Today I got up at a frankly ridiculous 5:30am, and left the house at just gone 6am heading for the Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park Racecourse in Surrey and arrived at 6.40am.
Here are a few pics that I took with my phone.
Today I got up at a frankly ridiculous 5:30am, and left the house at just gone 6am heading for the Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park Racecourse in Surrey and arrived at 6.40am.
Here are a few pics that I took with my phone.
Yesterday I returned to Farnham Maltings for their monthly market. You might recall from a previous post that I went to the June one.
Given the slight confusion that buying earrings in guy mode caused a seller last time, I made the effort to go in girl mode this time. I wore the Dorothy Perkins dress that I wore in the photos I posted to Flickr a few weeks ago, which wasn’t ideal for photos as I like to have a different outfit in each pic I post to Flickr. But this was the dress I wanted to wear (it’s very comfortable, fits me really well, and is very flattering), so that’s what I wore. If that means I have 4 photos in a row in my Photostream with me in the same dress then so be it.
I got down to Farnham in good time, although the dual carriageway down near the station was rammed solid as usual. I must try to find an alternative route in future.
The first surprise on arriving was that the Pay & Display machines in the car park are now active on a Saturday and charge £1.30 for an hour, and £1.40 for two hours (rising to £5.40 for all day). I guess that even adding on the 50p admission fee for the Market, this is still not too terrible but is obviously a big jump from last time when parking was free.
The second surprise was that, unlike last time, the Courtyard, Great Hall, the area behind the Great Hall, and another room (whose name I forgot to note), were all closed off and without stalls. This meant that the Market was probably about half the size of June’s, which was rather a disappointment.
I had a good browse, and talked to several stall holders. I don’t know if it’s a case of me being more relaxed and talkative when in girl mode, or the way people (especially women) react to other women, but people seem a lot more friendly and chatty to me when I’m in girl mode. People even smile at me.
My first purchase was a lovely pair of earrings in an Art Nouveau style. The seller wanted £30 for them and wouldn’t budge on price, pointing out that the stones were topaz and amethyst. It was more than I wanted to pay for a pair of earrings; in fact I think it is the most I have ever paid for a pair of earrings. But I thought they were really special so I reluctantly agreed.
My second purchase was a figure of a lady, around 10″ in height. The age and provenance are unknown, and it feels like resin. It’s stamped Annie Rowe on the base of the casting, and on the underside of the plinth it says “The Leonardo Collection”.
The seller was asking £15 and reduced that to £13 when I asked if it was her best price.
Some research on google once I got home has suggested that, as I suspected, there isn’t much age on this and it is of this century. eBay suggests that I paid pretty much the going rate. So that’s fine.
Finally I was all done – there was nothing else that I desperately wanted so I left.
When I got home, I changed into my shorter wig as I was a bit hot and bothered, and when I looked in the mirror I liked the look it gave me, so I took another selfie.
I didn’t really do much for the rest of the day – just lounged around taking it easy and watching telly.
I had the day off on Monday, so went to the IACF Antiques and Collectors fair at Newbury Racecourse. Or, more specifically, I took the day off so that I could visit it.
You may recall that the last time I went, back in April, there was terrible traffic congestion due to roadworks with three-way temporary traffic lights on the approach road that were causing absolute mayhem and gridlock. Fortunately, this time was much better and I breezed in without delay. However, I did note that the approach road that had been subject to the roadworks last time was in an appalling patchwork condition now and is evidently long overdue a proper re-surfacing. It’s a shame they couldn’t have done that at the time whilst they were causing traffic chaos.
I’d no sooner got on-site when I saw a lovely antique cow milking machine thing, which of course I had to take a photo of and post a groan-worthy pun on Facebook. I apologise to those of you who follow me on Facebook. 🙂
I didn’t enquire how much it was – it looked expensive and I really don’t have anywhere in my house for it.
I mooooved (groan) on to the next seller and spied a framed collection of six advertising postcards from the early 20th Century. The frame wasn’t anything special and the postcards were of indeterminate age, but for £5 I didn’t think it mattered too much so I bought it.
After a while I noticed a camera crew, then my eye was drawn to two chaps in blue polo shirts with a BH logo who were being talked to by a third who appeared to be telling them about an item they were looking at. Then the penny dropped and I realised that I was witnessing an episode of Bargain Hunt being filmed.
The team were looking at a large fossil (you can see the expert picking it up in the photo) and debating whether to buy it or not. The seller was prepared to take £65 for it (I don’t know what the sticker price was) and they were undecided. Eventually they decided to leave it and to move on.
I talked to the seller afterwards, and he was enthusing about the piece.
“I’ve never seen a fossil on Bargain Hunt,” he said, “so it would have been good if they had bought it.”
“What about Tim Wonnacott?”, I replied.
I continued my browsing, and it was very quickly apparent that there were far more sellers this time than the one back in April. In fact, I overheard one seller saying to another that they had never seen it so big before, and that certainly seemed to be the case with the outdoor area stretching way further into the distance than before and also visibly much, much wider.
Also, and I don’t know if this was new or if I failed to spot it last time, there was an indoor area in the ground floor of the hall under the “Dubai Duty Free Grandstand” that was easily 2/3 of the size of a Sandown Park fair or roughly the size of the Epsom Downs Racecourse fair I went to back in April (which I didn’t ever blog about). The indoor area was selling the usual stuff you’d expect to find in one – jewellery, memorabilia, postcards, Militaria, pottery & ceramics, glassware, and the like.
