mercredi 31 décembre 2014


My new years resolutions?

1. I shall stop using  my personal Facebook page as without realising it I have started using it as a diary and people I hardly know seem to know if I am in the bath or out shopping.
 I am approached by total strangers who ask if I did actually feel ill after my one woman chocolate eclair eating festival. I shall use my business Facebook page to show my latest treasures and I shall use my blog more to update you of my news and truffling adventures. Which leads me to number 2...

2. I shall pay more attention to my blog and blog more!

3. I shall change my hairstyle as I am sure I have had the same one since I was 17.

4.  I shall eat more and move that`s the wrong way round but you know what I mean!

5.  I shall attend Zumba classes even if I am in the middle of my listings which goes to prove I should arrange my time better. I will turn up in time and not at the end of the lesson when they are cooling down and I shall wear proper trainers instead of girlie flat pumps.

6.  I shall stop buying items I don`t really want just because I like the seller and don`t like to turn them down and hurt their feelings. That leads me to number 7.

7.  I shall learn the art of saying no in such a way that the person I am refusing has no idea that I have done so!

8. I shall wear velvet every day in some shape or form

9. I shall stop having conversations without listening. I realised yesterday that I had a 30 minute conversation with someone by just saying "oooh" and "aaah" and "absolutely" in the right places and then realised I had no idea what we had talked about! This is a habit I learned in a previous life when I owned a bar and could stand and talk to someone giving me their woes all night without ever listening!

10. I shall read more

11. I shall stop eating rubbish before our Venice trip in 4 weeks time so that I can wear that new vintage velvet coat and look good in it!

12. I shall look up old friends that I have lost touch with.

12 a. I shall not beat myself up for not sticking to my resolutions!!

Warmest wishes from all at the chateau and wishing you a wonderful New Year full of perfectly truffled treasures!

mercredi 10 décembre 2014

The jewel in the dark....

It may be freezing and dark but you have to admit the glowing lights of the brocante look so welcoming....

Stepping closer.....

Non!  .............the sign says OUVERT but the door is locked....

We are going to have to be content with pressing our noses against the window !!

Can you guess which piece I am desperate for?

A la prochaine mes belles


samedi 6 décembre 2014


We currently have a wonderful array of mushrooms and toadstools scattered around the garden.

I would never have the courage to cook and eat any even though our local pharmacie ( using informative cards which he places in his window) offers a service of identification and will advise which are safe to eat.

You can be standing in the shop waiting for your prescription when someone will enter carrying  a willow basket filled to the brim with their foraged treasures for Monsieur Lavelle, the pharmacist, to check them out.

I can`t bear to pick them as they far too pretty!

Have a great weekend mes belles

mardi 2 décembre 2014

Shingle bells.........

And why am I quiet? 

Well I have boring...painful and boring!!
Normal service shall be resumed................

A la prochaine mes belles


mardi 25 novembre 2014


We woke up to lashing rain this morning. I looked out of the window to see an old bicycle propped against our gate and that could only mean one thing.

Daniel was in our garden collecting eat!!!

I went out to take him a hot coffee and there he was searching all the nooks and crannies in the stone wall with his " escargot stick".

He launched into an explanation of how I could tell if a snail had produced any young escargot this year by the lines on it`s shell.

I explained to him that I will never need to know that as I will NEVER EVER be eating any!!

A la prochaine mes belles


lundi 24 novembre 2014

And no one cared.............

This old 18th century cottage is just a few miles away. 

Over the years we have watched it crumble and now it has fallen completely. The brambles are closing in on it and it will soon be invisible.

I thought I would catch it before it disappears!

No one seems to have missed it, no one seems to care, so Mother Nature is taking back the land.

Finally we have a new visitor. Every morning this Starling is waiting to be fed. He is very brave and rarely leaves the window sill as I open the window to put the seed out. He has been Christened Schubert!!

A la prochaine mes belles


mardi 18 novembre 2014

All ticking along quite nicely now.....

Last Winter whilst walking round a brocante like two Eskimos wrapped up against the cold, Mark declared he was going to buy a bronze clock he had seen on a stand miles away from the car.

Look of amazement....." A clock"....."Why?"...."What clock?"...." I have never seen you look at clocks before"....." has your brain frozen in this cold?"...."It`s so heavy we would never post it"....etc etc....!!

I always walk past clocks as I suppose over the years I have seen and sold so many that it has to be something amazing to catch my eye. I have become clock blind!

But Mark was adamant he was taking it home. The lady selling it told him it was not working but she thought it was simply dusty from being in the attic as it was her "Grandmere`s clock".  I stood there silently thinking "yes...good story Madam...everyone says that".

