So here it is. My latest bargain is an old mirror, picked up for €15 euros at a vide -grenier in a local village on Sunday afternoon. I wasn't actually planning to go, not least because I had a stack of work to do.
But then a friend dropped by, eyes shining as he recounted the bargains on offer. He was off to the cash point before returning for a second tour. How could I resist?
I was surprised when told the price of the mirror. Admittedly, the plaster is chipped in several places but the going rate for such mirrors - I know this from having looked at lots of them - is €80-100.
'That's very cheap,' I replied (yes, I really have to get the hang of vide-grenier haggling, but when the price is this low, why bother?) .
The attractive twentysomething vendor, accompanied by her mother and grandmother - who'd probably all checked their reflections in it over the years - just smiled and told me to be careful as the glass might fall out of the bottom.
But when I got it home, I discovered it was just the cover peeling off at the back. Underneath, the mirror was firmly held in place by wooden baguettes, and ready to hang. I had planned to give it a quick coat of one of F&B's chalky white paints, in order to hide the damaged moulding. But trying it for size in the spare room, it really didn't bother me that it's un peu abimé. (Who among us wouldn't be after so many years on the planet?)
I'd come to the conclusion that the Poitou-Charentes wasn't a great area for antique bargains. But now, I realise, it's because I was looking in the wrong places.