08 October 2013

Damn Fine Shopping & Damn Fine Cowboys

Dead critters aren't my thing - I'd rather they stay
alive out in Nature.  But there's no shortage of
taxidermy available at the Peterborough Fair.

Well yay for crappy weather forecasting!  Despite dire warnings about flooding rain, and although enormous deep grey clouds sat low and billowed ominously, it only drizzled a bit.  The Peterborough Antiques Fair is huge and delivers the goods every time, and seeing how almost all of my shopping is done at the outdoor stands, it was great that the weather was surprisingly warm.

The search continues for the Jamie Oliver giant wooden boards I’m looking for, but there’s still time.  I did see one, but it had a whole heap of woodworm damage and that’s no good if you’re going to put food on it.  Not to mention the utter meltdown that Quarantine would have had over it, even though it was obvious that the woodworms cleared out about 100 years ago.

See those giant wooden dough troughs at the
back of the photo (look a bit canoe-like)?
Too big for antiques fairs in Australia, but
now I'm hunting for a few in a more
manageable size.
But we did find lots of fabulous vintage French copper that is really interesting.  So now we have a number of soufflĂ© moulds, jelly moulds, one brawn mould (blerk to brawn, but it’s an attractive mould that you can use for other things), plus small frying pans, an excellent lidded oval pan that I think is intended for poaching fish – Doug has his eye on that one, plus the most giant copper saucepan I’ve ever seen – and Doug has his beady eye on that as well. 

I did see a couple of giant wooden dough troughs, and even though they would have looked great in the shop I judged them to be too big to lug around to antiques fairs.  Doug, the Lugger in Chief, was totally in agreement.  So now I’m looking out for smaller dough troughs, because I have been reminded of how good they look when they’re all waxed and glowing.  I saw a cooking show here in the UK where they were making bread by mixing all the ingredients in a small wooden dough trough, so people do still use them for their intended purpose, even though for most people they are decorative.

OMG can you imagine to waking up to this every
morning?  I don't even know what it is. Except
hideous.  It didn't come home with me.
So we emerged from Peterborough fully loaded with lots of lovely kitchenware, yet more seriously good quality glass, and an unexpectedly large haul of vintage French copper and enamelware.  I bought five enamel trays, of a type that I’ve never seen before after years of actively sourcing great enamelware, and then suddenly I had five to choose from.  So I bought them all.  I have also been building up a nice selection of small but beautiful ginger jars and lidded ceramic pots, from 1930s English Sadler through to 1800s Chinese Qing Dynasty.  They should look great when presented together, and give a terrific choice to select from.

Anglia Pottery has
a very distinctive
turquoise glaze.
I'm looking for
an owl, but so far
have this Madonna,
a shoe, rabbit &
So then it was time for a big pack day, with The Magnificent Seven on TV in the background.  Dang but Yul Bryner and Steve McQueen made fine badass cowboys.  They can come and protect my village any time.  Yes, yes, my afterlife village.  There were some pretty ordinary stunts, with baddies being yanked backwards off their horses by not-so-secret-string, when they had apparently been shot while riding past the goodies – entirely defying the law of physics.  But it’s still a cool movie, full of cool, badass dudes who are actually honourable and kind at heart.  Aw, shucks, that’s the best type of badass dude.  Especially when they are so damn fine.  Just saying.  Pack days, as you might have guessed, are quite boring and it’s easy to be distracted by cool cowboys in tight cowboy chaps.

Then I discovered that a reasonably large antiques Fair was being held at the Doncaster Racecourse up in Yorkshire on Sunday morning.  That wasn’t too far from where we had ensconced in Lincolnshire, so we decided to go and investigate. 

It was a glorious autumn morning, with a blue sky and sunshine but still a nip in the early morning air.  It was a slow start at the Fair, but the deeper we delved the better it became, and after a few hours we emerged with excellent stock, ranging from yet more interesting French copper, a few teapots in collectable shapes, big name ceramics such as Shelley, Crown Devon and Royal Worcester, good books and even some very large French tailor’s shears.  All in all, a good selection.

A lot of the enamelware at Peterborough is too
expensive and too boring.  I didn't buy any of this
for you.  Only good stuff gets included in my
selections, although I have to hunt to find it
 - just wait til you see it.

A terrific find was a French enamel splashback, which I really hope will fit in our larder-to-be.  I saw an enamel splashback on a TV show a few days ago, when a cool French retro home was being featured, and I thought it was lovely but I had never seen one in real life.  And then, voila!, within a week I found one.  This is one of the joys of shopping in Europe – everything is available.  It won’t go in our kitchen-to-be, but we’ve got a spot in the larder in mind.  And if it doesn’t fit there I will present it at an antiques fair, and if it doesn’t sell the moment I offer it for sale I’ll forsake antiques dealing forever because clearly I don’t know squat.  But that’s a false promise, because I actually do know quite a lot of squat on this topic, and the splashback will be snapped up if I can’t use it.  We shall see in due course.
I'd never seen a French enamel splashback before I saw one on TV last week. 
And now I have one of my own.  Yay!

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