03 October 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (seriously, please put your clothes back on)

The good thing about nice warm weather in England is that it’s nice and warm.  The bad thing about nice warm weather in England is that every second person seems to feel the urge to take most of their clothes off.  Goodness me, we have seen sights these last few days we did not need to see.  Big fat pot bellies are not enhanced by turning bright red, let me tell you that right now.  I know we have no grounds to mock other peoples’ bodies, but hey we kept our kit on and did not inflict a big fat (bright red) pot belly or an incredibly huge, heaving, wobbling, life-of-its-own (bright red) bosom on anyone else.  We’re beginning to hope it turns horribly cold and necessitates lots of coats and scarves.  Lots of coats and scarves.  Yessiree, feel free to just pile on those clothes, people.

So anyway, off we traipsed to the west Midlands to go to a Fair and a couple of antiques centres.  What a disappointment!  Boring and over-priced when it wasn’t reproduction.  I mentioned to one centre manager that there was a huge amount of (undeclared) reproduction throughout the centre, and she came up with some pathetic excuse, saying that if the dealers can’t get sufficient real stock they have no choice but to get in reproduction.  They live in England – the place is crammed with real antique and vintage stock.  Yes you have to hunt to find particularly good things at particularly good prices, but it’s totally possible.  And there is no excuse at all to pretend that reproduction items are real - isn't that what normal people call LYING???  And what is this insane philosophy about putting prices massively up during tough financial times?  What am I not getting?  So anyway, suffice to say that we did not buy very much at either the Fair or the antiques centres. 

On the up side as far as stock goes, I did find a very beautiful large German ceramic jardiniere that looks just like Australian Melrose pottery, and I envisaged potting it up with some orchids and putting it in the front window of the shop.  On the down side as far as stock goes, I was better able to envisage it potted up with some orchids at my house, so it’s probably going to stay home.  As far as stock that I am prepared to sell goes, the buy of the day was a beautiful Wedgwood gurgling fish jug (also called a glug jug).  I’ve been looking for a nice glug jug for ages, but usually their fishy features aren’t very crisply moulded and they are a really boring brown, so finding a very crisply detailed green majolica glug jug was a great find.  So something good came of the trip West.

Then it was off to Nottingham, where we will be based for the next week.  Sherwood Forest is a fraction of its former self, but still lovely for a quick walk through.  On Sunday mornings in Nottingham all the churches (and there are many) ring their bells at the same time and it sounds really lovely.  Too bad if you want a Sunday sleep-in, but our plan was to go shopping in any case.  First we saw the end of Wales annihilating Fiji in the Rugby World Cup, and the start of Ireland doing in Italy.  We’re not really into rugby union, but there’s no escaping it here at the moment and some of the matches are turning out to be quite exciting.

Then off to a few centres we usually frequent when we’re in this area and a new one that has only just opened, plus a little Fair that we came across unexpectedly.  All up, it was pretty good.  Nice books, really good jewellery, more interesting cutlery, and some nice Victorian ceramics.  I don’t buy a lot of Victoriana as a general rule, but some of the ceramics are lovely so I was particularly looking out for some.  I’m keeping a small plate for my own collection, but in the shop I’ll be offering a really nice cake plate that features Bluebirds.  I don’t know if blue birds meant anything in Victorian symbolism, where every single flower had a secret meaning, but many indigenous cultures around the world feature a Bluebird of Happiness in their mythologies.  In that context blue birds usually symbolise happiness, prosperity and good health, so it’s all very positive.  See, whoever said a degree in Anthropology wouldn’t come in useful?

Now we have a lot, lot, lot of packing to do before we regroup and then hit the next big Fair on Tuesday. 

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