11 December 2014

The Benefits of Going Topless

The view from our new spot at Peregian.

Well here’s a new development.  Through some dark magic, involving no intervention by me, it suddenly appears that you are able to subscribe to the Blog again.  Yay for dark magic!  So if you want to subscribe you go right ahead, and hopefully future missives will just appear in your intray.  Fill in your email address in the 'Follow by Email' field on the right, and we’ll see what happens.

So, in the spirit of writing a little bit often, rather than nothing for ages and then hitting you with a great long missive, here is this week’s little bit:

It was back to the Peregian Beach Market last Sunday.  What a charming market that is.  And now we have been moved into our Forever Spot, which is on the main walkway to the beach, so we have sand under our feet and a nice ocean view.  And it turns out to be the pretty boy corner of the market in terms of the vendors, so again it’s a nice view.

Ab-Man working it with the girls.   

One of the lads really works his charms with the ladies, and it’s depressingly effective.  After setting up his stand the first thing he does is take off his shirt, revealing what must be said are quite impressive abs.  And the girls come flocking.  When I say girls, I mean girls of all ages – even matronly types get all giggly and girly around him.  It’s revealing in more ways than one – the power of a good looking person to lay on the charm and in doing so generate sales. 

There is a coffee seller at the Caloundra Street Fair whose sales are directly impacted by what his trusty (and ample) assistant wears to work.  When she’s wearing a va-va-voom top, sales spike.  When she’s all demure, sales are about normal.  That’s sad people.  And when I say people, I mean men.  Eyes on the coffee cups boys, not the D cups.

Italian End-of-Day glass fish.

Still, I can’t be too holier-than-thou about this when I’ve been enjoying the view from my new spot at the Peregian Beach Market.  Not that I bought anything from Ab-Man.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve withstood the charms of countless flirtatious Frenchmen trying to sell me something that I have developed an immunity to Ab-Man’s efforts. 

He can flaunt his muscular, brown body, damn fine abs, charming, slightly roguish smile, and tousled surfer hair all he likes.  Really, all he likes.  But it will take more than that to part me from my cash.  Still, I encourage him to keep trying.

A selection of jewellery at Collective Haus.
The news this week is that we have put a jewellery cabinet in a nice little antiques shop in Yandina, on the Sunshine Coast.

It’s called Collective Haus, and it’s in an old church building.  It sells a bit of everything, but Suzy the owner has thing for vintage fashion and there are plenty of affordable and nice pieces.  So I figured that vintage French jewellery might be a nice complement to her stock.

Gus is sweet but not as cool as a Bengal.
We might put a bigger cabinet in Collective Haus in due course, but we’ll start with the jewellery and see how it goes.  I have a great collection from our last buying trip, and I only offer a few pieces at Peregian Beach Market, so this venue will allow me to offer a bigger selection.  

It’s a nice shop, with an adjoining coffee shop, and worth visiting.  Doesn’t have a shop cat but you will be greeted by Gus, the friendly little shop dog.  He’s sweet but not as cool as Caleb and Calypso – but then, who is?

In terms of the markets, we're at the Caloundra Street Fair this coming Sunday (14 December),  and then one more stand at Peregian on 21 December and that will be it before Christmas.  If you come to visit, we promise to not take off our shirts.

28 November 2014

Kindly Keep Your Minions Under Control

Champagne ad, c1948, $38

Well yes, it’s been a while between blogs.  But lately I’ve been writing for newspapers and magazines, and I’m making some headway with that.  Though I must say, I have come to hate Sub-Editors.  Most Editors seem reasonable but their evil Minions, the Sub-Editors, like to change my pearls of wisdom just for the sake of change (I reckon).

Can you imagine changing a single word I write?  No, of course you can’t.  That’s why you’ll never be a Minion.

Some years ago, when I ran the Australian Consulate in the UK, every month I wrote a two-page spread in a British newspaper answering Letters to the Editor on immigration matters – general Australian policy and individual cases.  I got to be all Judge Judy with everyone who was plain silly or outright lying and it was quite cathartic.  That’s when I learned how much the English like a good spanking, even if only a literary spanking.

