Lost and Found – A Short Story

Lost and Found


It was Claire who found the camera, her 13 year-old bright eyes spotted it halfway across the beach at La Cible one morning in September as we had a mother and daughter cycling-expedition on the Île de Ré. We were recent summer arrivals in France, and the island had become one of our favourite spots to explore on a weekend, our custom was to cycle from the car-park at La Cible, through the old fortifications and onto a lunch on the quay in St Martin de Ré.

It was a small routine that brought us comfort in a foreign country where we languished uncertainly in a rented village house north of la Rochelle, complete with wizened furniture, old sagging beds, a hallway full of solemn faces on fading photos and a huge painting in the dining room of a dashing young man in a Foreign Legionnaire’s uniform. It was a bizarre place, but cheap and practical, even if we knew no one to talk to.

Riding along the path by the restaurant Claire had cried out and I’d turned to see her pointing out across the sand to a rock on which a small black object sat above the high-tide line, glinting in the sun.


“It’s a camera, Mum,” said Claire, “I wonder who it belongs to,” and she stopped and looked up and down the beach, just as I did a second later.  There was no one to be seen in either direction who might have been an owner, just the odd cyclist on the path and two people 400 yards away soaking up some summer rays on colourful towels. 

“I’ll have a look,” she added and she hopped off her bike and laying it down on the verge, she stepped out onto the beach and walked across the sand towards the rock. Reaching down she picked up the camera and headed back, still looking left and right for someone to whom it might belong. She handed to to me, and I realised it was a small Canon compact, a shiny brand-new S90, and I held it, wondering what we would do next.

“I guess we’ll have to hand it in,” I said, surprised at the tone in my own voice which seemed to imply irritation at having something unexpected to deal with.

Claire looked at me and ventured, “Perhaps we can find out who it belongs to?” and even as I wondered how on earth we were going to do that she’d taken the camera from me and turned it on with the authority that only a modern media-savy young person can do. She pressed the ‘review’ button and grinned as she saw the first photo; it was a scene of the beach before us. With a click of another button, Claire told me it had been taken the day before.

“Look Mum,” she said, clicking through further photos, “we can see the route the camera’s been on, why don’t we follow it back and see where it takes us – we might find the owner that way?”

“Let’s see if there are any people in the pictures,” I mooted, and we both stood there to create some shade from the sun as we went back through the photos. As we did so, it became apparent that the camera had been cycled to the beach, but from the east, from the little town of La Flotte. We could follow the progress of the owner’s journey, all the way back to a restaurant in the marina there. But there were no people, and as we completed our viewing, I realised that perhaps these were the very first photographs ever taken with the camera.

“Shall we, Mum, shall we try it?” and I looked to the east along the shore and realised it wasn’t very far at all to La Flotte, and it would make a change. 

“Okay,” I said, “Let’s give it a go,” and turning around we peddled east through the little scattering of houses and immediately passed the second photo of the camera’s storyline, a lovely Provencal-style house on a small hill.


Cruising along, we left the housing behind, leaned seawards a little to the left, and then straightened up again for the long track alongside the beach, fields bordering us on our right, with La Flotte away in the distance. It was only ten minutes of easy cycling before we were into the first beachside houses of the town, and the path widened into a little tarmac road and soon we were on the Cours Eugène Chauffour, the main road to the marina, with the seawall on our left. 



The third photo in the storyline jogged us along to the end of the street, where it runs into the small marina that squares itself around the buildings, and there we paused for breath, looking down on the array of different boats.


Looking at the photographs it became apparent that the camera’s initial journey the day before had been in the late afternoon, and I wondered whether it was that which had saved the poor thing from being taken by someone else the day before. 


Going along the seawall, dodging tourists, we tried to find the next landmark and became aware that the camera’s owner had explored a road or two behind the marina, and we dodged down a side-street to see where to go. Immediately a scene from the camera edged into view and we pedalled slowly along, wondering how we would recognise someone who had lost a Canon s90.


There was a turn and another scene came into view. It seemed the photographer had taken their photos with some excitement, clicking away at whatever they had seen, and it became even more obvious that we were simply retracing someone’s footsteps. 



