jeudi 31 janvier 2013

Well................I did it!

So......yes,I did it. No pashmina, no cover up; I was a brazen hussy! The only English the cardiologist spoke to me was " Take orf zee bra and get on to zee bicycle".

I had considered draping some French onions around my neck to make him think I had just come from the market!

Actually I found it more difficult ( and less delicate!) climbing up onto the saddle of the exercise bike as it was so high!! 

So, with all on display I was wired up and told to keep the pace between 60 and 70 kilometres. It was all quite easy for a while, but  then monsieur le docteur altered something on his computer screen that made it harder for me to pedal. 

"It eeeez difficult?" he asked. "Non" I replied, becoming all English and very stiff upper-lipped. I shall not show him I can be defeated.....I am English. I thought of,I shall never give up!!!

I held on to the bitter end before I was allowed to slow down and get dressed. As I sat at the desk afterwards paying my 78 euro bill I thought,  " Huh!!! Not only do I have to pedal topless;   I also have to pay for the pleasure of displaying my bits!!!".

But the good news is........ I was given the "all clear" and gratefully wobbled back to the waiting room, my legs like jelly!

Next year I am going to be better prepared. I shall spend months in bike training beforehand, and then try and make his computer explode.....that`ll take his mind off my wobbly bits!

a la prochiane mes belles

mardi 29 janvier 2013

What a week.....................

My feet don`t seem to have touched the ground for a week; its been pretty manic. 

I have been wriggling like a jellyfish to get out of having a damn hysterectomy which, if you remember, was going to be a Christerectomy in December! But...I can wriggle no longer; it is looking imminent. The reason I am holding off is the fact that I feel so well - not even slightly ill, and it all seems a bit over the top to me.

As a last resort I bounded into my lady doctor`s office armed with a host of print outs from the internet stating as to why I could get around it without surgery .. but I  was instantly shot down in flames as I had researched all the wrong information! So this Friday is the final meeting with the surgeon before a date is set. All I can say is  -ouch!

Thursday this week will see me with my cardiologist for my annual check up  - something which I'm not really looking forward to either. It is a simple stamina test.  I have to be wired up and ride an exercise bike - no problem there.....but I have to be topless! Yes, you heard right...topless! It is absolutely mortifying to say the least. I am quite sure this poor man has seen many, many boobs in the past, but I am still not keen on his viewing MINE as I pedal a bike! Save me PLEASE! I have looked at all possibilities; putting my shirt back on but the wires prevent this. Perhaps try a pashmina casually draped this time. The French are very liberated with their naked bodies so it must be my English prudish side coming to the fore. Moving on from all things medical.....

Three days were spent at a huge attic auction sale at a local manoir with Miss Frou Frou in tow, my daughter who trades as "cafe-de-paris" on Ebay. Hosts and hosts of old textiles and costumes that haven`t seen the light of day since the 1800s. It was the first textile sale on such a large scale that she had ben to, so I had to sit on her hands as she started to get " auction fever".

 With each box of treasures that you win the porter brings it over to you  - and it wasn't long before we started to stack up quite a huge pile. Frou Frou did bring the auction to a stand still though when the auctioneer looked across and caught her trying on a pair of Victorian frilly knee-length bloomers ( which she had just bought) over her jeans just for the fun of it!

We buy very different things so our bidding didn`t affect each other until a huge box of treasures was held up with a frilly pink tulle underskirt inside. We almost had a scuffle. I tried to pull rank and she tried the " but you have much more stock than me" card. In the end we were outbid by an outrageous Paris dealer in the furriest of fur coats, so then we both changed to " well, I didn`t really want it anyway" to console ourselves!

Both of our cars were packed to bursting on each day and last night as the sale closed we thought we might have to go back in the morning to collect the rest. As a last resort we emptied the remaining boxes and tucked the textiles into as many crevices and tiny spaces as we could. That explains why, even as I type this,  my glove compartment still has some linen torchon cloths lying in it!!

