Bonus Friday post – Instant karma’s gonna get you

old world map on clay tabletYou know I love old maps. I have my 17thc pre “Treaty of the Pyrenees” map from ebay to frame up.

Then, on Wednesday I had to go over to Birmingham (long story) so I decided to take the opportunity to donate some of the bags of stuff in the back of my car to the charity shop near K’s house. Now I only have a boot full of vintage terracotta land drain pipes that I bought for 99p from a farm in UK and which I am going to pile up in the old, unused fireplace aperture at the French house to store red wine.

I left my daughter in the car with engine running, dropped the bags, scanned around and zoomed in on what looked like a big clay tablet with a moulded earthenware glazed edging. I flipped it over (not easy, it weighs a TON!) and saw a portion of an old map had been fixed to the heavy clay tablet and glazed over again. “There’s three more of those at the back ” quoth the lady behind the counter. I dragged all four pieces over to her and said “I’ll take them, my money’s in the car outside; don’t sell them , I’ll be TWO SECONDS!”img_20170203_143129

Local wide-boy antique dealer spots me, assumes if I’m looking at it , it’s worth having ( I’ve had a couple of stand-offs with this geezer in the junk furniture shop around the corner)

We p*****d him off last month  when he was stalking me again and my small grandson  witheringly told him..

My Nana doesn’t want that one anyway, it’s only veneer”) 

Dealer pounces  “I’ve got a tenner here , she won’t come back, I’ll take them”.

“NO!” I squeak,“I saw them first”.

Ladybehindcounter speaks up ” have you donated? No? then on your bike, Sonny Jim”  

So you see, if you do good deeds , you will be rewarded…………..


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The Thursday Three- The Newark Antique & Collectors Fair

img_20170202_205833 If you are at all serious about antiques, collectables, architectural salvage or vintage then you really should take time to visit Europe’s largest antique fair at the Newark & Nottinghamshire Showground in England’s East Midlands


I met a fellow treasure-trawler who is currently enjoying life in the Aude and, between us, we fairly forensically rummaged through a portion of this vast venue.

It’s not glamorous (take wellies and waterproofs) they mostly don’t take cards (take cash) some of it is overpriced (that tiny Italian plaque, B?) and delivery prices are eyewatering (take vans!)

But if you are prepared to spend a whole day, start at 7 am and spend the next seven hours or so traipsing around it’s 84 acre site, I’m pretty confident you will find whatever you deem to be treasure amongst the usual overpriced tat.

I got there late and only saw a fraction, but it’s ALL there. Some standout pieces were this Italian handpainted relief ceramic plaque-Violetta Antiques img_20170202_144937And this stunning antique velvet pelmet for much grander windows than mine.

We could see it mounted over tumbling raw linen drapes in a grand salon.

Too big for my camera phone-Paul & Mary Antiques & Home- see top photoantique velvet pelmetimg_20170202_202813


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Restore, recycle, reuse, relook it, relove it

I have been blog-chatting with JP at where he and his wife have been musing on restoring features at their medieval village house ( also in the Aude) and perhaps commissioning replacement features.

JP has what looks like a very beautiful, original shaped stone window surround, historically blocked up, and is considering the possibility of having a stained glass panel in this. See his blog entry 26/01/2017 (link above).

This made me think about the house below right that we viewed before buying ours.medieval-window-france

Although this little house in Brenac was way too small and dark for us, it did have this wonderful feature in the living room- a beautiful little arched, stained glass window to the rear.

Can you see it? So, you have your precedent JP! Not that you need my permission of course!

I am very happy to see that JP is also recycling much of the wood and tiles found in his house. We are also recycling everything with any age and merit that we possibly can.

terrazzo skirtingsApart from broken 20thc glass and formica and some sapele 60’s doors, we have thrown nothing away so far. terrazzo skirting terrace bedroom

These terrazzo skirting panels from the tulip room left –will go into the terrace bedroom-right.

Also, these old, very long  hard wood joists formerly supporting the ceiling in the tulip room (which will now be exposed to the roof) will be perfect for another project Chez Nous.

hard wood joists franceimg_20160531_193635.jpg

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Friday French Property P**n – chambres brutes

1bd6c6a3b78be7768a61fc71bf9cd9cbRemember this snippet of a stone fireplace  from an earlier  post?

