Seaside market

Sunday morning, at a more reasonable hour, was the annual Vide Grenier at Barneville Carteret – two small seaside towns of great charm on either side of an estuary. Highly reminiscent of Jacques Tati’s “Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot” – what a dose of hilarious seaside nostalgia.

We parked up in a field and Elizabeth opted for a snooze before joining the fray. The market ran alongside the estuary and, although I was immediately in “trance mode”, I did lift my eyes from time to time to acknowledge the beautiful sky, the balmy breeze and sparkling sun on the water. I came across some heavy pharmacy jars, glass all bubbly and irregular, and left them with the dealer, along with the enormous round crusty loaf I’d just bought. Two hours later, I collected up my many finds from around the market and clanked back towards the van, laden with metal trays, sheets, candlesticks, jugs, jars – and bread. The smoke from the BBQ grille was catching in the breeze and the sun, giving an air of misty magic to the whole scene.

Elizabeth found me at a café, where I sat, rather flushed, with my stack of brocante next to me. “Oh have I missed it all?” she said in surprise. As recompense, we went for one of those long, perfect, luxurious lunches on the terrace of a well regarded fish restaurant, followed by time on the beach as, far on the horizon, sparkled Jersey and Guernsey, Les Iles Anglo-Normandes.