The Seven Strangest Things At Today’s Brocante…

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Ever had one of those ideas that you immediately regret? Like taking a moped out for a spin in Greece, without taking out insurance? Or maybe accepting that drink from the slightly too friendly guy, that keeps touching you? Or maybe going along to that ‘it’s not timeshare’ presentation, with the promise of a free trip on a glass-bottomed-boat afterwards?

 

Or how about deciding to man a stall at a French brocante, and taking along your three and six year-old children? Doomed to failure that idea, a non-starter if you are seeking a peaceful, profitable day.

 

Regrets aside this is what brought us to the huge brocante in our home village of Aubigny sur Nere today. I don’t use the term ‘huge’ lightly either. The brocante dominates the place to such a degree that traffic has been shut down throughout and there’s nary an alley, or sidewalk, that doesn’t have somebody selling something.

 

It’s not long before the kids start to act up (2 micro-seconds to be exact) and so, after the requisite amount of paternal caring (3 micro-seconds to be exact) I bugger off and leave the kids with their mother, Grandma and Grandad, and take a look at what there is for sale.

 

There are lots, and lots, and lots of interesting items, the usual medley of guns, knives, rusty farm tools, knives, dead animals and more knives. The stand-outs for me, today, are the following seven deadly deals…

 

MUSCULAR GNOME-IN-A-THONG

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This combines two of my least favourite things: gnomes and (male) thongs. What’s going on here? What message are you sending out if you buy this and display it on your lawn? If I bought this, the Peter Stringfellow of garden ornaments, and put it outside I wonder how long it would be before the gendarme came knocking at my door?

Also note his accessory: alarmingly phallic mushroom – I don’t think the plan here is for him to get his fishing rod out. Well, obviously that depends on your interpretation of the term ‘fishing rod’.

I think the plan is actually for the placement of these in the garden to attract ladies inside, with the suggestion of virility, muscularity and…well, a great big mushroom. The only slight hitch will come if it actually works, and the ladies knock on the door only to find a 9-stone-man with a stoop and halitosis…

 

STATUS AT END OF BROCANTE: UNSOLD

GOAT/COW/SOMETHING’S FEET LAMP

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Yes, yes so I’m clearly not an expert on what foot comes off what animal as the title of this segment demonstrates. I don’t know about you, but my first thought if I cut off this animals legs and started wondering what to do with them, would probably not be ‘Hmm, you know what? They’d make a lovely lamp’. What the hell do you buy to complement this? A buffalo leg coffee table? Or maybe a set of four deer-leg coat-hooks (they actually had those, in case you wondered what happened to Bambi)?

If nothing it’s definitely a conversation starter. A conversation that would probably start with ‘What the f*ck’s that?’

STATUS AT END OF BROCANTE: UNSOLD

NOT THE JOY OF SEX BOOK

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My closest encounter with flagellation came in 2006, when I sat through the interminable The Da Vinci Code. You remember? That albino monk kept whacking himself when he thought he’d done something wrong. Or he might have enjoyed it, I forget which one.

Anyway, I didn’t realise it was actually a thing, or that there were even guide books for it. Needless to say, this was as close as I got, I really didn’t want to bump into one of my children’s teachers whilst ‘browsing’ Kinky Flagellations…t hat could open up a whole new world of problems. It would certainly make parent/teacher evenings interesting.

It’s nice that the producers of this book have thoughtfully included a warning that it is ‘not suitable for minors’. I would have thought the image on the front of the book, of the woman wearing S+M gear, and exposing her breasts would have done that job, but maybe that’s just me.

STATUS AT END OF BROCANTE: UNSOLD 

JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING DOG-LAMP

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Fans of the seminal 1982 classic John Carpenter’s The Thing (to give it its full title) will recall the standout scene early on, where the husky dog that has seemed to be normal reveals its true colours, goes bat-shit crazy, and starts melting and attempting to assimilate the other dogs. If you could turn those melted dogs into a lamp, it would look like this.

