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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

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