The deal I had with the British Editor was that he would fend off his Minions, and not a single word I wrote could be changed.  And seeing how he wanted me more than I wanted him, he agreed to my terms.  
Perfume ad, c1965, $20
But I’m finding that Australian Editors (and their Minions) are less indulgent of my rabbiting on.  So lucky I have youse guys, who indulge me at every turn.

As for Life In General, things have gone on as usual.  The November Collectorama antiques and collectors fair was hugely successful, so it’s good I wasn’t planning to write about it because I was too busy selling stuff.  And keeping hydrated with iced-water because it was hot, hot, hot. 

This time there was only one bloggable customer, who strode into my stand with a big t-shirt proclaiming “L’amour is the answer”. 

Ah, I said, let me guess that you’re a Francophile.  A wot? she said.  A person who likes all things French, I explained.  Why would you say that? she asked.  Because of your t-shirt, I said.  She looked at me blankly.  L’amour is the answer, I said.  She got more bovine by the second.  Love is the answer, I said, Your t-shirt says Love is the answer.  L’amour is French for “love”.

Really?  Is that what it says? she asked.  My daughter gave me this t-shirt and I never knew what it said.  Lucky it doesn’t say “get stuffed the lot of you” then, I laughed. 

Alcohol ad, c1953, $25
Fancy wearing a t-shirt saying something you don’t understand.  It makes me think of those numpties who believe they’re getting a profound Chinese proverb tattooed on their bicep, when it really says I Am A Numptie and they don’t know because they can’t read Mandarin.  I would love to meet someone who has “Loser” tattooed in Mandarin on an exposed bit of their body. 

There is a lady who frequents Eumundi who has “I love Nootsa” tattooed on the back of her neck.  She was blissfully unaware of the mistake until laughing friends pointed out that she should have written down what she wanted, rather than mispronounce “Noosa” to the tattooist.  The “t” has now been disguised with a little flower, but those of us who know the true story can’t help but chuckle every time we see her.

But I digress – and yes, if you were a Minion you would be champing at the bit to delete the previous two paragraphs.  But sucked in, cause you’re not.

So that was Collectorama for the year.  The next one isn’t until March 2015, so we shall continue at the Peregian Beach Market and Caloundra Street Fair on alternate Sunday mornings in the meantime.  We’re also thinking about a Saturday morning market at Yandina, and we’ll try that soon and see if we want to make it a regular outing.

Life at the Sunday morning markets has been so hot lately, and sales haven’t been significant for anyone.  We keep hearing about the boom in retail sales, but that isn’t what we’re living.  The antiques shop situated behind our Caloundra Street Fair stand opened seven months ago and has already asked us to buy them out, so they’re not feeling the love, either.  But we’re done with shops, unless they’re Pop Up shops.

Alcohol ad, c1953, $22
The hot weather has kept most of the Strange Ones away from the Markets, it seems, although we did have one at Caloundra recently.  

She was a much larger lady, heavily tattooed, wearing a hot pink singlet that was a little too tight, and with an unrestrained bosom she could have tucked into her belt.  She was looking at a French martini advertisement.  Do you enjoy the occasional aperitif? I asked. Wot? she said.

I pointed to the picture she was holding.  The Martini advertisement, I said, to indicate what I was talking about.  Wot? she said again.  And my mind went blank.  I literally didn’t know how to translate my sentence into Bogan. 

Finally I said Some French people like to have a pre-dinner drink, it’s called an aperitif.  I just like to drink, she said and shuffled off.  Nuff said.

Where are all our non-Bogan customers?  Turn up!  We’ll be at the Caloundra Street Fair again this coming Sunday, 30 November (being the 5th Sunday of the month).  Christmas is coming, non-Bogan customers! 

25 Oct 1919, $56

PS.  Are you reading this, Veronica Moran?  If so, would you mind emailing me at ddpalmen@yahoo.com.au?   

