Walking out past les Arenes in the early morning was a heart filling pleasure.  Purple flowering creeper swagged itself across narrow streets, shutters mostly still closed. Yellow morning light catching the buildings.  I love Arles for all the memories of the year I spent there – so many vibrant experiences for a jeune anglaise

The regular market on the shady Boulevard des Lices offered an allée of stalls to wander down.  Immaculate embroidered napkins and linens laid out on one, a pell mell of items spread out on the ground across the way. 

Over then to the Puces at Marseillan.  Graham waited on the café terrace with café crème and croissant as I briefly trawled up and down the rows marked out with rope.  Nothing much was found, just a few 18th century books and a salad basket. 

We drove on to the port at Marseillan and walked past a hand written sign in a window – Vide Maison/house sale today.  Things were about to get very interesting! 

In a large airy space, part retail, part office, part home everything had a yellow ticket stuck on.  The guys managing the sale for a friend were charming.  Large white ceramic platters and bowls never fail to catch my eye and here was a good collection.  A tall painted vitrine sported a hefty price tag and it was magnificent.  Original glazing. A dusty pale blue. I wanted it, but it was too tall to fit on my unit at Station Mill.  Graham, ever practical and a calming influence in time of great enthusiams said, well as it comes in two pieces stand one in front of the other, it’s going to sell quickly anyway.   So the purchase was made, everyone was happy and Barry said yes he would be able to collect it that afternoon. Graham and I went for a quay side lunch to celebrate.

The dealer fairs passed with the usual initial hubbub and settling down to a more measured pace after an hour or so.  A sudden mini tornado in a corner at Beziers flung papers way up in the air while mirrors and lamps crashed. Dealers ran to anchor their merchandise as clouds of grit blew in gusts.  As always there was plenty of good humoured camaraderie and negotiating. Tables, paintings, cupboards, signs, chandeliers and paintings were some of the items that Barry and Steve collected for me – and, as always, they worked heroically to get everything loaded.  All such a joy!

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