jeudi 31 mai 2012

Who stole my wheelbarrow?

So..........back to the 5 kilometre brocante. Sorry for the delay but it is all happening renovation wise here and the family has arrived from the UK for a holiday too.

I eventually had to drag myself out of the textile heaps as I figured I was missing so many other things being unpacked throughout the fair. Daylight had arrived and it was clear it was going to be a wonderful sunny day. As we were still quite close to our car we decided to take the enormous filled sacks and our trolley back to the car and start the brocante again. I had decided a few days before that if I was going to have to pull an old ladies trolley along I would at least have a chic one!!

 I walked away looking backwards at the heap of textile pining for it as I went!!!

You will hate me for this but I didn`t take the camera with us on the day as I get so involved in truffling I knew I would put it down and lose it.

 Along those same lines.... just one hour later I realised my mobile phone was missing !! I have had this phone so long that Noah had the same model and I keep threatening to change it for an all singing, all dancing internet phone but it just keeps on working well - so it stays. My big chance for a new phone? Actually no.....a lovely Belgian lady who had been truffling through the piles of textiles with me had found it buried after I had gone and had kept it all day, hoping that she would see me again in the crowds. Fortunately, she did. Will that phone never leave me?!!!

One of the rules at a 5 mile fair where you are not allowed to take your vehicle in at all is not to buy anything big unless you feel like transporting it by hand or trolley back to the parking area.  After a kilometre or so we were already loaded to the hilt and we had also bought a huge suitcase on wheels for a couple of euros which we had filled and were dragging along behind us!

And then I saw it.....a shabby chic distressed Gustavian grey cupboard with a carved winged angel on the door. I knew I needed it! Isn`t it always the way? You only want something when you know you can`t have it? Sniff!

We walked on a little and came across three men wearing yellow vests with the town name emblazoned on the back  who were standing by a golf buggy with a trailer behind. I asked if they were for hire and they said most certainly and it would cost me just 2 euros to load the trailer and for it to be taken to my car 5 kilometres away.

Faster than a croissant out of a patisserie oven that trailer was loaded with the angel door cupboard , the suitcase, the trolleys and along with Mark standing on the back they set off slowly through the crowds.....wish I`d have had the camera for that one!

I made my way behind them at my own snails pace and to be honest bought some really wonderful smaller items as I was slowly wombling along.

I finally reached the car and helped Mark put the cupboard on the roof and pack the car to the hilt. A little decadent don`t you think using the sheet of a Baron for covering!!!

 We decided to walk just a little way back into the brocante for a well earned coffee and a sit in the sunshine. We had to walk back past the van with the piles of textiles and of course I couldn`t resist! 

The brocanteur told me he would not be back the next day and that if I wanted to put a pile together he would do me a very good deal. Mindful of the lack of space in the car I picked out a few choice cards of passementerie but the stand holder joined in and soon I has a heap waist high!!! He obviously didn`t want to take it home and soon there were bin liners and boxes filled to the brim!!

 We wondered how we were going to carry it all and then Mark spotted a rickety old metal wheelbarrow on a nearby stand. We bought it, filled it to the brim and made our way back to the car again. 

There was no where at all for the barrow so we sat it by the car and went off for coffee.  We sat in the sunshine laughing deciding how to dispose of it and decided we would give it back to the seller with our compliments for him to sell again! 

When we returned to the car and the barrow was missing....stolen!!!  Problem solved!!

A demain mes belles!!!

samedi 26 mai 2012

A petite update............

It has been such a busy week - but I have not been kidnapped! I will continue with the details of the huge brocante I went to last weekend tomorrow but, at this moment in time, I am blogging from "The Beatles Cafe" in Albert Dock, Liverpool in Northern England!! Not exactly an international jetsetter am I?!!

We travelled over to the UK to attend a church service to commemorate and remember the sinking of the large merchant ship, "ATLANTIC CONVEYOR" which was hit by missiles during the Falkland Islands conflict exactly 30 years ago. 12 members of its crew died, including its 57 year old captain.    My other half, Mark, was serving onboard the Royal Navy frigate HMS ALACRITY when news came of the attack - and his ship went to the aid of the burning vessel and took onboard survivors who had had to jump into the mountainous seas  from the side of their doomed ship and be rescued from life rafts. 

