I knew this would happen one day.  I just didn’t know it would be now.  My daughter Rachel (also known sardonically as my “BIT”–Buyer in Training), is opening up her version of KKPW in France!  Of course, she’s way ahead of me already–has a new name, Abeille Antiquites, a chic logo and a great website which is in English AND French:  www.abeilleantiquites.com.  (I can barely speak English,  so I’m already left in the dirt and  I’m still trying to put price tags on everything before the next open house starts at noon (a spur of the moment decision which could ruin my perfect rainy day afternoon plans of starting David McCullough’s new book The Greater Journey, but might help my pocketbook).

ANYWAY, this is a match made in heaven.  Rachel has been antiquing with me all over the world since she was a little girl.  I’ll never forget her explaining, at the ripe old age of 10, what asparagus tongs were to my friend Alene at the Paris Ouen flea market. I also can’t count the number of times she has stopped me from making an ill advised purchase because she saw some damage or problem I had missed (and I’m pretty careful!)  Since she moved to France after graduating from Chapel Hill in 2010, she has gone to local brocantes and flea markets for me when she’s had the time. The result has been some great things at fabulous prices that have flown out of here.  My “regulars” are always asking where Rachel’s latest purchases are because they know my dirty little secret rule of:  “If I get a good deal, you get a good deal,” and Rachel’s purchases are always in that category.   Why?  Because she lives over there and can therefore get to all those little pop up boot sales in out of the way places that I can only dream about.

ImageHere I am at our “table for 4” on the train trip from Glasgow to London.  This is NOT all mine but I plead guilty to my share.  We were the talk of the train car–even the porter made fun of us–to our face!  How un-British!

It wasn’t enough that we ate nonstop in the less than 48 hours we spent in London.  We took photos of our food and the people who prepared our food and each other eating our food.  Like the meal we had at “Dinner” (we actually were there for lunch), which is listed in the top 10 restaurants in the world.  Heston Blumenthal is the chef/creator of the restaurant and he takes the names and ingredients of dishes from centuries old cookbooks.  Here’s a photo of my first course–“Meat Fruit”–see if you can guess what’s inside…

They’re fairly insistent that you order dessert because, as your dessert palate cleanser I guess, they’re dying to make ice cream (and I do mean cream) table side with this spiffy little machine that they pour liquid nitrogen into.  I love science experiments, don’t you?

Now Richard has the metabolism of a hummingbird and the willpower of an I don’t know what.  It’s completely demoralizing to go out to eat with him.  When it comes time for desserts, he either quite self righteously announces to the entire restaurant:  “I DON’T EAT DESSERT!!!” or, as on this trip says:  “If someone (subtext:  not him) wanted to order the moltenlavachocolatetortewithvanillabeanicecream, I wouldn’t mind having a bite.”  SERIOUSLY?  Does he think that keeps his “no dessert streak” intact.  If we order it and he then takes a bite, does he leave us with all the calories from his portion because he doesn’t eat dessert?  Is it fair that he never gains an ounce and I feel like I just won first prize in the “Mrs. Potato Head Lookalike Contest”?  It’s a mystery but yesterday, one that was solved with a vengeance when he realized, in order to get to the homemade ice-cream course, he had to order his own dessert first. Hahahahahaha!  No longer the undefeated IDON’TEATDESSERTMAN!!  And then he practically licked his dessert plate clean AND ate all the chocolate mousse (apologies to Heston–I know it wasn’t mousse but I can’t remember the name right now–I do know that “Heston insisted” that whatever it was, it had to be served with the coffee).  And I caught him scarfing down the ice cream cone in front of those mighty clean dessert plates.  See?  (Sorry, I’m having trouble with the photo portion of this blog entry and this lovely 1910 butter dish with cow finial is not a self portrait but proof that I did do something in London besides eat, drink and be merry.  It was supposed to go at the end of this post, which is already interminably long, but my flight is getting ready to board and I suppose I’d better figure this out on the other side of the ocean.  Later!)

ImageI think I’m getting really good at this vacation thing!  But wait–I’m getting ahead of myself–let me start at the very beginning of this almost 2 week odyssey.

My husband is finally turning 60 this summer.  The fact that he still looks virtually the same as when we were law school sweethearts is annoying beyond belief.  But I have tried to be a bigger person and move beyond my irritation and, since he is very patient about this little business, celebrate the occasion by pretending I was the Make a Wish Foundation for Reasonably Healthy Old Guys and give him a golfing trip to Scotland that would include, as the Crown Jewel, a round of golf on The Old Course at St. Andrews.

Now I hate golf–totally agree with Mark Twain that it is “a good walk wasted.”  But our friends the Hodges rescued me from the prospect that I might have to follow him around links golf courses like a love slave, and accompanied us on this little adventure.  But before Scotland, Richard and I went to France to visit our daughter Rachel (my foreign “buyer in training”).  She took us to an 18th c “Utopian” salt mine village:  Here’s a photo of that ImageI’m not sure about you but when I was growing up, working in the “salt mines” was kind of like a whole lotta punishment, so somehow “utopian salt mines” seems a little oxymoronish.  But it was interesting, Rachel was driving and I was sitting in the back seat trying not to throw up.  And she promised a lunch to remember in a little town called Ornans, birthplace of Courbet the artist.

