Any Old Iron

A bit of a vintage or antique thing going on today, depending on what side of the pond you’re from.  According to Etsy (who are a U.S. company) anything over 20 years old is vintage and anything over 50 years old is antique.  Thanks Etsy!  In the U.K. I think items have to be over 100 years old to be an antique and I’ll let you know whether that bothers me if I get that far.

Anyway, a little while ago during one of my frequent rummages in dusty old barn type places I came across this old clock face.  I wasn’t even sure if it was old or a modern item that had just got a bit battered.  I thought it was made of concrete but Mr. T thinks it is like lava rock but, anyway, it was only 20 euros and I had in mind making a little garden table out of it if I could find a suitable base.

Paul garnier clock face

When I got it home I decided to do a bit of research and it turns out that it is indeed old (19th century) and appears to be by the famous French clockmaker, Jean-Paul Garnier, who was an early pioneer in the unification of time on the railway system.

Like this one in fact.


(photo by Stefan Sonntag found on Google Maps here)

Apparently this is in a railway station in Syria.

( I hope Mr. Sonntag doesn’t mind me using his lovely photograph from Google images but I have linked to his work just below the photo.)

Recently I stopped at the same Brocante again and there was not one but three iron bases lined up against the wall.  So, having kept my eye out for one for a few months now it seems that, like buses, iron table bases come all at once.

Iron Base

I think Mr. T. will mount the clock face to a wooden board before fixing it on the stand as we don’t want to mess with the face.  Then it will go on the garden terrace – maybe – or stay indoors, I can’t decide yet.  What do you think of it?  The hole in the middle will have some sort of ‘decorative bung’ inserted but I’ve just balanced it on top for now to show you.

ClockTable (1)

This may well be a unique table in the truest sense of the word.  Talking of which, it literally drives me mad when I see things being described as ‘unique’ when people only mean ‘unusual’ or ‘a bit rare’.  Note that I have used the word ‘literally’ in the sense it is now being abused  used which also irritates the hell out of me but it seems there is no hope for ‘literally’ and it looks as if ‘unique’ is to follow.  I also hate ‘so fun’ – shouldn’t it be ‘such fun’.  Ooer, I’ve gone all pedantic, sorry about that.  Back to any old iron.

There is a huge old wall to one side of the front of our house.  The other side to the front  has been hideously deformed by our neighbour which is why we fell out with him until he helped us get our dog down from his roof and we were forced, albeit briefly, to speak to him again.  See here for the gory details if you haven’t read it.

Anyway, until recently, it was covered in masses of dark green ivy – home to blackbirds and all sorts for decades – which has now been removed.   Old wall revealed, climbing roses ordered, trellis work being considered.  The wooden trellis work available in most garden centres is not always of the best quality – although it should be with the prices they charge – so Mr. T. is considering making his own.

However, in the same brocante, I spied these lovely old  ironwork panels – there are three of them actually – and I thought they would look great on the wall amongst the roses.  They measure around 110cm high and 40cm wide (43 x 16 inches)

Cast Iron Panels

Here is the wall in question which is about 15m long (getting on for 50ft) and around 3m high.

Garden Wall

Do you think there might be something wrong with my sense of scale?  Mr. T does :/

No matter – they will go somewhere – I couldn’t just leave them there now could I?

I’m considering having them mounted in wooden frames and fixing them to the wall behind the large pots we have either side of our front door and planting the pots up with an annual climbing plant.  Any other suggestions welcome.





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  1. #1 by on March 10, 2016 - 14:05

    an innovative table that will look good anywhere. I think those iron panels would look great on the wall – perhaps you could find some more. It would be a pity to cover them with a dense climber, so how about sweet peas? I covered a trellis in front of Chateau Jock at the old house with wysteria on one side and sweet peas mixed with scarlet runner beans – useful as well as pretty (picture here:

    Welcome to the Grammar Police!

    • #2 by tialys on March 10, 2016 - 19:33

      I love wisteria but it doesn’t seem to like it in our garden. Sweet peas would be an idea because, as you say, it would be a shame to have anything too dense.

