La Manche

Guy Laroche Silk Scarf

Well, this post isn’t about the English Channel nor sleeves and it is not even about begging (apparently faire la manche is to beg) but it is about the name I chose for my new shop.   

‘Haven’t you got enough to do?’  I hear you ask  – or is that myself I hear – or is it my husband as he searches for yet another non-existent ironed shirt or clean pair of socks to wear to work next week or is it my daughters wondering why they are having pizza for the 2nd night in a row?  ‘ Yes’, is the answer,  I have got enough to do but, hey, why let that stop me when I’ve set my mind to something. 

Anyway, I’ve always hunted down treasures at antiques fairs, boot sales, furniture clearance shops, etc., and one of the reasons for that was because I like to do reupholstery and you can pick up some pretty neglected old chairs and make them look beautiful again with some wax or French polish and some new springs.  My favourite thing was going to auctions but I only  discovered the delights of fevered last minute bidding before moving to France and I daren’t go to one here as my French wouldn’t be up to it and I would probably come away having bought somebody’s ruined old house for millions of euros or something. 

Since we got married – too many years ago to bear – we have always moved to slightly larger houses and I have grown very adept at seeing spaces and wanting to fill them.  Not for me, the minimalist look.  Now, our house is very big and I dread the day the girls leave home and I hear the words ‘we might as well move to a smaller house’.  Where will I put everything?  I have expanded into the space available to me.  Anyway, undeterred by such a future, I still go hunting for ‘stuff’ and I notice that lots of people have a soft spot for all things French so I feel as if I am providing a service.  Things that have been hidden get brought to light, people who aren’t in a position to go hunting themselves can benefit from my endeavours and, hopefully, so can I, everyone’s a winner.

The name of the shop, which is how I started this post, was a sort of last try.  I wanted to be called LaPuce (the flea) because of  flea markets and I also thought it would look good on a shop banner!  However, somebody had already got that name, and not even somebody with a shop, what a waste.  Then, I went through loads of  possible French words, having to discount loads straight away because you can’t have an accent in your shop name on Etsy.   Most of the obvious ones had gone, of course,  even variations of them.  So brocanterie, toutou, bisous, froufrou, mercerie, were all gone.  Then I remembered that the French call the English Channel ‘La Manche’ and thought that was appropriate and couldn’t believe that it was available. 

So there you are,   a very long- winded way to say that I now have a new Etsy shop selling little vintage finds from this remote and half-forgotten piece of France.  It should be fun!

1950's French Children's Book - Les Bons Enfants

The shop is  Hopefully you can pop in and say hello.


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  1. #1 by anna on March 4, 2010 - 11:48

    Congrats with the new shop! And here is to it being a great success!

    I think I have changed myself, since having children. I lived in a massive house in Ireland (it was called ‘the hotel’) and in the end it was like a show home. I spent so much money, that I am now ashamed of myself.

    Now I am the opposite. I keep throwing things away. Wanting the house a bit emptier than before. But in my case it might be because my life is so ‘full’ that all the stuff around me gives me a brain melt. If that makes any sense.

    Besides. I don’t have an ambition to dust and tidy and clean all the time any more either.

    With me it is all about simplify.

    (okay so I rambled)

    • #2 by tialys on March 4, 2010 - 12:00

      Just don’t throw anything away before I have examined it Anna!!

  2. #3 by anna on March 5, 2010 - 12:10

    haha! Okay shall not throw anything away then 🙂

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