23 December 2013

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, Your Baubles All Are History

A dancing cherub on our Victorian pot.
We keep it outside so it has lots of nice
lichen over it.
At the mountain stronghold we have 54 acres of mostly rainforest, but towards the bottom of the mountain there is a nice little grove of pine trees.  I know that technically pine trees are weeds in this area, but they still look nice.  So every year, for some years, we have harvested our own small live Christmas tree.  We have a lovely large Victorian terracotta pot with cherubs dancing around it and some beautiful glass and fabric baubles, so it all looks festive and appropriate to the season. 

But that was before we started living with Bengals. 
Bengals like to climb.  Bengals like to pull things down, play soccer with them and then tear them to pieces.  Tiny little pieces.  In short, Bengals cannot resist the temptation of a fully decorated Christmas tree and what results is a messy disaster.  It never happens when you’re looking – nosiree, when you’re looking everyone is positively angelic.  After the first time they are growled at for investigating this new toy too enthusiastically, they make sure to walk a wide circle around it whenever you’re looking. 
Caleb took a great liking to the Steiff leopard we
brought back from our buying trip.  When he
wasn't dragging it around the house by the
throat, he was cuddling up to it.  But it was not
destined to be his, and it has now gone to a
good home where it won't be mauled.
But you can’t keep looking forever, can you?  Bengals know this.  Eventually you will be worn down.  Eventually you will relax your guard.  Eventually you’ve got to sleep.  And then they strike.  Hard and fast, make your kill, dance triumphantly all over it, and then scatter and try to pin the blame on Klaatu.

Look at this sweet boy - he's no tree shredder.
But Klaatu is a good boy who sleeps at the end of the bed every night, and it takes a whole lot to get him out of his spot.  And anyway, I know who the culprits are, and they’re spotty.  

There is no overt naughty behavior going on, they genuinely seem to think that every single new thing that comes into the house is for their pussycat pleasure.  So what can we do?  We are again in a Christmas Tree Free Zone this year, which is disappointing.  Next year I’m trying again, and hopefully they will have grown up a bit by then.  I live in hope.

Now that's a tree shredder.
Meanwhile, we’re only new at the Peregian Beach Market, but so far it’s working out well.  Our second Sunday was even better than our first outing, and we sold a much wider range of goods.  A number of people also expressed an interest in our new shipment, so things bode well for the 29 December Market.

Quarantine gave us grief, as usual, but in a new development this time they made noises about laboratory testing all the items in our new shipment that could conceivably be used for food preparation.  Testing for what wasn’t clear – 100 year old French germs?  And suddenly Customs was back in the picture, demanding that we tell them what people use our kitchenware for – actual cooking or for decorative purposes.  So could the thousands of people to whom we have sold kitchenware over the past few years please contact us and let us know what you’re using the stuff for?  No, don’t really, but you get the idea about how impossible it was to comply with this instruction.
Here is a close up of one of the six fabulous
French cross-roads crosses that we brought back
from our buying trip.  French angels look very
different to English angels, usually with much
bigger wings and always with good hair.
These were new demands from both Quarantine and Customs that we’d never encountered before so we weren’t exactly sure what their game was.  It was a given that it would involve us paying them vast sums of money, of course. 

But one skillset that Doug and I share is knowing how to create a paper trail that can be used when escalating issues to more senior managers and, dare I say it, the Minister’s Office.  Having worked for two Federal Ministers, I have a good idea of how to compose a very polite slap that is likely to see off lesser bureaucrats.  It must always be very, very polite, but with just a touch of snarl – ever so polite snarling can be surprisingly effective.

So hurrah, suddenly Customs cleared the shipment, Quarantine ditched the laboratory testing idea and now we have most of the goods in our hot little hands.  The rest is awaiting fumigation, and we're not likely to get that for at least another week, customer service standards being what they are.  But we still have plenty to be going on with.