      As for joining the grammar police, I hesitated before my rant as I know people find it annoying but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Not that I’m perfect by any means – just in case somebody is going through my text dying to point out a mistake I’ve made myself 😉

  2. #3 by poshbirdy on March 10, 2016 - 14:37

    You can always find somewhere to put those panels. They’d look lovely either side of a door or window. And I love the table – what a find that clock face was

    • #4 by tialys on March 10, 2016 - 19:36

      Exactly what I said to my husband, they will always go ‘somewhere’.

  3. #5 by Frivolous Monsters on March 10, 2016 - 15:27

    Yes, 100 years here, last time i heard. Things are always changing though.

    • #6 by tialys on March 10, 2016 - 19:40

      Seriously, how can something only 20 years old be vintage? I have got cans of sardines and jars of spices in my kitchen cupboards older than that 😉

  4. #7 by Eugenie Street on March 10, 2016 - 15:56

    The clock looks nice! Could it be an enameled metal sheet, like this one I bought a couple of years ago at the Lyon ‘puces’:
    Very nice table idea!

    • #8 by tialys on March 10, 2016 - 19:45

      Hello Eugenie. No, it is definitely not enamel. I have some of those from comtoise clocks and they are thin. This is 1cm thick and appears to be made from some sort of stone.

  5. #9 by katechiconi on March 10, 2016 - 18:57

    Lovely wrought ironwork, but definitely too small for the wall. I have a pair of Chinese carved wooden window screens of a similar size, and face a similar problem: what to do with them. So far they’re propped against a wall in the spare room, being decorative and attracting dust.
    Might I propose eyebolts at intervals, threaded with wire for the roses to climb? Much less visually intrusive than a nasty poor quality wooden trellis, and if bolts and wire are stainless steel or galvanised, they’ll last for much longer too.
    With you on the ‘unique’ vs ‘unusual’, only capped by ‘quite unique’. What, absolutely a a one off, but only slightly…?

    • #10 by tialys on March 10, 2016 - 19:59

      We have the eyebolt and wire thing going on in our back garden on the terrace with an old but still lovely small golden coloured rose rambling its way through so I’m not really sure why he’s talking of trellis for the front. I suppose he must have his reasons but I’ll ask him when he gets home later.
      I like ‘very unique’ and, something I found on Etsy – a very good fishing ground for misuses of the word – a ‘Unique Disney Clock’ which is made of pink plastic and has ‘made in China’ stamped on the back :/

      • #11 by katechiconi on March 11, 2016 - 03:59

        Oh, wonderful – in fact ‘priceless’, another misuse while we’re being particular!

  6. #12 by nanacathy2 on March 10, 2016 - 19:44

    Love your finds, such fun!! The phrase that drives me mad at the moment is” piece of work” which doesn’t mean a piece but a complete project!!

    • #13 by tialys on March 10, 2016 - 20:05

      I quite like that phrase used as a slur on somebody’s character as in ‘he’s a nasty piece of work’ or even reduced to ‘he’s a piece of work’ – it’s not at all specific but seems to speak volumes.

  7. #14 by Dartmoor Yarns on March 11, 2016 - 09:11

    Beautiful clock face and beautiful panels. Both so gorgeous and so friendly. As for the question of what is an antique – do you remember when beanie babies were all the craze and they were trying to sell them in the US as ‘antique’ when they’d only just been made. Crazy!

    • #15 by tialys on March 13, 2016 - 11:40

      I do remember. They probably described them as ‘unique’ too.

  8. #17 by jendavismiller on March 11, 2016 - 23:06

    I always thought antiques had to be at least 100 years old. Oh my, I’m a member of the grammar (and spelling) police, too! My list of infractions is long, but of my favorites is: “…she always gives 110%…” Can you give more than everything?
    The clock table will be delightful, and I just love those doors. A shame wisteria doesn’t do well for you, because that would be lovely!

    • #18 by tialys on March 13, 2016 - 11:42

      We also need to take into account the fact that the front of the house is South facing and everything has to be ‘scorch proof’ in the Summer. We usually stick with geraniums in the pots but we’ll have to do some research on climbers if we want to use them.

