Now what? Life in rural Ariege

Burblings about adjusting to life in the deep south west of France or "la France profonde" as they call it here and the challenges of restoring a ramshackle collection of tumbledown buildings. I mainly write about local festivals, events and celebrations and, most of all, the weekly ritual of combing vide greniers and brocantes for pre-loved vintage treasures.

12 September 2011

Car Boot Britain

I had not been totally neglectful of my Etsy shop, Maison Dumay, while I was trapped in rainy Britain for 2 months. In fact I think I must have spent most of my leisure hours combing car boot sales for vintage goodies. Rather surprisingly this yielded some fascinating additions to Maison Dumay's stock.

My main incentive was, fairly obviously, the prospect of finding some glorious vintage and antique goodies but I must admit I had a second motive. And that was simply that I just LOVE the whole experience of trudging around a muddy field at some unseemly hour on a Sunday morning.

I LOVE the sellers who typically ranged from young couples selling off their no longer needed baby equipment, to middle aged, "middle class” couples who were zealously decluttering their homes and lives, to little old ladies intent on supplementing their pensions by turning out their sideboards and bottom drawers.

For me there are 2 types of seller that make car boot sales so enjoyable: the people who are genuinely having a good old clear out of years of accumulated “rubbish” and the professional “booter” who has recently purchased a job-lot of “dead stock”. I was quite literally stopped in my tracks by this particular traders range of goods:

Eat your heart out Del-Boy and Rodney Trotter... sadly I didn't see anybody actually buy one of these.

As well as the interesting people there was the allure of the almost infinite range of goods available. Rather sadly British car boot sales are frequently dominated by traders flogging low quality “must haves” and it is not unknown to spot counterfeit “designer” shoes, clothing, perfume and accessories as well as bootleg CDs and DVDs. I accelerated past many of these stalls in the course of my vintage treasure hunting. 

This is my favourite finding. It is a photographic postcard of Jack, aged 10.

Handwritten on the back of the photograph is the information that Jack, aged 10 years old, travelled home to Barnsley (Lancashire, UK) from Ramsey I.O.M (Isle of Man) alone in August 1921. Britain was certainly a different world in the 1920s; I don't think Jack would be allowed to travel anywhere alone at the age of 10 in 2011.


  1. Love your blog! Looks beautiful!
    I must say that card is simply wonderful, such an exciting trip for Jack!

  2. Is Jack for sale?

    1. Hi Jackie, he was for sale but sold in 2011. Lots more postcards and ephemera in Histoires on Etsy but sadly not another Jack.