SO............. now I just have to sort it all out, launder some and get it listed.

And my favourite find of the week? A delicieux Art Nouveau print that once adorned a screen ( see pic at top and below). But.............. is closely followed by this wonderful old couture box with it`s rose-covered silk dress, bag and hat still inside.

As I have said you will find Miss Frou Frou on Ebay as "cafe-de-paris" - that is if she ever manages to dig her way out of her car! You will find her blog  here....

Finally.......there has been no sound from the foxes so I think the vixen has moved her cubs away - thank heavens as the hunters are out in force!! Thankfully the season closes on February 28th so they will be gone until next year - 12 months in which I hope their guns rust and their wellington boots spring leaks!

Catching up as we speak, mes belles

lundi 21 janvier 2013


First thing this morning I went out to the deserted building and tried to look inside. 

No barking, no growls and snarls, no squeaks - in fact, no noises...... just silence. Nervously I looked inside.

Absolute silence - so I checked the low small window and there was deep red fur where a fox must be going in and out. I wondered if the vixen chose to have her cubs there as the marsh is still flooded and she has had to move closer to the edge?

So at least it is not a trapped dog so I think it must have been a fox with her cubs. What worries me is that if I can hear the cubs bark at dusk then one of the hunters will hear them too and send in their dogs to flush them out. It is not on our land and there is nothing I can do.

But, a little more encouraging is that from dusk tonight and several times later in the dark I have crept out there and cannot hear a thing. How I hope the fox has moved her cubs after we disturbed her yesterday.

I will keep you posted.
a la prochaine mes belles


dimanche 20 janvier 2013


I have a dilemma!!! 

At dusk tonight I let Diggers out into the garden and he instantly ran, barking loudly, into the deserted farmyard next door. He ran inside one of the smaller outbuildings, still barking and growling. I called him back to me and as he stood at my side the barking continued - but it was not coming from was coming from inside the shed.

I tried to peer inside but the dark building was filled with layer upon layer of old wood. The barking was just the same as that of a Jack Russell -  but there was also a low growling. 

As Mark wasn't at home I was too scared to squeeze into the narrow space so went to get my torch instead. It was pitch black by then but the barking and growling continued but I couldn`t see anything at all.

Could it be fox cubs in the building - and would a vixen have had her litter there? I always thought they gave birth below ground?

But  what if it was a dog trapped inside? It could be one of the hunter`s dogs that has gone astray.

I will have to wait until morning when Mark will be home and it will be daylight. If it is fox cubs I certainly do not want to alert the hunters or they will think them fair game.

I have listened to the sound of fox cubs on 'youtube', but they seem to squeal more than bark! This is a clear bark with no squeak.

So now I will lose sleep and worry all night!!

I will tell you what tomorrow brings.  So...........

A demain mes belles


vendredi 18 janvier 2013

Snow, snow, quick, quick, snow...........

 Bonsoir from me snowed in at the chateau!! 

We awoke this morning to a good thick carpet of snow and quite a blizzard going on.

My first task was to visit the bathroom and fling open the window. This is where I put all the wild bird food as I know that any birds feeding there will be safe from the claws of Charles le baron. So, I stood there in a blizzard while I put out as much seed as possible. I had only got to the door of the bathroom before they were all fluttering there and feeding.

Miss Frou Frou phoned to say her chickens were refusing to leave the hen house but there were tiny hoof prints all over her garden. Either she has been visited by deer or Mr Tumnus has been out. Personally I hope it was the latter!!!

Wednesday morning we set off at 4.30am for a huge trade brocante. It was desperately cold and I felt so sorry for the sellers on the outside pitches as the wind was icy cold too.

 Most outdoor sellers had set up and then retreated to their cars and vans to sit with the heaters on. I tried to look inside a glass jewellery cabinet but as soon as I wiped the ice away it was back. So, I do confess that I was a bit of a lightweight and did most of my truffling indoors where it was warm and dry.

I found three wonderful cherub bedecked panels that had originally been part of a three fold screen.