At least, I think it’s supposed to be a lamp. My French isn’t yet at the stage where I can confidently pose the question ‘What the bloody hell is that supposed to be? Is it a lamp?’, but I’m getting there. Where does the light bulb go? In its mouth? Or are you supposed to finish that part off yourself? The mind boggles.

This…thing, won the award for the day of being, in my partner’s words, ‘The scariest thing I have ever seen’. It’s so like The Thing, in so many ways that I’m slightly regretting not buying it now. It looks like something trying (and failing) to look like something else, part-dog, part-lamp: all-horror. That being said, If I had have bought it I’m fairly certain that the kids would never enter the room that it was in…bah! Yet another reason to have purchased it!

 

STATUS AT END OF BROCANTE: UNSOLD

An Obviously Stolen Road Sign

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This lady had some balls on her I can tell you. Stood there, in plain view of any passing gendarmes – of which there were many – with a stolen road sign. Just consider, for a moment, the lost motorist, adrift betwixt Gracay and Vatan. ‘How far is it now my love?’ grey-haired Elsa says to her beau, Francois ‘I don’t know’ he says, taking off his glasses and peering at the mound of upturned soil ‘Someone’s stolen the f*cking road sign’.

As uninteresting as the actual item is, it still garnered inquisitive looks and questions from passers-by. My partner heard her setting her stall out, price-wise, when she responded to a query on the matter with ‘let’s look at 350 euros, then we can start to talk about it’.

She also tried, unsuccessfully, to photo-bomb my picture when I took it. Like I said, she had balls.

STATUS AT END OF BROCANTE: NOT SURE, SHE DROVE OFF

COCK-SWITCH LAMP

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‘Eh!’ said the lady who owned this ‘tasteful’ item when I took its picture ‘You take a photo of it, you buy it!’. I just hid behind my foreignness, gave her the thumbs up, and said it was ‘Tres bon!’.

When what I actually wanted to say was ‘How do you turn it on? By flicking the penis?’.

STATUS AT END OF BROCANTE: UNSOLD

GORILLA-MECHANIC WITH BOTTLE OF WINE/OIL & ADJUSTABLE WRENCH THING

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So I’ve no idea on this one. What’s the purpose, the point, or the message? The bottle clearly used to be a bottle of wine, but now it’s been re-covered to look like a bottle of oil. With nuts at the bottom of it.

The wrench is touching the bottle, so is it implying that the two go together? Mechanics use oil and wrenches a lot?

What’s the gorilla got to do with anything? He looks like he wandered in from another set. Oh, and if you can’t see he’s also eating a banana. Is this the view of mechanics in France, that they are apes?

Maybe it’s an actual depiction of a ‘Monkey-wrench’ or…you know what? I’m giving up on this one. I personally think it’s someone’s art degree effort, probably means something really deep and cool. For me it just looked really weird, and faintly insulting for some reason.

STATUS AT END OF BROCANTE: UNSOLD

16 Years Of Faithful Service…

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So today, to celebrate being with my partner for 16 years, I have decided to dedicate a blog to her…

Dear Madam,

We are writing to you in response to your letter regarding the performance of your 1976 Model ‘Phil’. We are pleased that you have chosen to continue using the services of our company, and are happy to answer the questions that you have included in your recent correspondence.