I should have been concerned when we got to Ornans and I saw this allegedly drinkable water fountain

But the lunch was memorable and the museum afterward was a special treat.  Richard liked his red mullet main course so much he took a photo of it and emailed it to George for the sole purpose of making George jealous.  BIG mistake because about 4 hours later, he should have been sending a photo of the toilet bowl–bad food poisoning from that pretty little fish.  Merci beaucoup Patrick, Rachel’s French physician friend, who made a “house/hotel call.”  That’ll teach someone to go bragging, I guess…

Being a big proponent of my late Mother’s theory that guests are like fish (they start to stink after 3  days), Rachel raced us to the TGV station bright and early on the 3d day and off we went to London to meet up with the Hodges.  First, Eileen and I stopped off at The Chelsea Flower Show, not your everyday garden party.

Then, after a dinner with some lawyer buddies, we were off to Scotland on the Caledonian Sleeper train–a 7 hour overnight trip to Edinburgh (BEST SLEEP EVER!) where we were met by Jamie, a member of the Links group who arranged the golfing, including a 7:10am tee time on Monday on The Old Course at St. Andrews.  I highly recommend this group to those of you who would love to play the great golf courses of Scotland and not roll the dice with the “ballot” or cancellations on the day.  And one day soon, I hope to have recovered enough financially to buy my summer wardrobe at Target…

St. Andrews clearly knew Richard and George were coming:  

But the day was sunny and hot and they both made it off the first tee on their first swings!  YAY!! And playing the roles of “The Good Wives” we were there to record the moment (but NOT walk the course–we had done that on Sunday when the course was closed and I am thrilled to report that I saw a Moose/Izzie lookalike Westie use the famous 17th hole as her personal potty–twice.)  Here’s Richard getting ready to go off the first tee.

The guys have played 4 rounds of golf and have had a ball.  We’re even going to be bringing back some golf balls out of the 2 dozen each that they brought.  It feels like I have eaten at least 18 meals a day and may have to request a seatbelt extender on the flight home.  Today we’re in Troon and I think I’m almost out of the magic potion golf patience pills.  But London beckons as does Portobello Road on Saturday.  Are there some knickknacks for the road?  Could definitely happen. Tune in and check “Upcoming Events.”  If I can get past a little jet lag, I’m thinking of a “Jubilee Open House” on Tuesday, June 5.  It will seem like a vacation!!

Tennis anyone? (just kidding–it’s that martini talking again!)

I’m back in England for the week.  Got here Monday night, picked up a car (watch out English drivers), spent the night in a hotel near Heathrow and got up and out at 5:30am Tuesday morning (which my body was saying was shortly after midnight and therefore screamed that I was moving in the wrong direction on the sleep thing.)  But off I went to an every other Tuesday butt crack of dawn market in the cold cold light of dawn (without brushing my hair I might add.)  And while I was hunting for some more of those great one of a kind antiques I love to sell, I saw these boots.  These big honking whiter than white boots.  The kind Barbara B wore in high school with her white jumpsuit.  The kind I wanted to wear so I could get to be 5’5″ and therefore automatically smoking HOT.  But “alas,” these boots were not in keeping with the design aesthetic at KnickKnack Paddywhack, and especially not with my preoccupation (ok, obsession) with “Downton Abbey” and all things at KnickKnack that are DA’esq.  Or maybe I’m just fooling myself…

I have practiced law for a long time , have been fairly successful but can count the number of clients who have actually said “thank you” on both hands and both feet.  And no one has ever shown up at my office with a plate of homemade, apple cinnamon, caramel drizzled, heart shaped scones–YUM!! Thank you Marty D. and thank you also to all my loyal KKPW customers who are SO nice to me and make this low/no paying “job-ette” so much fun.  Now I’m off to England tomorrow to find some more treasures to make me worthy of such gifts.   Have a good week everyone!

Set of  Beautiful (Carolina?) Blue French Canisters–from the Franche-Comte Region of France.  The French really have their priorities straight–sugar, flour and COFFEE!!  Never been out before and they’re already 20% off at the “After The Party’s Over SALE” Friday and Sunday!  $95 (before the discount!!)

 

A ginormous thank you to all of you who have braved the madness, patiently waited for me to find a missing price on the computer, came back to pick up presents I didn’t have time to giftwrap on the spot, were nice about the exuberant greetings from Stella and the harassment from the “terrier-ists,”  sent your friends, shared your good news and not so good news and were just plain fun to be around!  This has been KnickKnack’s best year ever and I’ve had a ball shopping for those one of a kind goodies that I think I can never part with (until I see my bank account balance), and then seeing someone else like them as much as I do.  The pleasure has been all mine.

Time to take a little break and consume mass quantities of food and drink, lay around in a food coma watching football games I don’t care about and enjoying my family.  You too.  Happy Holidays–see you in January!

 

What a great idea for a “tasse de vin” (also known as a sommelier’s cup–I didn’t know what they were either when I first saw them.)  This was served as a “palate cleanser” at a special anniversary meal in Lyon which ended up, for me, being a “stick a fork in me, I’m done!” but it’s a great presentation for a sorbet or good old vanilla ice cream dessert.  CHRISTMAS SALE PRICE  $55 each

Here’s a perfect little convex and gilded wood starburst from France in great condition.  Interested?  Priced at $365

I can see how many people look at different posts on this little webblog and one of the most viewed items is the Pond Yacht post.  So I’ve just edited it AND put it on the CYBER MONDAY SALE!  Only it’s MORE than 15% off!! And I’ll leave it at that price until December 1.