February buying

17c bookThree months later, I am back at the same café in Falaise, at 7.30am, this time with Graham. We are both glad of a grand café creme as the town shows signs of coming to life. Our first stop is back at Raymond’s to collect my pile of little objects, that have sat through the winter, just as I left them. It is very cold, I’m not feeling well, and I find I haven’t got much heart to start again looking through broken or rotted stacks of furniture. Normandy crepes for lunch fortify us, and we drive on to see Papi again. The air in the barns is chill. Papi gingerly climbs up dusty steps with me into lofts filled with rows and rows of crates – scythe blades, religious figures, glasses, coffee pots, cast iron fire dogs and farm equipment all have their place. In the corner of one barn is a pile of ticking mattress covers at least 8 metres high. “We used to sell so many,” said Papi, “but now, none. We used to have 10 or 12 dealers coming every day, rummaging and selecting what they wanted. But I stopped 20 years ago really”. The cold and dust were making me cough so Papi changed the subject and said he was going to make me a grog! Once the van was loaded with the latest buys, Graham and I were invited into the house of the enormous armoires, through to the kitchen where Madame sat by a large log fire. The bottle of eau de vie was brought out of a cupboard. Papi said that the large pear in the bottom of it was probably 30 or 40 years old. “We put a young pear into the bottle just after flowering and it grows in the bottle!” The hot water, honey and eau de vie did wonders, and it was a pleasure to sit together as the logs crackled and spit.

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