  1. Unfortunately madam the legs of your Phil will get no more muscular. Due to an error in the production line the model you have had its legs switched out with that of an 11-year-old girl. We are, however, working on an update to correct this flaw. The update should go live in October of this year and will give all model 76 Phils new legs. Of a 14-year-old girl.
  2. It is perfectly normal to go through ‘up to 35 pairs of slippers per year’ (your words). This is actually slightly lower than the average for that model of 46.
  3. I do not know what they do with their socks, we have tried to work this out ourselves. We have concluded that they must eat one sock and leave the other one to annoy you.
  4. The continued requests ‘for anal’, while annoying, are necessary. This is simply a glitch inbuilt by the programmers giving them a ‘back door’ (no pun intended) to allow them access to the Phils’ interface. Without this they would not be able to upgrade the legs to the bulk of a 14-year-old girl in October.
  5. No, they will never understand washing machines.
  6. Yes, he is more than likely having sex with the vacuum cleaner while you are at work.
  7. The wrist action of the 1976 model Phils, while more than adequate for masturbation, does not have the requisite strength of later models. Thus the tap will always drip, as they are unable to apply sufficient pressure to turn it off.
  8. Yes we are aware of the ‘declutter’ issues. the 1976 model Phils have a flaw in their programming. This is due to a small file being transferred from the same year’s model ‘Glynis’, our very popular Grandma model. So he will indeed try to make your home resemble a show-home. Please do not interfere in the running of this program, or he may attempt to kill all the Sarah Connors in the phone book.
  9. Those stains on the sheets are perfectly normal it is just ‘lubricant seepage’ and happens when they reach their 40th + year of operation. At least, this is what every 1976 model Phil we asked told us.
  10. We always recommend never looking at their feet. Or smelling them. Just try to pretend their legs end at their ankles.

I hope that this has addressed you concerns in this matter Madam, but if you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.

With regards to your enquiry about our ‘Young, Hot and Italian’ part-exchange program we do have the model you requested: ‘Pablo 1998’ in stock, however we do not have it in the colour you requested: ‘Black’. Please resubmit your order and we will be only too happy to fulfil it.

Best Regards,

For and on behalf of the Perfect Fiancee Corporation,

Miles B. Dyson

OCD Much Darling?

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We are just about to set off out for a picnic, an impromptu plan suggested by yours truly, on what is a gloriously sunny day. One of the added benefits of living where we do in France, is that we are a stone’s throw away from some truly lovely parks, and a short five-minute drive from my partner’s work; meaning we can pick her up on the way.

 

Everything’s ready to go, sandwiches are made and packed; drinks are ready; desserts are also in the bag for the kids (not for myself and my partner though as I  think – incorrectly as the black looks I later receive attest – we don’t need them).

 

Yes everything’s ready to go, the kids don’t even need to go to the toilet – I know this as I have asked them the requisite 58 times. Only ask 57 times and you are treading on thin ice*.

 

So, I think to myself, as I don my footwear, if everything’s ready to go why is my daughter crying?

 

My son is running around her in a circle, so I assume this is what’s making her cry. I tell him to stop, but she keeps crying and makes a grab for his shoes. Has he stolen something from her and hidden it in his shoes?

 

You might laugh at that, but these two would give airport-security a run for their money when it comes to finding new and interesting places to hide things. I know what that implies, and I stand by it. You DO NOT want to know where I’ve found marbles…and then promptly thrown said marble away.

 

I had to, it was a health and safety issue.

 

Anyway, back to my teary-eyed daughter and I finally, somewhat disbelievingly, discover what she’s crying about. One of the velcro grips on my son’s shoes is not lined up correctly.

 

Just re-read that sentence to yourself.

 

They aren’t her shoes, they are someones else’s. They are on the correct feet, but one, ONE of the velcro straps is slightly, SLIGHTLY ‘askew’.

 

She often mothers him, I’ve mentioned this in the past, so that’s not much of a surprise. This however, is a new level of fastidiousness.

 

She loves everything in her life to be ‘just so’, her hair has to be a certain way, the clothes have to match up, things in her room have to be lined up correctly. I tidied the books on her floor up the other week while I was mopping, as they seemed to be messy, this led to a three-hour interrogation on why I had done it, and why I shouldn’t do it again.

 

Did I mention she’s only three?

 

I tentatively reach over to my son’s shoe and correctly line-up the velcro grip. He couldn’t care less; if I took them off and replaced them with odd shoes – odd girl’s shoes – he’d quite happily carry on regardless. I think I could offer him hollowed-out racoons and he’s shove them on each foot. He’s a free spirit.

 

The effect on my daughter, however, is immediate and obvious. The tears stop rolling down her face, as if someone’s turned off a tap, her attitude changes completely and we head out the door.

