Brocante Finds and Wisteria.


A perfect day off involves a morning wandering through an old french market followed by a lazy lunch and afternoon in the garden. The month of May is perfect for indulging because there are so many state holidays that the french people have become experts at avoiding going to work where at all possible. This week the national holiday, which unlike in the UK where it always falls on a Monday, relies on its date, and has fallen not only on Tuesday, Victoire (victory day) the 8th of May, but also on Thursday, the 10th of May which is Ascension.

The idea of having a weekend and then returning to work for Monday only to have a national holiday on Tuesday is so ridiculous to any Frenchman, that a nationally recognized “pont”, or “bridge” is put into action. Monday becomes a bridge from Sunday to Tuesday and effectively no one works that day either. Since Thursday is also a national holiday, Friday becomes a bridge to the following weekend and no one works that day either. But of course we can’t stop there, because Wednesday also becomes a bridge from Tuesday to Thursday. Pretty impossible to work that day too, and before you know it there’s a 9 day holiday in the middle of May!

As the month of May comes round, everyone visibly relaxes. The first of May, the fête de travail, is also a national holiday as is the 20th and 21st of May for Pentecost. A fabulous month for everyone, made better still under sunny blue skies.

A few months ago at the far end of our local Sunday market we came across a stall holder packing up for his long anticipated lunch, and jumbled in amongst the bric à brac of his antique stall was an old tap, a decorative brass collar and the old over arch of a grand wrought iron gate. Perhaps the over arch was from an old Château, or an old manoir. We shall never know, but for a scant amount of money we heaved it onto our shoulders and carted it with the old tap and collar off to the car. They sat in a rather forlorn state over winter and this spring the tap was attached to the old brass decorative collar and mounted onto a piece of shaped stone against the conservatory wall. The old over arch was scraped clean and repainted and then modified in width to sit over our rather more diminutive gate.Two summers ago we had bought a small wisteria plant to grow up the side of the house where ivy used to grow. Last summer we knew that if we didn’t find a framework for it to grow over quickly, it would become very difficult to manage. While the stems of the Wisteria were still in hibernation we pushed them through the gate overarch and waited to see how it would look.It’s been wonderful coming in and out of the garden this month and breathing in the scent as we pass. Having an outside garden tap at last has made short work of the watering! Next year we may have to cut back yet more of the ivy as the wisteria vigorously winds it’s way the length of the garden railings. I can only anticipate how heavenly the scent will be next year, and hope there will be even more days off and “ponts” to look forward in which to enjoy it!Have a wonderful “end of week”!

10 thoughts on “Brocante Finds and Wisteria.

  1. Look forward to your emails. The pictures are wonderful I chuckled at how your days off are determined and was a bit envious. Even though it’s been a year since we met you, you keep France alive for us by your words.

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    • Thanks Jane, I love this month for gardening, everything just exploding into flower. Each year gets better and better with the plants maturing. Last year two or three peonies and this year at least 10 on each plant! I’m lucky to be guiding at Giverny, Monet’s house and garden again, and it’s impossible to leave without even more inspiration. Have a lovely weekend!

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      • I have been to Giverny and completely understand why you’d be inspired!

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  2. I am new to finding your blog. Even though I am based (very part time) in Italy I am a Francophile as well. It tickles me how the Europeans extend their holidays – with a pont – as you say. Very creative. In Italy it is the same thing. A presto, Lisa

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    • I never knew they did this in Italy. It’s a bit like when school teachers decide to do the class outside because it’s a sunny day, it doesn’t happen often, but when it does it brings a bit of joy to everyone involved just because the routine is changed!

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  3. That is surely the most elegant water tap in captivity. In a world sorely in need of joy, I am happy that someone in long-ago France designed and made it, and that you rescued it to a new life.
    Giverny is on my List, although perhaps not this spring.

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    • Thank you so much! It has a little old fashioned squeak just as it’s turned on too! Like it’s slightly old and weary but happy to be helping water the flowers. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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