Sunday, 24 October 2010

Happy Hols.

Would put bonne vacances, or is it bon vacances? I'm sure someone will put me right.

Depart this morning for the UK, but can't sleep anymore, so instead of tossing and turning thought I'd do a quick blog. Am picking LD up at 9.00 a.m.ish and going with the satnav up to Dunkirk. It was a worry last week with the diesel situation, but I managed to fill both the van (for OH while I'm away) and the car up last week.

It's good going with Laura as she is very easy company, and she looks after the music en route. As we go through Paris, though, I don't think we'll have Tina blasting her tonsils. I need concentration music, if any at all.

I hope that when we get to the port the weather is not too bad, no wind. I'm not a good sailor, in fact I could get sick on a lake! Anyway, we'll have a meal and a small glass of something to soothe the tummy, and then set off for Leicester once we get on the other side. Mum has already got the whisky ready!

And tomorrow? We're off to the Lakes for 2 days to see Thomas.

Did I say bonne vacances? These trips back somehow don't seem like a holiday. See you all when I get back.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Brocanting we will go.

When we sold our last farm and I had the task of packing up all the kids bedrooms etc. I was amazed at all the stuff (yes, ok - junk) we had collected. It seemed such a waste to chuck it all away in the dustbin or take it to the "decheterrie" (our re-cycling centres). So, two large packing boxes later, I had the start of my "vide greniers" - car booty. LD insisted she didn't have much junk, it was "memorabilia" she said, and took it off to her dad's (so he now has more junk). Note, these two large packing boxes are just from their bedrooms. The rest of the house harboured much more.

I have only done 1 other car boot sale, when we were in England, before the move to France. Pride of my car boot sale - my wedding dress! Gasps of horror? Don't forget those were the days before e-bay and all the other on-line auctions, have since divorced him who the wedding dress was worn for, and the damn thing didn't sell anyway and went to the local jumble sale!

So in early September this year I loaded up the trusty Berlingo, borrowed a pasting-table and some boards and stands, organised LD and set off for my first "vide grenier" in France. I never slept a wink the night before, worrying about what time I should get up and get there, and also about seasoned bargain hunters that accosted you as soon as the van doors were open - if not before. I shouldn't have worried. I got there about 7.30 a.m. and was placed next to and opposite other Brits (LD was not arriving until 9.00 a.m. so I was pleased to have some moral support). The seasoned bargain hunters must have clocked the van as soon as they saw it - and left me alone!

LD (Laura) arrived and organised me and the tables. I always say I would rather work with her, than for her. She then went off to get some breakfast - I'm not that domesticated that I do sandwiches or the like at 7.00 in the morning. The van had been loaded the day before so I just had to get up, have a cuppa and go.

The day went very well, only for LD telling me how much that item that I sold for 2 euros would be worth in the shops. It was hot and sunny, thank goodness I had the forsight to pick up a bottle of sun cream on my way out, and we actually did quite well, saw loads of people we knew and met other car-booters who will no doubt be there with us next year.

We also had some laughs - one (old bat) French lady was quibbling about a large-numbered telephone, went away, we sold it, she came back to find it gone - then when she went to leave the event her car wouldn't start as she'd left the lights on! I know you shouldn't laugh, but wouldn't you? The photo shows LD with some of our booty.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Auction fever

We have a new "attraction" in our local village. It's an English-style auction house - or shed. They do house-clearances, and anyone with something to sell can put in through the auction. I entered an outside streetlight style thing with a matching wall light. It got to 70 euros!!! Would have been chuffed with 20! But at the time of blogging still waiting for the cheque.

You meet all sorts of bargain-hunters, English and French. It's a pity the "Essex" man who does the auction can't speak French. The lowest you can bid is 2 euros, so it's not that out of the way. At the first auction I went to I saw a lovely blue pot that would adorn my new dresser, it was lumped in with other bits of pottery.

Auction day - I duly went and got my registration number, saw other would-be bargain hunters and took my seat. A quite nice mirror went through, with another one to follow. "Where can I put a freestanding pine mirror?" thought I, and got the next lot, a freestanding pine mirror, for 3 euros! That is now in a guest bedroom on top of the pine chest of drawers, as if it were part of a set!

A silver-coloured photograph frame and clock came next. Now LD had bought us one for Christmas one year, I put a photo of OH and I on our wedding day in and it was great. "LD needs a clock" thought I. Snapped it up for 2 euros.

My blue pot came along. No-one was interested (except moi). Another massive 2 euros!!

Well chuffed with my purchases, I paid, collected my purchases and went home (after the lamps got 70 euros). On getting home I showed OH what I had bought, and justified them all. Well, girls, you know what it's like. Short of saying "couldn't afford not to buy them" he was quite happy.

I then inspected the pottery I bought for 2 euros - the blue Stilton pot that I actually wanted, a soap dish with a cracked lid, two naff teapots, wait for it ...... two Wedgewood egg cups and two Royal Worcester trinket dishes! All, but the teapots, are now proudly displayed in our house and have their own tale to tell.

The teapots have now gone into "stock" as I am also bitten by the Brocant bug. This is out of necessity as my eldest daughter is getting married next year and I have promised to buy her flowers and wedding cake. The dress is already hanging upstairs (waiting for her to slim into it). It's amazing what you can get just selling "things". I still have boxes waiting to be unpacked, so don't think I need to buy too much stock yet. Anyway, can't sit here blogging. Have to prepare the "stock" for the next brocante/vide grenier. Wish me luck!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Back by popular demand!!!

Yes, someone actually reads my blogs, and asked to be reminded of my site (their old computer had lost my previous ones). Now that I have actually done a new layout, which was confusing in itself, and have a follower, I will be doing more. So watch this space.

The title of my blog now seems to be somewhat misleading though, now that we have retired. If it didn't cause too many problems I would do a new title, Farming-frenchstyle Retired, perhaps. I think I'll sidestep those problems and leave it as it is.

This week, however, I have actually done some farming. Well, I've driven the tractor and wormed 100+sheep, so surely that equates to farming. Doesn't it?

OH is busy fencing (again), so that we can put our fields into hay production next summer, and keep some control over the animals. Talking of which, we had another "bonding" session with our neighbours again. Even though the river on the limit of our land is fenced on our side, with the river actually being dry again and said neighbours having no fence (??) on their side, one of our tups and some of his women jumped our fence and went visiting the neighbouring ewe-lambs! The French neighbours are very good about it all, but short of slapping a saddle on the tup and waiting for the river to fill up, which means rain, rain, rain, am not really sure what more we can do. Our fence stops the cows (all 2 of them) and the horses, but not this Grand National tup. Encasing him in the freezer seems to be a good idea. Must ask the Chambre d'Agriculture what the rule is on fencing rivers. So, I've had a proper farming week.

Yes, we are still waiting for the rain. The ground has been as brown and as flat as our dining room table this summer. However, the memory of last winter's snow has not been erased. Let's hope we don't have snow like that again. Looking at the BBC weather forecast there seem to be swathes of rain over France, but it all goes over England, or perhaps the north of France. I'm sure when it does start it will forget to stop again.

Have booked my annual week to England for the last week in October with Laura again. I enjoy the week when she is with me as she is such easy company. Just keep feeding her and she's ok. She has already asked my mum to book the local Deli Belly for Sunday lunch while we're there, they do a buffet-style come again lunch, and we certainly take advantage. Let's hope we don't come back with Deli-belly!