 

She’s three.

 

Three.

 

What is going to happen at puberty????

 

 

 

*As it turns out 58 times IS NOT the charm. Not only did my son need a wee at the park he also had to go ‘number two’, which I, in a very civic-minded-manner, had to scoop up and carry. I used baby-wipes and held it like the world’s smelliest, warmest bomb. I do not wish to repeat that experience.

Alien Covenant’s Effect On My Attitude Toward Nocturnal Animals In Our Loft…

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It’s Friday afternoon, I’ve just watched the trailer for the new Alien film: Alien Covenant.

 

It looks like standard Alien-fare, lots of scared people running away from aliens, wishing they had made better career choices. I dismiss it, thinking it will be a decent rental, and get on with my day.

 

Flash-forward (remember that tv series? dreadful stuff) to 2 a.m and I’m woken by my partner, who has heard a noise and thinks there’s something in the room.

 

We quickly realise that it’s not inside the room – it’s in the loft above our heads.

 

It’s clearly an animal, you can hear its little feet scampering to-and-fro.

 

I say little, but at 2 a.m everything takes on added menace.

 

I flash-back (maybe that will make a better tv series?) to the trailer for Ridley Scott’s latest, imagining face-huggers, and acid-blooded-beasties up there.

 

So when my partner offers to go and fetch the ladders, so I can go up there, in the dark, and find out what it is, my response is both immediate and gallant.

 

‘No, I’m not going up there, let’s leave it till the morning’.

 

It’s the morning now.

 

I still haven’t been up there.

 

Bloody Alien films!

The Venetian Carnival In The Gardens Of Mehun-sur-Yèvre…

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With its roots in the Middle Ages, Mehun-sur-Yèvre is known as one of the “Most beautiful detours of France”, and is famous for its history with Joan of Arc. A walk through the cobbled streets of this quaint town brought us the arresting sight of the Venetian Carnival, a two day festival where the participants parade through the town adorned in ever more elaborate masks and gowns.

The procession eventually made its way to the majestic ruins of the castle of King Charles VII, and it was here, on a gloriously sunny Sunday, that I managed to capture most, if not all, of the participants…

 

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The Results From Tonight’s Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Race….

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I invested in a Nintendo Switch at launch – yes I actually managed to get one! – as the only way I can play games these days is in a portable form. This is mainly due to the TV being used for family viewing – shows, films etc. Playing games has to fit around my other duties – and never the other way around.

 

It was supposed to just be my domain – mine alone. However my children soon persuaded me into letting them have a go. One thing that I love about Nintendo is that, by and large, their games are wholesome, I don’t have to worry about my children seeing or hearing anything they shouldn’t. This even extends to their online gaming, players are not allowed to speak to each other, just select from a set of pleasant phrases.

 

My children’s choice for gaming tonight? Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. I must admit to initially dismissing this as a lazy port from the WiiU, Nintendo’s ‘failed’ system (though I’d argue against that, we have one in the house and my son loves it). However I have grown to love it over the last week or so, a love that quickly spread to my kids.

 

How did they get on? Well see for yourselves as I give a brief description of their playing styles:

 

 

My Son

(shooting anything and everything as often as possible)

‘Shoot it! Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it! It’s coming at me! I’m getting the sea!!! Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it! Look at that guy!!! Daddy Look at that guy!!! Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it! I’m winning Daddy!!! Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it!Shoot it!’

This goes on throughout the match, he does not close his mouth at all – except for a ten minute break where his tooth falls out (due to natural causes I might add, it’s been wobbling for a while).

My Daughter

(reverses slowly in a circle, holding one solitary banana skin)

Stays absolutely silent throughout and, I think, the other players take pity on her, as she still has four of her five balloons left at the end of the battle.

