mercredi 31 août 2011

What a hoo har!

Okay,okay ....I`m back, keep your pantalons on! Firstly today.................and what a hoo har!

We had decided to attend an auction of the contents of a house located in a village a few miles up the coast from us. There was no catalogue of the contents; simply an advertisement placed in the local newspaper by the family notaire (lawyer) giving the address, start time and indicating that all was to be sold.  We arrived early and thought the old place looked very promising.
Right on the sea front with wonderful views, it had been closed up for many years..............

We found the notaire's sign on the garden wall to check it was the right property.

The sun was blazing, there was no breeze and, as we had arrived early, we took a leisurely stroll along the sea front.

We ended up at a small restaurant.........
where we watched the world go by .............

and easily demolished a huge dish of "moules a la creme" with frites!

We wandered back down to the old house where quite a crowd had already gathered for the sale. A mix of local dealers and some locals, who were no doubt inquisitive to know what their neighbour's old house held.  I was quite fascinated by this young dealer's shoes; who knows,they may be as old as his stock?!

We joined the queue to view the house inside where we found it full of very heavy, very brown, rustic furniture -  which was quite disappointing really But, we were told that the boxes of old linens and smaller, interior items would be sold over the garden wall but with no prior it was back to the sea front!
The sale started and what fun - sitting on the sea wall in the scorching heat watching all sorts of family heirlooms on offer. No items could be examined close up;  you just had to buy what you could see being dangled over the wall!

We bought a few boxes of treasures which Mark carried back to the car only to discover that, we had lost the car keys! I turned out my bag, he turned out his pockets....................nothing! We re-traced our steps along the sea front and asked at the restaurant .............. nothing.

We went back to the car and looked underneath it, we asked to look inside the house again just in case they had dropped out of Mark's pocket in there.....but no! I walked to the tourist office who telephoned the gendarmerie and the town hall but, again, no reports of them having been handed in. How could we lose the keys in such a short distance?  We were considering the option of having to arrange to be towed home.

Whilst all this was happening we were missing out on all the old treasures on offer!

As a last resort we asked over the garden wall if the auctioneer could interrupt his sale and ask the crowd standing beneath him if anyone had found some car keys. The auctioneer immediately did so - and slowly out of the crowd came an elderly, bewhiskered monsieur holding out our keys. He had found them and had tucked them away in his pocket. Pourquoi?, I asked myself. Anyway  I gave him a huge kiss much to everyones amusement and told him he was 'un ange'!

Panic over ! We relaxed again and waited for more treasures to be carried out for sale!

Note to self.....get another car key cut, pronto!

Sooooo.............we have just arrived home and, now, to the news I promised you!  A quick click on the site link below should explain all !!!

A demain mes belles!!

lundi 29 août 2011

Horns & buttons!!

It is always amazing what turns up at the Sunday brocantes!! After a fabulous morning truffling for treasures we flopped down at the last vide grenier of the morning to have a well earned cafe and suddenly we were almost blasted from  our seats! The local huntsmen had arrived with their horns!
Just as they were getting ready to play I stood up to take a photograph, they turned away with their horns facing me and almost blew me over!!
A quick nip around the front and I had their faces!
and ......had I managed a quick nip to the side with a pair of scissors I could have snipped off those wonderful gilded antique hunt buttons on the back of their tunics!
I might have gone home with a hunting horn rammed on my head though!!

I have some scrumptious treasures to list in my auctions this week and there is a little exciting news to come from The this space!!

A demain mes belles..............

vendredi 26 août 2011

Frou Frou`s armoire

'Frou Frou' and Monsieur 'Frou Frou' are restoring a tiny 18th century cottage a few villages away. It really will be the sweetest little place when it is finished. But do you think they would notice if I shimmied up their wall to steal this wonderful old plaque?
The cottage had never been renovated so the work is hard and back breaking to say the least! It may be difficult to envisage but, one day, this will be part of their bedroom!!
So, for the time, being home for Frou Frou is in the garden!

But there are some wonderful advantages.
A beautiful view from the garden, and a large, sandy beach  nearby to let off steam after a hard day renovating..............

And the sunsets here can be divine too!
Frou frou`s office was one of the first rooms to be completed. She managed to talk me out of this old brown armoire which I have had hiding in our barn since Noah built his boat! Originally dark brown and boring she gave it a coat of paint......
... added some faded floral textile.................
and then filled it with her stock............

 I think I may now be having second thoughts and might want it back !!!!

You will find Frou Frou`s treasures for sale here...........

That is.......unless I get to them first!!

Bon weekend, mes belles!

mardi 23 août 2011

Les hirondelles...........

The swallows that nested in the barn we are attaching to the house are having a wonderful summer!

 It does however mean that we cannot fully close up the building and add the last windows as they spend each day swooping and diving through the gaps up into the rafters!

 I must admit that now we have opened up the kitchen wall into there I love to hear them twittering and chattering each morning. The soundtrack with this blog is exactly what I can hear all day long!!

 Its like having my own personal wild bird aviary! ( you can click on the pictures to enlarge them).

They have no fear of Jaques on the roof and constantly zip past his face on the way inside the barn. They fly so close to him they keep catching his ears with the tips of their wings!

I might have to find him a crash hat and some goggles!

And then when you think all the new babies are flying......what do they go and do? The parents have a second egg laying and more chicks appear! This batch is right on the building blocks we needed to use next!
They are not flying yet and are sitting there waiting for mum to arrive with the next batch of food! They sit quite happily alongide Jaques until she flies into view then all hell lets loose!!!!

