26 February 2014

Visiting Paris AND Nambour - does it get any better?

Game of Thrones synopsis:  EVERYONE dies.  The end.
We’ve had an enjoyable week, relaxing over the Winter Olympics and then a Game-of-Thrones-athon. Despite advice from all and sundry, we elected to not pirate Series III of GoT, and also elected to not watch it on the plane during our last buying trip.  It’s good to watch this show on a large screen, and take our time to enjoy it.

But now the trailers for Series IV are driving me a bit nuts because dang it looks good, but again we will show law-abiding patience.  Probably.   Maybe.  It helps that I’ve read all the books so I know what is coming, but gee this is a well-produced series and I don’t see why we have to wait for a year after it’s been screened in the US before we can see it.

A position I am familiar with.
As for the Winter Olympics, did you notice how an awful lot of winter sports involve flying through the air, often backwards, and invariably end with someone crashing and burning?  Sounds just like my skiing style.

Meanwhile, we leave on the next buying trip on 18 March.  OMG!  I had better finish all the bookings soonish.

We get to see sunrise in Paris a lot.
You’d be amazed at how much planning goes into a successful buying trip.  People seem to think that we just turn up and skip about Paris with a pain au chocolat in one hand and a nice glass of Bordeaux in the other.  And okay we do, but that’s only because a whole lot of planning has gone into making that happen.  And a whole lot of training goes into skipping about without spilling said Bordeaux. It takes determination, people, to achieve the highest levels of shop to drink ratio.

Find us by our sign - top pavilion, lower level.

So it’s only a quickie update this time, but I must let everyone who can visit know that the first Collectorama Antiques Fair of 2014 is being held at the Nambour Showground this Saturday, 1 March.  Gates open at 7am, and there is usually a queue of early-bird shoppers waiting to be first in.  The early birds start queuing before I’m even out of bed, but you don’t have to be that keen.  Parking is plentiful and there are heaps of stands for you to browse through.  Look for our sign and our happy smiling faces, and be sure to come and say hello.

English cups & saucers, c1940, $12 each.
Then on Sunday 2 March it’s back to the Peregian Beach Market, so this weekend will suck in terms of having to get up super early on both days.  But a good injection of funds just before our buying trip will seriously help, so we shall get lots of good things out.  We still have four boxes of unopened niceties on our verandah from our last trip, so I shall do what I can to make sure these things get their first showing at Nambour and Peregian this weekend.  The cups and saucers I've pictured above will get their first showing on Facebook today (not counting here, of course) and then at Nambour on Saturday if they're not sold by then.  $12 each!  That's what selling wholesale allows.

Klaatu loves watching the builders.
But can I let you go without telling you about the Busker du Jour at the Caloundra Street Fair last Sunday?  Hey banjo busker!  I’m really, really sorry I dissed you! 

This time we had a mini Umpah Band, consisting of a tuba and piano accordion churning out good old beer hall classics.  Probably good, rousing, sing-along stuff if you’d indulged in quite a few of giant steins of beer.  If only we had.

But wait, there’s worse more.  Closer to us, and loud enough to drown out the Umpah Band (yeah, that’s loud) was a gel who serenaded us with music to cut your wrists by.  

Did you know there is scientific research that proves certain colours encourage people to eat more, certain smells encourage people to feel happier, and certain music encourages people to shop more?  But that music, I’m thinking, does not include some gel wailing about not being pretty enough a la Casey Chambers.

If we had to endure Ms Chambers’ lament only once it would have been bearable, but our gel turned out to know only six songs so we had a limited range of loud teenage angst on a continual loop.  For hours. 

So yes, yes, I admit that I was very mean, banjo busker.  But don’t you think we’ve been tortured enough?  You’ve made your point that there are worse things in life than banjo playing wannabe hard rockers - although in my defense, who would have thunk? – so please, puhleeese come back!

One last thing:  have you looked at my business Facebook page?  It's called Continuum Antiques.  It's a small page, and horribly neglected as I've been planning for the buying trip, but it's got a few nice things on it and I will add to it.  Soon.  Promise.  

Calypso is also fascinated by the building work.  You'd think all that banging and crashing would scare her, but she is my Warrior Bengal.

11 February 2014

Don't wish too hard for what you want

Hello? Having a bath here.

It is a well-known fact that I am an Ungrateful Wretch.  So let’s just all  agree to that and get it out of the way.

But who knew that I would be wishing for the return of the Banjo Busker?  You might recall that in my post a few weeks back, entitled I hear banjos - paddle faster, I was a bit down on Caloundra Street Fair’s banjo busker.  Yes okay, I was a lot down on him and kind of wished that his banjo would accidentally burst into flames.

So we skipped back to the Caloundra Street Fair last Sunday, and we were back in our original location.  Ah, how nice, we thought, when we observed that a lone acoustic guitarist was now the busker in residence at this end of the street. 

