jeudi 27 mars 2014

Don`t even lay a finger on it.....................

My passion for the 'Palazzo Dario' in Venice began by accident!

I was reading this book that tells the tale of a gentleman who adored his wife and  who bought her a gift of a beautiful painted cabinet with many tiny drawers from  the Dario which had been sold off at auction. However he was one of the few who had been brave enough to buy something from the 'Palazzo' which had been cursed by deaths and tragedies; any thing connected to the building was supposed to bring bad luck.

In the story the wife was so upset that he had brought home something from the "cursed" house that she refused to touch the cabinet or polish it and banished it to an unused room. Even though her husband hid a hand- written love note in one of the drawers each morning, she would never even lay a finger on the wood. let alone read his words.

I got to wondering if the Dario was a real place and had quite a surprise when I did a little research. You may remember I posted a blog about the place here.

On our last trip to Venice I wanted to get closer to the building so we took a vaparetto boat ride along  the Grand Canal so I could take some photographs.

It was quite a strange mystical misty morning which set the scene perfectly  - but my hopes were dashed when we sailed closer and closer only to find it covered in scaffolding undergoing conservation repairs.

We got off the Vaparetto at the next stop to see if we could get closer to the place; many buildings in Venice can only be approached by boat so I wasn`t holding out too much hope.

Imagine my surprise when we found ourselves right at the rear of the building and I was delighted to see that it was one of those rare Venitian residences that has a garden; green spaces rarely figure in Venice at all! We could not walk around the sides of the Palace as it had a canal on either side.

I peered through the gate and took some photographs. I wondered if I should lay my hand on the wall or the gate or the marble plaque or even the post box. Would the curse rub off on me?

I decided to follow the lead of the lady in the novel. I did not lay a finger on it!!

 A la prochaine mes belles

mercredi 19 mars 2014

Rose cream macaroons.......

A single tear slowly made its way over the powdered cheek of the Countess and rested on the beauty spot by her plump rose painted lips....she tried in vain to hide her tears behind her silk fan.
Once again the Count was ensconced behind the silk drapes of the Fenice opera house with the beautiful Italian Soprano Bianca could she compete with that since he had fed her so many rose cream filled macaroons that she could no longer lace her Paris corsets?
Actually mes belles..that wonderful shattered silk banner behind the Countess slippers is all that remains from the Bianca Donadio collection. She was an Italian opera singer soprano who sang at my favourite Venice theatre La Fenice in the late 1800s.

She married a Normandie monsieur and ended her days here in Normandie too. Many years later at his death his new wife threw out all of his previous wife`s affairs! I still have her silk music folder and this banner that is too shattered almost to handle.
Dreaming of Venice....
A la prochaine mes belles

samedi 15 mars 2014

Hidden treasures....

When Tartelette comes to stay I take her to some of my favourite haunts that I have truffled through for many many years.

Most are off the beaten track and give no indication as to the treasures that lie within and I always threaten that I will blindfold her so she will not remember where she has been!

This wonderful old house gives no indication that it is a brocante and it was passed to me by word of mouth. Even the doves on the roof are silent!!

 It has a whole lifetime of treasures inside with lots of it still having the old French Francs on the faded price tags. Every drawer and cupboard is filled to the brim and I never know where to start.

I could quite happily truffle through this place for hours and hours!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend mes belles and may your truffling be a triumph!

A la prochaines

jeudi 13 mars 2014

He Smiles and smites.......

Just a quick post to show you two of my favourite treasures truffles in Paris.

This 18th century pencil drawing of Cupid is captivating....

Titled " He smiles and Smites"...


Also this wonderful gilt and pearl 19th century couronne tiara...

Both of these treasures are being listed tonight.
As we speak the chateau is like a huge packing station as Tartelette`s treasures are being wrapped for shipping!
I must make sure that Sir Digbert Fanshaw Brownshaw is not hoisted into one of the packing crates!!!
A la prochaine mes belles

mardi 11 mars 2014

Tartelette and Quasimodo...

The day before Tartelette arrived my right eye started with some kind an irritation. If you had looked at me you might have thought it was a nervous twitch...not surprising knowing that the chateau was again to be turned upside down by the whirlwind mademoiselle from Oregon!!