Suddenly we were back in the marina, and we hopped off our bikes to follow the path of memories along the line of restaurants, going backwards through the pictures until we came to the third photo on the camera, when we recognised the café on the display. 


We stood there, and then Claire looked at the next photo and saw it had been taken from the very back of the awning. 


“Go in and check,” I muttered, “go right to the back and see if it’s the same resturant – I’ll hold the bikes,” and Claire nodded and strode confidently into the shade. She came back within seconds, grinning.


“Yes” she nodded in excitement, “this is the one. What do we do next?” and we looked at the very first photo. It showed the front of what seemed to be an antiques shop. We looked up and glanced around but saw no sign of anything familiar and I realised we were going to have to search the side-streets. At that instant though, a young waiter came past us with a tray of empty plates, and noticing our expressions of wonder, he stopped and asked if we needed anything.

I had a brainwave, and held out the camera with the photo on display, “do you know where this shop is by any chance?” the young man’s attentive face glanced at the screen and then brightened in recognition.

Mais oui,” said the young man, “C’est le magasin de M. Rainier, just behind that shop, ,” and he pointed across the quayside to another small road.


Thanking him, we headed across the cobbles, turned down the street and immediately saw the shop on our right. We hesitated outside, and Claire asked, “What do we do now?”


“Well,” I replied, “at the very least we should go in and see if he remembers anyone outside yesterday with a camera?” I ventured.

We climbed the two little steps and went into a cool and slightly gloomy interior. In the dim light a bell tinkled and a curtain swished at the back of the crowded room, full of curiosities and ancient wooden furniture. An old man came into view, with a face that had seen too much sun and so much life. He barely reached my shoulder and when he got close he looked up at us quizzically like a bird; somehow he knew instantly that we were English.

“How can I help you?” he asked in a melodic voice, with a perfect turn of phrase and grammar. I looked at him closely, his face seemed strangely familiar, and I wondered why. 

Claire stepped forward and held out the camera. “We found this on the beach at La Cible,” she started, “and the first photograph on it is of your shop – we wondered if you might remember who took the photo – it was only yesterday….” and her sudden trail of thought petered out. 

The man before us, stood stock still, and suddenly grinned. “Mais oui, mais oui, of course I do!”  and he turned to clap his hands and loudly called out towards the curtain, “Zoë!!!  Viens ici, come here cherie, vite, vite!!”

We stood in shock, and there was another swish from the curtains at the back of the room and a girl of Claire’s age ran into the room, stopping with a clump of her feet as she saw us. There was a jolt of recognition from Claire, and the girl in front of us watched us with huge luminous eyes, wondering what was going on. 

The old man broke the spell and facing the dark-haired girl, he held out the camera with glee,”Elles ont trouvés ton appareil! They have found your camera!” 

Zoë turned towards the man, and seeing the camera, gave a great shriek and promptly burst into tears, clutching at it with alacrity. There was a babble of French from the two of them, and a cuddle of support before the man turned back to us. 

“Oh merci, thank you, thank you so much!” he said, a huge smile on his face. “It was Zoë’s birthday yesterday and the camera was a present – we could not believe it when she said she had lost it, she cried all night,” and at the mention of her name the girl turned round and looked at us again, her face streaked with tears of happiness and relief. She broke into a huge grin, and looking at Claire with growing recognition, she said to her grandfather, “This is the new girl in our class.”  

There was a pause while she looked again at Claire, and suddenly she then asked, “Was it you who found my camera?”  

I answered for Claire in case she was too shy to reply. “Yes,” I said, “it was her,” and I smiled softly. 

Zoë grinned broadly, and going forward, muttered “Merci” quite sorrowfully and gave Claire a kiss on the cheek, a gesture which turned into a hug of gratitude. “Thank you, thank you so much,” and the girl smiled so openly that Claire grinned back instinctively.

“How did you find us?” Zoë asked, “I’m only here with my grandparents for the weekend!”, and there was a sudden babble of young voices. I looked above their heads at the old man, and he smiled back at me, shrugging his shoulders at the spontaneity of youth. I nodded back, disconcertingly aware that I was staring at a man whom I thought I knew, but did not. 