I am writing a couple of articles for some travel magazines on the Clignancourt and Porte de Vanves Markets, and I would love to get some quotes from you about what you thought about Porte de Vanves and what you bought.

And that goes for any reader who has visited either of these Markets and would like to be quoted in a magazine article – I’d love to have a cyber chat with you, so please email.

28 October 2014

What Happens at Collectorama Stays at Collectorama

How good is this for a Market spot?
While it may appear that I have fallen off the face of the planet, as I haven’t blogged for a while, in fact I’ve been beavering away on various projects.
And some of those projects are now coming to fruition.  Yay for fruition!
We’re still attending the Peregian Beach Market and the Caloundra Street Fair on alternating Sunday mornings, and that’s still fun.  Peregian is such a lovely beach location, and we always enjoy our mornings there.  Last time we had a great spot right at the beach, although where we’ll be put next time is anyone’s guess.  We really want our old spot in the (currently closed) section, so fingers crossed that the Surf Club gets the permit from Council to reopen that site.
Caloundra remains as busy as ever, and the passing crowd as weird and wonderful as ever.  Let me just say right now that if those huge sideburns that Hugh Jackman sports as Wolverine can make even him look bad, what chance for the rest of the male species?  One young man came by our stand, and I had to fight the urge to hold him down and give him a good shave.  No, no, no – if you’re not Hugh Jackman, put those hairs away.
A lovely and much more quiet
busker at Caloundra Street Fair.
And one old lady came by and closely examined our business sign.  Why do you have two “u”s in your name? she asked.  Because that’s how ‘Continuum’ is spelt, I explained.  Are you sure? she asked.  Pretty sure, I said.  But she wasn’t convinced that I could spell my own business name correctly and tottered off, shaking her head.

Our Caloundra buskers are now a lot easier to live with – one is a human/insect hybrid on stilts, and the other a quite sprightly old chook.  Last Sunday Banjo Busker made a guest appearance in his role as wandering minstrel, and this time he played - and played, and played again before he went away - an extremely jaunty, double-beat version of Ghost Riders in The Sky.  Nightmare visions have never been so cheery.

I did very enjoy the Pop Up shop we had in Eumundi and would happily have another, but on the other hand working only one morning a week at the Markets has its advantages. 

Did you know I'm in the habit of
accosting old ladies with walking
frames and making them do
tricks for me?

We met with a delusional landlord in Eumundi with a view to having another Pop Up shop but he was, well, delusional.  He wanted gobsmacking rent, the place was incredibly dirty and shabby, there were holes in the floor, walls and ceiling – enough for rain to get in and ruin our stock (not to mention rodents, snakes and robbers), plus we would have to pay the electricity bill of the former tenant who ran off without paying it, before we could have the electricity turned on for ourselves.  If you’re a landlord and you’re wondering, yes, this is the very definition of Delusional. 