RESULT: TIE

We had a great time playing it together, it’s a top system and I can see it becoming more integrated into family life. Not just now though, the Switch is a somewhat ‘fragile’ system and so not one that can be left alone with a very active 3 and 6 year-old. For now it will just be the odd supervised bit of fun…and the rest of the time? It will be mine..(does best Bowser impersonation) ALL MINE! BWA HA HA!!

Things I Miss About The UK: My Overprotective Smoke Alarm…

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One day in the kitchen…

 

My Smoke Alarm: ‘Aww hey there Phil, how you doing today, say, what’s that you’re cooking hon?’

 

Me: ‘Oh nothing special, just a bit of toast’

 

My Smoke Alarm: ‘To..toast? Did you say Toast?! FIRE FIRE FIRE CALL THE FIRE BRIGADE FIRE GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT!’

 

Me: (wafting tea-towel desperately, to halt the piercing noise) ‘Stop! Stop! It’s not a fire it’s just toast!!!!’

 

 

 

 

Another day in the kitchen…

 

Me: (Stretching and rubbing sleep out of my eyes) ‘Mmm think me and the kids’ll have a taste of France for breakfast’

 

My Smoke Alarm: ‘Morning Phil, what’s that you say, fancy something different?’

 

Me: ‘Yep, just slid a couple of pain au chocolats in to the mini oven, don’t take but 30 seconds to co..’

 

My Smoke Alarm: ‘PASTRIES! PASTRIES! FIRE FIRE!!! GET OUT CALL THE POLICE!!! THE HOUSE IS GONNA BURN DOWN!!!!’

 

Me: (going deaf in one ear due to pitch of alarm) ‘Where’s the tea-towel gone? stop making that noise!!!!’

 

 

 

One day in the garden…

 

Me: ‘The sausages are nearly done, who wants some first, hey son, don’t open the kitchen door you’ll let the smoke insi…’

 

My Smoke Alarm: ‘OOOOOH LORDY LORDY!!! WE ALL GONNA BURN!!! FIRE FIRE CALL THE POLICE!!! FIRE!!!’

 

Me: ‘Son, just close the door, she’ll quiet down soon enough’

 

 

 

One day in the living-room…

 

Me: ‘Okay kids, that’s the pumpkins all carved up, now lets put some candles inside th…’

 

My Smoke Alarm: ‘SAVE YOURSELVES!!! FORGET ABOUT ME!!! RUN, RUN FOR YOUR LIVESSSSS!!!!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kitchen here in France is lovely…but it’s awful quiet…

The Goat Fair At Pierrefitte-ès-Bois In France…

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A very long, very windy road brought us to our destination on this intermittently sunny Labour Day Monday, Pierrefitte-es-Bois. A quiet, secluded little village, it’s so remote that even Wikipedia doesn’t have much to say about it, see for yourself:

 

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It’s here that they hold the ‘goat fair’ something that we had been looking forward to. We were also slightly apprehensive, having spent the previous day at a geese fair that lacked any actual geese (bird flu had put a complete dampener on that). As you will see in the photographs, the village is picturesque and it’s a very popular day.

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I found out, after taking this photograph, that the owner of the stall wouldn’t let my partner take a shot of one of his rounds of cheese. Ha! I got the entire stall without him noticing!

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Seriously, how many mayors does one country need?

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It was approaching dinner time when I saw this there was, sadly, a distinct lack of mashed potatoes in the vicinity.

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Though they did appear to sell everything and anything at this fair, I believe these tractors were mainly for display purposes.

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Look at the red and the green tractor, someone really loves those two, look at the shine on them, they’ve been well-looked after. I didn’t let my kids get anywhere near them.

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Surprisingly these were the most popular venues at the fair: bars serving alcohol. There were three of them, all packed to the gills with drinkers ‘It’s not even 11 o’clock’ I said to my partner ‘What do you expect? This is France’ she countered.

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Having recently tidied up my garden and evicted around a 100-or-so snails I now realise the folly of that move: I should have brought them here and cooked them, they were queuing up for them!

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Yes, if trying to eat the rubbery little critters on their own is not appetising for you don’t worry – there are a variety of ways to eat these freaky-looking things.

