• Sara Osborne

A house full of treasures...or not!

It's not unusual to buy a French property complete with contents which is exactly what happened to us. Unfortunately in our case most of it ended up at the dechetterie (tip), eighteen transit van loads to be precise.

We are now on very friendly terms with the guy at the tip!!

We were hoping like some explorer to find some hidden treasure, only to find every room was full of someone else's crap! It had obviously been left unused for many years and was either damp, infested with woodworm, falling apart or rusted beyond repair.

There didn't seem to be any usable items of furniture, but lots of part of different pieces of wardrobes, chest of drawers, beds etc. No furniture was erected or in place like any normal house sold with contents.

It was like someone had taken the contents of an entire house and garage and just dropped it from a great height all over the property and left it to rot.

The bedroom had piles of books, clothes, shoes, candle wax everywhere, numerous pairs of clogs...well I'm not sure if they were pairs, there was just lots of them.

The now kitchen had a lot of mismatched crockery, glassware, cutlery, tools etc. but most of it was too ugly, broken or rusty to use. The only items of any interest were some old enamelware which we kept and a beautiful glass cover. The type you put over baking to keep bugs off it. I've seen similar at brocantes but these have a cake stand base to it, which we haven't got. Maybe one day I may be able to find the base to match.

Glass baking cover

The salon even had what appeared to be a two man tent erected in the middle of it! I mean, WHY?

Guest salon with two man tent!

It was the loft that gave up some treasures in the way of old 1930s, 1940s & 1950s dated newspapers which we have framed and are hung in the guest salon.

In addition 1930s/1940s dress pattern pictures, some of which are in excellent condition and have been framed and hung in the new guest bedroom. There is also some correspondence with a silk and wool wholesalers in 1941 regarding some material that the then house owner had been enquiring about which was out of stock. It would appear the lady of the house made her own clothes. We searched for the name of the patterns 'Duplay' but couldn't find anything about it but what a find!!

1930s/40s dress pattern pictures found in loft

Whilst we were in the depths of the roof space we found some very old handwritten postcards, envelopes and conference documents, the earliest date being 1908. The notes are written between the occupant of the house and their family about the condition of living in that time, so we are going to keep them, hopefully get them fully translated and then display them as part of the houses history. These are so precious.

When John was clearing an area of the garden we found what we believe is WW2 ammunition for something like a machine gun (based on the size of it). The end stamp is dated 1941 and the code 'dnf', which with some googling we believe relates to an ammunition factory from RWS Nürnberg, Germany.

WW2 ammunition

The house also came with half a dozen old garden tools, a pitchfork, scythe, spades, forks etc. which you can also pick up for two a penny at brocantes. We've re-purposed ours in to clematis climbing frames and something to hold the thermometer. It seemed a shame to throw them away.

So as you can see 'not every man's rubbish is another man's treasure' but some of it sure is!

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