I know I want the work to progress quickly but I will miss them when they take that long flight back to Africa as Autumn arrives.

dimanche 21 août 2011

Go on..go on....let me......I want it.....I want it.....

Our  nearest local small town has a once a year brocante and vide grenier and I always love it! Today was no exception with 300 plus stands of both professional brocanteurs and local townsfolk clearing out their attics, barns and shops.

 You never know what you will find and it always makes for exciting truffling.
Being so early we always manage to park in the same spot in front of this old house. I adore this building and it still stands empty year after year................

No time for peering through the fence everyone is unpacking!!!!

So much to see and to truffle through!

Look at the size of this key... almost as long as the brocanteurs van.....that must have been some chastity belt!!!
Mark.....Mark.....look.....can I have a rabbit? on...go on....go on...let me ...let
Oh well.......can I have a duck then? on....let me...go on....or I`ll stomp and have a
Well what about a budgie or a chicken? on.....let me.....just a little
NO? Right then out of spite I am going to buy that huge roll of heavyweight tapestry and make you take it all the way back to the car........................

Poor Mark! He is  Monsieur le porteur, Monsieur le banquier, chequeier.....Monsieur le get me cafe and croissants.....Monsieur le chauffeur...Monsieur le "get me out of this huge cardboard box of old lace I have toppled into"...Monsieur le pack le vehicule....Monsieur le map reader....Monsieur  le reach up for high items I am too short to reach....Monsieur le walk to the cashpoint when I have spent out as usual....Monsieur le person who reminds me gently not to buy things that are too big to post................and finally Monsieur le voice of reason when I have stopped at yet another box of free kittens!!!

I have some gorgeous old treasures to list this week!!

A bientot mes belles!

vendredi 19 août 2011

Roofing in the buff!!

My office roof is going on as we speak and heavens its hot here!! This photograph looks as if Jaques is roofing in the buff!!

He is wearing shorts......honest!!!

mardi 16 août 2011

A souris up the pantalons and a pig in the trough!

 It is so nice to be feeling so well again now that all the pipes and stitches are gone!!

I went back to hospital last week to have the drainage tube out and had been told not to eat and drink anything after midnight the night before and to be there by 7am. 

Of course I had convinced myself I was going to have a bad time of it and on the drive there my imaginagion went into overdrive. By the time I arrived I had terrified myself into thinking I was going to have to swallow a camera, have more stitches, injections etc etc!  So when the delectable and suave Docteur L`Argentan swept in to my day room looking like a young Omar Shariff I was ready to knot the sheets and climb out of the window. He snipped a couple of stitches, pulled out the tube, put a dressing on and I didn`t feel a thing!!!! Phew!!!!!!! ........Note to self along the lines of what Frou frou tells me " Mother....just man up and grow a pair !! ".

It was a bank holiday here in France yesterday so we were up at 5am yesterday morning ready to go off to a brocante. It is so nice to be out and about again that I wouldn`t have cared if I had come home with nothing at all.

But being so early I arrived at a battered old car just as a young man and his wife unloaded a huge array of dusty boxes and trunks. Dust and grimy old newspaper is always a good sign and I was in there like a ferret up a trouser leg! Or is that a souris up the pantalons? 

The young guy told me he had cleared an attic and dusty as it all was was all divine!!

A few more early dealers had realised what was happening and were starting to arrive on the scene so I lifted up a huge box of old textiles to hold onto it to go through it.

What I hadn`t realised is that the box had been sitting on this amazing huge old wallpaper and textile sample book and saw it just as another lady scooped it up into her arms. Aaaaah!!!

 Don`t panic....stay cool.....don`t even look at her! Oh heavens!....I can see it says "Toiles de Jouy" on the front!

She looked at it.....held it....looked at it again.....then held it tightly as she stood and examined it whilst keeping one eye on what was being unloaded. I tried not to look interested as she leafed through it.

Oh heavens! has textiles and wallpaper swatches together.....don`t let her see you looking!

Then.....something he unloaded must have flicked her switches as she dropped the book and went off to the trunk he had just put on the floor at the back of his car.

I did a triple half pike swallow dive four roll gamboll and the splits and I had it in my grip!

I love it, love it, love it! I think it is 1920s or 30s and what a wonderful source of design history. I spent last night fawning over it and I have now recovered enough to list in my auctions today.

The roofer arrives tomorrow to put the tiles on my new office roof..I say new roof ...but the building is anything but new and we are replacing the roof with period tiles. I think it was once a small barn for a pig. Right - I am there before you so don`t even think about making a smart comment on that one! I am back to full strength and can rugby tackle at 40 paces!

A la prochaine mes belles!

dimanche 14 août 2011

The new resident at the chateau!

It looks as if I have a new pet!! This little critter has been sunbathing all day in the windowbox!!

Hope Charles  le Baron du Breuil doesn`t find him!!

vendredi 12 août 2011


I recently found these old, unopened boxes of eau de cologne  made by F. Millot of Paris. Still tied around with string they are so simply wrapped - the essence called 'PRIMIALE AMBREE'.

Not just a plain brown box with a little paper label like the fragrances of today!!! 

I think they are probably 1920s; what do you think?

At the bottom of this page in the music box click on the video link to watch a clip from " Marie Antoinette". Look at the shoes............!!!