Soooooooooooooooooooooo beautiful!

The log fire is roaring and Hercule my trusty 1930s enamel stove in the cuisine is in full flow. It`s like having a hungry dragon to feed as I have to remember to keep shovelling coal into his mouth all day!

So, being snowed all I can do is photograph my latest treasures and hope I can escape soon!

A la prochaine mes belles

mardi 15 janvier 2013

Lit Polonaise............

It has been a long long time since I found a Lit Polonaise..............can you imagine it when it is all dressed and draped?

Being listed tomorrow evening. 

Here is the link to my Ebay pages........

A la prochaine mes belles

samedi 12 janvier 2013

French fripperies.......

I have some boxes of 19th century textiles, trims and jet beading that came from an attic trunk last year. I have been meaning to sort through them all for some time and list the contents. 

They all came from the same old house - some stunning items that I dealt with straightaway, but then stashed the boxes of smaller items away. 

Whilst I was searching for a packing box this morning a small box launched itself off the shelf onto my head - so I decided to have a proper look!

Filled with old wirework trims and fripperies something glistened  right at the bottom so I turned the box out.

An old tissue packed almost crumbled in my hands as I picked it up and a host of gorgeous mirror glass faceted studs came spilling out everywhere! 

I eventually managed to gather them all up, picked out the tiny feathers and velvet fibres and then  wrapped them back up in their old faded tissue paper.

Who knows why they decided to throw themselves at me today....perhaps they know someone is in need of a little " glitz" for a project.

Listing them immediately just in case they should decide to launch themselves in my direction again!

Bon weekend,. mes belles

jeudi 10 janvier 2013

Leave my sensible head behind............

If anything 'flicks my switches', 'floats my boat', 'polishes my armoire'' or folds my linens', so to is the boxes of wonderful gesso-on-wood panels that I truffled out just before Christmas. They had been salvaged many years ago from a chateau restoration and then simply stashed away in a barn.

The boxes were absolutely dust laden and each piece inside was at least 1/2" deep in thick, black dust and grime.

I have had to take each one outdoors, check which way the wind is blowing, then brush them with an old soft brush before finally gently wiping each one with a damp cloth.  The transformation has been amazing. Soft chalky grey and cream paint - and the designs are simply adorable.

Am I keeping any for myself?.................mais oui! ( I know I`ll probably never find anything quite like them again)

 Am I sharing any? ...........................mais oui! ( I am not that mean so I have begun to list them in my auctions)

And am I displaying the ones I am listing for sale temporarily in my 'salon'?   Yes, of course! [They may only be visiting, but I can still enjoy them before they leave]!

My only regret is that the same seller who had brought out those boxes in the early morning light also had three large oval-shaped picture frames with amazing large carved wooden ribbon bows. Each had narrow  carved wooden bars like 'faux ribbon that held the frames beneath. The impression they gave was the oval frame being suspended by the narrow ribbons and its ties. 

I walked away from them as I knew they would never survive being posted out. I always have to balance up the fragility of an item against the likelihood of it being 'postable'! 

 WHY, oh WHY did I do that? I realised after about 10 minutes - when my sensible head fell off and my heart kicked in -  that I should have bought them, and rushed back only to find they had gone of course!

So it`s a sharp poke in the finger with a Victorian hat pin for me.....take that you idiot!!

I really must leave my sensible head at home more often!

A la prochaine mes belles

mercredi 9 janvier 2013

Shall we?

At the supermarche today this guy kept staring at me. I looked away but glimpsed back to see he was still staring. He stood absolutely still and didn`t take his eyes off me for what seemed like an age.

I tried to look interested in investigating what a "Radis Noire" is and even more important what do you do with it!  They look particularly grim to me!

It didn`t work, I could feel his eyes boring into the back of my neck.  There was nothing else to do but walk towards him and see who he was.

He looked so sad peering at me through the glass plus he  was being menaced by the bigger crinkly shelled guy behind him too.

