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.