12 July 2013

And another thing ....

Sharon, Fran & Kym worked flat out to help us
pack up, while Doug & Shane moved boxes
and cabinets into storage nonstop until we all
fell down exhausted.  Others called by and
offered their assistance, and for that we
thank you all.
Well our first week out of the shop was surprisingly busy.  We worked like Trojans to get the shop packed up on our last day, and if it wasn’t for the enormous help of friends and family we wouldn’t have got it done so efficiently.  And thanks, too, to the friends who dropped by to give their congratulations on selling the business but then offered to stay and help pack when they learned of the more recent developments.  It was heartening to be with lovely people, after suffering the impact of pitiful fools and incompetent, arrogant pratts for the previous week.  Yes, talking to you Malcolm and Anton – you can work out between yourselves which one is which.
The snake skin that Doug so thoughtfully popped
into one of our packing boxes to make whoever
 opened the box jump.  Yes, he's a barrel
of laughs.  And his evil plan did work.
I was going to let this go, because there is no point in letting the horrible people who pass through your life take it over.  And that’s a good thing, we all agree.  But it’s only been a week and a half and I’m still angry, so indulge me in this.  Yesterday the local community newsletter published a Letter to the Editor I had written to explain the sudden closure of our shop to the wider community.  But the Editor took out most of the salient points, which means many people are none the wiser and I have been approached in the street and asked what had been left out (because there was a note at the bottom saying that the letter had been shortened by the Editor.) 
A classic French Bally Shoes
advertisement from 1968.  I shall
be putting it on eBay over the next
few days (I hope).  Original large
posters of this image now sell
for around $600.  This one is
much smaller - from a
magazine - but is also only $34.
So here are the bits that were left out – in more detail than in my Letter to the Editor, but that’s the benefit of a Blog – I can give all the details:
.  Anton the Landlord did not provide a Disclosure Statement as his part of the lease agreement with Malcolm Smith (the proposed purchaser of the business, in case you’ve forgotten – see giant photo in the last blog).  This meant that Malcolm was able to undertake an in-bad-faith move of backing out of the lease agreement at the last moment.  Malcolm acted in an indefensibly disgraceful way, there is no doubt.  But if Anton the Landlord hadn’t been so lazy and incompetent then Malcolm would have had no choice but to proceed with the lease, and hence the purchase of my business.  Stupidly, Anton provided us with a letter to him from Malcolm’s solicitor detailing his negligence as the reason for Malcolm being able to back out of the lease.  So there no denying this - it is not hearsay or an interpretation of events – it’s all there in black and white from Malcolm’s solicitor.
This is a French fashion image featuring
Christian Dior couture, dating to 1950.
Also destined for eBay in due course
and priced at $34.

.  Sharon Gunther, the person Malcolm had offered a job as Manager of the shop, still hasn’t had the courtesy of even a phone call from Malcolm to let her know what he has done.  She turned down another job in order to take on the position Malcolm had offered her, so Malcolm’s actions have left her unemployed.  If Malcolm ever decides to crawl out from the squalor of living under his bed, it would be the decent thing to face her and apologise.  Yeah, as if.
 .   Finally, I made the point that the shop was a thriving and viable local small business, and the only reason it had closed was because of the dishonourable behaviour of one person (Malcolm John Smith). 
So that, for people who wanted to know, is an extended version of what was left out of my Letter to the Editor.
However much chaos is going on 
 around her, Mischka knows how
to relax and watch it all unfold. 
I will be taking tips from her.
Artemis has also taken the sudden influx
of storage boxes all over the house in her
As an aside, it’s interesting to consider your own reactions when bad things happen, isn’t it?  We’ve never been afraid of change – we’ve headed off to live overseas for several years, we bought the mountain stronghold when it was nothing more than wilderness and then had to quickly learn new skills like effective road building, we’ve each taken on jobs that were difficult and challenging.  But this was all good stress, and things we had decided to tackle.  When faced with bad stress imposed by others, though, my initial reaction was to just want things to be “back to normal”. 
A La Vie Parisienne cover from 1922.
This was a classic year for this
magazine and much sought after
because of the great cover art
that featured.  This cover
will be priced at $42.

