The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Monday, 10 April 2017


Car boot (garage sale/yard sale) season has started up again, only over here they call them "vide-gerniers" (attic emptiers). And yes I know I don't need more "stuff" because I already have way too much of it to begin with it, but I like to think of it as having a nice afternoon out at very low cost while temporarily "renting" the stuff I purchase before handing it back to the charity shop! Convoluted much? Anyway, this Sunday was one of my favourites, at a place called Thyez, which is about 20 minutes from home. It is set in a stunning location and the good weather meant that the place was packed.

There were quite a few families around picnicing and I thought what a lovely place to let the kids have a run and burn off some energy (says she looking back fondly to our afternoons in the local park with just a bottle of water and jam sandwiches). I can see why parents want to get the kids out running around for sure!  There were also the usual food and drinks vendors and the lovely restaurant where my friend and I had eaten last year, but this time it seemed to be fully booked. Not to worry though, as neither of us were hungry anyway.

To be honest, there wasn't an awful lot of stuff that interested me, although that didn't stop me from buying of course. My friend found a beautiful candle-holder similar to one she had picked up in Mexico a few years ago - man, I wish I had beaten her to it - it was really pretty!

So here is my haul.

I picked up the lovely picture in the background for €2. I may (or may not) repaint the frame but think I would like to hang it in the spare bedroom. The two "coils" in the front are actually belts for me. I needed belts because mine are starting to fall to pieces (probably pulling them too tight to get them round my belly) and yes, I know, who the heck wants a plastic "Noddy car"? Well me, it turns out! When my oldest was little he was car mad (as was the youngest, to be honest) but his absolute "favourite car in all the world" was "doggy car". It was a yellow plastic car with Dougal the dog from the Magic Roundabout driving it (a bit like this one only the other two "passengers" had fallen out).

Doggy car went everywhere and the little bugger actually managed to throw it off our third floor balcony the day we were moving from Switzerland to France. It landed in gorse bushes and guess who ended up scrabbling around looking for doggy car while the movers just looked on in amazement. But hell, there was no way I was "emigrating" without doggy car! I found it and am pretty sure we still have it somewhere (I would never have thrown it away), so when I saw this car at the vide-grenier I jumped at it - and I'm going to give it to my now-married son for Christmas! (He has the same warped sense of humour as I do luckily)!

I mentioned very early on in the blog that when my husband left I ended up back in contact with "my best friend in all the world from the age of three", Ian. He was also my neighbour and as toddlers we played together, walked to school together - everything, until we drifted apart when we went to different schools at the age of 16. When I got back in touch with Ian we hadn't seen or spoken to each other in 36 years! A few months previously he had decided he had had enough of England, the rotten weather, and "chasing pennies" so he bought himself what I call an old Postman Pat van (there's a definite theme developing here), re-vamped it, threw his tools and a mattress in the back and buggered off to Bulgaria for the simple reason "that it looks cheap to live there" (he didn't know the first thing about Bulgaria)!

This isn't really his van!
In July of that year he said "Anna, if you've got nothing better to do, why don't you fly out to Bulgaria and we can get together"! So I did - call it my Shirley Valentine moment or whatever you want, but I bloody well did it - and we had the most fantastic time together, my jaws hurt so much from laughing! While we definitely weren't meant to be together long-term, we remain friends to this day. Ian has stayed on in Bulgaria, which he loves and recently posted a clipping from the local Bulgarian newspaper entitled "We did it!". I ran it through google translate and seemingly the expat Brits had successfully pulled off the first ever KABUT in the local area. It took me a while to figure out that KABUT was actually "car boot" - it seems it was a great success so well done Ian!

And finally, I was talking to my brother yesterday evening. He has now started volunteering at the local hospice two days a week, is still going regularly to his widows and widowers meetings (which he loves), had just been out for Sunday lunch with the group and was looking forward to starting their walking tours. Also this week he had been to his first afternoon dance meeting with the group. He said he hasn't laughed so long and so hard since his wife died. As usual the women way outnumbered the men so he got waltzed off his feet all afternoon. But his absolute favourite was an 81-year-old widow who had him up and dancing constantly. He said he had never trodden on so many women's feet in such a short time and he LOVED it! All I can think is GREAT - if there have to be widows and widowers I, for one, am delighted that they can still enjoy life after so much sadness!


  1. We don't have car boot sales ( would love that, more options in one spot) but do have garage sales although you must drive from one to another. They usually start by now but the weather has been cold and rainy so likely will start in May instead. I absolutely love second hand shopping. Great finds! Good news about your brother enjoying a bit of life again.

  2. Can you believe I actually lived in the States and NEVER went to a garage sale (didn't know about them to be honest), but my friend's sister on the east coast has had some fantastic finds! It's amazing what people are prepared to virtually give away sometimes isn't it!

  3. It would be nice to find things in one place instead of driving from site to site for a sale. It is so warm here that there is no real garage sale season. On any given Saturday you can find them here though spring cleaning and fall "getting ready for the holidays" seem to be when you can find the most stuff.

  4. I hadn't actually given much thought to the differences. although it strikes me it must be pretty useful to just put up a sign for a yard sale when you do your spring cleaning - you can't do that here. Vide-greniers are organized by the local village/towns so are all centrally localized and on a specific date (ours is in September) and the food vendors and any entertainment are also authorized at the local Mairie (town hall). In fact, since I have joined the village committee I will be on duty when we have our vide-grenier in September. It strikes me that in the UK it is more a case of people being allowed to drive on to a field and just sell from their car (boots - trunks). Although I have never been to a car boot in the UK either. Vive la difference I guess.

  5. Sometimes there's flea markets, no clue where name came from, wherevsalescare all together.Often just total crap and expensive.

  6. Beautiful area! and I love that picture you picked up - very cute :)

    1. The picture is an Anne Geddes photo (you know the ones with the cute babies in flower pots)! There was a great article in the newspaper not so long ago showing people who had tried to recreate her photos with their own babies - ha ha, kids in flower pots with poopy diapers! It was really funny.