Thursday, 29 December 2011

Christmas walks 2011

A little hamlet of Limousin granite cottages and barns, with the red Roman tiled roofs we have here, sitting in the winter sunshine.

Some bullrushes - one or two have 'popped' their seedheads. This little pond near us is spring fed and very seldom runs dry - it did this year though!

Sunset over Le Lac, St Mathieu - pretty isn't it - and getting quite cold as soon as the sun disappeared.

Just 20 minutes before - the kids, with Charlie, the Amazing Climbing Poodle...

One of the 20 or so exercise stations dotted about the lake. Charlie trying to climb again...

A couple of young Limousin cows - rather anxiously watching us walk on by

Another shot of the sun just starting to go down - already the temperature is falling fast in the shadows, but still plenty of light on the other side of the lake.

It is one of our favourite places to go - but you should see it in summer - packed with people swimming, sunning themselves, boating...we were the only people there on Boxing day.

Long shadows - the black blob is Charlie, yet again. He never goes far, always likes to be one of the gang - speaks fluent English and French!

These whitish blobs are nests of processional caterpillars - horrid, nasty things, dangerous to lifestock and pets. In the last ten years, we have seen nests appearing like this more and more - the caterpillars apparently moving up from the south, each year another mile or two north, all due to global warming.

We are determined that Christmas excess will be walked off and surprisingly for us, have managed a long walk - a least an hour - every day since. How long it will last, I don't know, but I'm going to keep on looking at the photos to get us to go out every day - my first New Year Resolution!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Thank you Kim!

Wow, look what Kim at Lavender Fields For-ever has sent to me - I've never had an award for anything before! I am really touched she thought of me - please read her blog here.

I hope she, and everyone has a good 2012, full of health, wealth and happiness...

In the meantime, put the thinking caps on for all those New Year resolutions...

As part of the award you have to copy and paste the award to your blog.

Thank the giver and post a link back to them.

Reveal your top 5 blogs with less than 200 followers and let them know.

So here are my five .

thelifeofaneccentricenglishbooklady - a lovely, gentle blog about books, poetry, country life, family - a delight to read.

olgaswan - another ex-pat in France, she is a writer and her blogs are full of interest and wisdom.

swedishbullshit - fabulous photography and humour from another ex-pat - dividing her time between 3 spots on the globe!

our-front-plot - a hardworking smallholder who writes about her garden, her crafts and charity shop bargains.

And, that's it folks - my 5th is back to Kim at Lavender Fields...

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I would like to thank all my customers, family, friends and fellow bloggers for following my little blog this year and to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Sunday, 4 December 2011

Christmas Pensioners' Lunch

Well, we have just staggered back from our village Christmas lunch, having consumed so much food and drink, it's taken us SIX hours to do just that.

My daughter said I was dressed suitably to go to the pensioners' lunch (cheeky madam) so I told her in that case, I was going to get a body piercing or tattoo. She said then I would look just like a pensioner with a body piercing or tattoo...oh well...I wouldn't mind, but I'm only 56...

Anyway, I thought you would like to know what was on the menu:

(with nibbles)

Potage Périgourdin
(clear vegetable soup with noodles)

Délice de Foie Gras
(Foie Gras, 2 sorts, with fig jelly and cherry jelly, toast, orange slices)

Queue de Lotte a l'amoricaine
(Monk fish in a tomato and pepper sauce)

(Peach sorbet with peach spirit, hic)

Civet de chevreuil et sa garniture de légumes
(Young venison stew with, puzzlingly only boiled potatoes, but divine all the same)


(selection of cheese)

Buche maison
(French Christmas cake - Yule log, 1 slice of chestnut/marron glacé sponge, and 1 slice apricot sponge)


Coffee and liqueurs

We had champagne with cassis or chesnut liqueur for the apéritif, a different wine for each course, then with the coffee four different liqueurs to choose from - or cognac - which were all home made by people from the village. Of course, we were pressed by the Mayor to try them all...