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A mobile Wacky Warehouse, the slogan should read: ‘Hell: Now with wheels’

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This is basically a dressed up pound shop. Kids pay 5 Euros to hook loads of ducks, they can then choose from a wide variety of tat; plastic guns, plastic swords, plastic gun-swords, plastic slinkies. Each of these gems costs upwards of 35 Cents for the stallholder to purchase.

Note poor sad fishy in the middle, he knows his days are numbered.

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The Gendarmes, eyeing up the shooting range, and contemplating showing the locals how good they are. I must admit, I felt slightly nervous taking this photograph; those guys are armed to the teeth.

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YES! We actually have goats at the goat fair! Take that no-geese geese fair!

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Yes, alright so there are only 12 of them, but IT STILL COUNTS!

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More tractors, I believe you could actually buy these ones. Not in our price-range though, we were, after all, still getting our breath back from being quoted 60 Euros for one memory foam pillow at the memory foam stall (I told you they sold everything).

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I love this steeple, in case you are wondering ‘Why’s he taken the same photo twice, but from slightly different angles?’.

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‘Why are you taking a picture of the signs?’ my partner asked me as we headed back home. ‘It gives people a sense of location, and also adds a bit of local flavour to the photographs’ I replied, somewhat unconvinced myself.

 

I hope you enjoyed these photographs.

Cultural French/UK Differences: Brocante vs Car Boot Sale

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No, it’s not a scrap yard, It’s a car boot sale

For the uninitiated a car boot sale is an English tradition where people take their cars, full of things that they no longer want, to a venue where they then display it from said car’s boot in the hopes that it will sell.

A Brocante is exactly the same but set in France, not the UK. There are, however, several differences, I will do my best to explain these.

START TIME

UK: 3.45 a.m (sometimes earlier)

France: After coffee + croissants and having read the paper, walked the dog, chatted to the neighbours, had another coffee and cut the grass a.m (sometimes later)

ARRIVAL TIME OF FIRST CUSTOMERS:

UK: 2.55 a.m (sometimes earlier)

France: Generally just after it’s opened (unless the croissants haven’t been cooked in sufficient quantities, then everybody is delayed).

CHANCES OF HAVING ALL THE CONTENTS OF YOUR CAR BOOT STOLEN BEFORE YOU EVEN HAVE A CHANCE TO GET THEM OUT OF YOUR CAR TO SELL THEM:

UK: high

France: Low

IF YOU SUCCESSFULLY GET YOUR ITEMS OUT OF YOUR CAR BEFORE THEY ARE STOLEN, WILL PEOPLE HAGGLE WITH YOU WHILE YOU ARE UNPACKING AND PAW AT YOUR THINGS, EVEN IF IT IS DARK*?

UK: Yes

France: Unlikely

*They bring torches

LOCATION:

UK: Always, always close to a sports facility. Either a rugby pitch, football pitch, or cricket field. I suspect this is because the organisers detest sport, and so hope to destroy the pitches, so they are unsuitable to be played on.

France: Side of a road, through the main street of a town, near a lake, up a tree, on the roof of a building. The French will hold a brocante ANYWHERE.

WEATHER

UK: If it isn’t wet, cold, windy and/or snowing the English will refuse to hold a car boot sale.

France: Generally gloriously sunny, if the slightest breeze picks up, or 25 ml of rain falls, everybody leaves.

CHANCES THAT 95% OF THE GOODS BEING SOLD WILL BE AGRICULTURAL TOOLS:

UK: low

France: High

CHANCES THAT 95% OF THE GOODS BEING SOLD WILL BE RUSTY AGRICULTURAL TOOLS:

UK: Low

France: Extremely high

DEAD ANIMALS?

UK: Not many

France: Loads

WILL FOOD BE AVAILABLE TO BUY?

UK: Yes

France: Yes

WOULD YOU EAT IT?

UK: Yes

France: Yes

COME ON NOW, BE HONEST, WOULD YOU EAT IT?