A small selection of new items in our red cabinet
now in Oople.  We did some incredibly good buying,
so we're offering terrific things at around half the
price that we had to charge in our old shop.
So the Christmas period will see us doing a whole heap of waxing and polishing and cleaning, but it means we will have a fabulous vintage French kitchenware stand at the 29 December Peregian Beach Market.  Plus we have put a small cabinet into Oople, the nice little shop a few doors down from our old shop in Eumundi, and that will hold a good selection of nice things.  And so far, so good – we put the cabinet into Oople on Friday and had to restock it already by Saturday.  Over time I might put some French glass out at Peregian Market as well as Oople, but we have lots of stock to choose from and we’re starting with kitchenware at the Market.

This is the park at Peregian Beach on a non-
Market day. When the Market is on, our stand
is just about under the pine tree on the right
Opposite, under the shade cloth, is a skate park
that attracts some quite skilled skaters.
Unlike France, in Australia skate parks tend to
be dominated by dudes on skate boards, rather
than scooters.
So hopefully our third time at Peregian will build on the success of the first two outings.  Last time was seriously hot, so thank goodness for ocean breezes.  And because we’re learning what works better each time, we decided that we’ll need a tarpaulin to provide extra shade for us at the back of our stand.  The marquee covers the stock and keeps the area nice and cool for the customers, but we were seriously baking out the back.  So we’ll fix that next time.

The view up river from our table at our
favourite breakfast café.  The pelicans have
taken to sitting on poles where
they can't be snuck up on.
And you know that an extra-good Sunday at the Market deserves a reward, so on Monday it was back to our favourite breakfast spot along the Noosa River.  The pelicans were still there, but this time they had wised up and their vantage points were unassailable so there was no shoving each other around.  Then it was off to Peregian Beach for a quick stroll.  As Doug says, it’s good to do these things to remind ourselves about why we moved here in the first place.

This is one of a pair of matching French
terracotta stylized pineapple
finials that I wrote about a few
blogs ago.  It dates to about 1840 and
stands almost 40cm tall.
Because we're now selling
wholesale it's $190 - an utter
bargain because that's somewhat
cheaper than reproductions.
Have a lovely Christmas, everyone.  And to all of you who don’t have the fun that ratbag Bengals bring to your lives but do have Christmas trees that are not tattered and strewn around your home, enjoy your tidy homes.  We’ll enjoy our mayhem.



11 December 2013

When was 1590 again?

Some of our Ming Dynasty pottery shards,
from an archaeological dig on the Yangtze River.

On Sunday morning we attended the Eudlo Village Market, and it was worth having to leave home by 4.30am.  Eudlo is a tiny village in the Sunshine Coast hinterland but it has a nice community hall, which had sellers inside and outside was surrounded by Market stands such as ours.

This is one of my favourite pictures that we are
selling in reproduction.  Bagheera did a fine
line in French lingerie.
Yet again, our vintage French pictures sold briskly, but also jewellery and most of the final pieces of the French enamelware from our current stock.  We heard from the customs agent this week and our new stock has been Customs cleared with no problems, which is always the case.  Now we’re waiting for Quarantine to have their annual hissy fit when they see our things, and then we’ll get our hands on our new stuff.  And our new stuff includes a large amount of beautifully coloured French enamel kitchenware, so we’ll be able to considerably perk up the look of our Market stand with some nice things quite soon.

One of the vintage American
Christmas Tree brooches that we'll be
offering at the Peregian Beach Market.
I’ve found it interesting dealing with the wider public who attend the general Markets, which tend to have a bit of everything, rather than antiques-specific Fairs.  The Market-going punters often know little about antiques, so there’s lots of starting from scratch when discussing our pieces with them.  Some of the visitors to our shop didn’t have a great knowledge of things vintage, but mostly our customers had at least some understanding of what they were looking at, and many at least knew the basics.  Some – especially specialist collectors – knew considerably more than me about some of our things.

