughed if I took it out in public, I really did need a new one! I was doing quite well and I realised I could do lots of new things with it - but it took me ages to work out how to make a simple phone call! I could have done with a 10 year old to come and show me; children nowadays seem so much more advanced than me in such matters! I managed to download the Ebay app, which is hysterically funny. Each time someone places a bid on one of my auctions a loud "kerrrrching" rings, just like a cash register]. ( yes I know...little things please little minds!). Today I was in the patisserie and Madame, wife of our local fabulous gateaux maker, had to go into the back room to bring out more delicious morceaux. As she turned to leave the counter, you've guessed what happened. Off went the 'cash register' ring - causing her to whirl round immediately and view me quite suspiciously. She must have thought I had tried to rifle her till as she had turned away!!! I have also discovered that without pressing any buttons I can give this new phone voice instructions......cup of coffee and a croissant please!!
For those of you waiting for my new, separate "Lettres d`amour" blog to start up we are currently putting them all into date order before we start. There must be over 400 letters to get through before my friend begins to translate them. A la prochaine mes belles xxxx