French Collections

De rigeur – follow the orange signs to ” brocante” – a French fixture,  an institution, – Bargain Hunt, Flog it! and Antiques Roadshow mixed up with a little bit (well, a lot really ….) of Steptoe and Son – wouldn’t be Sunday without it!!!  … egged on  by the fact that there could be a little gem hiding on one of those creaking,  fully laden trestle tables that groan under the weight of generations of accumulated out of the attic  bric a brac!  Amongst the “run a mile” tables of stuffed sideshow relics and Rastafarian bath mats, there are some serious collectors touting their wares – and the thrill of the hunt is electric!!!

Today, it was in Rouillac  in the Charente region of France  – it’s our service town usually, with a more than adequate supermarket, service station, cute town centre, Roman amphitheatre and a great little restaurant and bar called Le Zinc.  Today though it was all about the jumble – and the stretch of ant bed boules pitch was transformed into a buckling trestle table wonderland!!

Crucial  to the displays seems to be the “collection” with “like” bits lumped with other “like” bits!   This is scary when it comes to dolls and ridiculous when it comes to China dogs, but I am a sucker for it otherwise!  Bowls of pipes, bundles of old pharmaceutical paraphernalia ( including a nasal pipette , in case this is your thing!), buckets of tiny teeth – crunching porcelain miniatures used as Christmas cake favors for centuries and now briskly sought and collected, glasses in precision rows according to type and badge,  rows of bits of rusty metal things on tables, mats or just on the ground, in the dirt, hoping for a new owner!    Old French enamelware and embroidered linen pull the crowds and the back and forth quibble over a euro or two is fun to watch!

Yep, I bought a few things – a fabulous Lucky Strike “flat fifties” tin,  a couple of books,  some sketches in frames and a cheese box.  My friend Jane beat me to a stonking retro faux leather chair for a fast 30 euros … I resisted the box of jam jars for gin …. But those brass balustrade toppers …. are mine!!


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