vendredi 28 juin 2013


We stopped to see this amazing battered old boat at Portbail today......sad but so beautiful too. We must have driven past it a hundred times but only today for the first time we walked across the beach to look closer.

 The Wreck of Hesperus

1807–1882 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It was the schooner Hesperus,

      That sailed the wintry sea;

And the skipper had taken his little daughtèr,

      To bear him company.

Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,

      Her cheeks like the dawn of day,

And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,

      That ope in the month of May.

The skipper he stood beside the helm,

      His pipe was in his mouth,

And he watched how the veering flaw did blow

      The smoke now West, now South.

Then up and spake an old Sailòr,

      Had sailed to the Spanish Main,

"I pray thee, put into yonder port,

      For I fear a hurricane.

"Last night, the moon had a golden ring,

      And to-night no moon we see!"

The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe,

      And a scornful laugh laughed he.

Colder and louder blew the wind,

      A gale from the Northeast,

The snow fell hissing in the brine,

      And the billows frothed like yeast.

Down came the storm, and smote amain

      The vessel in its strength;

She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,

      Then leaped her cable's length.

"Come hither! come hither! my little daughtèr,

      And do not tremble so;

For I can weather the roughest gale

      That ever wind did blow."

He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat

      Against the stinging blast;

He cut a rope from a broken spar,

      And bound her to the mast.

"O father! I hear the church-bells ring,

      Oh say, what may it be?"

"'T is a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!" —

      And he steered for the open sea.

"O father! I hear the sound of guns,

      Oh say, what may it be?"

"Some ship in distress, that cannot live

      In such an angry sea!"

"O father! I see a gleaming light,

      Oh say, what may it be?"

But the father answered never a word,

      A frozen corpse was he.

Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,

      With his face turned to the skies,

The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow

      On his fixed and glassy eyes.

Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed

      That savèd she might be;

And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave

      On the Lake of Galilee.

And fast through the midnight dark and drear,

      Through the whistling sleet and snow,

Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept

      Tow'rds the reef of Norman's Woe.

And ever the fitful gusts between

      A sound came from the land;

It was the sound of the trampling surf

      On the rocks and the hard sea-sand.

The breakers were right beneath her bows,

      She drifted a dreary wreck,

And a whooping billow swept the crew

      Like icicles from her deck.

She struck where the white and fleecy waves

      Looked soft as carded wool,

But the cruel rocks, they gored her side

      Like the horns of an angry bull.

Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,

      With the masts went by the board;

Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,

      Ho! ho! the breakers roared!

At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach,

      A fisherman stood aghast,

To see the form of a maiden fair,

      Lashed close to a drifting mast.

The salt sea was frozen on her breast,

      The salt tears in her eyes;

And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed,

      On the billows fall and rise.

Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,

      In the midnight and the snow!

Christ save us all from a death like this,

      On the reef of Norman's Woe!

dimanche 23 juin 2013


It was one of my favourite brocantes today and last night as I went to bed the rain was lashing so hoped it would "rain itself out" by morning. At 6am this morning there was no change so I do confess that sulked, turned over and went back to sleep!

At 11am curiosity got the better of me and we went for a drive just to see if anyone had been brave enough to unpack.

I was so glad we did! As we arrived the rain stopped and the few brave sellers had started to unpack. My first find was a batch of wonderful 18th century hand forged hinges. I don`t find these moustache hinges very often. They are pronounced moose-tache here!!

The batch has two types....

The curled down coy monsieur....

......and the curled up monsieur "bon viveur" !!

Perfect for any period door projects!

I shall be listing them tomorrow

A la prochaine mes belles


vendredi 21 juin 2013


Frou Frou ( Mademoiselle la daughter) has truffled out a gorgeous batch of old silver metal monograms from an old bijouterie jewellers store.

They would have been used for jewellery boxes, bags, wallets, writing boxes etc.

All gorgeous with ribbon garland cartouches.

They were all still on their original cards too.

Does she have my initials....................NO!! huh!

I am almost considering changing my name so I can have one! Perhaps something a little more memorable?

Tatiana Baguette?

Arabella Organstopper?

Hortensia Brownshaw-fanshaw- ponsonby smallpiece smythe?

Okay, perhaps not!

Here is the link to Frou Frou`s monograms.

Bon weekend mes belles

jeudi 20 juin 2013

Games with the yellow dwarf!

I recently truffled out this wonderful old French games set called Nain Jaune.

I had a nice surprise at the brocante when I slid back the lid to see what was inside...

I brought it home because I adore the old coloured images on the petite wooden trays inside and in the base the delicieux timeworn jeton counters and cards.

I found a link that explains the game here.....

I can feel a little "yellow dwarf" coming on but feel we should do it by candle light as it would have been played when it was new!!

( Actually that sentence sounds a little "wrong" doesn`t it!!!......but you know what I mean!!)

A la prochaine mes belles


mercredi 19 juin 2013

The house of no return.................

