Friday, 31 August 2012

Stormy weather

Well, the hot weather has definitely broken - we had a fantastic day of storms on Wednesday while we were shopping in Limoges. The storm was right overhead; the lightning and thunder crashing at the same time - quite scary but thrilling too.

Then last night, we had a sneaky storm - I vaguely heard it, but it crept up on us, resulting in a power cut and something nasty to my 'pooter. All is now well as my resident computer consultant (OH) has spent the day swearing and fiddling - that's two days running now as he rescued a friend's computer yesterday morning in return for the promise of hauling up buckets of cement when the roof is done next month. If it were me, I'd rather buy a new computer than lug up buckets of cement, but there's no allowing for taste...

M'sieurs Little and Large

Well, it's that time of the year when M'sieurs Little and Large pay us a visit - the chimney sweeps. In French, a sweep is a 'ramoneur' and it is an important job as records have to be carefully kept by them in case our house burns down: their role in keeping our chimneys nice and clean has to be proved to the insurance company.

We have had them for 10 years now, except one awful year, when an imposter knocked on our door and implied that he was a nephew, sent to do the work instead of his uncle who was sick (and I could believe that as the boss, M'sieur Large, is fat, breathless and has diabetic ulcers which vary from year to year - he loves to show them to me ...yuk). How embarrassed was I, when M'sieur Little - the one who does all the work and is about a third of the other's size - knocked and asked when could he start, especially as I had believed the imposter's story, had the work done, and paid for it too...

We have two chimneys to be swept - we only have two working fireplaces out of a total of seven and thank goodness, as it would cost us a small fortune to have everything done - and they do a good job of pulling out the wood burner, showing me the pile of soot and debris to prove they've done something, then putting everything back again.

The thing is, the cost has never risen in 10 years; M'sieur Little just carefully copies what was written on last year's receipt, but it was only a year or two ago when we realised that neither can read or write properly. We have introduced them to several friends and neighbours as new clients, and I have to write the names and addresses out for M'sieur Little to copy out - he writes as though he were drawing a picture of the shapes of the letters. When I tried to verbally spell out a name, he was totally flummoxed, so now, we go through a pretext of my writing it out as he 'can't understand my accent'...

Still, times must be good in the chimney sweeping world - they have a brand new van, new vacuum cleaner and for the first time, both wore blue Marigold rubber gloves instead of using bare hands.

When they left, they cheerily said they would see me same time next year, then they shot off, probably to find a quiet country spot to dump the soot in the ditch...

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Some scarves, recent finds

Nice pastel colours in this Daniel Hechter scarf: mauve, turquoise blue on white
now sold.

Unusual silk scarf with tarot cards - in French - in glowing, jewel colours

Now sold
No label, but made for the French market as the titles are in French.

Another black silk crepe mourning scarf
Now sold
It has that wonderful 'scrunch' that good silk crepe has.

This large red and white scarf is a souvenir of Paris

and has the Eiffel Tower as the 'A' in sold

This is a 1950s/1960s mantilla - to be worn to cover the head when in church

Now sold
In black spotty net and a lacy style edging.

A silk Christian Dior square
Now sold
In lovely almost pastel colours, with a smart navy frame

and finally a long scarf from Pierre Balmain

Now sold
which always reminds me of the Peter Sarsted song 'Where Do You Go To My Lovely...'

Not that you would want to wear a scarf in 40 degrees C! We managed to get to two vide greniers today but didn't really find many treasures. All the stallholders were too hot - some had very little shade, and there was a lethalgic, languid feel to the proceedings.

Still, we should enjoy it while we can - sorry to anyone with rain - can we swap please!

Heatwave warning

The French Government has issued a warning of a 'canicule' - a heatwave. We are on orange alert - the last time in 2003, over 14,000 deaths were attributed to the heat. So, I expect we should take it seriously.

Well, this evening we did our best to cool down, and a bottle of chilled rosé started to do the trick. Tomorrow, I must nip out for some salad and fruit, but as early as possible to escape the heat.

Spare a thought for my sheep - there isn't a blade of grass in the field right now! So, please, can we have some rain tonight?

Monday, 13 August 2012

The official verdict: Happy and Glorious!

Well, the Olympic Games are now finished. I have never watched so much sport in my life - and loved every minute. Jacques Rogge said that the London games were 'happy and glorious' and I don't think you could ask for more.

The closing ceremony proved to be as spectacular as the opening, with just one or two wobbly bits that can be put down to the British sense of humour (goodness knows what the world will make of Eric Idle) but wow - what a light show!

Good luck to Rio - follow that!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Special Birthday xxx

Here she is at six...
And here ten years later...

Happy 16th birthday Sweetpea!

Monday, 6 August 2012

A few lacy finds

Gorgeous pair of mourning gloves, French, around 1900 - La Belle Epoque.

and here is the wrist - very pretty

Another pair, this time the pattern is slightly 'stripey'
and the wrist decoration is just lovely - a little lacy show button. I would say they are size 6 to 6.5, but I can just slip them on and I take a 7 - I suppose the stretchy lace gives a little.

Both pairs of gloves were made from quality materials, which is why they have lasted so well over the years although one does have an old repair which suggests they were worn on more than one occasion. The gloves came from the same source, tucked away with some black silk crepe scarves which I will show another time.

Perfectly lovely lace handkerchief, as fine and as delicate as you would wish
all hankies now sold

with detail of the hand-worked lace - little flowers and tendrils.

Another quite similar - I have three altogether, and all unused - you can still see the faint pencil marks where the lace-maker drew out the design

and this has butterflies on each corner, worked into the fabric of the hanky, and embellished with stitches.

and finally, the third, worked with a very pretty shaped edge, and sweet little flowers embroidered into the middle border.

I reckon hours and hours of work to make each hanky. Absolutely perfect for a wedding - add a little blue ribbon bow, lend it to the bride and it uses up three out of the four requirements for something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue...

Box of lace - sold
But, this was my favourite find - a collection of little lace samples.

Each sample has a price label, in old francs

and each lace has versions in wider widths, or shades of cream or salmon pink....just gorgeous! These came from an old French lady who was a seamstress, specialising in lingerie. These were her samples - the customer could pick the desired trim and check the price immediately. I would have loved to see some of her finished work...

Have a good week - and I hope that the weather is everything you wish for, wherever you are!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Recent cushion finds

Lilac and roses - sold
Swans on lake - now sold

Anemones - sold
I just love cushions - doesn't everyone - but these are vintage French needlepoint cushions. They have all been home-made and hours of work put into creating little spots of colour for a sofa or bed.

My favourite is the lilac and pink roses, but alas... I've sold it!

Have a good weekend!


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