So anyway, I’ve found myself discussing the fundamentals of antiques with a wide range of people and quite enjoying getting back to basics.  I did struggle with one woman at the Eudlo Market, though, when talking about some Ming Dynasty pottery shard pendants.  I told her they were from the late Ming Dynasty, so they date from around 1590.  What’s 1590? she asked.  The year 1590, I said.  She looked quizzical.  What do you mean, the year 1590? she asked.  Well, we’re now in the year 2013.  But these pieces date from around the year 1590, I explained.  She continued to look at me blankly.  Do you understand? I asked.  Nope. 

Slowly, things are progressing at the house.  Here
are the boys working on the decking for the
breezeway.  That handrail is there to stop us plunging
to our deaths during the build, but will vanish
when it's safe for it to vanish.
Okay, I said, here we are in the year 2013.  If you go backwards in time for a bit over 400 years, you would be in the year 1590.  Yes?  She scrunched up her brow.  But how can you go backwards in time? she asked.  Tempting as it was to launch into a reflection on the nature of time and whether it’s linear or circular, you will be proud of me that I refrained. 
Okay, I said again, trying to stay upbeat, you were born when? - 1980.  Yes, belatedly I realised I was trying to rationalise with a Gen Y.  As a catty aside, I’ll just say that she certainly didn’t look Gen Y.  Another reminder to wear a hat and sunscreen more often.  So, 33 years ago you were born, and 423 years ago this piece of pottery was made.  At last, she had her lightbulb moment.  Yeah, okay she said.  And then she wandered off and didn’t buy one!   Yes, a lot of talking goes into non-sales sometimes, just not normally as challenging as that.

Calypso is desperate to try out the new
decking.  Take me for a walk right now!
Next Sunday (15 Dec) we will take a stand again at the Peregian Beach Markets, the final one before Christmas.  I’ve dug out a few things from the garage that haven’t seen the light of day for some time, so I’ll be able to make the stand look somewhat different from last time.
At this point it looks like the first of our new shipment will be on display at the last Peregian Beach Market of the year (29 Dec).  We are also putting a small display cabinet into Oople, the cute little shop just down the road from our old shop in Eumundi, and I've got some seriously fabo vintage glass that will be offered there.  The enamel kitchenware and the giant Jamie Oliver boards (3 of which already have dibs on them) will be offered only at the markets, I'm thinking.  That's the plan so far, but it depends on what other opportunities present themselves.



03 December 2013

Chillaxing til I'm Glacial

The view from the back of our
stand at the Peregian Beach Market.
We attended the Peregian Beach Market on Sunday, and had great fun.  We had a stand in a newly created extension, nicely located just a few steps behind the sand dunes, so we had a lovely view to the ocean behind us.  It was a blustery day, but we were assured that it was far more windy than usual, and that’s good because we wouldn’t want it any more blowy.  Both of us ended up sunburned – that’s what you get for stupidly spending five and a half hours at the beach without a hat or sunscreen.  Who knew that selling antiques would be so hazardous? 

Our neighbour at the Market neglected to peg down her marquee so after an unexpectedly strong blast of wind her marquee took off like a spinning top and we all leapt to save her and her goods.  In anticipation of disaster we had our marquee double-pegged at all corners, so even though we copped a fair bit of buffeting we remained intact.

We kept the stock selection nice and light
and 'beachy'.
At one point I noticed a group of kite-surfers undertaking spectacular manoeuvers just off the beach directly behind us, diving about like deranged giant butterflies.  I intended to get some photos, but we were kept busy all day and by the time we had a quiet moment there was no sign of them.  So no pretty pictures of kite-surfing for you, but you get to see what we were focused on – our stock.

