“Mauvaise meteo”

We left quietly in the dark next morning and drove to Pontorson for a Vide Grenier. The town, alas, was deserted. Lights were on in a boulangerie, but the blinds were still down. The usual preparations had been made: roads closed, red and white tape cordoning off the space where there should have been two hundred stalls. Bizarre.

Leaving Graham to slumber in the van I went to explore the wet, empty streets. Eventually I came across a huddle of dealers setting out their stalls near the Town Hall. “C’est la mauvaise meteo,” they said, looking doubtfully up at the sky, large plastic sheets on the ground at the ready. The weather forecast had apparently paindiscouraged most people from turning out. So I bought a big bag of walnuts from an English woman saying I’d collect them later. As I looked at a large galvanised pitcher, the stallholder said, “Desolé, Madame, it’s for my flowers which will arrive later!” But, thank goodness, one man was unloading interesting things from his car – he’d been emptying his parent-in-law’s house. A tall pair of heavy pricket candlesticks, a rugged and battered watering can, pewter platters and a pretty mirror were snaffled up and carried back to Sylvie. And Madame relented and sold me her galvanized pitcher. Things could have been worse. Graham returned with me for a coffee and a slice of buttered baguette at 7h 30 before we called it a day. “Want yer nuts?” called over the English walnut seller, and threw in a free cucumber.

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