Back outside, and I came across some more filming for Bargain Hunt. This time the contestants were two girls, also in blue Polo shirts (so it must be one of those “double header” episodes you sometimes see), and this time I recognised the expert; Mark Stacey. I didn’t see what the girls were buying, but I did get within earshot to hear the director telling the girls they needed to do a re-take and telling the girls what to say and how to react (“Could you maybe say ‘oh that’s so sweet’ and put your hand to your chest as you do?”). It was an interesting insight into the scripting process.
One seller had a large Beer sign that I thought was quite cool, but to be honest I couldn’t think where in my house I could possibly put it, so I passed.
About halfway down the outdoors area, on the hardcore past the asphalted area and before the grass area, was a burger van, a drinks van, and an ice cream van. I was quite hungry by now, so had a container of chips at a rather steep £3, and continued on down to the grass area which was easily several times larger than back in April. In fact it covered a huge area and was rather a lot of walking. The chips proved to be not that nice and pretty soon I wanted to bin them, but there were no bins anywhere. I ended up carrying the container around for almost an hour getting more and more annoyed until I finally returned to where the vans were and found one solitary overflowing bin and was finally able to ditch them. I think this was rather a poor showing by IACF and/or Newbury Racecourse. They really should have positioned some bins down there.
I hadn’t found anything much I wanted to buy. There was a length of thick heavy hemp rope that was exactly what I want for my nautically-themed cloakroom, but it was rather short and also one end was terminated in a metal hoop which I didn’t really like. Also the seller wanted £45 for it, which was more than I wanted to pay for something that wasn’t exactly what I wanted.
Another thing that caught my eye, again for the cloakroom, were some plastic lobsters. They had a certain kitsch appeal to them and I liked them. The seller wanted £10 each for them though, and I wasn’t sure I liked them enough to start haggling them down to about half that which is what I thought they were worth. So instead I passed.
As I headed back up to the Dubai hall, I finally saw Tim Wonnacott and he was preparing to do a piece to camera.
A nearby seller called to him “Are you still here then?”
“Of course I’m still here! Why wouldn’t I be?”, responded Tim, coming closer to the seller.
The seller replied that the teams are only meant to be here an hour and they had been there all day. Tim didn’t make a lot of comment to this, but instead showed the seller a disc-like object in his hand and was about to tell the seller about it, but was then called over to the camera as it was now set up.
It turned out the that object was the hand guard that is part of the construction of a Katana – the Japanese Samurai sword. I actually knew a little of this already as I have such a sword in Second Life that is made by someone who has a great passion and interest in their construction and models the individual parts that are analogous to the real life construction and then assembles these together into an accurate model of a Katana in Second Life, along with a scripted version on a floor mat that disassembles and reassembles so that you can see how the individual parts are put together. So I already knew this as a Tsuba. Tim took several takes to camera to explain this to the viewers, although didn’t use the Japanese name “Tsuba” and merely called it a ‘hand guard’. But he explained how it is slid down the blade to the hilt, in order to be fixed there, and also (rather unnecessarily, I thought) what a hand guard actually does.
I really wanted a picture of me and Tim together, but at this point I should confess to you that I was in guy mode. I had decided on this for several reasons, one being that I simply didn’t have the enthusiasm to go in girl mode. The other being that it was very hot day and the thought of being in a wig, and in makeup, and in impractical shoes, didn’t sound too appealing to me when I could be in jeans, t-shirt, sandals, and an Australian bush hat. In many ways I think I made the right decision, but I did wish at that moment that I had been in girl mode as I would have definitely have asked Tim for a photograph of him and me together otherwise. When he was free, of course – I wouldn’t have interrupted him when he was trying to film.
I’d been on-site quite a while by now, and was pretty hot and pretty tired, so I headed back to the entrance which took me past the seller with the fossil. It was still there and he said that, no, the Bargain Hunt team had not been back. I did notice next to it a ceramic crab and matching lobster. Although they were red, rather than the blue and white of my cloakroom, I thought they were a bit of fun and asked about them and how much they were. The seller said he thought they were Portuguese and that he’d do them for £12 for the pair, and on a whim I offered £10 which he accepted. I’m not entirely convinced I made a good purchase there, but we’ll see when I try them out in the cloakroom.
After that, I thought it was time to head home. Unlike last time, there were no queues to get out, and I wasn’t held up at all and made it home in good time.
I was at one of the bi-monthly (as in, once every 2 months) Antiques and Collectables Fairs at Sandown Park Racecourse on Sunday, and was looking forward to catching up with Amita Vetta of Love That Jewellery. Amita and I had already exchanged a few emails prior so I knew that she would be attending and likewise she was expecting me to be there too.
When I arrived I saw that she was busy, and indeed this continued for quite some time although we did see each other and managed a smile and a wave. But eventually she had a moment and we were able to talk.
She was keen to see what I had done with the conversion of the Pilgrim bracelet to a necklace, and also of the conversion of the earrings from posts to fish hooks. I was wearing the earrings, and we both agreed that they sat far better like this. The Centre of Gravity was completely wrong with posts which caused them to drag downwards, whereas with the hooks they hang naturally.
Amita was also nice enough to say that the necklace looked great when I showed it to her – I wasn’t wearing it because the chain turned out to be too long for the neckline of the dress I was wearing. I will have to shorten it some time.