As usual, the vintage French images were popular.
Lucky I have a lot of them.
It was interesting to see what the High Demand items were, and they turned out to be 1930s golf clubs, and our vintage French magazine images and advertisements.  We didn’t sell a single reproduction image, even though we had some great pictures, but lots and lots of originals. We also sold a small amount of jewellery, although I expect that to increase the closer we come to Christmas;  French copper, and again I expect that to improve given the interest that so many people showed in it and who said they’d be back; vintage fabric and some fly fishing gear.  All in all, we made excellent sales and have rebooked to attend again on 15 December.  I live in the probably forlorn hope that I’ll be able to put out some of our new shipment by then, but more on that below.
These vintage glass fish look beautiful on shelves
when back-lit by sunshine, but the windy
conditions at Peregian Beach means that
shelves won't be happening at our stand.
Surprisingly, I didn’t sell my vintage glass fish, although I thought that a beachside location was a good spot to display them.  But no.  At least, not on this occasion.  They look their best when displayed on shelves with the light streaming through them, but there was no prospect that I could put up shelving with the wind at the Peregian Market.  So off to eBay they shall go, once I have a sufficient selling record with eBay so they will allow me to list multiple items.

Golf clubs were very popular, and we sold a lot. 
Next Market I will offer better quality clubs and
we'll see if they're just as popular as the
cheaper ones.
You’d be amazed at the number of people who tell me that I should sell online, via sites such as eBay, when those people have no idea what is involved.  Now I’ve looked into it, and it turns out that you can only list a very restricted number of items until you have what eBay deems to be a sufficiently good selling record with them.  So to that end I have popped a number of good vintage books onto eBay, at ridiculously low prices specifically to generate the necessary number of initial sales, and thus be granted permission to sell more items.  I have listed them under the user ID chequeredpastantiques, so if you are interested in picking up some good vintage books at a fraction of their normal prices, do have a look.  I’ve already sold five within two days of listing them, which is good news, but they are all worth significantly more than I have listed them for so it’s not surprising.

Vintage fabric sells well.  Usually French linen
is the most requested but at Peregian our
customers liked the vintage Kimono silk best
Once eBay lets me operate as a Proper Grown Up Seller I’ve got heaps of things I’ll offer at discount prices so I can clear some space for the new arrivals.  And the good news on that front is that we have finally received the Pre-Alert Notice from our customs agent, which means our shipment is nearing Australia.  The ship should dock in Brisbane on 6 December, and then comes the annual dance with Customs and Quarantine.  Customs never gives us any grief, and neither should they seeing how I always provide a detailed customs inventory. 

We had a lovely old French chap come by and
tell us all about his experiences as a young
man working in a Parisian restaurant, where
naturally they used old French copper pots and
pans.  He said he would tell all his French
friends that there is no need to travel to Paris
to buy their kitchenware when they can
just come to Peregian instead.
But Quarantine go nuts the moment they see anything made of wood.  I have a pretty good idea of what woodworm damage looks like – you will recall that on the buying trip I declined to buy the first of the Jamie Oliver giant wooden boards I saw because it had woodworm damage.  So I don’t buy items that have evidence of even long-dead woodworms, let alone anything that looks current.  But no matter how smooth and unblemished the wood is, it’s never good enough for Quarantine.  I can only surmise that anything made of wood is automatically ordered for fumigation, rather than Quarantine officials making an actual assessment as they are paid to.  That’s the only explanation I can think of, after my considerable experience dealing with them.  But as Doug says to me every year when we face this exact same issue - Chillax.  You know I can’t readily do that, but I’ll go through the motions of trying.

Now here are two experts at chillaxing.  Look at how
solid Caleb is, compared to Artemis.  But she is still
Top Cat and the one Caleb turns to when he wants
a bit of mothering.
So in the spirit of Chillax and to reward ourselves for having such a good day at our first Peregian Beach Market, we headed off to our favourite Noosa River café for breakfast on Monday.  We always get a table on the verandah directly overlooking the river, and I always order their most excellent Eggs Benedict.  So we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, watching the sunlight glittering on the water and the pelicans sneaking up on their rivals to push them off the best vantage points. 
You’d think that pelicans would notice a great, lumbering rival clapping its giant beak and flapping its wings as it “sneaks” up behind them, but they all seem oblivious of impending calamity until they’re suddenly jumped on.  Can you imagine a pelican looking a bit squashed and going “Ooooof” and their eyes bulging a little bit as their rival lands heavily on their back?  It was almost like watching cartoon characters.  So after a nice meal and a laugh it was time for a stroll along the foreshore and we were suitably chillaxed.  Until our first encounter with Quarantine, that is.