So Mark heaved it back to the car and of course on returning home it did not work and it has sat there looking at us accusingly since. 

Then a couple of weeks ago a good friend Gaston offered to take a look at it.

Oh my.....apparently it was "simply dusty"  and just needed a clean! It is working perfectly.

 Oooooh la is delicieux. It has the most delicate "ting" on the hour and half hour and if you close your eyes you can imagine Marie Antoinette sweeping past in her rustling gowns.

So, firstly I apologise to Mark and secondly I apologise to that Madam who I now think was telling the truth!! 

A grand merci to Gaston for his cleaning job - what a star you are monsieur!

The website has been found and reinstated by our wonderful website guru Stephen Buss and many thanks to him too.

We are off truffling for a couple of days, hopefully no more clocks shall return home but hopefully lots of divine finds will.

A la prochaine mes belles

lundi 17 novembre 2014


Apologies if you find the simply-chateau missing but I think we have been hacked! It seems to have disappeared and our hosting company are investigating.

Hopefully they will find out where it is hiding soon!!!

A demain mes belles

vendredi 31 octobre 2014

From Tinkerbell to a hissing derriere.....

Today was the chateau pumpkin competition. Last night I checked my one pumpkin and decided to harvest it this morning. Mark said he doubted it would have a growth spurt over night but I thought I would leave it until the last moment.

This morning we awoke to glorious sunshine and a calm and heavenly day. The tables were all set for the entries and I cut my pumpkin and placed it on the display. Mark decided to move the table and it rolled off and split!!!

I guess my talents lie elsewhere!!

Diggers was on meet and greet duty at the gate.

And then....we saw something approaching...even Diggers was amazed.....

It`s huge and it`s orange and it`s walking....

It was Trevor in his inflatable pumpkin outfit that had a fan on his derriere that hissed as he walked!!

Soon more and more friends arrived with their precious entries.

The best carved entries were amazing..

My favourite was Tinkerbell that was the creation of the artist extraordinaire Mr Frou Frou. See the top photograph

 We had a fabulous "Wilson"

Monsieur and Madame Besnier  had a tough job as the official judges.

Here was the largest entry Charlie Chaplin who weighed in at 40 kilos.

Jacques did a wonderful job to produce this specimen.

I think we should have forced Trevor on the scales to see what he weighed!

The pumpkin on the left is Vivien`s creation called "The food chain" with the large pumpkin munching on a smaller one

She also took best in show and in the normal lunatic style of my friends in her winning speech she said...

"Its not the participation that`s the WINNING"!!!

A la prochaine mes belles.
Have a wonderful weekend

mardi 28 octobre 2014

Mon Dieu!!!

The weigh in for the biggest pumpkin competition is on Friday and all I can say is that you will be totally underwhelmed with my specimen. I am going to enter it as a bonsai pumpkin!

Yesterday I was sent to the local hospital for a routine scan. On arrival I was ushered into a cubicle, told to strip off everything except my pants and to wait for the nurse to come and collect me. In typical French uninhibited style there was no gown or cover up so I sat there feeling quite vulnerable.

The door slid open and the nurse directed me into the scanner room. I had to walk across the room topless in just my pants trying to look nonchalant and French whilst inside I was feeling typically reserved British and mortified!

After the scan the nurse showed me back to my cubicle and slid back the door to reveal a little old man sitting there in his pants! I am not sure who was more or the little monsieur who probably only saw something like my boobs the last time he saw the zeppelins in the war!

The nurse apologised profusely adding that one of her colleagues had made an error and had put someone in my cubicle by mistake.

All I can say is that poor man may now be traumatised and may have lost the will to live!

A la prochaine mes belles


vendredi 24 octobre 2014

My Grandfather.................

I never knew my grandfather Albert as he died when I was just three years old.

As I was growing up there was always an old sepia photograph of him on the wall. He was sat astride his horse "Dolly" in his South Staffs regiment uniform during the Battle of the Somme.

 I remember my father telling me tales about him but never really paid much attention as I was a teenager and wartime stories were the last thing I wanted to hear. But I loved that old photo with him sitting so proud.

But the tale I really loved was about the old photograph.  Albert had lied about his age to join up in the early 1900s. So he was just 15 years old when he joined the South Staffs Regiment.

 Later he joined the machine gun corps nicknamed "The suicide squad" and adored the horse assigned to him, a dark bay mare called Dolly.