Whilst we were chatting I suddenly interrupted myself and said “Ooh! I like those!” as I spotted a lovely pair of enamelled metal drop earrings in the shape of Swallows. Well, I’m presuming they’re Swallows – I’m no ornithologist. At £5 they seemed like a no-brainer purchase.
Amita also mentioned that she now has a Facebook page, so I made sure I followed that. It’s at https://www.facebook.com/Lovethatjewellery if you would like to follow also.
Incidentally, it also gave me the idea to set up my own Facebook page to complement my Twitter account, so if you’d prefer to follow me on Facebook rather than Twitter then you now can at https://www.facebook.com/hayllamas
I didn’t want to take up too much more of Amita’s time, as I was very aware of how busy she was, so I let her be after that.
Also at this fair I saw an unusual Japanese-style necklace with a butterfly motif which I immediately loved. Again, I think it is enamelled metal although, unlike the Swallows, it is dull and matte rather than gloss. I don’t know what the age and provenance of it is, but I tend to buy stuff that I like rather than getting too hung up on that.
Even the clasp on it was interesting. It uses a spring-loaded barbed tongue into a socket and has a square of enamel on it. I’m not entirely sure it is meant to be upside-down though.
The seller had a label price of £34 on it and I asked what the best price might be. She said the best she could do was £25 and I thought that was a fair price so didn’t try to haggle down any further than that.
The only downside of the necklace is that it is very snug on me and sits almost as a choker which I’m sure it’s not meant to. It’s probably designed for a much slimmer and more delicate Asian woman rather than my fat Western neck. I’m not sure what can be done about this. Maybe if I can find some similar chain I could perhaps extend it a little.
Another necklace that caught my eye was one with lots of flowers and butterflies (are we seeing a pattern here?), predominantly in green, with green glass pendants. I was in two minds about this one, but a price of £10 swung me towards a “yes”.
I decided I had bought quite enough by now, and fortunately didn’t see much more to tempt me, so left not long after.
The only other purchase to report on was one I made a couple of weeks ago at a small Antiques and Collectables Fair in Hartley Wintney. I bought these tiny stud earrings in a butterfly design. They are Sterling Silver (although I confess I can’t see a hallmark on them, so maybe they aren’t) but at £4 I don’t really mind. What is important is that they are my new favourite daily wear studs when I’m in guy mode and I absolutely adore them.
Apparently the “Swallows” are actually Swifts. I told you I wasn’t an ornithologist!
On Monday I took the day off in order to go to a big Antiques & Collectors Fair at Newbury Racecourse. It’s something I have wanted to do for a while, as week-day events tend to be bigger and are often more trade-focussed.
Pricing was such that 8am to 10am was £10, and 10am onwards was £5. Although there was a real risk of some of the best stuff having been sold by 10am, I elected to aim for that time especially as it would allow me to set off a little later and therefore miss the worst of the traffic.
My journey up to Newbury wasn’t too bad, but as soon as I got into Newbury itself I remembered why I tend not to go there if I can help it, and why the Newbury Bypass was so desperately needed. Traffic got progressively worse until the final mile or two, which was then solid. It turned out that there were roadworks with temporary 3-way traffic lights right slap bang outside the entrance to the Race Course!
Once parked up, I made my way on-site. I’m not really sure what I was expecting – something like some of the shows I have seen on Bargain Hunt, I guess – namely an Exhibition Centre with loads of indoor stalls selling jewellery, pottery, ceramics, art, etc., and a large outdoor area with loads of furniture and the like. I was half right – it was *all* outdoor and seemed to be a cross between a Car Boot Sale, an Outdoor Market, and a Rugby scrum. It was laid out along a tarmac apron in front of the main Grandstand, then continued on to another smaller tarmacked area, then onto grass and hardcore, and finally onto an area adjacent to a building site that was grass with a hardcore path. It went on for quite a way.
There was certainly an eclectic mix on offer, covering all sorts of ages from new to very old, and from very good condition to shockingly poor, and everything in between. However, I really struggled to find things that I wanted to buy. It was very interesting looking at everything though.
There were sellers from all over the country, and indeed the continent. I overheard one seller saying he was over from Holland, and many of the sellers’ vans and cars had European number plates.
One seller had a stack of wooden ammo boxes with German writing on them (pictured). Googling for what was written on them showed they were for German DM-31 and DM-11 land mines, and DM-56 fuses, which are modern ordnance. The boxes certainly looked pretty new. I couldn’t really see any value in them for myself, but they were interesting.
They weren’t the only Militaria there – there was quite a lot of military surplus including some very recent-looking British Army kit. And, of course, the usual array of swords, bayonets, muskets, medals, uniforms, and the like. One seller had what looked like a WW1 Lewis Gun, which is not something I have seen before; the usual machine gun you see for sale is the WW2 Bren.
It was a bit of a oddity though as it was lacking its cooling shroud, but it had a bipod and a flared end on the barrel, and also had a stock. It also looked rather black and shiny like it had a coat of enamel on it. Certainly didn’t look right.
Another thing to catch my eye was a rather “used” hard hat diving helmet (pictured).
I didn’t even ask what the price was as it didn’t really hold any interest to me. I did wonder what the story behind it was though.