This is one of the vintage books I've
listed on eBay - The Book of a
Thousand Thrills: All-Star Stories
of Mystery, Crime & Romance.
All my prices on the books start
at $2.99, making them among the
cheapest on eBay.
In a late breaking development, on the basis of our stand at the Peregian Beach Market we have now been invited to take a stand at the Eudlo Market this coming Sunday, 8 December.  Eudlo is in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, so it’s a lovely part of the world, all green and tropical with rolling hills.  On its Facebook page the Eudlo Market looks to have lots of crafts, so not really our thing, but high quality goods and at the upper end of the crafts market, so maybe it will work for us.  Many of our pieces are hand-made, afterall, just 100 years ago.  And anyway, it’s not far from home so we’ll give it a go.  I’ve got plenty of stock that I didn’t have room to put out at the Peregian Beach Market, so we can make our Eudlo stand look completely different.  First report will be made to you, naturally.

This is an aerial view of Eudlo, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.  It's a little village in a pretty location, so we'll see how it goes at the Market on Sunday.


26 November 2013

Sailing Misadventures & Selling Antiques at the Beach

Here's a thunderstorm rolling in over the
last of the sunset colours.  It's always
amazing to see these storms from the
vantage point of the Mountain Stronghold.

In the last week we’ve been enjoying the enormous electrical storms that have developed on many evenings, giving spectacular lightening displays from horizon to horizon.  My favourite type of lightening is the one that crackles seemingly for miles long the bottom of the clouds.  We most often see that type at night, with the air very still and absolute silence on the mountain (non-stop crickets and cicadas aside).  It’s a beautiful sight.

We’ve also had a few big thunderstorms, and even 10 minutes of hailstones for the second time ever.  I saw on the television news that there had been significant damage around the area from the thunderstorms and hail, but nothing ever happens up at the Mountain Stronghold.  You’d think we would get our fair share of bad weather up here, but the mountain’s escarpment offers a great deal of protection. 

Doug says it's very beautiful at Airlie Beach,
but hot, hot, hot.
Doug has headed north to Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays, to go sailing with a friend for a week, and I’ve taken the opportunity to hunker down with the moggies and have some alone time.  Occasional alone time is a good thing – it gives you an opportunity to miss each other.  We used to own a racing yacht and I did enjoy sleeping on it sometimes, collapsing onto a bunk after a hard day’s racing, all tired, wet and windblown, and more than a little salt-encrusted.  But these days I’m more of a day-trip sailor - I want sunshine and dolphins, a little bit of champagne (because we don’t drink and sail, nosiree), perhaps a pleasant picnic lunch, and no rogue waves.  So although Airlie Beach is very beautiful it’s also an 11 hour drive from Eumundi, so you really have to commit to sleeping on your boat or forking out for a hideously expensive resort. 

We've had Caleb to the vet because something
- not a tick - bit him on the back and the wound
became inflamed.  The vet shaved his back, and
you can see that his swirls and rosettes and
stripes are in his skin and not just his fur.
Rogue waves, by-the-way, aren’t so uncommon as the term ‘rogue’ implies.  A sudden, hard, unexpected impact from a wave going against the general swell isn’t something you can really prepare for, but it can really hurt.  We were once in a race in a twilight series on Port Philip Bay in Melbourne, and doing pretty well.  It was a bone-chilling evening, with deep grey clouds hanging low over the bay, dumping freezing rain.  We were moving at a fair clip, heeling over in the wind, and outpacing most of the fleet.  Suddenly a rope jammed in a pulley and, even worse, it was a rope I was meant to be pulling on.