Shall I go back tomorrow buy him and take him back to the beach to liberate him? Would he survive? Have they cut his claws or something so he wouldn`t be able to feed himself? 

What do you think? Shall we?

mardi 8 janvier 2013

I haven`t been so excited since............

Just before Christmas I bought a sweet couple of signed miniature portraits in their frames. One frame damaged and one intact and I stashed them away for listing.

On Sunday evening we were watching the Antiques Roadshow when someone had a very similar pair of miniatures valued. The expert said that they were by the most famous portrait painter of the time "Cosway".

I nipped upstairs to take a look at the pair I had bought and "VOILA!!" they are signed COSWAY.

Well I haven`t been so excited since at the age of 14 in the girl guides when we were off on a camping weekend and I got on the boy scouts coach by mistake!!!!

But then I looked closer....they are prints and not hand painted. HUH! 

Oh well.......c`est la vie.....I still adore them!

a la prochaine mes belles

dimanche 6 janvier 2013

The truffling gene...........

Up at 6am this morning for a little truffling with Miss Frou Frou at the only flea market for miles. She fell out of her cottage door clutching a huge oversize mug of tea that would not spill as I drove. Apparently this is the pre-planning of a serious Earl Grey addict!

 This small flea market is always quite a drab event that is held in a dark and dingy cattle shed .If you should find something you have to ask permission of the seller to walk to the daylight with it as what looks like soft rose pink on the inside will be flourescent orange once you walk outside with it!

 In the Spring and Summer when there are many vide-greniers and brocantes we always ignore this market but due to the Winter lack of places to truffle it actually sounded quite inviting today!!

As we arrived I fully expected the building to slam down its shutters in a hissy fit  and shout " If you can`t come all year don`t expect to be coming in now!".

There were quite a few dealers we know there already all searching as the sellers unpacked. There were only around 20 stands in all so I didn`t hold out much hope.

Miss Frou Frou who seems to have inherited the  "fall off the roof of a blazing building and you`ll land in a pair of shoes your size gene" walked straight into a gorgeous Paris hatbox that carries the inscription  "By appointment to King Edward VII". 

She followed this with the most amazing large gesso on wood carved panel in the original old chalky paint bedecked with scrolls, curls and flowers. She batted her eyelashes and the seller dropped the price without her even asking or having to barter!

It`s nice to truffle with a different pair of eyes sometimes.  I would have walked past a large box of old carved beads on the floor. Some look like ivory, some jade, some shaped like little skittles. Frou Frou snapped it up as she knows her jewelley making clients will adore them.

She then bought a huge pile of frothy edged parchment pages books, a batch of old damask linens that included an enormous and wonderful monogrammed banqueting cloth, old school books filled with divine old sepia script, a batch of Absynthe plates and some toile covered with birds.

I scored a huge "nil" on the truffling front but I was allowed the great honour of being allowed to buy coffee and croissants, carry some of mademoiselle`s finds and to load the car. Whoop -di- do!

I felt a little like a Victorian parlour maid walking after her mistress carrying her purchases! Oui mademoiselle.......non mademoiselle.....oui mademoiselle"

A la prochaine mes belles

samedi 5 janvier 2013

The train now standing at platform 3 is Tartelette`s train...

I found these photographs today from last Summer. Tartelette from Oregon was on her way for some truffling and we were meeting her "en route" to a huge brocante.

No sign of "le train" we must be early.

This waiting shelter would make a sweet garden summer house....wonder if they would miss it?

The next train arrives from she on it?

That looks like it could be her................
Voila!!!! Tartelette arrives.....smiling as usual!

Bags already bulging with treasures found in Paris.

After a week of truffling Tartelette had SO many wonderful treasures to carry that she had to do some clever packing!

Oh`s time to leave.......

If she wears her sweater backwards does that mean she is coming or going?!!

Miss Frou Frou didn`t want her to go..............

But off she went...............and we can still Skype until she comes back!

A la prochaine mes belles