He and Dolly survived some fierce battles and at the end of the war he was distraught to have to leave her behind in France. Many of the army horses were despatched to Belgium for meat as it was not considered finacially viable to ship them back to the UK so he had to leave her behind.

A few months later he was in Walsall town centre and to his amazement he saw Dolly pulling a milk cart. He called her and she cantered across to him pulling the cart behind her! This huge 6 foot 3 guy cried like a baby.

That photograph had always hung in the hallway but when mum developed altzeimers she did some bizarre things with  items in her home and the photograph simply disappeared and has never been since since. Mum by then had no recollection of where it could be.

How I would love to have it today...............................

samedi 11 octobre 2014

Petite Paris.....

C'est Magnifique! This très chic Parisian pied-à-terre is cheaper than most hotel rooms in the French capital, costing just £69 for a night's stay.
The doll house maisonette, measuring just 215sq-ft is available to rent through Airnbnb 
The smart bijou home has a main living area on the ground floor, which includes a kitchen corner and tucked away on the first floor is a cosy double bedroom with an en-suite bathroom. 
Cosy: The house is located in the middle of four buildings and a 20-minute walk from Montmartre stationCute: The Parisian pied-à-terre is cheaper than most hotel rooms in the French capital, costing just £69 a night
Cute: The Parisian pied-à-terre is cheaper than most hotel rooms in the French capital, costing just £69 a night.
Cosy: The house is located in the middle of four buildings and a 20-minute walk from Montmartre station
The petite property is situated in a charming paved courtyard in the city, at the foot of Montmartre on Rue des Martyrs. 
The charming little house is on a street filled with bakeries, chocolateries, restaurants, cafes and bars.

Simple but effective: Tucked away on the first floor is a cosy double bedroom with an en-suite bathroom
Simple but effective: Tucked away on the first floor is a cosy double bedroom with an en-suite bathroom
Bright: The smart bijou home has a main living area on the ground floor, which includes a kitchen corner
Bright: The smart bijou home has a main living area on the ground floor, which includes a kitchen corner
Attracting the attention of gourmets, the Rue des Martyrs street has become the foodie artery of the bohemian neighborhood, which has been recently dubbed SoPi (for South of Pigalle).
The street goes straight up Montmartre Hill, primarily known for the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Cœur on its summit.
Arty: According to the property's AirBnB listing, French Impressionist Degas had his last studio on the very same street at number 37 on the fourth floor
The house is located in the middle of four buildings and is a 20-minute walk from the Montmartre subway station.   
According to the property's AirBnB listing, French Impressionist Degas had his last studio on the very same street at number 37 on the fourth floor. Van Gogh is also rumoured to have lived on the same street. 

How wonderful is this?!!!Bon weekend mes belles

mardi 7 octobre 2014


I flew home with a first this weekend!!!

I found wings.........what more do I need to say!!!

An absolute first for me to find a pair!

oooh la la.......................

jeudi 2 octobre 2014

Take that Monsieur!

We live in the middle of nowhere on tiny silent lanes and I love it. However twice a day mayhem takes over.

At 12 noon a Monsieur will rush home for his two hour lunch and then at 1.55 he will dash back to work filled with a 4 course feast and various amounts of wine.

Today whilst returning to the chateau from the patisserie a battered old farmers van approached us at full speed in the middle of the road. Mark was driving so he pulled as far into the hedge as possible and stopped expecting the other driver to slow down and move over also.

But "non" the monsieur continued at full speed and took off both his and our wing mirrors. 

As the mirror was ripped off on my side I got out to inspect the damage, Monsieur stopped some way up the road and did not get out but just sat there. 

I picked up both the wing mirrors and walked up to see him sitting there with a very red mottled wine infused face. 

I told him politely that he should drive more slowly on these tiny lanes to which he told me that women should not be allowed to drive.

Wrong answer monsieur....I advised him of various things including the fact that I was not even driving!

 With that turned I on my heels and threw his wing mirror over the hedge into a freshly manured field.

Don`t mess with me monsieur I have a baguette and I am not afraid to use it!

Calming down as we speak mes belles


jeudi 25 septembre 2014

The treasure in the sack....

In amongst the recent attic clearance was a heavy filled hand-loomed linen sack with a drawstring. I couldn`t wait to get it back to look inside......

 I wasn`t disappointed.....

reams of hand made 18th century parchment paper.

Large pages of tactile creamy parchment. 

Were they bound for a bookmaker or a notaires clerk who would sit by candle light and scribe with his quill and pot of ink?

I am listing some of the reams tonight. Such a wonderful find and amazing old paper for any period projects.

Will you write by twinkling candlelight too?

A la prochaine mes belles