As an aside, yes I know “rope” is not a correct nautical term, but what is this – a Sailing Blog?  No it is not.  If I said I was hauling on a sheet would you know what I was on about?  No you would not.  Unless you’re a sailor.  Or just clever.

This French girl with her knickers
showing is so far one of the
most popular reproduction
images we've offered.
So anyway, we needed to tack pretty urgently to keep our competitive edge, and my rope had jammed.  Doug was at the helm, and curtly ordered me to change places with him – he was a regular Captain Bligh when we were racing and he was feeling all competitive.  But we were moving along pretty fast, heeling over at a fair angle, and it was wet.  So it took me a while to get into position.  Meanwhile, much to Doug’s chagrin, our rivals were now hot on our heels.  But guess what?  It wasn’t that I was just some weakling Nancy Girl, the rope really had jammed pretty firmly.

Doug braced his feet and hauled on the sheet, and Doug is really quite strong so the rope unjammed.  But just as he was braced against it, and at the very second that it unjammed, that was the moment that we were hit hard by a rogue wave.  There were three of us crewing, and two of us made a wild grab for Doug as he went sprawling towards the side of the boat.  Doug later told people that when he turned around he saw my hand in his back, but I was saving him, people!

This is another of our most popular
reproduction images.  It's called
Gossips.  I have the original of this
image in my personal collection,
and the copy is so good that
you can't tell them apart when
they're held up together.
Not that I needed to, because his flight across the deck was nicely halted by the boom, which he hit head first.  Do you know how much head wounds bleed?  A lot.  A real lot.  So then the rope was freed, but the boom was loose and we were wallowing and being overtaken.  Crews on passing yachts were all saucer-eyed and slack jawed at the sight of Doug, resplendent in his white wet-weather gear but with his entire face covered in blood.  The other crew member and I were equally saucer-eyed and declared that we had to abandon the race and get to a hospital asap.

But no, Doug was having none of that.  He pulled a scungy old hankie out of his pocket, dunked it in the ocean, smeared the blood further around his face, and announced that he was fine and if his fat, lazy crew would stop gawping and get their act together we still had a chance to Place in the race.

Calypso is so cute.  No matter how tired she is, if
the TV is on she insists on watching it.  Even if she
has to prop her head up against it to stay awake,
she's not going to bed until everyone else does.
We were near enough to the end of the race that it was better to just finish it than argue with him, so we jumped to it, took off like a bat out of hell, and overtook most of the yachts that had passed us while we wallowed – with their crews still saucer-eyed at our mad, bloodied helmsman.  In the end we came Third, so hurrah for that, and finally we were able to berth and Doug went below to look at himself for the first time since the accident.  You’ve got to be joking! he bellowed from below.  Look at me! Why haven’t you taken me to hospital??? 

Helping to unpack the shopping is also exhausting.
So his long-suffering crew carted him off to hospital, where it turned out that his wounds were only minor – a couple of stitches in one, and a flap of skin taped up on the other.  But by golly they did bleed a lot and with the bruising it looked quite impressive.

The next day at work everyone asked Doug what had happened to him. He told them all that I had hit him with a vase.  And everyone believed him and went all quiet and changed the subject!  Please.  As if I would waste a perfectly good vase.  Though it was good to add a bit to my don’t-mess-with-me reputation.

Caleb and Calypso are not the only snoozy ones
in the household.  Klaatu and Artemis are also
pretty good at knocking out zeds.
We only ever had two sailing incidents that required a trip to the hospital, this one and an infamous case involving Robyn the Bimbo Nurse.  To this day I go all squinty-eyed and pursed-lipped and hands-on-hips when I recall Robyn the Bimbo Nurse.  But she is a Blog entry in herself, so remind me and I shall recount her antics one day.

