On the road

antiques signI drove on eastwards and my list of dealers dwindled due to many closures, retirements and deaths. But, turning off my route, I found a brocante in an industrial unit sitting in the middle of farmland, all shuttered and very “Fermé” The sign announced it would open at 14h 30. A hot little rain shower came and went while I parked, and then ate figs and yellow fleshed peaches bought in Rouen. Madame drew up on time. She let herself and her young daughter in through a side door and the large sliding metal door was opened. Prices were high, and I felt discouraged by the rows and rows of expensive and not inspiring furniture. But I came away with a 19th century pine side table on fine tapering legs and a large mirror with crest that was suffering under a coat of modern silver paint. Madame kindly pointed me in the direction of a new Depot Vente just opened near Les Andelys. These places can be very hit and miss, but something interesting can usually be unearthed. And if items left here on Deposit (Depot) don’t sell rapidly their price can be negotiated favourably. I pulled up in an old railway yard. Several people were working on getting the place ready for business. One wall was papered with a vast Hawaiian sunset and a 1960’s bamboo bar had been set up as check out desk. There was nothing here for me, but I made a polite semblance of a quick look round. On my way out I walked past an empty room and catch a glimpse of a small aqua painted buffet on its own in a corner. Is it for sale? Certainement!

By my reckoning I can make it to Gisors by late afternoon to meet a dealer I have just phoned. The Sat Nav gets me to the Zone Industrielle in good time, but I cannot find any sign of a brocante despite two more phone calls to him. On the third phone call (“Je ne vous trouve pas!”) he tells me, no, he is not a brocanteur but an ébeniste, a restorer of antique furniture. Note to self, check my lists of dealers more carefully. So a hot and sticky hour has been lost. Nevertheless he confirms that the other name I have in Gisors is indeed an Antiquaire who is indeed still in business! I locate the shop but it has closed for the day. Time to find my chambre d’hote in a village a little further on down the road.

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