This is the second time pensioner friends have invited us - they can invite whom they wish providing it's paid for, and the money goes to the poor elderly folk of the parish so we feel it goes to a good cause in this time of austerity and yet festivity.

Well, all I can say is that the elderly folk of our village certainly know how to pack it all away and not a single 'ooh, I couldn't possibly' or 'well, just a little one...' amongst was just the new kids on the block - like us - who were complaining of having eaten too much!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Clothes for M'sieur

This is a French farmer's chemise or shirt, dating from around the end of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century, or possibly even up to the '30s - the shirt is a little deceiving as it is in such fine condition. It is made from coarse hemp and is so stiff, you could almost stand it up by itself.

A rare find in this lovely condition - and very popular now for historic re-enactment groups, or as a nightshirt for both men and women - even a great tunic over leggings!

You can see lots more photos in my Ebay listing here.

The collar has been added later of course: it's made of cotton and was probably added by a loving - or long-suffering - wife, fed up with the farmer complaining about how scratchy the shirt was. In fact, I'm told that some wealthy farmers would get their labourers to wear their new shirts in for them, to soften them up a little!

And of course, the farmer's wife would have added her husband's initials, as indeed she would have embroidered a monogramme on all of the family linen and clothing - including her bloomers!

I just love the yoke on this shirt - the gathers were designed to allow for movement and comfort of shape. Also, the shoulders were often reinforced for strength.

And here is the cuff - lovely little white glass buttons, and the gathers which match the shoulder detail. The buttons match the front fastening too, and there is a placket down the front for 'gentlemen's ease' - don't like to think about what this means but definitely for ease of movement at least, and possibly a big belly...

Now, this of course is a much more modern farmer's shirt - made of wool, greatly reduced in quantity of fabric used, much more comfortable I guess. I haven't listed this for sale yet.

And, it's got a rather nice Parisian label, so I would think it's not for a real farmer - just to give the look for a weekend in the country, huntin', shooting and fishing...

Here is another shirt, also made from hemp, but it has been washed so many times, it has lost the original honey/ecru colour and is now white. the more you wash these items, the more they lose the colour and soften up - one way of establishing the age. The fabric is soft and 'floppy' - it could be linen but I think hemp as the fibre is coarser. I haven't listed this shirt either yet.

It was probably a nightshirt due to the fact that each side has a sewn in flap or pleat for ease of walking (and getting into bed) and the neckline is cut lower.

Also, there are no buttons or button holes to put a collar on, so yes, I think it is a nightshirt - probably for summer as I have seen what was worn in winter and believe me, the nightshirts are very heavy. This has a red monogramme too - now bleached to a fetching shade of pink!

The first shirt is already listed on my Ebay site here, the other two not yet, so contact me if you would like more information.

Have a good week everyone!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Prints, photos, paintings - a few treasures for sale

I love this framed print of this very fashionable family - what tiny feet! The print is framed, glazed and hand-coloured - for sale here.

This trio of French wedding couples are interesting - see the lack of bouquets? I love the outfits - and the grooms' more here.

A striking pair of sisters - I have a photo of their parents too - see the listing here. Both photos still have their protective glazed paper covers.

This is another hand-coloured print - the river looks so more here - the auction starts from £4.99

And finally this little oil painting from Aix-les-Bains, painted on the lid of a cigar box...and the listing auction starts from £19.99 - you can see more here.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Free food - or my golden currency!

Anyone know what this tree is?

Well, it's a persimmon tree, or Sharon fruit. The French call it a 'Kaki' tree and it is highly prized. So highly prized that as I own the largest specimen around, I use the fruit as a sort of currency. I give tons away to my neighbours to say thank you for all their kindness during the year - and in return, I am given other fruit, vegetables and produce. Works for me!

This is just from one tray of fruit - I normally get around 500 to 700 fruit a year, at around 40 to 50 fruit a box.

Unripe - no good eating this - it's like trying to eat a stick of deodorant - SO astringent - makes the mouth pucker and is absolutely awful...