But I expect no such adventures for Doug and his mate up at Airlie Beach.  It does look like a beautiful place, and I might make the hike up there one day.  But meanwhile, it hasn’t been all sleeping-in and slackness for me at home.  Well it has, a bit.  But I have also worked on getting yet more of my best images reproduced to a standard I am happy with, got some land care done, and have started work on the description and price tags for our new shipment, arriving soon. 

At least one of the gang is able to stay awake.
Here's Mischka, watching some Willy Wagtails. 
We hate Willy Wagtails.  And Crows.  And
I have also sorted out what stock that I think will be best for the Peregian Beach Market, because the good news is that we have already been allocated a stand there and our first attendance will be on Sunday 1 December.  We’re very pleased at this development, because as you know we really like this Market, so we’ll see how it goes.  If you’re going to sell nice antiques, doing it at a beautiful beachside location for half a day a fortnight sounds like a good plan. 

A better plan would be for all the stock to magically sell itself, but it appears that some input by us is required.  So to that end we might also apply to take a stand on alternate Sundays at the Caloundra Market.  That would double our workload to every Sunday morning, but we’ll force ourselves.  But let’s start gently, with the beach market.  I’ll report on it soon.
I might make it to Airlie Beach one day but it's 11 hours away, versus Noosa, which is 20 minutes away.  So far Noosa is winning.



13 November 2013

Shorts and Long Socks - Gah!

Who told you this looks
good, fellas?  No-one,
that's the answer.
So yes, the weather has been decidedly hot lately.  And yes, it’s good to feel comfortable when you’re out and about in hot weather.  But men wearing shorts and long socks is just wrong.  Unless you’re going for the I’m-an-old-fuddy look, that is. 

I have informed Doug that if he ever gets knocked on the head and wakes up insanely deciding that he’s going to appear in public wearing shorts and long socks, he’s going to get knocked on the head again and dragged back inside.  It’s the same with hairy-old-man-ears and hairy-old-man-nose – it’s not going to happen on my watch.

This is one of the Lea Stein brooches I brought
back from our buying trip.  It's a beautiful pale
mandarin colour, which is really rare.  I'm
particularly looking out for the more unusual
colours, these days.  This one is $120.
But maybe I’m getting it all wrong.  Maybe this is actually a devilishly clever way of making women look at you.  Because, you know, when confronted with a man who is wearing shorts and long socks, coupled with hairy-old-man-ears and nose, you really can’t help but look.  It can be fascinating, in a compelling but alarming is-that-a-small-animal-emerging-from-his-nose-or-what? kind of way.  The shorts and long socks make you look, and then you're trapped by the ear and nose accoutrements and can't turn away, frozen in place by the sight of the petting zoo surfacing on some guy's face. 

This is one of the reproduction travel
advertisements I'm now offering. 
Dang but we used to produce really
good travel adverts.  All the
reproduction images are $14.
And at this point let me send a big, cheery hello to Anton-the-former-Landlord, who I saw this week and who was the inspiration behind this rumination.  My, but he is a fine figure of a man.  Okay that’s a lie – shorts and long socks really, truly don’t work on anyone, even in beige.  Especially in beige.  I must get a photo soon – such sartorial elegance should not go unappreciated.

So ha! now I’ve put that image in your brain and I’m not sorry.  If I had to look at this sight, you have to share.  Mind you, as much as it made my eyes spasm, Anton-the-former-Landlord just made a fuddy style choice that he wasn’t embarrassed to be seen wearing in public.  The most spectacular gee-please-no fashion choice I’ve ever seen was the time Doug and I were strolling along Noosa main beach and saw an older man, tanned all-over to a deep mahogany colour, with a big fat belly and wearing a Borat-style mankini.  Now that really was a Gah! My eyes! moment. 