There was a pause in the noise, and I saw Zoë looking questioningly at me. “Is there time for me to go with Claire to buy an ice-cream as a ‘thank you’?”, and she turned to her grandfather at the same time. 

I nodded, “Of course!” and half a minute later they set off out the door, leaving myself and the old man standing in the shop. I turned to him to say something and found his face suddenly lit by a shaft of light from the closing door, and involuntarily I exclaimed in shock. 

“I think I know who you are!” I muttered to the man, and he looked at me with curiosity.

“You do?” The bright eyes watched me closely.

“Yes, I do.” and at that instant I realised that Zoë’s presence in the shop made so much sense.

“You’re the man in our dining-room,” I stammered in shock. “You were once a Foreign Legionnaire!” and the old man smiled at me so directly and with such happiness, that I knew fate had led us a merry dance down the lanes of La Flotte for a reason.

The old man watched me, his smile broad and proud, and waited for me to finish. 

“I know who you are now, too,” he replied, “you live in my family house in Marsilly, no?”

I nodded in affirmation. 

“Then you live in a special place,” he added. “Welcome to France.” He stepped back, and then added, “Would you like Zoë and I to come and visit? I can tell you all about our family history and the house, if you want?”

“Oh,” I muttered, aflame with happiness at the turn of events, “Yes please. We’d love that!” and as I nodded fervent agreement I suddenly saw our future stretching out before us, a little less lonely than before…..

156 thoughts on “Lost and Found – A Short Story

    1. Ahh, part 2 Brooke! History is not my strong point so maybe I shall have to leave that to everyone else’s imagination. It was the only subject I failed rather too frequently at school, I blame it all on the teacher of course!! Susan xx

  1. I just closed my eyes and imagined I was there sitting at one of those pretty restaurants, you’ve started my day perfectly thank you

    1. Thank you so much Sheri and welcome to the blog, great to have you following along. It’s easy to daydream sitting at a table in beautiful surroundings! Hope the rest of your day goes well. Susan xx

    1. Hi Ellen, well the Ile de Ré certainly exists and so does La Flotte and the streets and also all the photos I took in La Flotte a couple of weeks ago. I would like to think that honesty exists and that if someone were to find such a thing that this is exactly what would happen, the is what I imagine my children doing, hence the story! Have a lovely end to the week. xx

    1. Thanks so much Jane, as you have followed the blog for quite a while now you will know I love writing fiction which is why I love to mix it up. We were on the Ile de Ré in La Flotte a couple of weeks ago and the photos just begged to be included in a story! Susan xx

        1. I do both! In this case I took the photos when we were in La Flotte a couple of weeks ago and when I was looking at them a few days later I knew I had to write a story about them and sure enough one started to form in my head. Many times though I will think of a story, whilst in the shower, whilst driving, whilst gardening, wherever I might be and then once it is written I will look for some suitable photos to help illustrate it! xx

    1. Thank you so much Pam, I really really appreciate it. It’s such fun to write and add a few photos to help tell the story. I get as much pleasure out of this as I hope everyone else does! Have a lovely end to the week. Susan xx

  2. What a charming story to start my day. Beautifully written. I enjoyed following the pictures to the meeting of the owner and the grandfather.
    Thank you,

    1. Thank you so much Susan, we were there a couple of weeks ago in La Flotte and when I looked through all the photos I had taken they were just begging to be part of a story! Have a lovely end to the week, Susan xx

  3. What a charming story. I always think that it is ‘life’ that gives us the best story lines. If I had tried to think about writing a story I do not think I would have come up with this premise. But serendipity placed it squarely in your path; and you were astute enough to recognize the clue and follow the trail. I do feel that life is about ‘paying attention’ to the little things that often get overlooked. I have made so many new friendships and had so many new and exciting experiences by just staying true to this thought. The pictures of the small village make me want to jump the pond. Next week we journey back to Italia. Fun to see what new adventures await us there. A bien tot

    1. You are so very right Lisa, paying attention to the little things, I find when I look around there is so much that offers so much inspiration, this is probably why I go everywhere with my camera and if I happen to leave it in the car then I snap away with my phone instead! Have a fantastic trip back to Italy, such a lovely time of year to come back now, hope you write all about it, I shall be eagerly following along. xx

  4. What an amazing story! I am a photographer and love how these pictures brought you together with this man and his family. Now you need to write a children’s story about it!