So the Pop Up hunt continues.  An intriguing and this-will-probably-work proposition has been put to us, but nothing will come of it until some time next year.  But having a Pop Up once or twice a year would suit us nicely, so we might have to chill until then.
Last Friday night we took our first stand at the Thomas Street Night Market at Noosaville.  That kept us up past our bedtimes, that’s for sure, but it went okay.  Nothing great, but we were very much the odd-stand-out in a mass of ready-to-eat food stands.  But we’ll do it a few more times and see how it goes.  The crowd was huge and the weather was lovely and for only one evening a month (third Friday of the month, if you’re interested in coming along) we’ll have a go.
Each of these frying pans and saucepans are over
100 years old, except the one on the far right
(with lid), which is over 200 years old.
That means lots of tarting up of more giant wooden boards has gone on, we’ve dug out the last of our French wire egg baskets, and I finally convinced Doug to surrender some of his personal collection of vintage copper pots and pans.  We have sold out of our stock copper, so I got to delve into the forbidden depths of Doug’s collection.  But he still has more than enough, and kept anything he particularly wanted, and I’m now back to having a good selection to sell.
Meanwhile, the next Collectorama antiques and collectables fair is taking place on this coming Saturday 1 November, at the Nambour Showgrounds.  It’s the last one for the year, so if you’re able to come by to visit that will be great.  The next one won’t be until March 2015.
We still have a nice selection of
enamelware and kitchen implements
to show at Collectorama.
I didn’t blog about what happened at the September Collectorama because what happens at Collectorama stays at Collectorama.
No, that’s a lie. 
Actually, that’s a big lie. 
Because what happened at the September Collectorama is going to be published for all and sundry to read about.  The next edition of the magazine Antiques & Collectables for Pleasure & Profit will be publishing a feature article by me on what happened at the September Collectorama.  So cast your mind back, everyone who visited us then.  What did you buy? Did you dress daggy or nice?  And who were you with – anyone illicit?  Oh dear, that was early September – are you sure you remember? 
Well guess what – I took notes!  And photos.  And a bunch of you who visited got a mention in my article, although I won’t know what changes the Editor has made, if any, until the magazine is published.  But I’d be buying a copy of it, Alan and Carlyle, if I were you.  Just saying.  It will be on the shelves in December.
If we have another Pop Up shop Caleb will
be one of the Managers.
Meanwhile, I have been writing business profile articles for the Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper, and the first of those has now been published.  And I’m pitching some bigger newspapers on a few political articles, and a British magazine on a travel feature.  So we’ll see what comes of all that.
Not having the shop has given me more time on my hands, so I’ve decided to be a freelance journalist.  Blogging is fun, but it’s funner to be paid for what you write.  So if you’ve got any scoops, be in touch.  You could be my Secret Source.  You could be my Deep Throat.  Come on, it’ll be fun!  I probably won’t be prepared to go to prison to protect you as my source, but you can feel better in knowing that the Feds will have to pay me a lot to break my silence.

Mischka probably won't get a run as Shop Manager
because she's too cuddly-snuggly.  That's
lovely at home but doesn't work in a shop.

So that’s what’s been happening lately.  If you’re planning to come to Collectorama on 1 November be sure to wear your lippy because I might well photograph you.  And if you could oblige by doing something amusing or stupid – preferably amusingly stupid – you’ll give me fodder for a future article and I’ll make you famous.

04 September 2014


Calypso lolling about on some stock boxes,
as we prepare for Collectorama.
Collectorama, the biggest Antiques and Collectables Fair in south-east Queensland, is coming up this Saturday, 6 September at the Nambour Showground.

We’ll be taking our normal double-stand, at our normal location on the lower level of the large outdoor Pavillion.  It promises to be a sunny day, so it should be fun.  We’ve still got a few things that haven’t yet been presented, and I’ve planned what I hope will be an attractive display.

The boys like the height and warmth
provided by the stock boxes, too.
Decent Antiques Fairs in Queensland are few and far between, so a few weeks ago we decided to visit a small, local - and by that I mean a two hour drive away – Antiques Fair in Esk.  It was a warm day, with big cornflower blue skies, a winding hilly drive, and there was plenty to see and chat about en route. 

As we travelled inland the extent of the drought in Queensland became more apparent.  It’s green and lush near the coast, but not far inland it’s brown and parched, hot, uninviting.  The grass crackles underfoot, the cattle crowd into the sparse shade of the depleted trees, and the creeks are little more than a series of small, shallow pools.  It’s a tough environment.

This was a necklace at Esk.  Can you
imagine wearing it?  Really?  It isn't old
and was obviously bought by a man with
No Sense of Style.
Esk is a tiny town in the middle of nowhere with, it has to be said, not a whole lot to recommend it.  It has a giant antiques shop in the main street, but it had taken the opportunity – being a Saturday – to be shut.  But we had come to visit the Fair, and in such a small town it was easy to find.

It’s a pity when Antiques Fairs allow exhibitors who sell nothing but reproduction to participate, don’t you think?  Especially at a small Fair where there are limited exhibitors to begin with.