I have been reading a wonderful book about 15th century Venice where a palace on the Grand Canal was reported to be feared even today by Venetians. Of course I had to find out more.

Palazzo Dario is the most beautiful palace built in 1486 for Giovanno Dario a diplomat and merchant.

 Local people call it “The House of No Return” because it is believed to eventually kill or ruin all of its owners, as well as anybody that has anything to do with it.

The story starts back in the 15th century when the daughter of its first owner, Giovanni Dario, committed suicide in the house after her husband went bankrupt and their son was killed in a fight.

 After these first three events, more than twelve of the palace’s owners died in mysterious circumstances including famous people such as Christopher Lambert (manager of The Who) who committed suicide, Nicoletta Ferrari who died in a car accident and industrialist Raul Gardini who killed himself under suspicious circumstances. Five other owners went bankrupt and three of them had severe accidents.

It currently belongs to a museum who maintain the stunning interior.

 The house is currently always....for sale.

So now I have to go and find it and look, from a distance....from the outside of course...with my sunglasses on so it will not recognise me!
I am not so brave as to go inside!!

A la prochaine mes belles.

mardi 18 juin 2013

Chauvanistic piglet.................

What other mowers do you have in stock?
Oh.... much more powerful ones madam ( said with a smug moustachioed face)
Such as what? Where can I see them?
Oh much much more powerful than you would need madam
Well what type?
Oh much more than you would cope with madam.





samedi 15 juin 2013

Teach me to dance!!

No...I haven't been locked up in an armoire somewhere!

The last few weeks have simply been so busy with the D Day celebrations, Remembrance services and activities here in Normandie - where our home is situated right where the action occurred. You will not believe how many old bullets we have dug up in the chateau grounds.

The celebrations actually start well before D day itself, when you catch glimpses of people wearing 1940s costumes everywhere you go and, very soon,  the villages and towns are full of people zipping about in American jeeps and even the odd tank is not an unusual sight either! My favourite this year was an old 1940s black Citroen filled with four men wearing 1940s police uniforms, complete with cloaks!

There was a wonderful "Liberation ball" which we attended in 1940s costume. No pictures of me I am afraid as it would scare you all but .......

........some of the dancing couples were amazing and I am determined that, for next year's 70th anniversary ball, we will have learnt and be able to manage some kind of a jive, tango and a quickstep!

As for the kilted Monsieur on the right.....wooooooooooo could that man dance!!
This was followed a day later with a riotous dance evening in a huge marquee at a 1940s army camp set up by enthusiastic re-enactors. Amazing costumes and even more amazing dancers.


Next year I am SO joining in......

Not like this of course!!  More like this I hope.....

And just look at this cute little fella!!
And of course Miss Frou Frou in wonderful vintage style!
We went along to a military brocante sale. This stand was selling WWll artifacts that had been recovered from the region over the years....and I thought some of my stock was timeworn!!!

This weekend we are back to truffling for treasures at a local chateau brocante. Not in 1940s clothing I might add; normal service has now been resumed!

A la prochaine mes belles

jeudi 6 juin 2013

A little Paris truffling

Frou Frou and I went off to Paris on Tuesday for a little truffling! We always split up and agree to meet for coffee.  It is so funny when we finally meet  up as one or the other us will  have an item that the other one has looked at or almost bought.

 Obviously growing up surrounded by my treasures must have taken some effect on Frou Frou without her knowing!

 Frou Frou had many of the items I had walked away from as I couldn`t haggle the seller down to a realistic price. She of course had managed to beat them down to a much better price that I does she do it?!! It`s that look of innocence and pure hurt she can do when something is too expensive.....the monsieurs fall for it every time!

There was a stunning picture frame she had tried to buy and I had managed to get it as part of a deal with a bundle of items.
We always have coffee saying " oh...I tried to buy that or how did you manage get that?" !!

There was a huge and incredibly heavy pile of wonderful hand loomed home spun linen chanvre sheets that could only be sold as a lot and the seller would not separate. They were so heavy it was unbelievable.

I looked, walked away, went back, looked again, walked away and went back to find them gone. Oh well...he who hesitates and all that.  So who comes around the corner ten minutes later with five moustachioed monsieurs in a line carrying the haul of sheets for her?

You guessed it!! That`s my girl!!!
If it was anyone else I would wrestle them to the ground and beat them with a baguette!!

If I have given her nothing else I have given her the truffling gene and brocantitis.......not such a bad thing!!

And the artists box above was my favourite find of the day....simply delicieux!

A la prochaine mes belles.

dimanche 2 juin 2013

Bigger buns...........

Last night we went to a wonderful 1940s party. Our hostess with the mostest Carol was as usual beautifully dressed in period costume.

We had a bit of a Calender Girls moment completely by accident with this photograph of Carol and her cup cakes!!

In the words of Celia Imrie in the film.........................we are going to need considerably bigger buns!!!!

A la prochaine mes belles