I think that if Anton the Landlord’s arrogance had not matched his stupidity, and if he had shown the slightest remorse over his behaviour and offered a small gesture of goodwill, we might have been tempted to keep the shop a while longer.  Even though that probably wouldn’t have been the best path for us in the long term, in times of stress it’s tempting to stay in a comfort zone and we might have done it.  But heaven forbid that Anton the Landlord’s incompetence impact on Anton the Landlord.  So we walked, and he lost both Malcolm and us as tenants.  And from all reports he has been stomping around town, cranky that his shop is empty and gobsmacked that he hasn’t been overwhelmed by people begging to pay his extra high rent, the extraordinary body corporate fees and grossly unfair water rates for the privilege of taking on his space. 
This is a page from the Au Printemps
French Department Store Catalogue
from 1925.  Yes, we'll try it on
eBay and it will be priced at $10.
Meanwhile, a surprising number of people have approached us who know of Malcolm and his penchant for spending hours boring people to death while he details the minutiae of his life.  Even the local butcher told us that Malcolm spent hours at a time in his shop, talking incessantly about himself and not taking any hints that he needed to go away now.  The first time he came into our shop he talked nonstop about obscure bands he likes, and particularly how much he likes and admires John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols) – for three hours.  Who knew you could talk that long nonstop about anything, let alone one not-very-good singer from the 1970s?
The local bookshop manager rang and asked how we couldn’t have known that Malcolm is a wanker and a time waster.  Believe me, after our first meeting we were very aware of this.  But the thing is, every time he came into our shop – even when it was a few times a week – yes he stayed for hours but he also spent hundreds of dollars.  And even then, we did not take him seriously as a potential buyer until he signed the Contract of Sale and the Lease.  And that would have been sufficient to bind him to his word, except for the ineptitude of Anton the Landlord.
Calypso has had special walks to the jungle's
edge to make up for not going into the shop. 
She loves her special walks, even though she's
always annoyed that she's not allowed to traipse
off into the jungle and has to return to
civilization before she's ready.
I did feel particularly bad on the first Market Day when we weren’t in the shop because poor little Calypso knew that it was her day as Shop Manager – how do cats know the day and time so accurately?  So she waited expectantly at the door and then cried and cried when we went out without her.  On the first Thursday out of the shop, Caleb’s day, he repeatedly ran between me and the front door as the time came and passed for him to go into the shop.  So I did feel bad for the poor little chooks.  We received an email from Polly the Poodle’s owner, sending cyber nose kisses from Polly to Caleb.  They won’t get any more play dates, but the humans will be able to have coffee together.
Everyone has enjoyed exploring the building
site.  It took Caleb three attempts to
"accidentally" fall into a water-filled post hole.

So okay, that’s that on the shop saga.  Unless there are new developments to report I will now move on to more fun things to Blog about. 
Time to dry off in the sunshine, before
searching out the next bit of mischief.

We have done all the things we said we would since we’ve been away from the shop - breakfasts overlooking the Noosa River, movies, bought a Jeep – not the black Wrangler I wanted, but a silver Cherokee instead.  I had to put aside my “it’s not cool enough” objections because the Cherokee was in too good a condition and too good a price to walk past.  But how I hate to be sensible.  Then some work to catalogue the vintage French magazine covers and advertisements, plus the vintage jewellery now being sold at Oople, the shop a few doors up from our old shop.  How strange it seems to say that: our old shop. 

Now this is rare - it's a cover
from the French magazine
L'Illustration from 1935.  It
features a woman in a café
in Montemarte and is very
reminiscent of
Toulouse Lautrec's style.
It will be $46.

Then it was off for a play day in Brisbane, looking at the Paddington and Woolloongabba Antiques Centres to look at stock and prices.  Wow, our prices are way better and our stock more interesting.  If I say so myself.  We were dead unimpressed with the Paddington Centre – many stalls were little more than junk shops and the stock was piled so precariously that even if you spotted something of interest you wouldn’t dare go in for fear that it would all collapse on you.  And there were lots of undeclared reproduction pieces.  Lots.  We chatted with a stall-holder for a while, who told us that almost every piece of the so-called vintage clothing in the Centre was actually brand new, imported from China and just “vintage style”.  We can live without visiting there again any time soon.
The Woolloongabba Centre had more interesting stock and better prices, but still it was pretty much same-same for most stalls.  We did find a woman who had a sign up saying she undertakes buying trips to France, but most of her stock was reproduction.  Why would you travel to the other side of the planet to buy repro?  She did have a large enameled bowl, though, and although it was more expensive than I would ordinary buy it was genuine and really very nice so we bought ourselves a Now We Are Poor gift.
The large French enameled bowl with extra
thick Art Deco detailing that we bought as a 
gift to ourselves.  This bowl would have
originally had a jug to accompany it, but
it's still beautiful by itself.
Over the coming weekend we plan to visit the French Festival in Brisbane, to see if it’s somewhere we might consider taking a stand at next time.  I'll try to remember my camera.  I’ve largely shut down the current website now, with a view to building a better one soon(ish), plus I have established an eBay ID, chequeredpastantiques to sell items while we're waiting for the development of the new website.  I haven’t actually listed anything on eBay yet because I know nothing about how this system works, but I guess I’ll figure it out soon enough.  Those might be famous last words, but we’ll see.
You've all been very indulgent in staying with me while I vented about the things and people causing me grief lately, and that's been quite therapeutic in allowing me to get it out of my system, regroup and relaunch.  So, onwards it is.

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