I AM ADVISED that a Vide Grenier is the equivalent of a car boot or garage sale, or what went before e-Bay came into fashion. I have to admit to have never been to a car boot sale but if your Vide Grenier is anything to go by I have not missed much except the display for sale of what is just about 99% junk. I am sorry to be so blunt but there you are. The natives it seems to me have a passion for this form of grotesque retail. I've been coaxed into going to quite a few VGs; the only time I absolutely declined a tour of a nearby assembly, Mary achieved a cast iron cockerel which now graces our terrace room.
Today's visit to Roaix was better than some other 'sales' of this sort where we actually saw people trying to sell single shoes, partially inflated banana blowups and unsavoury dolls. Today one could have picked up Bonne Maman jam jars, used petticoats, a defunct inkjet printer, a selection of thankfully broken plastic Kalashnicovs, odd buttons and key rings, rusty tea trays, bad pictures in bad frames, just frames, used, broken light fittings, shades and switches, and the usual odd glasses and cups released from this or that bar or café. There were also those sinister heaps of clothes of all sorts for which one might be advised to wear rubber gloves to sort.
I did not see anyone make a purchase while we trawled through the pitches, although as we arrived we did note several persons retreating from the venue with what appeared to be full carrier bags. Maybe they found something to add to their own grenier so that when summoned to take part in a future VG they would indeed have something to lay on the road to sell. Maybe it is the domestic equivalent of going to confession, the spreading of the household's detritus out in the road as a form of cleansing, without resort to the déchetèrie; and in order to possess this effluvia one is required to bring it all forth, expose it to public scrutiny at prescribed times and places, and in due season.
Why did we go? Search me. Just something one does on a grey sunday morning if a local village has decided to turn out its greniers. One could tell that some of the stuff must have been spread out on the street many times before without benefit of purchase, and would no doubt be appearing again the next time. I'll come clean though. Some years ago before I had been blooded by visiting an Ikea for the first time, I did buy a swedish picture frame at a VG in this very village, and moreover I use it to display three of my own photographs in this very house. And we did once see a man acquire a rather nice shop bell (to summon assistance) which we would have had if he hadn't got there first. In fact the only thing you are ever likely to want to buy at one of these events will be already under the arm of the successful purchaser as they leave triumphant.
So our search for a ball-and-hand door knocker goes on.
Incidently the top picture on this page is a panorama to show the waning interest of yer punters as 12 mid-day arrives. Mary (centre) is not quite that thin really . . . As for the couple sitting behind their crème caramel Citrëon BX19RD, well I had to include them because I thought at first the woman was nursing a pig . . . We did a lot of our early voyages in France in similar, but thankfully white motors, (a 19RD then a TZD, as if you cared), this marque now very rarely seen in a road-fit condition (there is one down the road, complete with caravan disappearing into an encroaching broom grove). Maybe the BX was for sale, aussi . . .