02 February 2012

Planning the Next Trip (Already!)

Okay, the 2012 March/April buying trip has now officially gone into the Intensive Planning stage.  The airline tickets for us are bought, the airline tickets for the visiting shop/house/moggie sitters (my parents) are bought, and the dates are set in concrete.  Now I just have to fill in the details.

Because in my old age I am a woozy-girl, I really do insist on having two stop-overs on the way and way back.  We didn’t last trip, and I found the jump from Abu Dhabi to Brisbane to be a killer.  Doug is made of sterner stuff than me, but I get horrible jetlag and why should I when there’s no need?  So this time he’s indulging me and it’s going to be Singapore and Istanbul for our stopovers.  We prefer Hong Kong to Singapore, but these were the flights that panned out the best for us.  We’ve not been to Istanbul before, although we’ve talked about visiting for some time, so it should be a bit of fun. 

Lucky I’ve done some research on shopping in Turkey, though, because it is my intention to buy interesting antiquities whenever I can, and I rather thought I could do that in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.  Not the cheapest place in the world to do some shopping, but interesting.  You can buy antiques, but it turns out that it is now illegal to export antiquities from Turkey (even if you’ve paid for them and are not a smuggler) and the penalty is a jail sentence.  And while I don’t doubt that my readership might grow if I took to blogging about my naked knife fights in a Turkish prison and getting all Midnight Express on you (minus the drugs but including some quite pretty ceramic tiles), on balance I do like to skip about as I please and my Blog will just have to be a little bit more boring that it might otherwise be.

This trip will be a bit chaotic because the timing and locations of the big antiques Fairs we want to attend are all over the place, so we’ll be dashing from pillar to post.  But we’ll still have time for a visit to Paris (mais oui), and this time we’ve decided to head north rather than south after that and have a look at Brussels and Amsterdam.  We visited Brugges a few trips ago and that was lovely and the only place in all of Belgium that I like so far.  There was some good buying there, so we’ll see if Brussels is as good.  Amsterdam has some famous markets but we’ll be there mid-week so we’ll see how viable it is to buy from the shops.  If all else fails and I just can’t find anything decent to buy at a decent price we can always visit the Rijksmuseum – and in fact will probably do that anyway even though our taste in paintings tends towards the Impressionists and Pre-Raphaelites rather than the Old Masters.

This trip I am definitely factoring in a visit to Chateau de Pierrefonds in Picardy, which we will go to on the way from Calais to Paris.  On our last trip I really wanted to go there, but because I only discovered that I really wanted to go there mid-trip I hadn’t factored it in as a Play Day, and therefore our only free day while in the region was a Monday and the Chateau is closed on Mondays.  Of course (mais oui).  So this time, with the capacity to work it in during the planning phase, we’ll go on a Thursday.  I want to visit this Chateau because it is the real-life backdrop to the television show Merlin, and I’ve heard that you can visit while they’re filming.  I have been filmed as Browser No. 1 in the background of Bargain Hunt 11 times now, and how much editing can they do? - I must feature in that show eventually.  But I feel my Thespian Career is now ready for the next step, and I aim to be Sorceress No. 3 in the credits of Merlin.  Hey I can be evil! (just ask Doug)  And I already have four moggie familiars – including the obligatory black cat.  And I can give a quite an effective death-ray stare (just ask Doug).  So all in all, I was made for this role, dahling.  You’ll get to read about how it goes – that’s if I’m still talking to you once I’m famous.

Thursday is always Restyle the Window Day, and today friends visited and we got all creative and went blue – very blue.  Lots of blue Deco glass, blue jewellery, blue enamelware, vintage books with blue covers, a fabuloso Royal Doulton Arts & Crafts era ceramic jug and bowl set, and even an American calendar girl with lots of blue in the image.  Yep, very blue.  And yet seeing a big block of colour (albeit different shades) looks really striking. 

I haven’t got a lot of pictures with blue in them or with blue matting at the moment – even though that’s one of the most popular shades for picture matts – and that’s because in January we sold close to 70 images.  That’s a lot, even for us who sell pictures pretty consistently.  So I’d better get a bit more framing done soon, and now the weather isn’t so hot and wet and humid as it’s been in the past few weeks we can again start to handle the paper items safely (unframed pictures can get a bit limp in really humid weather so we just leave them be).

We’ve also sold a lot of lamps over the last week so I urgently need to get the last of them rewired so they can be presented for sale, but in the meantime it will be downright dim in the shop at night.  We picked up a couple of elegant French reading lamps last trip, very similar to one I have on my bedside table right now, but I bought that one 15 years ago and have been looking for another one that I could afford ever since.  Ah the joys of antiques – you’ve got to hunt to find the good things, sometimes for a long time, but that’s fine if you enjoy the thrill of the hunt as we do.  It would be much easier to be able to ring a supplier and order seven more of whatever you need, but how boring would that be?

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