Whenever we are on holiday in France or England we browse the antique markets and shops. We prefer markets and antique centres with a mixture of professional dealers and people who just sell for fun or from their attics or car boots. Over the years we have bought a lot of paintings during such holidays, which we love to display in our home. Some paintings remind us of places we have just seen like the castle in France . . .
Old warehouses in Marseille . . .
Or the Customs House in King`s Lynn in East Anglia/England.
The children`s portraits complement our collection of antique toys.
And others look nice in the kitchen or in the conservatory.
The paintings are oils, pastels etc. and are not valuable. We do not bother having them restored and usually don't have the original frames repaired.
We have never paid a lot for the paintings. The French castle, for example, which we bought in a small town in the south of France (Mirepoix) last year was only 90 Euros. Of course, you should not look for the paintings in very popular places with lots of tourists, but try to stop at small shops or weekly markets and you can easily find nice paintings from the genuine owners or rather their grandparents.
This morning we passed along our favourite florist`s shop in Bonn and saw that the orange trees are out, definitely a hint that spring is not far away.
Here in Germany you find flowers displayed in front of the florists`shops everywhere now, even in front of the supermarkets. There are also stalls among the fruit stalls that only sell flowers during the year.
Being so close to Holland the spring flowers such as tulips and daffodils are offered everywhere and at reasonable prices.
These hardy spring flowers can now be seen in flowers boxes all over Germany.
Spring is in the air! Looking at Eileen`s shivering dog, I thought I should send you a weather and garden report from Germany. While China and other parts of the world are suffering from extremely cold weather and heavy snow, we have another very mild winter.
Look at the picture of the Gertrude Jekyll rose in January! We have never seen a rose blossoming in January, but this winter everything is possible and this rose has never stopped blossoming since May last year!
We love watching the growth of our first spring flowers in the garden, which are already in bloom.
We can even sit in front of our house in warm sweaters and enjoy the sunshine and the arrival of spring. Here I am with grandchildren Samy and Lilly posing for Opa Dieter!
Maria & Dieter
We are a German couple living near the romantic Rhine valley and the cities of Cologne and Bonn in Germany. Three years ago we met Susan through the internet and have become great friends. We have so much in common and share a passion for antiques, good food and traveling, that it is fun to meet and do things together. Over the last 3 years we have met Susan and her sister Eileen in Paris, Germany and the USA. We are already planning our next trips to Provence and Prague and Dieter and I feel honored to provide photos, comments, reports and recipes from Europe to Susan and Eileen's blog.