Broke at a Brocante

The best translation we’ve heard for ‘Brocante’ is ‘flea market.’  It’s a step above a car-boot sale and definitely a couple of steps better than a jumble sale.  You’ll find some tat for sure, but you’ll also find some really nice stuff, good quality not-quite-antiques-yet but very French and very unusual.

The BFF is visiting and she spotted a sign for a Brocante in the nearby town of Mane.  So that was Sunday morning planned… off we set, but as we neared Mane I remembered that I had almost no cash.  I had precisely ten euros in my pocket.

“Don’t worry,” said the BFF.  “I can give you a loan if you’re stuck.”

Well, I wasn’t planning on buying anything, but it was good to know that if I saw something that I really, really liked, I’d be able to buy it.

The first stall we looked at was mostly clothing.  Don’t need any of that – I’d just bought a lovely pair of Levis at a second hand stall in a market for ten euros and my wardrobe was now fully equipped.

The second stall had loads of china ornaments.  I spotted two little horses, of a type I used to collect when I was in my teens.  I have two survivors from my original collection, slightly chipped but I still love them.  They now have two friends.  The blue one and the white one in the middle came home with me.  The vendor wanted three euros for them; I got them for two.  She had no change and made a big deal of going off to change my ten euro note.

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I now had four two-euro coins jingling around in my pocket.

We wandered on, coming to a stall run by a Dutchman.  We got chatting to him and discovered mutual friends (of course).  He had a load of jigsaws for sale.  Jigsaws are good for the dark winter nights, aren’t they?  There was a box with two 1000 piece puzzles, still with its plastic wrapper intact…

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I now had seven euros in my pocket and suddenly I began to wonder, just how far could one make ten euros go at a Brocante?  Hmm…

The BFF likes purple.  She spotted a pair of Adidas tracksuit bottoms, in her size and her colour… How much? she asked the vendor.  One euro.  She proffered a twenty euro note.  Non, non, said the vendor.  Pas de monnaie… she had no change.

“No problem!” I said, fishing out my one euro coin, and the BFF became the proud owner of a pair of purple tracksuit pants.DSCF1344

That particular stall had several rails of clothing and, before we moved on, we both spotted a very pretty grey cardigan, with a brooch type thingy in the shape of a dreamcatcher.  The BFF has a dreamcatcher tattoo on her arm…

“How much,” we asked.  Three euros was the reply.  I offered two.  The last of the big spenders, that’s me.  But my BFF has a lovely new cardigan.

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We stopped for a coffee break to sharpen our wits and then we continued up a narrow side street.  Nothing caught my eye until I spotted cute a little jug with cave paintings on it.  I didn’t need it but I really liked it…

How much?  50 cents?  Sheesh, I couldn’t leave it there.  Sure, it’s got two little chips, but I still like it.

We carried on browsing, the BFF mostly looking at clothes, me just looking.  I spotted an interesting book about a guy who had ridden 7000 kilometres across Asia, but it was in French.  Naw, leave it behind…

There was a hand-made sweater that I really liked, but the vendor wanted four euro for it.  Determined to stick to my ten euro limit, I asked if she would take €3.50 for it.  She shook her head and said no, she had knitted it herself.  Fair enough, I’m a knitter myself and I wouldn’t sell my work too cheaply either.

We had a lunch date to go to, so we said we’d better leave.  We were happy, we had a few nice bits and pieces and still had €3.50 left.  One final stall caught our eye, set up beside the main road.  We went over and browsed.  I didn’t need a duck.  I really didn’t.

DSCF1347But he’s home with me now and he makes a great place to keep small things like nuts…

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We set off on foot towards our friend’s house.  Who did we meet along the way but the LSH who was ducking in to the Brocante for a quick browse before joining us for lunch.  Of course he had no money.  I gave him the €2.50 that I still had in my pocket and we all joked about not spending it all in the one shop!  The BFF and I continued on our way and I began to have a niggling doubt.

Feck it, I thought, and I rang the LSH.

“There was this book I saw…” I said, and I described the stall where it was to be found and what the cover looked like.

So now I have a French reading project for the winter.

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And I still have €1.50 in change.

Ten euros is currently worth 7.37 pounds sterling or 11.16 US$

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