    1. That would be a really interesting concept, I have never tried writing specifically for children, but with five of our own, I am very experienced at reading them bedtime stories! I love snapping photos, I am just an amateur, but I take my camera everywhere, they say every picture tells a story!! Susan xx

    1. Thank you Nadia, I think you might have a very long wait though! I did think about it but then I would have to find an agent and then a publisher etc etc., and I truly wouldn’t have a clue where to start, so unless you have any ideas or contacts I shall stick to the blog!! Susan xx

  5. Your story sounds like a novel but those things happen in our so called “monetary driven world”.
    Friendly detectives, you and Claire. Unfortunatelly my son wasn’t as lucky as Zoe was when he lost his new camera
    in the train. I’m sure your honesty will bring you luck if you didn’t felt it already while making this girl so happy.

    1. How terribly sad that your son lost his camera, it is so easy when travelling to put things down and not realise they are missing until too late. But there are also plenty of heartening stories in this world. My husband was recently travelling long haul and after a ten hour flight left the plane and his iPad in the seatback. He didn’t realise it was missing until several hours later. He was on a small caribbean Island and the friends he was staying with (who live there) drove him back to the airport the next morning as the airport closed at night and went and made enquiries for him, they said it’s a very honest place and indeed it was. The cleaning crew had handed it in and it was given back to him. xx

  6. Oh, Susan, how delightful!! What a lovely story to wake up to this morning. Thank you!!
    And the accompanying photos are perfect. I couldn’t have enjoyed your short story more. xo

    1. Thank you so very much Anne. I took the photos when we were in La Flotte a couple of weeks ago and then the story sort of followed suit, it was rather fun to write! Have a wonderful end to the week. xx

  7. Such a happy ending!
    We found a camera in front of our house one day. We also looked at the photos but it was clear the owners, a young couple, were from Spain (the camera commands were in Spanish) and had rented a car–no train in our village. They probably stopped at the small parking area in front of our house and set the camera on the car’s roof, forgetting it when they drove off. No photo of the car, alas. We didn’t have the same luck as you–the photos quickly shifted to the train. So we turned it in to the gendarmes. No word whether it ever got back to its owners.

    1. I have to admit I am a sucker for happy endings! I hope the camera maybe did find it’s way back, but who knows if they even knew where they lost it. So easy to do; in the spring I was driving from the tennis court in our village to the tennis club about 8kms away. I put the phone on the bonnet of the car under the wipers without even thinking about it whilst I was chatting. It was only when I was at the club that I met someone who wanted to give me their number, I looked for my phone and couldn’t find it in my bag, then I remembered I had put it on the car, incredibly it was still there, tucked down snugly in the little ridge by the windscreen, it had travelled at least ten minutes up and down hills and around tiny tight bends in narrow country bumpy lanes! xx

    2. Bonsoir ” Francetaste” ! Savez-vous que, selon la loi française, vous deviendrez propriétaire de cet appareil photo dans 1 an et 1 jour ( depuis le jour du dépôt à la gendarmerie ) si, malheureusement, si personne ne réclame cet objet.// Good evening ” Francetaste”! Do you know that, according to french law, you will become the owner of this camera in one year and a day ( since the day of the deposit into Gendarmerie )if, sadly, nobody ask for this object.

  8. BRAVISSIMA!!!!!!!!!!!!I LOVED it……..now was this a TRUE STORY?I best go read the other comments!I may find the answer there!

    1. Hello Contessa, you outface me….not a minute I thought that this story could be ficitive and I still hope it isn’t…
      too endearing

      1. I am so sorry to ruin a good story, but yes it is fiction. I feel rather guilty admitting it; the town, the streets, the cafes are all real, I took the photos whilst we were there, in La Flotte, a couple of weeks ago and when I was looking at them a few days later the story started forming in my mind. xx

    2. Ha, it never even occurred to me when I wrote it that anyone might think it was real, alas not it is fiction, but the setting and the streets are all real! I took the photos when we were there a couple of weeks ago and then when I looked at them a story started forming in my head, I knew I just had to write it! xx

  9. This is a lovely story. Your daughter is growing up showing a lot of compassion and caring. She has a special gift. Her mom seems
    sweet too!!!!

