A pottery studio in St Civran, France

Welcome to this blog about the quiet rural life in the Berry Province of France where I have tried to open a pottery studio to hobby potters.
Your comments will be appreciated.

07 December 2009

43. A French garage sale

The 15th August in France is a long public holiday. A lot of people are holidaying at that time and the summer season is at a peak. Garage sales, called 'brocante' in French, pop up everywhere.

In August 2008, last year, I decided to have a stall with my last potteries at the 'brocante' in the nearby village of St Benoît-du-Sault. It was free of charge. All you had to do was to put your name on a list and say how many meters you needed for your stall. The lady at the tourist office had mentioned you had to be there at 7.30 am at the latest when someone would assign places for stalls.

When I got up, my clock said 7.30 but I soon found out from the radio that it was 10 to 9. Nearly gave up the idea of going at all. My motivation was rather low. I eventually drove to St Benoît and after some time looking for the man in-charge, I was told to squeeze in between two other stalls. It turned out to be a great opportunity!

On my right was a man, a former HRD from Paris, trying to sell old attick stuff for his in-laws. We had a long chat about psychology, sociology and anthropology. He did sell a number of items, from fancy lamp shades to large procelain platters, in between reading his book and talking to his neighbours.

On my left was a group of sisters, brothers and in-laws from Paris and the south of France, also trying to get rid of family stuff to enable them to buy brand new furniture for their family house in the area. They had a painting on hessian that I quite fancied. It was priced at €50,- I asked them to keep it for me, that I'll buy it off them as soon as I sell €50,- worth of my pots... ha ha!

In the morning there was quite a crowd looking and buying. English and Dutch as well as French could be heard. My neighbour attracted customers. For my part I sold one pot to a lady who seemed to really want the thing. She came twice for it, hesitating, and finally buying for the full amount of... €6,- I was happy to let it go, even at that price, because I saw she loved the pot.

There was a lull at lunch time and in the afternoon people walking past the stalls did not seem to be interested to buy. My left neighbours kept the painting for me and at the end of the day, around 5pm, they agreed to give it to me in exchange of some of my pots. I really enjoyed giving them my last pots and I was thrilled to leave with the large painting. They also gave me a number of cowboy shirts that their father used to wear when he was painting.

At one stage the man on my right kindly offered to take a photo of me in front of my stall with my own camera. I showed him where to press for the photo and he did. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the video button was still on (a hard one to press off on this particular camera) and therefore he took a clip rather than a still photo.

Back home at night I worked with my computer on all the little videos I had taken during the day to produce this two and a half minute clip:


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