Nonetheless, I carried off a brushed aluminium cake tin with clean, Deco, lines for an exceptionally good price.  Aluminium cake tins, utensils and aluminum lidded glass storage jars are entirely out of fashion at the moment.  But they are stylish and suit either vintage or country kitchens, so this will change when magazine stylists and interior decorators rediscover them. 
This is a cute little Japanese wooden
Netsuke.  It dates to about 1950 so
it's not antique, but it is vintage and
collectable, not to mention way cute.
But until they do, now is the time to buy because these pieces are so reasonably priced.  So that will be something for me to hunt for at Collectorama, when I get a minute. 
Because this time we’re not going on our usual Sept/Oct buying trip to France and England, I instead contacted a few of my regular jewellery suppliers, to see if they had anything I liked.  And yes, they had lots of lovely things, many of which have arrived just in time for Collectorama.

I bought a nice selection of French glass wedding cake bead necklaces, together with foiled glass and cloisonné necklaces, all at exceptionally good prices – which means I can offer exceptionally good prices myself. 

Sarah Coventry owl
I also bought an articulated Sarah Coventry owl pendant – a nice piece of retro jewellery, some lovely vintage French, Italian and big name American brooches and stylish vintage Swiss wrist watches.  I’ll present them all at Collectorama, and we’ll see how well received they are. 
I've put a few photos on our Facebook page, and you can click on this link to see them:
The rest you'll have to see in person at Collectorama, or when I finally get a website up and running. 

After we pack up from Collectorama on Saturday, we’ll repack a selection of stock for the Peregian Beach Market, on Sunday 7 September.  So it will be a big weekend.  Call by to say hello, if you can.
No stock boxes left for Artemis, but she found somewhere to sun herself anyway.

15 August 2014

Goth Vampire Girls & The Knowledge of Ever

Everyone picks up this little plate & looks at the
underside to double-check that my description
tag is correct.   I'm going to stick another tag
on the back saying "Yes, this really is English".
Taking a stand at a market only once a week has a lot to recommend it.  We’re still very open to the idea of a Pop Up shop, but in the meantime it’s good to be back to a more civilized existence.

So it was off to the Caloundra Street Fair last Sunday.

Despite the excellent advice in my last Blog to the blessedly silent juggling busker, he’d run off – dare I hope that he’d actually cartwheeled off? – and was nowhere to be seen.

Instead, his place was taken by a young lady pretending to be a Fairy Princess Statue, dressed all in silver, with silver face, hair and body, and giant silver wings emerging from her back.  But her makeup highlighted her cheekbones and created cavernous eyes – quite a skull-like effect.  So whether she intended it or not she was a bit scary looking - kind of a Goth version of a Fairy Princess Statue.

This charming little glass bird is made from
Millefiori canes encased in clear glass.
I believe it is Italian.
You know I’m going to have some excellent advice for our Goth Fairy Princes Statue, because I am a mine of excellent advice.  And here it is:  Goth Fairy Princess Statue - stop wriggling! 

I guess some people just aren’t cut out to spend hours sitting absolutely still.  I know if I even think about having an itch an itch magically develops, and then good luck not scratching it. 

But if you’re embarking on a career as a Goth Fairy Princess Statue, it’s probably a good idea to do a test run on your couch – not covered in body paint – before you venture out in public with your Sit-Very-Still act.

I don't buy a lot of figures,
unless they're elegantly shaped.
Our girl soon discovered, as did we all, that she couldn’t sit still if her life depended on it. 

But all is not lost, and here’s my next bit of excellent advice:  put in some fake fangs.  Then she could wander the Street Fair looking like a Goth Fairy Princess Vampire.  How “of the moment” is that?  It’s an inspired idea, I know you are all thinking at this very moment. 

She could go around scaring small children and little dogs, and it would be a hoot.  I’d pay to see that.  I’d also pay her to stalk and scare the bejesus out of selected enemies, and who among us doesn’t have a vast range of enemies?  She could make a lot of money out of this gig.