By the time we caught the train to Paris my eye was bright red and closed....not a good look, but I decided that one eyed truffling may give me a new perspective on things!

We found Tartelette waiting at Saint Lazare station and we set off for the metro to find our hotel.

At the Metro I walked into another traveller`s suitcase, left the ground and then sprawled like a starfish on the platform. It was almost a slow motion performance that Nureyev himself would have been proud of and I did wait for a moment just in case I should be presented with a bouquet but "non" it was not to be. I know that somewhere in that station bureau is a CCTV recording of my flight and I hope it will not be seen on some TV show soon!

Limping and with my leg instantly turning black from the knee to the ankle I tried to get on to the train looking like nothing had happened which was not made any easier by Mark and Tartelette is absolute hysterics!

At supper in Laduree that evening I was still being mocked by them both and had to console myself with macaroons and a rose flavoured confection! ( any excuse.....isn`t sugar good for shock?!!).

The next morning one eyed and dragging one leg like Quasimodo I joined them both and trawled the flea markets in the wonderful Spring sunshine.

( Don`t you just love a beret and a man bag?!!)

After Paris we briefly called back at the chateau to try and do some parcelling and to unload the car. I had been stuffed in the back of the car for the four hour drive home with a large spiked metal bottle rack which was like sitting with a vicious porcupine. I did try to overcome him at Rouen but he got the better of me so I gave in and nursed my wounds.

Following a quick re-grouping, a fight to keep Tartelette out of the armoires, unloading the treasures and collecting Miss Frou Frou we have hit the road again.

Who knows what further injuries I shall come home with. I may even develop the Quasimodo hump.

I shall keep you informed.....................the bells Esmerelda....the bells!!!

A la prochaine mes belles

mercredi 5 mars 2014


Standing daydreaming in the queue at La Poste today with a  huge parcel destined for Australia, my mind for some reason wandered back to when I was 10 years old.

My mum had recently returned from hospital with my new sister Lynn and I was mightily miffed not to be the youngest of the family any more. Mum was 43 years old when she had Lynn so much fuss was made of the new arrival by various visitors and relatives.

A few days later my mum asked me to watch my new baby sister whilst she quickly went to the shop opposite for a loaf of bread. Lynn was sound asleep in her crib.

As soon as mum was out of the door I lifted my sister into a large cardboard box that was for some reason in the hallway. I taped it up and wrote a label to send her to Australia.

Fortunately Lynn stayed asleep through the whole thing and still slept soundly as mum came back and caught me in the act !

Needless to say I was in big trouble and promptly decided that I would instead take myself to Australia to live in the wilds with Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.

DO they have brocantes in the outback I wonder?!!!

A la prochaine mes belles

samedi 1 mars 2014

Brace yourself.....Tartelette en route.....

Brace yourself mes belles for Tartelette arrives from Oregon at the end of the week!

I have already locked the armoires and hidden the keys!!

To start with we will be Paris bound for the flea markets and then shall do a little "freelance truffling" and go where the mood takes us!

She likes the hidden old brocantes that I take her to. The ones that I have know for years and years where the prices are still in French francs and the dealers are as old as their stock!

I shall keep you informed of our travels since I have this new fangled phone that can capture Miss Tartelette in full truffling mode. Heaven help us all.

I can feel a little supper in Laduree coming on!

I am trying to make some kind of headway into the boxes piled in my studio. Every time I do an attic clearance I tend to pull the larger items out and ignore the small treasures which just sit in boxes looking at me accusingly every time I pass.

So I have opened up my Etsy shop again to try and reduce some of them and you will find the link top right. I am trying not to be distracted by what I find and I am trying to be disciplined and simply photograph and list each piece.....but oh! How I love attic items that have not been all around the trade!!

I am a little worried about Sir Digbert Fanshaw`s paw as he is limping this morning and I cannot see anything at all on it or in it. If it has not settled down in an hour or so it will be off to the vets. I worry about him so much as he is now getting quite old. As ever he is lying across my feet as I type.

Have a wonderful weekend mes belles.

A la prochaine......