I was starting to get concerned that I would even make a purchase by this point. But then I came upon a stall selling sea shells, geological stones, and other whimsy, which was exactly what I was looking for in order to accessorise the driftwood shelf in the downstairs cloakroom.
I managed to bag an unpolished geode for £7 and a collection of shells for £10, all of which I photographed when I got home (pictured).
I think I did ok on price, because some of the shells were individually priced at around £4 each, although others didn’t have prices, and the geode was priced at £10 until I haggled a little, so £17 for everything seemed fair. I’m really pleased with them.
I finally got to the far end of the stalls, and started walking back. Up until now the weather had been lovely – brisk, but clear with nice sunshine (as you can see from some of the earlier pictures). However, the weather was starting to close in by now and rain was definitely in the air.
I’d spied a collection of railway signs on my way down the line of stalls, so on my way back I looked out for them again and enquired as to the price on one I liked (pictured). The seller wanted £25 for it, and I asked if he’d take £20. He said he could sell them all day long for £25 but he would split the difference at £22.50 which I accepted. So I got out my purse, pulled out a £20 note, and then looked in the coin area, eventually tipping it all out into my hand, and it was clear that there was less than £2.50 there. There was a £1 coin, a few 20p pieces, and some other loose change. The seller said that he’d take all the shrapnel plus the £20 note, which seemed fair to me. He then wished me well carrying it as it was heavy. He wasn’t kidding! When I got it home and weighed it, it turned out to be 6kg! That’s around 13lb in old money.
I decided that this was probably a good time to return to the car. But I then passed a stall selling a variety of lamps and shades, and I spied a Tiffany-style hanging pendant lamp with chain and brass fittings (pictured). It didn’t look that old and there was a small crack on one of the panes, but I asked the seller what his best price was. “£10 if you like it, and £15 if you don’t” he replied, so I laughed and said that I liked it and gave him a tenner. Again, I photographed this one when I got home.
There were spits of rain coming down by now, and I decided I had given the place a very thorough sweep and also the cast iron railway sign was starting to feel more like 12kg than 6kg, so it was time to go.
Walking back to the car park I immediately saw, with dismay, that it was absolutely grid-locked with cars trying to get out. I got back to the car, loaded up, and eased myself into the flow. Well, I say flow, but I didn’t move an inch for the first 10 mins and it was a good 40 mins before I made it the 100 metres or so to the exit from where I was parked. The problem was the 3-way temporary traffic lights that I mentioned earlier, which were only letting a few cars out each time. And, also, cars from all parts of the car park trying to join the queue to get out was adding to the gridlock, as they were blocking cars from trying to enter, which was in turn preventing cars from flowing through the traffic lights properly. Classic definition of gridlock and an absolute nightmare. They should have turned off the traffic lights and had people directing traffic by hand I think.
Then, after I’d got out of there and joined the main roads, I very quickly ran into another awful queue of traffic, this time due to a car having broken down on the entrance to a roundabout causing two lanes to merge into one to try to get round them. Again, traffic chaos. In the end it was over an hour between getting into the car and finally getting out of Newbury. I don’t think I will be going back there for a while.
Newbury is only 10 miles or so from Hungerford, which has many Antiques and Collectables shops and I have visited several times in the past. It’s notable for the Hungerford Arcade, which has featured on Bargain Hunt several times and is well worth a visit.
It was around 1.45pm by the time I got there and I was starving, having not eaten all day, so the first thing I did was to head up to the Rafters Café in the rafters (funny, that) of the Hungerford Arcade. In marked contrast to my previous report on a Full English Breakfast, this one was far more like it – two decent sausages, two good rashers of bacon, two eggs, mushrooms, decent beans, nice toast, and an actual pot of tea.
It was then time for a really good root round the Arcade. If you’re not familiar with it, then it is a large collection of stores / booths / areas owned by different vendors; some manned but in most cases unmanned and being sold with the vendor in absentia by the front desk. Some areas are locked and you can get the key from the front desk, others have locked cabinets and you must enquire at the front desk and a member of staff will come with you to unlock, and others are open and browsable.
Last time I was there, which was mid-January, I saw a really lovely Art Deco style figurine but it was £50 and had damage to the hand. It was also in a locked cabinet. I very nearly asked to see it but passed in the end, feeling it overpriced for what I thought it was. I’ve thought about it many times since though.
I was delighted to find that it was still there (pictured), and also this time the cabinet was unlocked with a sign saying you were free to take stuff out and have a look. I considered this a sign of sorts (well, duh), so I very carefully took the figurine out to look. It was “Ocelot” by Franklin Mint / House of Erté – a hand-painted, limited edition, individually numbered, porcelain figure (with 24K gold paint and silver chain, I have since found out from research). This made it significantly more valuable than I had first thought.
The damage to the hand (pictured) was a great shame – her thumb, and her index and middle finger, are all missing on her right hand. But other than that there was no damage and her earrings and necklace were not broken or missing (they are chain, rather than moulded).
I took it to the front desk and asked if the seller was prepared to negotiate on price, and the very polite young man on the front desk said that the seller had indicated that they would offer a 10% discount if pressed (i.e., £45). I looked unconvinced, and he said that he would be happy to ring the seller if I had a price in mind. I said that in light of the damage to the hand, and the lack of a Certificate of Authenticity, the best I could go to was £40. In my head I also knew that if it had been unsold for at least 2½ months then the seller might be amenable. He couldn’t get an answer on the phone immediately, so said to leave it with him.