  9. #19 by delightfullypeculiar on March 12, 2016 - 11:29

    I’d love a table like that and I agree with the others, it’s something that would look great anywhere you put it. The iron panels on a wooden board mounted on the wall where the flower pots are sounds like a great plan, I’ve always loved the combination of plants and wood background.

    • #20 by tialys on March 13, 2016 - 11:43

      If we decide to use the panels like that I’ll be sure to take some photos and do a ‘show and tell’.

  10. #21 by Thimberlina on March 14, 2016 - 03:13

    And me too, I think it’d look fab anywhere! Hope your Mr T is a handy chap and can stick it just where you want it! 😃

  11. #22 by tialys on March 15, 2016 - 09:22

    He is handy but, because he works away, he is usually inundated at weekends with chores and, when he does have time to do something for pleasure, it has to be something he has made the decision to do otherwise he gets grumpy. What often works is if I start on a job and he usually joins in and takes over. I remember once when I’d been asking him for ages to put something up on the wall and I rang him at work with the electric drill in hand and asked him something like ‘how do you change over the drill bits?’ . Not that he doesn’t trust me but he did the job as soon as he got home. Psychology 😉

  12. #23 by Magpie Sue on March 15, 2016 - 20:16

    Oh, that table will be charming. I’d have it in the house somewhere. Maybe with a houseplant centered on it to keep me from littering up the surface with other stuff! I love the ironwork too. It would be a shame to cover them up with climbing vines in my opinion. I like the idea of having them mounted on a wall in an outdoor sitting area. (I have the same sort of trouble with my husband and his work/play schedules!)

    • #24 by tialys on March 16, 2016 - 09:26

      We have decided not to put them on the large wall and, if we do use them either side of the front door, we will only use an annual climber so they would be fully visible the rest of the year. We just need to find a climber that will resist scorching heat as we are South facing and it gets hot in the Summer here.

  13. #25 by Postcard from Gibraltar on March 16, 2016 - 00:19

    Ooh I love those ironwork panels – very reminiscent of the door furniture here on traditional buildings in Gibraltar. I love your clever use of the clock as a table top!

    • #26 by tialys on March 16, 2016 - 09:24

      I bet you see them on a lot of ‘ruins’ too. I often look at run down or abandoned houses around here and think what I could do with the ornate gates/balcony ironwork/door furniture, etc.

      • #27 by Postcard from Gibraltar on March 16, 2016 - 18:25

        Yes absolutely! I love looking at the old unloved places and imagining what they could be like with some tlc!

  14. #28 by Quilt Musings on March 16, 2016 - 07:44

    What a great idea for a table, and I love your ironwork panels. They are so beautiful that I am sure you will find an appropriate place somewhere. Three of them placed horizontally on top of one another might work well to create a special space along that wall…maybe background to your table and a chair or two for so you have a ‘nook’ where you can relax with a cup of tea and a good book.

    You can sometimes find beautiful woodwork panels where I am, and though I do not have a garden, I have thought of using them as a feature wall behind a bed or in the living room. A friend has covered a closet door near her entryway with similar panels. It looks like it is purely decorative and I had been there many times before I realized they were actually hiding a closet!

    • #29 by tialys on March 16, 2016 - 09:28

      Thank you. It has crossed our minds to put them on the wall inside the house – just need to think where…..

  15. #30 by PendleStitches on March 16, 2016 - 18:42

    I’m swooning over the table and the panels. And more than a little bit envious of your brocantes! I love France so very much!

    • #31 by tialys on March 17, 2016 - 09:29

      There is certainly still a lot of old ‘junk’ to be had fairly reasonably around here. Luckily we have a big house but I wouldn’t want to move again – it would be a three lorry job this time 😦

  16. #32 by sewchet on March 16, 2016 - 19:29

    What a find – I LOVE the table idea! I also love the iron panels but agree that they may well be lost against that vast wall. With you all the way on the grammar front as anyone who knows me will testify:)

    • #33 by tialys on March 17, 2016 - 09:25

      I think we’ve abandoned the vast wall as a location which is fine – I liked them and know they will go ‘somewhere’.

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