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A Canadian expatriate living and exploring first France now Germany, then BACK to FRANCE (!!!) with her family; former fashion designer, turned unexpected UNLIKELY NOMAD, raising two children, writing, photographing, painting, playing piano (who knew!!) and blogging - and now... full time student at ART SCHOOL!! (I MUST be crazy!!)

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Happy Magpie

In my slightly obsessive (ask any one) quest to find antiques to drag home before we leave this place I can often be caught surfing the net for auctions that might yield fruit. My normal routine which includes checking the local “Emmaus”or “Troc 21” (somewhere between an antique and pawn shop) for finds has yielded antique bake ware, turn of the century furniture, art, books and textiles…

Let’s just say one (French)(wo)man's seemingly 150 year old junk is another (expat)(wo)man's treasure….

Though some days I feel a bit like a Magpie…

“Geee, (with slightly unbalanced gleam in the eye) That is a NICE shiny thing….“
“Hmmm….wouldn’t I love to take that NICE SHINY THING home with me…”
“Yeah, let me just tuck it under my wing like that….yeah….there….”

Last week after months of surfing the local sales (finally with enough French to understand) I discovered what seemed like a Pandora’s box of possibility, an estate sale in a small Village called Villiers Saint Benoist about 200 kms N/E of Dijon. Listed on the site were 5 armoires of varying design and age. (Perhaps “THE” armoire?? )

But....Could I pull it off??

FIRST-(FOREMOST)-Convince Bruce it is a good idea.
SECOND-Find a babysitter on short notice
THIRD- Rent a truck to bring home any sort of delightful (large) thing we might find.

Sunday morning found us at the Hertz rental depot picking up a cube van…(nothing like pulling up at an estate auction full of seasoned professional antique dealers with a rental cube van…)

Villiers Saint Beniost clung to the road side like grapes to a vine, the painted claims of long dead merchants peeling from crumbling buildings of half timber, brick and stone. After a quick quiche and a pastry run, while picking up on the gossip from the local pattissier, we wound our way to the chateau through a mossy hardwood forest.

There we found a romantic medieval cottage with its pigonnier, series of pruned hedgerows, gardens and a reflective reservoir stocked with fish for watering the garden. The cottage, rich with the resonance of inhabitants past stood sturdily over heavily beamed ceilings and massive hewn stone fireplaces. Invited inside by the auctioneer to “fait la tour” we glided over the patina of slipper polished tile to view its treasures.

Sort of like a 70's French film set, blustery red faced collectors, stylish jewelry types, well heeled bourgeouis and a few grand old dames , they were all there, plus of course the two amateurs with the Hertz truck.

Needless to say four hours later found the two tired but satisfied amateurs struggling to dismantle a very old and very dusty armoire…

Makes the Magpie happy…

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