Sunday, July 12, 2009

An Unprecedented Haul at the Vide Grenier

Last year's flea market in Chalabre was vast, enormous--but, we didn't arrive till late in the day and we left without buying anything. This time, we set the alarm, gulped down some yogurt and nectarines, and were there by 8:30 a.m. Even that early on a Sunday morning, parking was a challenge. But, oh, it was worth it. Six hours later (but that included lunch) we left, laden with finds. 
   Shop these events regularly and you develop a list. On ours this morning were more baskets for bread, more water glasses and more big preserving jars to hold dried beans, raisins and the like. Not only did we almost immediately find a bread basket like the ones we already have but soon after the water glasses showed up too. No luck with preserving jars but I know I can pick them up any time at the depot-vente. 
   The list contains sensible, necessary things. The rest of what we bought today falls into the "impulse item" category. 
   Here's just some of it. Top to bottom: 
   Against a background of a copy of one of the "Lady with the Unicorn" tapestries (which cost a massive three euros) is a hard-bound blank-paged book published as a souvenir of the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889--the year the Eiffel Tower was finished. Its first few pages are filled with mathematical equations but most of the pages are blank. All, due to age, are brown at the edges as though they've been dipped in coffee.         I'm not sure how much you can make out of the four postcards. The top one, of the chateau here in Léran, is addressed to a Mademoiselle Alphonsine (now there's a name) Rousset, and has a 1939 postmark. Just below that is an image of Aigues-Mortes on the edge of the Camargue. This was sent to a Monsieur Gabon. I can't make out the date. 
    No messages on the next one down which shows Le Palais de la Jetée in Nice. A little research revealed that the Germans dismantled this during World War 11 because it was in the way of their gunfire. Finally, we have a vue générale of Toulon. Written in 1927, a long message in red ink and the tiniest. neatest hand-writing crams its reverse side. I'll need a magnifying glass to translate it. What an astounding amount of history condensed into a few pieces of ephemera.
   The next photo is of a small hand-made mat, partly crocheted, partly embroidered and completely non-functional thanks to its three-dimensional crocheted grapes. 
   The most expensive find of the day was the ten euros I paid for this art deco (or deco-esque) wooden carving of an Egyptian deity.  There's talk of attaching this to the newel post at the bottom of the stairs--but only talk at this point. 
   The last find was the pierrot lamp which we bought just as we were making our way back to the car. To judge from its switch, it's quite old. I think it will find a home in our spare bedroom. And I think the bulb needs to be replaced by something moon-like.

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