Now this is rare.  It's from French Vogue,
June 1930.  It's good enough to have
made it into my reproduction catalogue,
but the original is still available.  The
original is $120, but the reproduction
is only $14.  You can see why the
repros are proving to be so popular.
A ripple like a Mexican Wave passed through the crowd on the beach as everyone reacted when he walked by on his way down to the water.  We kept looking around, convinced that there must be hidden cameras somewhere, but apparently not.  It was just a dude in a mankini, entirely comfortable in his own skin, going for a swim.

But on to more attractive images to put in your brain.  Collectorama was held the Saturday before last, and it was another success.  It wasn’t as good as the September Fair, which was really very good, but good enough that we’ve booked a double space again for the next Fair.  But the next Fair isn’t until next March, more’s the pity.

I'm showing you the
particularly unusual
pieces this week.  This
is another of the Lea
Stein brooches, again
in a really rare colour.
This time around we sold heaps of reproduction French images and advertisements.  Maybe I should have given in to the inevitable and offered reproductions in the shop, but I was too much of the purist back then.  But I am now reformed and have decided to move with the times.  Mostly I still offer genuine images, but I am gradually selecting the best ones to reproduce.  I have them copied to A3 size (much larger than normal reproductions) and then offer them for $14 each.  So of course they’re popular.

The big bookshop in Eumundi, Berkelouw’s, expressed an interest in carrying a range of our reproduction travel advertisements, which we recently picked up in Paris and which are seriously good.  The manager of Berkelouw's said she had never seen reproductions with such clarity and good colour resolution, and I must say I agree with her – which of course is why I bought them.  So I dropped off a good selection of them, and we’ll see how they go. 

Back in the day the French favoured
naked women to advertise their
bicycles.  I expect they still do.
This is one of two naked-gel-on-
bike advertisements that I found
on our latest jaunt to Paris.
Meanwhile, I have a different selection of vintage French advertisements and magazine covers and images, some genuine and some reproduction, in Oople, the little shop in Eumundi a few doors down from our old shop.  And now I’m preparing yet another batch of completely different ones for what I hope will be our market stall at the Peregian Beach Market. 
The manager of that market told me that she really loves this type of thing, and hopefully so will everyone else.  My plan is to eventually have a selection of my vintage and reproduction pictures in every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse within a 6 mile radius**.
Another image we found in
Paris, but this one's Italian.
But back to Collectorama.  We also sold quite a few pieces of jewellery, a beautiful big French walnut over-mantle mirror with good patination that had been languishing in our garage for the last 15 years, three of those lovely glass birds that came back in my hand luggage from our most recent trip, vintage kimono fabric and vintage French ticking, and various other bits and pieces of glass and ceramics.  It was a long and tiring day, but good fun and worth it.  And this time we had purchased a couple of marquees to protect us from the afternoon sun, so we were sheltered and comfortable.
Early the next morning we headed off for another look at the Peregian Beach Market.  It’s in a lovely location next to the surf lifesavers club on the sand dunes immediately behind Peregian Beach.  I really like the shopping precinct there, I like the beach and the facilities there, and I like the Sunday market there.  So it will be nice if we can get a space, and we’ve submitted the paperwork to get that ball rolling.  So again, we’ll see what happens next.  More on that soon.
These boys really are aspiring
supermodels, but even they look
naff in shorts and long socks.
But in the meantime, fellas, I don’t care how hot it is - you can do better than shorts and long socks.  Put some effort into it!  Ask your partner whether this is a look that is really working for you.  Love might be blind, but it’s not tasteless so she - or he - knows the truth.  And the truth is, shorts and long socks only work on ridiculously skinny, ridiculously attractive (female!) supermodels.  Anton-the-former-Landlord is many things, but he’s no supermodel.  Neither are his style-guru brothers-in-arms. 
** With apologies to Tommy Lee Jones.
Meanwhile, back at the house ... here's a couple of the boys working on the floor of the breezeway.  There's not a builder's bum in sight.  Pity.
All the verandah and room floors should be down in the next week or so.  Lock up won't come before Christmas, but that's okay because we've come back from the buying trip super broke and need to regroup for a little while.