We attended the church all suited and booted - and I felt proud of Mark, wearing his South Atlantic medal. The church was almost full but as the service began, (with the singing of the sea-farers' hymn "Eternal Father, Strong to Save") a widow sitting just in front of us began to cry. I lasted less than two minutes  before I, too, started to blub  - and I spent the rest of the service listening from outside in the church gardens!!!

I think a little retail therapy might be in order before we make our way back to France tomorrow. Why is England SO busy? Perhaps the chateau is more remote than I realise!!!

A la prochaine mes belles!

dimanche 20 mai 2012

What a week!!

Ssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhh!..............I know I am late creeping back in my blog- I feel like a teenager trying to silently climb up the stairs without getting caught after arriving home at 3am but.......

WOW...............what a week it has been!!

We arrived at the 5 kilometres long brocante early on the Friday afternoon ready for an early morning start the following day. After checking into the hotel we went for a drive around the neighbouring towns to see if there were any brocantes open. We found one shop owned  by a somewhat haughty, well dressed man; he reminded me a lot of the actor "Kenneth Williams"! 

I explained that I was looking for old textiles and he took my card saying he would keep in touch if anything came along.

We wandered around the town and stumbled across this amazingly-decorated old charcuterie shop, below. It was  locked up and I was unable to see inside but a passer-by told me that it had been closed for a number of years. How sad for the townsfolk no longer being able to visit such a lovely shop to buy their cuisine treats!.

We had a late supper and if Sleeping Beauty had eaten the same garlic-fuelled meal as us then her prince most definitely would have walked on by and left her in the undergrowth!! Fortunately, Mark ate the same as me!

We later had coffee in the slimmest, corner  cafe I have ever seen.

You could almost touch both walls with your arms outstretched. And the cast iron table supports inside were amazing........

Perhaps we should have ordered " skinny latte" !!!

The next morning we were up and out on the road by 4am with me sporting my new gift - a torch on a headband which was supposed to leave my hands free to truffle. After only 2 minutes I had startled several people and blinded myself from the reflection in a mirror so it was slapped in the bottom of my bag for the remainder of the weekend! Plus...... I didn`t want to bump into anyone I knew whilst I was wearing it and have to take the stick for it forever!

The first person I bumped into was the wonderful

How did she manage to look so gorgeous and bedecked in vintage at that time of the morning? I once met her in a brocante and she was wearing a divine frock coat made of 1920s and 30s floral swatches and I have never recovered from it.................How I want that coat!!!! 

Buying was going very well and I taking my time, pacing myself knowing how many miles we had to cover when I saw a lorry parked on the grass, its roller shutter door  open and its driver literally throwing bundles of textile onto the grass. The 'Charge of the Light Brigade' was an understatement compared to the increase in my pace to get there and, as I approached, the piles of textile just got taller and taller. One pile was already taller than me! 

All the textile was 19th century and the stand holder told me he had emptied the atelier (workplace factory) of a  tappissier (upholsterer) that had not been touched since the early 1900s.

I was in textile heaven! Bundles of passementerie trims  still on their original cards, tapestry panels, silks, ticking panels and woven borders. It must all have been the upholsterer's samples and off cuts.

There was nothing for it but to sit in the lot like a truffle pig and start choosing! Mark kept moving my choices to one side - and I noticed that as the pile I was sitting in was diminishing,  his grew ever larger! As I sat there more was unloaded. There was more than enough for every textile addict there.

I looked up as the immaculately dressed haughty "Kenneth Williams" was pulling a huge trolley full of textiles past me, he sneered "You can buy this all later at my shop but it will be veeerrrrrry, very expensive".

Several options came to mind:

1. Breathe on him after that garlic supper.

2. Pull him into the textiles and bury him to rough him up a bit.

3.Tell him to  re-arrange the words " derriere" and " stick it up"

4.Smile sweetly and say "merci monsieur".

I did the latter....mainly because I was shoulder deep in heaven and I really couldn`t care less what he had chosen!!!

So............... 'A demain' mes belles,  when I will tell you more about the fair and the treasures I managed to truffle out!

mercredi 9 mai 2012

If there is a brocante in heaven.............

I am going to be missing until next week. We are off to 5 kilometres of brocante in the woods that runs for 2 days and sometimes through the night!!

Dealers from all over France come to sell their wares along with local townsfolk who empty their barns and attics.

It is always filled with the most amazing treasures.....Who knows what you will find?

Every box has to be truffled through...............
Every table has to be scanned................

It is usually just a little easier shortly after dawn before the crowds come out!!

By 9am the road gets full to the brim................