I continued to browse and quickly came across a small mushroom-shaped brass and frosted glass lamp shade (pictured) that I thought would be ideal for the downstairs cloakroom. It was only small, and there wasn’t much age on it, but the £13 price label reflected that. I’ll need to buy a brass ceiling rose, a brass bulb holder, and some period flex to complete it, which will easily be the same again in money, but I think it will look lovely.
I also found some small polished nodules (which are like geodes but not hollow) so picked two small ones at £4 and £5 respectively to add to the collection of things to go on the driftwood shelf.
By now the seller had phoned back, and accepted my offer of £40, which I was overjoyed about. I asked if there was any movement on any of the other items, and he said that that the label on the lamp shade indicated the seller would knock no more than £1 off, so it would be £12, and that the stones were on their money (which I agreed with – I wasn’t going to haggle on those anyway). So it just remained to get the figurine very carefully wrapped up to avoid any further damage to it. And pay, of course.
I took everything straight back to the car, and then continued to browse the shops because, as I mentioned, there are loads of Antiques & Collectables shops in Hungerford which is why I like going there.
Sadly, despite a really good look, I didn’t find anything else that I wanted to buy although I really enjoyed the browsing.
It was about 4.30pm by now, so I headed on home.
When I got home, the first thing I did was to mount the railway sign to the side gate (which can’t been seen from the road, so I’m not overly worried about theft). It fitted perfectly and I am so pleased with it!
I did a little research online and it seems that although this sign isn’t that rare (there are a number for sale on eBay both current and recently sold), it looks like I did get a good price on it as the going rate seems to be around £40 – £60. So that was a nice bonus.
I also carefully unwrapped the Ocelot figurine and put it on the shelf, and then photographed it. I really like how this photograph has come out – the composition and lighting especially.
And that was my day. I was absolutely knackered, so I had a quiet evening and a nice soak in the bath.
This Easter Weekend sees a whole load of shows on Friday, Sunday and Monday, with Easter Monday being particularly busy with several shows within driving distance of each other. So hopefully I will find some more bargains then too.
On Saturday I decided to drive up to Reading to visit Fanny’s Antiques, which is an antiques and architectural salvage shop on the North side of the Reading ring road. It’s not the first time I have been there, but I haven’t been there recently.
Before I set off, though, I decided to grab some breakfast (or, rather, lunch) from a local café. My regular one was packed, so I went to a new one that I have not tried before.
I gave my order, and then sat down to wait for it at a table. And waited. And waited. And waited. One of the people on another table who had arrived before me started to complain that they had been waiting for 40 mins and were demanding to know when their order would arrive. In the end their order finally came out and mine came out not long after. My total wait time was probably similar to theirs, which is pretty unacceptable especially if you are not forewarned. What’s worse is that they didn’t seem that busy.
What I was finally given was the most pathetic “Full” (sic) English Breakfast I have ever had. Two coins of bacon (it would be too much to call them rashers), a single sausage, and a small fried egg, all spaced out on the plate with a large quantity of cheap baked beans filling the gaps and trying to disguise how shite it was, with some anaemic toast that was more bread than toast to go with it. They’d also put the packets of butter on top of the toast which meant they melted, and I didn’t so much spread them as pour the butter out of the foil packets.
As one of my Facebook friends put it when I posted the photo – “Did you already eat some of it, or is that a child’s potion?”.
I won’t be going there again.
I then hit the road for Reading and was soon at Fanny’s and parked up in the front entrance.
I really like Fanny’s as, not only does it have a lot of great stuff, but the building it is in is very interesting too. I think it must have been an abattoir or meat packing building at one point, because there are metal runners with big meat hooks on them throughout the ground floor of the building.
It’s a little run down with paint peeling off the walls and the ceiling is braced in places with Acrow props, but I think that’s half the charm.
There’s always quite an eclectic mix here – mainly furniture downstairs, with trinkets, lights, telephones, wall signs and other ephemera dotted around the place, and then upstairs there is a collection of vintage clothing, art, bric-a-brack, household items, more lights, books, and the like. And throughout the place various pictures, paintings and wall art. There is also a small outside area with various outdoor furniture, hanging baskets, wall baskets, metal signs, etc.
I was on the lookout for anything that caught my eye, but mainly I was looking for a chair for my dressing table and also a small dressing table mirror.
I was tempted by a square metal stool with back (does that make it a chair? Or maybe a StoolChair?) but ultimately decided against it, although I gave it serious thought and came back to it at least twice for another look.
Likewise I looked at a funky retro wooden chair, which was actually fairly boring when you took a closer look at it.
I think that’s half the appeal of the Shabby Chic look for sellers – take any old dilapidated, mismatched or out of fashion crap, duff it up a bit more, paint it in chalk-based paint, randomly rub some of it off again, sell it. Sorted.
Mind you, it’s equally good for buyers too because you don’t have to worry if you fix it a bit wonky or if it doesn’t quite match your other stuff. Anyway, I didn’t think the chair was special enough so left it.
Another thing that caught my eye was a coffee table made from a F1 tyre (from 1993), but it was a very poor example of one as it was literally just a tyre with a disc of glass on top. The side walls of the tyre were saggy and it looked a bit of a mess. I think that if I were to have something like this I would want the wheel as well as the tyre, in order to give it shape and impact. So, needless to say, I didn’t buy it.