However, this ripe little gem is the most delicious fruit - sweet, silky and juicy. And we do make the most of the harvest - my golden currency...

Thursday, 17 November 2011

'Flu Alert!

Sorry I haven't been posting lately - suffered a nasty bout of 'flu, then dear OH got it, then my brother came for a week's visit so blogging put on back burner for a while. Normal service will be resumed very soon!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

1950s Christmas Chocolate Boxes

I love this old 1950s chocolate or biscuit box. Made from card, it still has the paper lining - I've got 2 boxes, both the same design.

This design of a decorated Christmas tree, complete with sprigs of holly, is so typical of 1950s, and so traditional - love the glow of the candles....

Christmas tree boxes now sold
You can see the inner paper liners here.

Santa in his sleigh now sold
This is another typical 1950s design - Santa in his sleigh full of presents for good boys and girls...see the cute squirrel and rabbits - such fun!

And again, I have two boxes - they even have the grease paper cases for each choccy! SO sweet! I can't believe the trouble taken for just six chocolates, but they meant something special to someone to have kept them all this time.

This set of three boxes have similar designs of snowy villages, churches, cottages etc - very traditional and quite charming - and you can still send Christmas cards with similar designs today!

Again, still with their paper inserts

sorry, but all the boxes are now sold
This box is fun - the village station in the snow - is the man saying hello or goodbye?

I love these boxes - they are quite small and I think reflect the little austerity that rural France felt during the fifties - you could give or receive chocolates, but only a few at a time! Quality rather than quantity I guess...

Perfect for a collection of packaging or boxes, they could be used to packing a Christmas gift, or for maybe home-made chocolates or petit-fours for re-sale or gifts.

Incidentally, you can still smell the gorgeous chocolatey scent in each box...yummy...!

If you want to know more or buy a box - see my Ebay page for boxes here!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Fashion through last 100 years

I'm sure that many people will have already seen this Youtube video but if not, you're in for a treat:

clic here


Monday, 3 October 2011

Baby clothes - SO adorable!

These are a couple of photos taken at the museum at Agde in Herault, from our holiday this year. What a fabulous museum - I nearly swooned with joy to find it. Flash photography was forbidden of course, so please do excuse the lack of light - everything looks a bit blue, but I'm sure you will get the gist of it all. These are of the baby and childrens' clothes, ranging from around 1830 to 1925

Over the years, I have collected and sold antique and vintage baby clothes - there is just something about them that I love. It's the smallness of them, the love and attention put into each piece, the history behind each piece, and very poignant to consider that some of their owners may have never worn adult clothing - life was so precarious for babies then, regardless of how rich their parents were.

Most of the clothes in these cabinets were for children of the well-to-do, but I love the clothes of the peasants too, often with repairs and darns where they have been handed down. So adorable...

Isn't this just gorgeous? This is a hand-made bonnet, made from the palest apricot silk, with lace overlaid, and satin ribbons. Sadly, in was in pretty poor condition the silk was beginning to shatter, and the ribbons had holes and rust marks. Still, I just had to rescue it and I kept it for quite a while. Eventually though, it found a new home.
bonnet now sold

This bonnet, on the other hand was in almost perfect condition - I just love the broderie anglaise (always a sucker for a bit of BA)...and again, already sold.

This bonnet has patterned quilted cotton fabric, slightly 'flannelette' and cosy to the touch inside and a little lace round the edges. Hand-made again, so sweet!
bonnet now sold

These are about the most simplest bonnets, slightly different, but oh so tiny! Perfect for new-borns. Were my kids ever that small? Actually, I don't think they were as they were both over 9 and a half pounds at birth!
bonnets now sold

And, just to finish, this is a gorgeous little petticoat, but with all this hot weather recently, I can just see it as a sun-dress.
dress now sold

Lovely lace on the bottom edge - quite firm to the touch so robust enough even for a toddler!

You can see more details and photos here for the last three items.

Have a good week!


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