Sleeping Beauty – a different story

Saturday morning, sun rise, clear sky, air scented with earth and green, happily bowling along towards discovery and possible treasures. This feeling is priceless. On down windy wooded lanes and I come to La Foret. In the small square outside the stone and faded grey facade of La Mairie is a long trestle table, women busy with setting out the stall. What strikes me is that everything has the same tonal values of rusty brown, rusty cream and just rust! I ask, where has all this come from? A gentle faced woman explained that there had been a “cabane” outside the village, a small café, but the woman who ran it had died without any inheritors. She had died many years ago…… when was it? “Hein, Pauline, la dame, elle est morte quand?” Pauline came over. “Ca doit etre bien avant la guerre, non?” So the little cabane had been empty since before the second war, and with their vide-grenier programmed, the villagers had freed the cabane from beneath thick brambles to resurrect this, to my eyes, deeply beautiful and atmospheric collection of objects.

Bowls, carafes, school books, glasses, silk parasols with long handles, a large plate decorated with a blue and white border of sea shells and a seagull in the middle (a souvenir from a first trip to the seaside?) and two very old motorbikes. Then two large rusty metal beds were carried into the square. The men who carried them out apologised that there were no mattresses, but they had been stuffed with straw and had been home to many mice. This has to be my most favourite vide-grenier stall ever!

From another stall I buy a dainty aluminium seive. The stall holder is delighted with the exchange of funds – “This is my first vide-grenier, and you are my first customer!” Local produce is on sale as well as brocante. I buy pieces of clafoutis made with cherries from one woman, and white wine cake from another. Greengages were abundant. I’d just about covered the market for the final time by 8am, and happened to see the American dealer as she arrived – I was so glad to have been the early bird for this lovely market.

metal beds

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