08 March 2012

Either This Rain Goes Or I Do

By golly can it rain any more than it has lately?  I know it’s meant to be the wet season, but this one has been particularly wet and we’re really over it.  Still, we’re fortunate that we haven’t suffered as much damage as many.  At home we had a 30 tonne landslide across our driveway – last year we had a 200 tonne slide across one of our access tracks so this one was a whole lot smaller but much more inconvenient because it trapped us on the mountain for a few hours.  In the shop we’ve suffered no damage at all, although the art gallery a few doors down has been flooded twice in two weeks.  Having the high ground is a good thing in so many ways, including flood avoidance.

It’s nine sleeps before we head off, and the incessant rain has played havoc with our plans to get some decent land care done before we go.  Unless we issue the house sitters with machetes there’s an awful lot of slashing and whipper-snipping that needs to be done so the jungle doesn’t engulf the house while we’re away.  But there should still be enough time to get things done before the house sitters arrive if the rain holds off, including our bi-annual Pretend We’re Always This Tidy clean up.

The temperature should be downright chilly in Istanbul, but we plan to be inside the Grand Bazaar or the Hagia Sophia during the outward leg, so we’ll be under cover.  And looking at the long range weather forecast for the UK, the temperatures are expected to be above average for our first two weeks there, although cooler in the north (and of course we’re flying in via Manchester).  Still, we’ve been really lucky with the weather for most of our trips – we even got sunburned last October which is amazing for autumn in England – so fingers crossed for this time.  Neither rain nor hail nor sleet will stop me shopping, but it’s far more pleasant in a bit of sunshine.
It’s been a mixture of customers in the shop this week.  A chap came in today and declared I’m in Love.  I get that a lot I said, but it turned out he was talking about the vintage French copper saucepans on the wall.  And yeah, they’re nice too.  People march up to my desk all the time and say Hello Gorgeous, but alas I have learned that they’re usually talking to the cat.  Okay, they’re always talking to the cat.  I am relegated to Cat’s Entourage.  We used to have a lovely old Burmese who had unstable diabetes for the last eight years of his life, so we had him at the vet a lot and the receptionist used to call out Tripitaka’s here when we walked through the door.  Tripitaka and his (unnamed) minions.  But anyway, besides lots of people admiring and photographing the moggies, we have also had Actual Customers to the point that the shelves are now starting to look a bit bare and I shall have to drag out the spare stock boxes starting tomorrow.  The spare stock is actually perfectly good, just not stock from the most recent trip and I always give stock from the most recent trip precedence, but now I’m running out of that so I shall delve into the spare stock and see what niceties I can find. 

But that was the good bit.  I’ve also had two people in as many days who wanted to buy several of our vintage French magazine advertisements but only if I offered a discounted price.  Just to contextualize, we are the only shop in Australia that sells the originals of these images and we frame them for free.  How many other picture framers do you know who don’t charge for their labour?  So we outlaid for the proper framing equipment and we just wore that cost, and then the time we spend framing the images is not included in the price of the images.  That’s why something so lovely is so affordable – because we’re so dang reasonable.  So if you want three images, you will get originals from the only shop in the country that sells them, framed, and pay the same as you would ordinarily have to pay just for framing.  Am I deluding myself that this is an utter bargain?  And yes, I explained our approach.  And no, it wasn’t good enough.  Hey, why don’t I just pay them to take the pictures off my hands?  On the other hand, we sold over 70 images just in January, so plenty of other people know a good thing when they see it, but it’s the snippy, insulting ones who want something fabulous for less than you paid yourself that you dwell on. 

So here’s my solution - they can pay for airfare to France, scour the city to find the right ephemera dealers, get to the good images before I do (though I promise I will have been there first), pay for all the associated costs in hanging out in one of the more expensive cities in the world, ship the images back to Australia and then get them framed from a framer who is less kind than me and Doug and who will charge you for his time.  So, snippy, insulting people who want free framing for less than free - let’s see how you fare if you have to do it all yourself.  Commence.

I know it will do my head in if I focus on stoopid people, so let’s return to the man who’s in love with my copper saucepans.  Nice man.  Very complimentary.  Took lots of photos to show his partner.  He’s lived in the little town down the road for nine years and only just discovered us, but said he was very happy that he had.  Yes, I’m feeling fine now.  And if I start to focus on all the lovely French men I’m about to meet, yes I feel even better.  I have rarely met a French man on our trips who hasn’t flirted outrageously.  It’s all a game, with lots of winks and laughter, and I tell you it does a girl good.  Ever patient Douglas just raises an eyebrow at their antics.  Last trip I met a very gorgeous English man but he lived in Le Mans and had clearly learned the art of French Flirting so he counted as almost-French.  It should be compulsory for everyone to speak English with a lovely French accent.  Or maybe a soft Scottish or Irish lilt.  Yep, now I’m feeling pretty good and downright anticipatory.  Bring it on.

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