    1. So glad you enjoyed it, I loved sharing this with everyone and the photos of one of my favourite places here in the Charente Maritime. Have a wonderful end to the week and weekend xx

    1. Thanks so much, next time you visit France you will have to include the Ile de Ré in your travel plans, it is one of my favourite places. Hope you are enjoying this fabulous weather. xx

    1. Thank you so much, that is indeed what stories are for, they should make us smile or spark up conversation and debate. This was just a simple story for a mid week morning and so I am glad it made you both happy. Have a wonderful end to the week xx

  10. I have followed your blog all summer and loved every single post which I read at least 2 or 3 times each. To read a story such as this proves what a real all round author you are, you deserve your huge following, you’re certainly the best x

    1. Thank you so much Pat, I am so glad you are enjoying the blog, I promise I get just as much pleasure writing it, I love every post and every comment. Have a wonderful end to the week, Susan xx

  11. I am assuming this was fiction as I am sure you don’t have a daughter called Clare but then I read the other comments and now I am not so sure! Either way it doesn’t matter, what a lovely story and beautiful photos as always

    1. Thanks Amanda, yes it was fiction but based on a real setting and real streets. We were in La Flotte a couple of weeks ago and I took lots of photos and when I looked at them a few days later they just inspired me to write a story! xx

  12. Ah Susan, I do like your little bits of fiction, as does the missus. What a fine ten minute read over a cup of tea this afternoon that adventure was! And I’m totally with Nadia – we surely have to find you a publisher so you can do this fulltime. Your talents as a gardener, cook, mother, photographer and blogger pale into insignificance beside your other personae of Goddess of the Twilight Dream World. My wife is nodding sagely and looking on the internet for someone to come and ride you to a publishing house. Perhaps you should begin a Kickstarter campaign? All we’d want is a signed copy 🙂

    1. Ha ha thank you Phil and thank you to your wife too. If you know of a publisher let me know, otherwise I wouldn’t have a clue where to start and I shall stick to the world of blogging and all those other things you mention, cook, mother, gardener etc and of course chauffeur, you have no idea how many miles I cover ferrying children back and forth to this and that!!! xx

  13. Loved loved this short story and the others. You make the reader feel like they are actually there with you!! Can’t wait for the next chapter! Love your blog, and you for sharing your talent with us!

    1. Thank you so much Karen, it is, believe me, entirely my pleasure being able to share everything on the blog with everyone, I enjoy it immensely and I love all the comments and ‘chatting’ with people and getting to know each and every one of you. Have a wonderful end to the week. Susan xx

  14. Well……I refuse to believe it is fiction!! I choose to believe in the magic and that the girls became best friends and the man became your tour guide and historian for the rest of time….and then you took him to visit the United States!!! I love to imagine!

    1. Hi Janey, a girl after my own heart, yes I love to continue stories and in my mind the girls did become best friends. Claire was unhappy at her new school as she didn’t know anyone and this changed everything, suddenly she had a friend and was no longer alone. That’s the whole story I imagined! xx

    1. Ha ha, thank you, I was just lucky with a stunning day when we visited La Flotte a couple of weeks ago, it is so photogenic it’s rather easy just to snap away, as I am sure you know. The island has to be on the of the most beautiful places to photograph in France! We love visiting and do so as often as possible, luckily we are only half an hour away so it’s relatively easy. xx

    1. Hi Rosalina, firstly welcome to the blog and thank you for taking the time to comment, always very much appreciated. So glad you enjoyed the story, alas no, I am sorry, it is not true but merely fiction. The streets, the town, the cafes, are all real. We were there a couple of weeks ago in La Flotte and I took lots of photos, then when I was looking through them a few days later a story started to form in my mind. Great to have you following along. Susan xx

    1. Thanks so much, I knew I should have written “a fictional story” instead of just “a short story”, it seems I confused a lot of people which really wasn’t the intention, too much sun has addled my brain quite obviously!! xx

      1. Not at all …. A Short Story is fictional by definition … I would (being a pedant) say that the other sort is properly described as an essay. So there 😊xxx