Sadly I didn’t find anything at all that I wanted to buy in the end, even though I had a very thorough look, so I eventually moved on and briefly popped into The Range over the road, but didn’t buy anything there either. It was turning into a pretty unproductive day.
I thought I would pop into Reading itself for a little, and parked up on street parking near to the station as I wanted to visit the Collectors shop in the Harris Arcade and also the Comics & Vintage Toys store next door to it. The parking bay I parked in appeared to say on the sign that it was for the holders of Residents Permits or was Pay & Display for non-residents, so I bought a ticket from the machine and displayed it in my car.
Walking over to the Harris Arcade, I found both shops I wanted to visit closed but with the Comics & Vintage Toys shop with a sign saying “Back in 5 mins” and, sure enough, he was and opened up for me. I had a look around but nothing caught my eye, although I did have a nice chat with the guy about how the shop had appeared on an episode of Toy Hunter which airs on the Quest channel in the UK. Apparently they filmed for over 15 hours to film the short segment that appeared on the show. I realise that filming takes a while but I didn’t realise it was *that* long!
The shop next door, which stocks Collectables, Militaria, post cards, china, etc., was closed. What I didn’t realise at the time was that both shops are part of the Reading Collectors Centre. Had I known that, I would have asked the guy if he could have opened it for me, because it was one of the reasons I had visited. I will know next time.
I wandered around a bit longer and found a clothing shop that was selling an absolutely gorgeous skirt that I totally fell in love with. It was in a sort of light mocha colour (although also available in black and also white), knee length, very light and floaty / flarey, elasticated waist, and fully lined. It was £24.99 and I really wanted to buy it but ultimately thought it was a little expensive for what it was and denied myself. I really, really wanted it though.
Eventually I returned to the car to find a parking ticket on the windscreen. Arseflaps. Initially I was full of righteous indignation that I had a valid ticket, but when I looked more closely at the sign showing the parking restrictions, it became clear that I had not read it correctly. I had read “Residents Permits or Pay & Display”, but what it actually said was that this was the case between 10am and 4pm, and that outside these times it was Residents Permits only. I was still there after 4pm so I got a ticket. The fine is £50, or £25 if paid within 14 days, plus the £1.50 that I had already paid to park. It’s particularly galling that I denied myself the skirt that was £24.99 that I mentioned earlier, and then have to pay a £25 fine. I feel like I should drive back to Reading this weekend and buy the skirt as a matter of principle now. 🙂
On the way out of Reading I called into Costco and bought, amongst other things, a 1.75L bottle of pre-mixed Margarita and a large steak. So that was my evening sorted and, indeed, my hangover for Sunday. Needless to say I didn’t do a whole lot on Sunday and have nothing to report on that.
As I mentioned previously, the bed and the furniture were due to arrive last weekend and I was going all out to get my bedroom cleared in time. Fortunately I achieved that goal and by Wednesday evening the room was cleared, hoovered, and ready. With the room clear I could see that the carpet was rather worn and could really do with being replaced but it was entirely too late by then.
On Friday late afternoon just after I got home from work, the bed arrived as scheduled and was assembled without any fuss or bother.
The furniture was due the next day and since I had ordered it in girl mode, I thought I might as well receive it in girl mode. Not that the delivery guys would have given two hoots either way, of course, but I thought it would be appropriate and fun.
I didn’t know what time they would be arriving, and decided I wouldn’t bust a gut to get up early – I would get up when I did, and if it meant that I was awoken by them arriving then I’d just pull on a t-shirt and joggers and open the door in guy mode.
As it happened, I awoke before they arrived. I decided I would just go for minimal make up – just foundation, a little eyebrow pencil, some mascara, and some lippy. Just as well really, because I had just got that done and my wig on, and was just brushing it, when the doorbell rang! If they had arrived when I was in the middle of things that would have been the worst possible scenario, and one I had not thought of.
There were two guys, and they chose to do the hardest item first – the 7-drawer low wide chest of drawers. The route involved coming in the front door, turning right along the hallway, then a 180° turn to get up the stairs. It was very, very tight. They had to tip the whole unit vertically, and it only just cleared the ceiling on the mini-landing at the foot of the stairs (pictured). Then they had to tip it forward parallel to the stairs and there were literally millimetres of clearance on the ceiling. I’m not sure what we would have done had it not fit.
The rest of the furniture went up without any problems and in no time at all it was all done and the guys left me to it.
I did a little organising, and then decided to go out for a while. I added a little eye shadow and some eye liner to my make up, and then left the house. Whilst I was out I was a victim of rather an unpleasant road rage incident where the other driver was trying to force me to stop by trying to cut me up and block me to a halt so that he could remonstrate with me, but I don’t really want to go into that on a public forum. Sufficient to say that I eluded him each time and eventually lost him. But I learned an important lesson that it is even more important not to rile other drivers when you are a woman than it is when you’re a man. Until that incident I would have predicted that the reverse was true – that a man would be more aggressive towards another man, but it would seem not. Very scary.
When I got back home, my longer hair was really annoying me but I wanted to stay in girl mode, so I swapped to my older, shorter, wig which you’ll have seen many times in my photos in the past. I haven’t worn it since buying my new wigs, so it was nice to go back to it.
I spent the rest of the evening doing this & that, and then had an early night. For once I didn’t take all my make up off – I removed my foundation and lippy but left my eyes, with a view to getting back into girl mode the next day.