As for our day at the Street Fair, it was just strange.  For the first time we were allowed to show our jewellery, so we dragged out our smallest display case (bigger won’t fit in the car).  In addition to a range of vintage French costume jewellery, we also displayed a selection of Roman carnelian beads from Libya, c300AD, which we sold for $6 each, and a range of Roman glass beads from Syria, also c300AD, which we sold for $1 each.

Here is a French farm wire basket, a wire basket
from the Paris Flower Markets, and an English
wooden apple crate.
For the most part these little antiquities were a big hit, but they did lead to two very strange encounters with visitors.

In the first instance I showed a woman the beads, explained where they were from and told her they are a little over one thousand, seven hundred years old.  What’s so old about that? she asked.  Wow, I said, You are really hard to impress.  She gave me a tight-lipped smile, shrugged and walked off.  So, rude as well as a philistine. 

But at least she wasn’t crazy.  Crazy was still to come.

This is a French frosted glass vase,
in the style of Lalique (but alas it's
not).  Still French, though, & lovely.
And crazy came along in the form of a normal looking woman.  You’ve got to watch the normal looking ones. 
She inspected the beads and told me she had an enormous interest in archaeology.  She asked me if I had heard of The 13 Crystal Skulls.  Part of my sub-major at uni was archaeology, but no I had never heard of The 13 Crystal Skulls.

So these 13 Crystal Skulls, she told me, are human and they are millions of years old.  That’s strange, I said, because humans haven’t been around for millions of years.

She entirely ignored that comment and went on with her explanation.  When the skulls were made, she told me, they were all polished to absolute smoothness with human hair. 

That’s strange, I said, because seeing how there weren’t any humans millions of years ago, buffing up your rock collection with human hair would have proven difficult.  And anyway, what is the exfoliation value of human hair?  It might actually take millions of years to polish crystal if that’s all you’re using.

You can't have too many nice wooden
boards.  This one is English, although most
of those I'm offering are French.
She entirely ignored that comment and continued.  The 13 Crystal Skulls were found in all corners of the world, she explained, and they communicate with each other.  Together, they house the Knowledge of Ever. 

That’s strange, I said, I’ve never heard of the Knowledge of Ever. 

Displaying my extreme ignorance was the ideal opportunity to be lectured at.  The Knowledge of Ever, did you know, is the knowledge of all things, ever.  Ever, ever, ever.  Past knowledge, future knowledge, multi-dimensional knowledge (yes I made that last bit up, it’s just past and future knowledge). 

That’s strange, I said, how can anything know all future knowledge?

As an aside, you might have guessed by now that we were having a quiet moment at the Street Fair.  But to continue ….

This is a rare, large Denby ceramic vase,
coupled with English stoneware pots with
beautiful glazing.
The 13 Crystal Skulls, it was explained, together form a type of Black Computer.  I don’t know what a Black Computer is, but I saw no need to display my utter lack of education yet again. 

When we learn how to turn on this Black Computer, I was informed, we shall become the Custodians of the Knowledge of Ever.  Won’t that be grand?

That’s strange, I said, if we don’t know how to turn the Black Computer on, and we don’t know how The 13 Crystal Skulls communicate with each other, how do we know they actually are communicating and are chock full of past and future knowledge? 

They’ve done tests, apparently.  Who? you ask.  They.  They!
Your cup of tea in the morning
always tastes better in nice china.
Nuff said.  Everyone knows they aren’t to be questioned when they’ve done tests. 

Who knew that attending a Sunday market could be so educational?  But why, why did I bother with boring old normal archaeology when I should have focused on becoming anointed a Custodian of the Knowledge of Ever?

Our next outing will be at the Peregian Beach Market (weather permitting) this coming Sunday, 10 August.  The weather forecast is for torrential rain, in which case we’ll stay in bed.  But if the forecast is wrong, as seems likely at this point, then we’ll be there bright and early.  I wonder what pearls of wisdom I’ll learn at this market?
A copper preserving pan, big heavy brass preserving pan and enamel ewer, part of the large selection of nice metalware we are offering at the Markets.