        1. That’s exactly what I thought, but maybe that’s an English thing! Don’t get me started on essays, takes me back to school days, we wrote stories when we were 6 or 7 and essays certainly by the time we were in double figures. The stories nearly always began – Once upon a time!!! xx

          1. I was the English scholar …. I decided this when I was in my oral because my big brother was good at maths and science. I have an English exercise book of his (aged about 14) …. He starts every essay ‘well, basically’. After essay number five when each starting statement has been heavily circled in red the teacher had specified …. ‘Do NOT start an essay with these words, it is clumsy and not good English.’ The next essay starts ‘well, basically …’ I have to admire his stubbornness if not his style 😂😂😂

          2. Stubbornness is a good quality many say! You just know where the story is going to go, anything that starts Well, basically, there was a man and he did such and such and that’s about it, The End!!! My old English books show I always wrote The End, without fail!!! xxx

          3. I think every story I ever wrote at school finished with The End, always centred, always with a capital T and a capital E, I can picture it now in my typical school girl writing, upright, rounded, just as we were taught, totally legible and utterly boring! xx

  15. Worthy of a (very) young Miss Marple! I have run across many real strange series of coincidences like that in the past 5 years I’ve been here “Chez les Ch’tis”, and when visiting the French in laws in the Morbihan, and at last the beau parents’ home in the Vendée. Of course my reputation as “le fou Irlandais” (they never remember du Nord) has always arrived before me, being an oddity. I love happy endings, and so plausible, be it fact or fiction. Il était une fois …….! Bonne continuation biloute, from le fou Cht’Irlandais du Ch’Nord! (Shhhh, i’m applying for a passport from the Irish Republic, if the Brexit complicates things, despite being married to a Francaise).

    1. Oh this made me laugh! So please explain just a little, neither Millie, our daughter, nor I could work this out, where is Ch’tis? The only thing we could come up with is Charentais, which would make sense as then you are just wandering up the western coast from here to the Vendee and then on into Brittany. Now what I really want to know is what you have done to earn the title le fou Irlandais? Do tell! xx

      1. Chez le Ch’tis is the 59 and 62 in the wild north, near the Belgian border. Popularised by Dany Boone (Film – “Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis”). The part of France where the speak really funny. The dialect is very weird, and they throw in the odd word and phrase in English (or of a sort). Very appropriate for someone from Northern Ireland who speaks Ulster/Scots as a habit, though I have had to revert to a faux posh English accent to be even vaguely understood by the few French, here off the tourist trail, who do speak a little English. I have learnt to say in French “je parle francais comme un bulldogue manchant une guepe” – I speak French like a bulldog chewing a wasp. It’s 50/50 if they understand my terrible French and accent, but the jokes and puns, which as you know the French love, they usually get. Five years and never come to terms completely with the grammar. My prof at school, never kept up to date and taught my class the French they spoke when he was a commando with the invasion forces in 1944. The language has moved on some since then. I’m little phased by non comprehension – I just try lines more simple, then if they still don’t get it prattle on in what I think is French. Visited often my belle soeur in the Morbihan, in Bretagne, and finally this year the parents in law in the Vendée, and the locals ask “Vous et au le nord Monseiur?” – Oui mai un peu plus de nord de le 59! There are less than 2 million people in Northern Ireland, and very few here so the gossip spreads, partly through FB. My wife hadn’t visited her parents’ house since before I arrived in October 2011, and the patron de le bar greet me first, and said so you’re this notorious Irishman from the north! Enough. If you want more Jackanory true stories just ask. Like my early accent and mispronunciation, that turned out slang for something else. The neighbours gathered for a gossip on our shared balcony, during iffy weather, looked at me for being a bit quiet – blurted something out I thought was correct French, but resulted in a tumbleweed blowing silence, before hysterical laughter. I thought I said it looked like another storm was going to head our direction. Oops mispronunciation and terrible Norn irn accent – came out “Looks like another gay is going to come over us”! Et c’est pas finis!!! That’ll do for now. More faux pas on request petal! Bonne nuit, dors bien. xo