The next day, I got into girl mode again and headed over to Woking for a Take Five Flea & Collectables fair. Amita Vetta of Love That Jewellery was there again and she instantly recognised me, and we had a nice little chat. And the guy who does the Swing style singing was there too, only I have only ever talked to him in guy mode, which made me realise that I should really make an effort to always go to these things in girl mode even if I don’t feel like it because it is good to build up relationships with people.
This was especially true when I got chatting to another seller who I have previously bought a necklace from, because she remembered me buying it and also remarked how lovely the necklace I was wearing was (it was the same as on Saturday, pictured). I saw she was selling a necklace I liked the look of, and I thought the price of £15 she was asking was reasonable so bought it. I really should stop buying necklaces or I will have to declare myself a collector of those too! I told her as much and she laughed and said that was how she started as well and if I wasn’t careful I would be opening a stall like her. 🙂
I spent a lot longer at this fair than I usually do – normally I whistle round in around 45 mins – but I took far more time this time and was there for double that if not longer. Possibly because I have more I want to buy now that I am accessorising a room. I bought a couple of Art Deco / Art Nouveau style postcards. I’m not planning to start collecting, but if I get enough similar cards together I will collage them into a picture frame to hang on the wall. It doesn’t matter if it takes a while until I have enough – they can sit in a drawer until I do.
Another thing I managed to get was a gorgeous Art Nouveau picture frame for £5. I didn’t have the nerve to haggle on that price – generally £5 and under I don’t, although my mum definitely would. I don’t know how she has the cheek to do so, to be honest.
I also saw a really lovely pair of silver fairy drop earrings. The seller wanted £12 for them and I offered £10, which he accepted.
I particularly liked them because they are mirror images of each other – I really hate it when single-sided asymmetric earrings are identical to each other because it results in them facing in different directions when you wear them. I’m strange like that – things like this matter to me.
Eventually I was done, and I moved on to the small fair in the Village Hall at Ripley, since that’s not far from Woking. I’ve been to one of these before, although didn’t blog about it. In fact, now that I come to think of it I have been to quite a few of these fairs since I last blogged about one. I think perhaps I’ve been going to so many that I thought readers of this blog might be rather bored to hear about yet another one!
Although Ripley Village Hall is a small venue, last time I was there I got some reasonable stuff so I was hoping for the same again.
I spotted a pair of what seemed to be lead or pewter faeries for £3 each. I wasn’t too sure on them, but the seller said I could have both for £5 so I decided to take a punt. The wings are definitely lead or some other soft metal as the tips had bent and needed to be teased back into shape. The crescent moons, however, are clearly resin as the silver paint has worn off them showing the translucent resin underneath. I may touch them up with silver paint or I might just bin them. I haven’t decided yet.
I then came across a rather beat-up slim wall cabinet in a shabby chic style, whose knobs match the ones I have fitted to my wardrobes. The label price was £35, and I asked the seller what her best price was and she said she could come down to £25, which I thought was fair. However, it turned out I literally only had exactly £24 left by now, so I asked if she would accept that and she did. It’s nice enough, although it has an absolutely horrid modern white plastic magnetic catch (not visible in the pic) holding it closed. I think I might have to replace that with something more in keeping.
I looked around the rest of the hall, even though I was out of cash, but there was nothing else of interest, so left with just those items.
When I got home, I made myself a nice lunch and settled down to watch the Australian F1 GP. However, a combination of the lunch, the active morning, and a less than thrilling race, meant that I fell asleep on the sofa and missed much of the race. However, it appears that I didn’t miss much, sadly.
There’s nothing much more to report for now. I am still pondering on the Art Deco light. I have two options for making it shorter but I will leave that to another day to blog about.
Likewise I will leave it to another day to report on how the bedroom has come along this week.
Continuing on from my previous post…
On Wednesday, I headed down to Southsea via Lee-on-the-Solent. Or, rather, I set off, realised I had left my camera at home, turned round and went back, got it, and headed off again.
I had made arrangements to visit the Hovercraft Museum, which is located at HMS Daedalus. Officially the museum is closed at the moment, but if you contact them you can arrange to visit by appointment. So, arrangements having been made a few weeks ago, I turned up at the gate to be met by a Security Guard who told me that the museum was closed, and that I couldn’t come in. I explained that I had made an appointment and that they were expecting me. She seemed unconvinced, saying it was all fenced off and inaccessible, but I assured her that I was expected and she let me proceed to the Security Portacabin. There I had to park up, sign in, get a site pass permit to display in the windscreen of my car, and then told again that they had no knowledge of it being open. Fortunately I had a phone number for my contact, Warwick, at the museum. Thankfully he was just approaching the gate as I phoned him, said he could see me, and that I should follow him on-site to the museum. Security were happy with this, so I jumped in my car, put my permit on the dash, and followed him.
After we’d parked up, and I’d been introduced to his two awesome dogs, Warwick explained that the museum actually has its own public access direct to the road but that because the museum is officially closed right now, and their car park is a building site, visitors have to go through the palaver of coming onto HMS Daedalus itself with all the hassle of passes and security gates that I had gone through. He then told me that he would go round unlocking things, and I should feel free to wander around to my heart’s content, and to climb into (and onto) any hovercraft that were open, sit in the pilot’s chair, whatever I wanted, and to give him a shout if I needed anything. So I got my dSLR out of my car (the one I had gone back to get) and discovered that it had no memory card in it. Arseflaps. So I was left with the prospect of taking photos with only my phone, which has a notoriously poor camera. Normally this is not a problem for me as I usually carry a decent compact camera in my handbag. Sadly, though, I was in guy mode and handbag-less.