So its head down and work your way through the crowds truffling as you go!! 

This picture gives an idea of how that road stretches out before you. Who knows what delights it will hold this year?

At the end of 2 days and nights walking up and down that road truffling I have been known to say "never again" and demand to be airlifted back to the hotel!

 But, the pain of the aching feet is soon forgotten once I look at my finds back at home and I can`t wait for the next one!!!

If there is a brocante in heaven I am sure it will be like this.....but perhaps without any other buyers...and me in a silk lined sedan chair carried by Johnny Depp and George Clooney in toile loincloths.....and of course everything would be free!!!!

Till next week mes belles hope you have a wonderful weekend.


mardi 8 mai 2012

A mystery item!!

I am working my way through a small attic clearance where most of the items date from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.

I have unpacked this little glass case and initially thought it contained a mourning piece of feathers woven with hair plaits. But on closer inspection it is not hair but linen and hemp plaited string with small coloured feathers.

I have no idea at all what it could be!

Any suggestions?

No sign of the black cat yet today although when we got back from La Poste yesterday it was curled up asleep in a hedge with Charles sitting just a few feet away. Neither seemed worried by the other at all. It ran away as soon as it saw me though. I`ll keep you posted on that one!

A demain mes belles!!

lundi 7 mai 2012

Sans weasel....................but what do we do now?

As we speak we are "sans weasel"- without the weasel- weaselless and unweaselled!  We found him lurking in the new electric fuse cupboard, so he was trapped in a bucket and ejected to the marsh. Poor thing must have been ravenous!!! 

Then just when you think all is clear another problem arises. The stray jet black cat has been around quite a lot recently in the gardens. Everytime you catch a glimpse of it the cat runs like a rocket across the fields. Charles Le Baron is still a little un-nerved by the cat and is still rubbing the fur from in the front of his ears frantically trying to leave his scent. 

We have no idea if the black cat is a "tom" or a pregnant female ( please no!) looking for somewhere to have her litter. I did see Charles having a stand off with it as I watched through the window and after a time they just turned away and walked in different directions.

Saturday morning we went into the new building to find a wet patch in the builders sand and looked for a leak in the ceiling but could see nothing and it remained a mystery. Yesterday morning I opened the pantry door and the most hideous smell of cat pee hit me. Surely not Charles? Definitely not Charles he is such a clean cat. Then last night as we sat watching TV, Charles on my lap and Diggers sprawled on the sofa there was a crash in the cuisine. Mark got there just in time to see the black cat disappear through the cat flap!

So he or she is now entering through two cat flaps in the night to get to the cuisine. If it uses two cat flaps it must have had a home at some time and not be just a feral farm cat?

So what do we do? We cannot close up the cat flaps as poor Charles will have no freedom.  Do we try and catch the cat and take it to the vet to see if it is a "tom" or a mademoiselle. If it is an un-neutered tom I would be happy to pay for the op and he can stay if he wants. If it is a Mademoiselle with a litter on board heaven knows what we will do. Suggestions please?

vendredi 4 mai 2012

A weasel in the chateau.........

There is a weasel on the loose in the chateau.......and not just any old weasel, it`s a weasel as furious as an angry weasel at a weasel anger management meeting!!!!

This morning all was calm and Pierre was plastering the ceilings in the renovation. Charles came in through the cat flap with the weasel in his mouth and the long furry creature had already sunk its teeth into the Baron`s cheek. He calmy placed the weasel down as a present and of course the weasel made a run for it. Pierre nearly fell off his ladder!!

Diggers normally thinks this kind of activity is well below his dignified status but he shocked us all by chasing the weasel and giving it a shake. The weasel sunk its teeth into poor Digs nose, so of course he let go very quickly and the weasel disappeared into the new salon that is still being renovated.

The only exit for this creature is back out through the cat flap unless he can open a window or door by himself !! We have searched in every nook and cranny but no joy.

Charles decided he had already had his fun and lost interest in the whole proceedings. He decided to climb Pierre`s ladder

Just look at his teeth in the picture below....he seems to be doing his best weasel impression!!!

So as we speak we are still " avec weasel" !!!! 

Tartelette arrives from Oregon next week. Do you think I should tell her she may be sleeping with something furry? 

Perhaps I should warn the weasel that Tartelette is on the way?!!!!

Move over Charles the top of that ladder seems quite inviting to me until we locate that furious fella!!

A la prochaine mes belles.