UK: No

France: Yes

WILL THERE BE MANY OF THESE VANS THERE:

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UK: No

France: Every other vehicle will be one of these.

IS HAGGLING ACCEPTABLE:

UK: If you don’t haggle they chase you off the field with pitchforks, screaming ‘Not one of us, not one of us!’

FRANCE: Not as prevalent, you will receive some glassy-eyed stares when you attempt to negotiate a better price for Spiderman AND Batman’s secret hideouts. Also they may hide behind the excuse: ‘I’m selling it for my daughter, and she said I can’t sell it for any less than 35 euros’.

IS THAT WOMAN REALLY SELLING USED UNDERPANTS?

UK: Yes

France: Yes

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No, it’s not a music festival, it’s a brocante. Note model of van in bottom right corner.

PASSIVE SMOKING OPPORTUNITIES:

UK: Not as high as it used to be

France: Everybody smokes. Even their dogs.

THINGS TO SAY:

UK: ‘Keep an eye on your handbag’ ‘Is that meat?’ ‘Why is that lady wearing a dressing gown?’  ‘Do people really buy this crap?’ ‘Where’s my handbag?’ ‘Where’s my child/husband/car?’

France: Who is Titeuf?’ ‘Is that meat?’ ‘Why are there so many dead animals?’ ‘Who buys all this rusty agricultural crap?’ ‘But I don’t need a picture of Jean Claude Van Damme’ ‘Wow, you people really like ashtrays don’t you?’

WHAT HAPPENS AT CLOSING TIME?

UK: A huge group of people – up to 75% of those still in attendance – who have had no intention of paying for anything wait with baited breath for the remaining sellers to give up, look at all their unwanted items and offer it for free. There then occurs the ‘attack of the locusts’ as the group, en masse, descend upon the boot of the defeated seller. They can strip a car boot of all its remaining goods in five seconds flat. After the dust has settled all that will remain will be the bewildered seller, his underpants and, if he’s lucky, his car.

France: The remaining people will slowly head home, many of them may hitch lifts with the sellers as everybody knows everybody. They will then add up the day’s takings, put all their unsold animal heads and rusty farm implements back in storage until the next brocante. Which will be in a week’s time.

Unless it’s a bank holiday, then it will be tomorrow.

Some Shots Of Our New French Town…

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So we’ve been living in Aubigny-sur-Nère for just over two months now and I thought it was high time that I shared a few shots of this beautiful place.

 

For a bit of history on the town I will defer to that esteemed internet resource, Wikipedia, which I will now shamelessly copy and paste from:

 

Aubigny-sur-Nère is a commune in the Cher department in the Centre region of France. An area of forestry and farming surround this small, light industrial town, situated in the valley of the river Nère. It is some 30 miles (48km) north of Bourges at the junction of the D940, D924, D30 and the D923 roads.

 

First known as Albinacum in Roman times, the commune was established as a royal town in 1189 by Phillip II. This is the location by which the Duke of Gordon gets his honorific title, as the Duke of Aubigny. In 1419, John Stewart of Darnley, a junior member of the House of Stuart, arrived in France with a large contingent of Scottish soldiers, to fight for Charles VII. He was awarded many titles, among them the Lordship of Aubigny. The family stayed here for 400 years.

Aubigny is a common tourist destination for Scots and others from the United Kingdom. The commune is very attached to the Auld Alliance due to its 400 years of French-Scottish history and is the only place in France that still celebrates this long association each year, on Bastille Day. It is twinned with the Scottish town of Haddington East Lothian.

 

You still with me? Did you get all that? Because I will be asking questions at the end of the photograph section!

 

It’s difficult to stop once you get started taking photographs here, there’s that much that is appealing to the eye you see. It particularly ‘pops’ when the weather is with you, as it was when I captured it in the following pictures.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed looking at these shots of my town, so now, when I go on about how happy I am living here, you may be able to appreciate the reasons why.

 

Also the local baker’s chocolate balls are to die for:

 

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