I was at the museum for a good 2 hours in the end, and had a lovely time looking over the hovercraft, sitting in pilots chairs and secretly making “WooooooOOOOOOOO ROARRRRRRRRRR” noises (in my head, ‘natch). They had all sorts there, from the tiniest one-man ones right up to the gargantuan SR.N4 passenger ferry hovercraft. They also had several Military ones, too. One even had bullet holes in the windscreen, which was a bit scary.
The museum had a bit of a run-down air to it; a feeling of faded glory. Not just for the sad fact that hovercraft represent a bygone age, and that in all of them the cockpits were decidedly old school 20th Century analogue, but also because the museum seemed underfunded and run down, and the hovercraft all looked rather forlorn and in a state of neglect and disrepair.
I talked to Warwick about this over a cup of tea, and he explained that the museum is run on a volunteer basis and they are in enforced shutdown at the moment as Daedalus are refurbishing the hangars and that the museum’s car park is currently fenced off and unavailable to them. What little income they have is spent on bare minimum running costs, such as rent, lighting, heating, essential maintenance, and the like.
He pointed out the SR.N6 Twin Prop and told me that 3 years ago it had been freshly painted, but that since then it had been sitting out in the salt-laden sea air and had deteriorated to its current state in just that short period of time.
I felt quite sad about this. So much of the innovation and wonder of the past is gone – decommissioned, mothballed or scrapped. The hovercraft, the ekranoplans, Concorde, the Space Shuttle, the SR-71 Blackbird, and the like. It seems that only a handful of people like Elon Musk still have the vision to drive forward into the Future; most people seem content in staying only in the Present. 😦
Anyway, we finished our tea and I said I’d like to make a donation. Warwick told me that the usual fee for a visit was £10 and if I could Gift Aid it then that would be even better. But I recalled that annual membership of the ‘Friends of the Hovercraft Museum’ was £25 and suggested I did that, with Gift Aid, as a way of supporting their work. I feel quite strongly that it is important that this museum survives, and that these examples of our cultural heritage of Great Britain’s former greatness as leaders in technology is preserved. I also felt that my donation might actually make a small difference. So we did that, and he joked that at least that meant I could come back again another time with a memory card in my dSLR and take my photos properly, since membership gives me free admittance . 🙂
After that, I thanked Warwick for his time and left him to lock up whilst I departed, handing my site pass back in to Security on the way out. I then drove round the bay to Southsea, with a view to finding the Antiques shops that had featured in Celebrity Antiques Road Trip.
I initially parked up on Marmion Road (free street parking – yay!), and popped into a few stores such as The Interior Trading Company and also Victoriana Furniture, but nothing caught my eye.
I did go into Fat Face though, and got this lovely bracelet which I immediately wore. Yes, in guy mode. But, so what?
What I really wanted to find was Parmiters Antiques, which I had seen on Celebrity Antiques Road Trip. I had checked their website for opening times before looking for them. My SatNav directed me to Albert Road and I parked up there (again, free on street parking – yay).
I quickly found them and they were closed. As were Langford Antiques. As were Tango Tea Collectables. This was rather a disappointment to say the least. It turns out that published opening times on websites mean “these are the times we’re open when we can be bothered to open”. The actual opening times are displayed on the shop window, on a small blackboard or whiteboard, which evidently is subject to change without notice.
I ended up walking pretty much the entire length of Albert Road and back, and did find a few interesting shops, but I didn’t buy anything. Still, it was good exercise.
I then drove round to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, with a view to having a wander around the exhibits. I parked up in their multi-storey and walked round to the entrance. A sign on the gate said that the site itself was free, but all the exhibits had a charge. However,lightweight barriers forced you into a building where the payment desks were. Each exhibit (such as HMS Warrior, the Mary Rose, Royal Marines Museum, etc.) carried a price of around £14-£18, with an all-exhibit pass at £28. Unlike the Hovercraft Museum, where I felt that my money was going directly to support something that clearly desperately needed it, this felt like commercial Tourist-gouging, so I elected not to pay and left. Instead I wandered down to Gun Wharf Quays for a spot of shopping and a bite to eat (it was 3.30pm by now and I hadn’t had a thing to eat that day). I didn’t find anything, and by then I was getting rather tired, so I decided that it was probably time to head home.
I drove back cross-country though, to make things a little more interesting.
I didn’t do much in the evening, but did have a nice long soak in the bath because I knew I would be stiff from all the walking that day, and with a trip up to London the next day I would have more of the same, so a good soak in muscle-relaxing Radox would probably be an extremely good idea.
But I’ll cover that in my next post…
Oh how wonderful. I emailed Warwick to alert him to this post (and also to link him some awesome articles on Dark Roasted Blend about Ekranoplans and Hydrofoils as he is interested in them too).
He came back with a lovely email that was totally accepting of me being TG and saying I should model some of their Hoverlloyd and Seaspeed uniforms one day. I would be so up for that! And as I’m a size 14 I might have half a chance of fitting them too, especially as I’ve been a 12-14 in the past and heading back there too. 😀