Well I found a wider view at- see below-plus this very rough and raw bathroom- Actually my downstairs shower room looks a lot like this right now (minus plumbing, sink & floor of course)- from telva.comrough country bathroom raw


With absolutely zilch happening in France, I keep my spirits up by looking at images with ideas for French doors opening up onto beautiful small courtyards (for obvious reasons)

And as a counterpoint to all these raw, rough rustic walls, how about the glorious wallpaper below? I thought it had been done by hand, but if you look very carefully you can see the join. And how does one get a chair to look that rough and raw? simple, leave it outside for five years. My patio furniture has acquired that exact finish by default and neglect…………….

from crushculdesac on tumblr

raw country French style0d6c16d3a6f8c9404c53e6dde32c2b2b








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La cheville cassée- the Cankle Chronicles part two

img_20170121_102921So here we are. Please excuse the remnants of an ancient pedicure; I will not be rocking any cute high heeled sandals any time soon.

My normal, skinny foot and bony ankle right helps illustrate what I am limping on left.

Xrays show that above and in front of my left inner ankle bone I have a (recently) healed fracture. This now makes perfect sense.

Back in September, I miss-stepped out of the back door in UK and it really hurt. I remember at the time telling Trev that “something crunched” . No apparent swelling. It hurt for  day or two only, then the pain went so I just carried on. Shortly after we spent two weeks of hard graft in France & I don’t recall  much more than a niggle.

Then, in the third week of November I spent two long work days on my feet in court shoes and it started hurting again. I switched to flats and it stopped. Then a week before Christmas the whole area around that ankle swelled right up, but as I could recall no very recent injury I ignored it till last week. Then I was told it was “probably” a sprain.

It wasn’t getting any better and I needed a definitive answer, hence my hospital trip yesterday. Numerous X rays later , healed fractures are located which fits the chronology above. I’m told they have healed well and in the correct alignment and I must work on getting back to normal use; a course of physiotherapy has been booked.

The red marks are a reaction to the neoprene ankle support. My skin is rejecting it big time!

It’s a pain, literally , but at least I know now.

Two positives here- one obvious thought I had was Osteoporosis/detriorating bone density (my bones are good apparently)  so that’s a relief. And I clearly heal well, so my basic health remains good. How I walked around on the break I don’t know; though , as a family, we have a high pain threshhold.

Oh, and a shout out to Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, UK  for the lovely staff I met yesterday  who were coping with an overstretched A & E department with  exceptional grace and humanity. This hospital often gets a bad rap. not least from me and I have taken issue with them in the past. This time? 11/10, even with the wait.


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The Cankle Chronicles

Partly due to a blog discussion with my fellow strap-support wearer Osyth, who confirms my belief that a second opinion is advisable, I have braved the Accident and Emergency Department of a well known West Midlands UK hospital.

OK. This is a contentious current news item. Why am I here when I could go see my GP? Because I can’t get an appointment for five weeks, and he would refer me to Xray department here anyway. 

No, we don’t have private insurance.

I thought it was just a sprain, but the melon shaped swelling is not reducing after weeks and weeks of just putting up with it. OK, today it’s a small cantaloupe rather than the giant water melon it is on some evenings.

I have just been advised that “non-urgent” cases, and I fully accept that I fall into that category, will have an eight hour wait. In a few hours I will no doubt be joined by accident prone drunks and more sad souls from local nursing homes ( those stats always go up on  Friday night)

I’m not normally given to social commentary but as I’m stuck here…

The NHS is indeed on it’s knees. Wish me and my cankle luck.

Posted in Renovation and restoration diary- France | 16 Comments

The most wanted list – qu’est-ce que l’on veut?

antique old pine wine rackSo, what’s the old stuff we all want these days?

I may not be able to give you the definitive answer to this burning question, but I can reveal the top five UK best sellers that the third quarter of our new furniture rescue business has thrown up.

  1. Old wine racks ( indeed anything in really old pine)
  2. Old oak ( stripped and waxed, not varnished!)
  3. Painted demi-lune console tables
  4. Rustic stools
  5. Small round side tables

I’m a little suprised at the enduring popularity of old stripped pine. I truly thought that had been done to death over the last few decades but no… and we have just sold a rescued and restored wine rack to a proper, posh London wine shop & restaurant. I am thrilled.

The old oak, I love this myself and liberating it from brown varnish is one of my missions in life. I just like to see the wood if the wood is good!

waxed oak antique stool benchOak stools









The most wanted paint shade? Dark graphite grey. We have mixed up an exclusive grey with a subtle blueish undertone we call “Orage”. Showcased on the painted console below left.

Trevor has also become expert at rescuing coloured inlay

Storm grey and cream carved French console Dpale grey painted inlaid side table

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