        1. Oh you have quite made my morning, I laughed out loud, thank you. I have never been to your part of France, I seem to know the country by the coast lines from Normandy all the way down to the Spanish Border and then across the Pyrenees to the Med, but the middle and top bit I am not so familiar with! I think we have all made such blunders, I know I certainly frequently do, to succeed here I think one has to be able to laugh at oneself!! Can’t wait for more stories, next blog post, more tales please!!! Hope the sun is shining with you, the radio this morning said it was going to be gorgeous over the entire country. xx

    1. Thanks so much Sylvia, I have to admit I am a bit of a sucker for happy endings! Besides it made it more appealing for a simple mid week read, just a little something to lift the spirits! xx

  16. Dear Susan, I have to tell you that I find each of your posts to be a gift. I love the photos of your house, your garden, your family, etc. you are so generous sharing all this loveliness with us. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so very much, I can honestly tell you that I love writing the posts and sharing everything, I truly do get so much pleasure from it and from reading and replying to everyone’s comments, it is such fun. I hope you have a wonderful end to the week xx

  17. What a very sweet story, and beautiful photos to match.
    I have your Foreign Legionnaire — a couple of years ago Sharon Santoni posted this in one of her brocante articles, and the picture stayed with me, so I was able to find it just now. As soon as you described grandpère from Marcilly, I thought it must 🙂 be the same (scroll down several pictures from the top): http://sharonsantoni.com/2014/01/warming-brocante-season.html

    1. Oh I love this photo thanks Emm, I scrolled down through and had a look, this is exactly as I imagined the old man except shorter, I have no idea how one can tell the height of someone from a head and shoulders portrait but somehow the man in Sharon’s photo looks tall! I have no idea how you even remembered this photo, seeing the photo on her blog it was from over two years ago, you must have a fantastic memory! xx

      1. Susan, I remembered the picture because his face haunted me. I kept thinking about how he had served his country and done whatever, only to end up dusty and abandoned (on canvas) in a resale shop. I even tried some on-line research to identify time period and military affiliation, although without great success. Had I been there, shopping with Sharon, I would have grabbed him immediately, given him a place on my wall.

        1. I often look at things on sale in brocantes and feel rather sad. Little items that were once no doubt loved by someone, things that perhaps were given as a token of love or affection, things that now lie abandoned amongst a sea of other homeless items, especially art and photos. Did you manage to date the painting at all? Xx

    1. Thank you, the girls are frequently in the ice cream shop, that is my girls!!! As for the antique shop, it was closed when we went past and I took the photo, but I will make a point of going inside when we go back there, just to see what it is actually like! xx

    1. Thanks so much. It was rather fun to share a really beautiful little town with a story rather than just a travel narrative. I took the photos when we were there a couple of weeks ago and when I went through them the story formed in my mind and begged to be told! xx

  18. The way you tell a story just HAS to go into permanent print . . . for the second time here I just have to put all else aside and scroll and scroll and scroll to ‘find’ the ending! Naturally SO wish all was such one could say more directly . . .

    1. Thank you so very much, it was such a fun story to tell, once I had scrolled through the photos I had taken when we were there in La Flotte a couple of weeks ago the idea formed in my head and wouldn’t go away! We will have to share a virtual coffee and chat that way!!! xx

  19. a lovely tale Susan, even had me misting up a bit!! And a brilliant way to give us a tour of new places! thank you.

    1. Thanks so much Marian, we were there a couple of weeks ago, in La Flotte and when I went through the photos I took a few days later I knew I had to share them and then the story formed in my head and it seemed like a fun way to do it! Hope you have great upcoming weekend with plenty of sunshine xx

  20. I enjoyed this story so much. If it were not true, it would have been hard to believe. All the surprise turns had me enthralled. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

    1. Hi Jo, sorry to disappoint you but it most certainly was only fiction! We were in La Flotte a couple of weeks ago and I took all the photos. When I looked through them a few days later the story started to form in my head and I knew I had to write it down and share it, the town, the streets, the cycling, it’s all true, but the story is purely my imagination! Have a great weekend xx

  21. What a charming story Susan. Your photos of L’ile de Ré are a lovely reminder of our visit last year, it’s such a postcard pretty island. Never did see those donkeys in trousers.

