jeudi 29 mai 2014

The walled garden.................

Finally I have been able to commence along with help of course!!!

The site was prepared......

The footings went down................
And finally the first layers of stone were  carefully chosen and placed......
I am adamant that I shall build it and as we speak it is 3 layers high with rain having stopped me in my tracks!
Admittedly I am the only wall builder that kneels on a velvet cushion, has the concrete mixed for me and has the large stones lifted for me!!
In my mind I have it planted out with lush plants with old cast iron grilles and statues peeping out in the foliage......Watch this space!!!
A la prochaine mes belles

jeudi 22 mai 2014

A good feeling x 3

Three good feelings today and it`s not even lunch time..........

No. 1 The best things come in little parcels so "MERCI" to Madame Besnier at the patisserie!

No.2  When we bought the chateau there was an old dog kennel in the garden that was whisked away by one of the relatives the day before we signed the paperwork. Five years later has finally returned home and is being guarded now by my guard pig! 

No.3  And talking of being "finally home" we had a wonderful email this morning from the grandson of the Baruch family mentioned in the letters yesterday. Oh the power of the internet!!  He is delighted to hear of the letters and we are just as delighted to be passing them to him. Apparently there are a couple of books being written that are including his family story from the 1930s/40s.

Three reasons to be cheerful!!

A la prochaine mes belles

mercredi 21 mai 2014

The threads of time.....

At the brocante at the weekend I found a huge brown paper parcel tied with paper string that contained the most wonderful batches of linen thread. All unused and with the maker`s labels....delicieux!

At the bottom of the bag was a batch of letters and cards all written from a  German Jewish clothing company or factory owner in Liverpool to Monsieur Louis Leffray at his mill in Coulaines.

Written in the late 1930s the letters are very evocative of a time of great worry and unrest as the war began to unfold.

If you click on the images they should become larger on another page for you.

Just one of the letters for you to read.

I am hoping to find a member of the Baruch family to whom I can pass the letters.

A la prochaine mes belles

jeudi 15 mai 2014

Get up now this minute.......

One hundred and fifty three nasturtiums planted weeks ago and 80 have appeared. Mais oui...I have counted them!

So where are the other 73? Lounging under the soil refusing to get out of bed?

Well I won`t have it...get up now....get up immediately and show your faces! Perhaps they have been a field mouse breakfast in which case I will find a huge bloated mouse unable to run in the hedge after gulping down 73 pea sized seeds.

Along with 15 friends this year we are having a pumpkin growing competition. Already the skulduggery has begun and we have one couple starting their specimens in a hot bed, some bringing in enormous specimen seeds from abroad, some with secret techniques and then there is me with three sad seeds lurking in a pot.

I am an impatient gardener as you may already have decided. Unable to wait to see if anything was happening today, I had a bit of a poke about in the soil and saw that one has a root so I buried again quickly! I may even have a specimen on judging day!

This weekend sees us once again at the 6 kilometres of brocante through the woods....let me at them I say!!! The first year we visited this venue, I rushed up the 6 kilometre route in case I missed anything as everyone arrived. Then rushed the 6 kilometres back as the first line of people had then unpacked.

Then I did the whole thing again slowly leaving no stone unturned on the whole 12 kilometres.

Then I made the mistake of walking the 6 kilometres up again and wanted to be airlifted back as my feet were killing me! I got back to the hotel and lay on the bed with two face flannels soaked in cold water on my feet!

Again on the first year at this fair, a huge van arrived that was packed to bursting with items cleared out of an old upholsters atelier that had been closed up since the early 1900s.

The seller simply stood throwing huge piles of period textiles into a heap. I sat in that mountain like a pig in a truffle patch gathering treasures. I truffled in it so much that I lost my phone in the pile and we had to get someone to ring the number and it was like finding a needle in a haystack!

SO who knows what will turn up this year. The weather forecast is good and we will start walking at 4am by torchlight as the first sellers unpack.

But I do feel I deserve a good haul after what happened yesterday.

Truffling with Frou Frou we came across a huge charity store filled with all sorts. We checked out their department for old textiles and were quite disappointed to find nothing at all.

Then we found a separate room filled to the gunnels with tutus, velvet tailcoats, ballet shoes, lace skirts, corsets and various costumes made of period textiles.

 We started grabbing huge piles to take to the counter and then we glanced up and saw it. A wall filled with antique feather angel wings. We took the lot down and made our way to the counter only to be told....."non mesdames"....these costumes are for carnival hire only and not for sale.

 Noooooooooooooooo!!!! I will never recover!

But, I still have a serious case of brocantitis and would have it no other way!

Hopefully I will be showing you a good hoard on Monday mes belles

mardi 6 mai 2014


Thirty years ago when I used to truffle the flea markets and village vide greniers in Provence I used to come home with crate upon crate of these old insect catchers.

I thought nothing of the huge piles of amethyst and clear wavy glass bells I came home with. If only I had known that today I would be over the moon just to find two clear ones
But then hindsight is such a wonderful thing!

Being listed tonight....

A la prochaine mes belles.....

lundi 5 mai 2014

The petite theatre....

We finally got around to opening the package for the toy theatre. It had been delivered by train as a Christmas present for some very lucky children.

IT is being listed tonight and here are a few photographs....


A wonderful heirloom piece.

A la prochaine mes belles