16 April 2012

How Good is Yorkshire?

Now we’ve moved on to Yorkshire for our last few days in the UK.  We quite liked staying in Grantham, down in Lincolnshire, which was very well placed for us to attend the big Fairs and is surrounded by beautiful countryside, so I think that will be a fixture on future trips.  The oddly named but pretty village of Croxton Kerrial was just down the road and very nearby was Harlaxton College, which is very grand and looks like a poor cousin of Hogwarts.  We passed through Balderton on the way to one of the Fairs, and thought what a wasted opportunity that was – why would you name a village Balderton when you could have called it Balderdash?  A much better choice, we agreed.

Yorkshire is a beautiful county, with rolling green hills, drystone walls and at this time of year lots of gambolling lambs.  The Yorkshire Moors have their own bleak beauty, with lots of purple heather and yellow gorse, and the occasional wildly tumbling brook.  You can see why people set novels in this region.  But by golly it’s a little cold! 

The last Fair we attended – biggest antiques Fair in the world – was pretty sucky, to be frank.  I expected to do some major volume buying there, and I did buy plenty of things, but nowhere near as many as I was expecting.  There were lots of lovely but horribly over-priced pieces, but mostly it was affordable but so boring why would you bother stuff.  Finding the lovely and affordable pieces was quite a challenge.  So the general verdict was that for the most part it was too expensive or not good enough.  I know every trip is different, but it’s a shame when the biggest Fair in the world doesn’t pan out as you’d like.  Doug says it’s the result of my becoming jaded after buying for so many years – plain old/plain old just won’t cut it anymore, so I walk past what is probably good enough stock because I’m too busy looking for the better pieces.  But I don’t want good enough, I want dang good.  And he often identifies what I’m likely to go for, or points out things to me that I missed but then want, so he’s just as bad as me on the Being Jaded front.

So we had our last chance to buy at an antiques centre up in Yorkshire, and boy did it deliver.  Hurrah!  Doug says I have now spent as much as I should have, and I am really pleased with what I got.  I’ve never offered Victorian stoneware items before, but oooh wait til they are displayed en masse in the shop – they will look really lovely.  They have nice neutral colours that will go with any kitchen and a really attractive tactile feel and the not perfect glaze that I favour in utilitarian mid-19th century pieces.  They should sit very nicely with the 20th century semi-industrial pieces I’ve collected, so what a good save that was.  I’m afraid a few pieces won’t make it past our own kitchen, but we shall decide exactly what we’re keeping when they get back.  So anyway, suffice to say that I am seriously chuffed with these purchases, and I think they’ll look great in the shop.  And I bought enough that they will largely contribute to a good kitchenalia window display.

But it wasn’t just Victorian stoneware, I also bought some lovely 1930s ceramics, Deco glass and a few charming WWI embroidered postcards that will look beautiful when framed.  So we emerged from the centre totally weighed down but very happy Vegemites from the last gasp shopping trip.  Then it was pack, pack, pack.  And pack some more.

Tomorrow we’ll box up our travel equipment and the coats and bits and bobs we don’t need to lug back in our luggage and replace all that with the stuff we do want to lug back, then it’s the final visit to the packers, drop off the van and we’re done.  We’re flying out of the UK on Tuesday, will have a few play days in Istanbul and Singapore (which I may or may not blog about as they happen – we’ll see), then home.  And how good will that be?  Very good is the answer.  We’ll be back in the shop on Wednesday 25 April.

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