    1. No nor have I! But I have seen many many donkeys there! It is indeed such a pretty island, we are lucky to live half an hour away and be able to visit often, every time we find a different area, somewhere new to discover, it is one of our favourite day trips, to hire bikes and just explore. Xx

        1. Ah, do tell, did you switch from Orange by any chance? and if so, who did you move to, our phone bills are hideous, with three teenagers in the house as well! But they seem to go up rather than down, would welcome some alternative ideas. Hope you had a lovely meal xx

  22. Thanks so much for sharing your charming stories😉 I save your blog to read last to enjoy it as much as possible. Much like dessert!

    1. Thank you so much Debra, I am so so happy you are really enjoying the blog, I can tell you I get just as much pleasure writing it and reading everyone’s comments. I truly hope you are having a wonderful weekend. Susan xx

  23. I loved this story….and given that I believe in fate and serendipity, this story has put a huge smile on my face on what is a very mellow, rainy, Sunday morning in London:) The photographs are beautiful. Thank you so much and wishing you and your family a lovely and creative weekend…Janet.xx

    1. Thanks so much Janet, it was raining here overnight but as forecast the sun is now shining and everything just looks a little refreshed from a healthy drink. You need to be over here!!! Millie spent ages admiring your painting yesterday on your website, she wishes she could come to one of your workshops, I cannot wait for the two of you to meet, I will try and persuade her to email you some of her work if you like, she is untrained but rather oozing natural talent, all inherited from her grandmother, none from me!! Have a great day, rain or shine xx

      1. Good morning, and yes I do need to be in France…:) It would be lovely if Millie would send me some of her work to see…Here is my e mail address: jcrhumming&hotmail.com – Tell her to keep ‘playing’ with her materials, and to carry a sketchbook at all times. I use mine to make quick sketches and also to write notes. A sketchbook is priceless…. I am giving a watercolour demo at The Hurlingham Club this evening…an annual event which is the launch party for their art year. I plan to share the results of the demo in my next blog. Have a wonderful day…Janet:)

        1. Thanks so much Janet, I will pass this on to Millie, she will be delighted and would welcome some constructive criticism. Have fun at the Hurlingham Club tonight, just typing that brings back memories of London days! I shall thoroughly look forward to your next post. Susan xx

  24. THAT, is the most wonderful story I’ve read in Blogland in a long time. To imagine you two, peddling away the afternoon on this adventure. This adventure of reality, kindness and good cheer. Both girls (and yourself), you will never forget this! To go the extra miles, literally, to find the owner of said camera is almost a fairytale in itself. At least where we’re from here, someone would have KEPT the camera! Every peddle of the way, there was magic in France on that day….and, thank you so much for coming to visit me and to read my post. We are thrilled to be featured! HUGS TO YOU!

    1. I think it is always nice to imagine the best. I am a complete sucker for happy endings and I do believe that there are a great many very very good and honest people in this world. Hope you have had a wonderful Sunday, I shall download the magazine online of course, such a great achievement, well done xxx

  25. What a wonderful story – so beautifully written and such perseverance and serendipity for it to turn out the way it did! Beautiful photos and a lovely story with a happy ending! xx 🙂

  26. What a wonderful ten minutes in a hectic day. Silly me thought it really happened until the computer skipped up and I read someone else’s comments. You have a gift! Can’t wait for more installments

    1. Thank you so much Deborah, I am so happy you enjoyed the story. I think I sadly confused many people, it was always just a fictional tale, but the streets and the town of La Flotte are all real. We were there a couple of weeks ago and I took lots of photos, when I got home and looked through them a story formed in my head and I knew I just had to write it! Susan xx

  27. Ah, just read this in bed with my better-half before lights out. Fantastico! More please. I would buy a whole volume of these little stories in an instant, and read them one by one each evening, rather like eking out a box of chocolates. We have to find you a publisher…

  28. I stumbled upon your blog and am so glad that I scrolled down to read this post first! Love the story and tracing back through the photos – so enchanting. Marcilly has been calling to me and I thank you for the inspiration.

    1. I am so very glad you did stumble upon the blog, it is great to have your following along, I hope you will enjoy the posts to come. In the meantime hope you are having a lovely weekend. Thank you for taking the time to comment, always very much appreciated! Xx

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