A perfect summer day

Next morning as I’m tiptoeing out the kitchen, I spy the two family dogs in comical array. Oscar, the wire haired hound, is barely contained in a little dog bed and George, the Jack Russell, spreads out in the large one. George apparently likes to share Oscar’s bed, Oscar prefers to sleep alone and so is obliged to retreat to cramped quarters! I drive west along lanes into a dazzling sunrise, wisps of morning mist still lying across the meadows. Today its the vide grenier at Remalard. Cafe’s are opening and tables on terraces being wiped down, boulangeries are setting up stands selling croissants and robust, crusty loaves. People are bringing out piles of crockery, toys, baby clothes out of their houses onto their stall. And professional brocanteurs are in place with their vans unloaded. As the morning brightens and the air loses its night-time coolness, music is piped through the streets, and this oh-so-quintessentially-French little town is a delightful place to spend some time. Along one street old wooden doors have been pushed open and lead into dark, cobwebbed garages with rough sand and soil floors. They have a feel of Santa’s grotto. And treasures are discovered: I make many trips back and forth to the van, carrying bedroom chairs upholstered in pale blue satin, a pretty watercolour of a Spanish town, galvanised tubs, 1950’s school room posters, metal folding tables and chairs, monogrammed linens and more. I am happy.

A couple more vide-greniers later in the day yield a small collection of items, but by this time the prevailing atmosphere is more about enjoying the moment, the people, the food and drink, and often the music. I park in the orchard of one tiny village with its fete in full swing, and the band performing are the English contingent of the village. The singer in a vintage frock has a fine repertoire of French melodies, and everyone seems to be having fun.


The afternoon wears on, I head off to one more vide grenier. Quite tired by now, but I can’t resist the possibility of finding something interesting! I fill my basket with small enamel items, enjoy the banter with stall holders on their garden chairs under parasols, too hot and too tired to get up!

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