A favourite shot of Calypso.
Poor Banjo Busker has been reduced to the status of wandering minstrel, so it wasn’t just me who didn’t appreciate his tortured attempts to turn the banjo into a School of Rock Instrument of Awesomeness.  On the one hand strolling while he strums does make it harder for Banjo Busker to garner donations for his efforts, but not standing still also means that objects hurled at him are more likely to miss.

So we set up to the dulcet tones of the acoustic guitarist, and thought it was all very civilized.  That was at 7am.  The crowds again got off to a slow start, so we had time to listen.  And listen.  By 9am our eyes were bulging, as we were slowly hypnotized by the utter blandness.  Goodness knows what his mother called him, but I ended up naming our busker The Amazing Mesmero.  The only song I recognized was Green Sleeves, but other than that – and indeed including that – it was a nonstop litany of mesmerizing elevator musak.

Will have this reproduced soon.
While I was eventually able to tune-out Banjo Busker as he mutilated rock classics, The Amazing Mesmero was more insidious.  He was a stealth master, able to creep into your skull, and then slowly and blandly scramble your brains.  I forget all of the provisions of the Geneva Convention, but I’m pretty sure there is some rule about not driving people insane with music.  I know it actually refers to keeping people awake with very loud rock music, but I submit that blandy-bland blandness is just as tortuous.

So here’s the thing:  against my will I am now becoming somewhat of a busker connoisseur.  And it is my informed opinion that whacky totally-don’t-work interpretations of rock classics beat flavourless, unremarkable-other-than-to-note-how-boring-it-is, any day.  So come back Banjo Busker!  All is not exactly forgiven, but at least with you we stay awake.  The Ungrateful Wretches who didn’t appreciate you still don’t, really, but who knew when we wished ill on your banjo, when we hoped it would twang its last, that you would turn out to be the best of the bunch.

Not a lot of land care at our place, lately.
So if you’re determined to continue on your hard rocking ways, Banjo Busker, I’ve even come up with some suggestions to help keep you unstoned (and I mean that in the Biblical sense, not the Hard Rocker sense). 

Yes, because this is an Interactive Blog, get your best banjo impersonations ready again, people, and tell me what you think of these: 

AC\DC:   TNT, Highway to Hell and even Long Way to the Top (if you wanna rock’N’roll) and OMG what about Back in Black?

Deep Purple:  Smoke on the Water; 

Nirvana:  Smells Like Teen Spirit – this would be fantastic if Banjo Busker also grew his hair and threw his head up and down a lot as he played;

This is a bit more laid back, but what about Eric Clapton, Layla?  Try a quick dang-dang-dang – I think this could work.

Rage Against the Machine:  Killing in the Name – what do you think – too out there?  If it worked it could be epic, though.

QueenBohemian Rhapsody.  And yes, a bit of head banging a la Wayne's World would be a nice accompaniment.  

Okay, so that is my contribution to Banjo Busker’s return as a Hard Living, Head Slamming, Banjo Slaying, Rock God.  He’s going to have to lose that dinky little hat he wears, but styling advice can come later.

5.30am at Peregian Beach, just behind our stand
Meanwhile, next Sunday (16 February) it’s back to the Peregian Beach Market, where I shall bring out the last of the wire potato baskets, and a very cool 120 year old hand-forged metal anchor that we totally forgot we had.  I think Peregian might be just the spot for it.  If we can’t sell something so interesting and quirky in a beach-house environment, I will give up, flounce off and spend the rest of my life in a dark room watching The Bold & The Beautiful.  Actually, that’s not such a bad idea anyway ….

French hand-forged anchor, c1890
I also just remembered the fabulous large ceramic elephant we bought on our last buying trip – in my defense I did purchase him last September and haven’t yet unpacked the box he is in.  So I shall dig him out, and he shall make his first appearance at Peregian as well.

We’re still finding plenty of interesting stock, and we have quite a few boxes to unpack yet.  But we’ve decided that a good deal of this stock is too small and to fiddly for us to be packing and unpacking all the time for the markets, so here’s what I’m going to do – sell it online.

And on that front, yay, we now have a Business Facebook page up and running!  Remember my New Years’ Resolution to do this?  Well it’s started on a small scale, and I shall keep it quite small.  I will update it probably every week with a few new items and things that I won’t offer anywhere else.  Yes Exclusive Offers, of good stuff. 

So if you have a Facebook page, perhaps you’d like to have a look – our page is called Continuum Antiques.  I decided to get into the spirit of mesmerizing, so the cover picture features Artemis looking suitably hypnotic.  You’ll see what I mean when you get there.  If you like the page, will you push the Like button?   Then you will receive my updates and exclusive offers, plus the occasional prize draw that will be open only to Facebook members who have Liked my page.

Alas, no playing with tigers on this trip.
In breaking news, we are definitely going on another buying trip in March – it was decided only this morning.  But that’s not far off, and there is so much planning that goes into a successful buying trip, so I shall be a headless chook for the next little while.  More on this next post.

03 February 2014

How to Clear a Room in 10 Seconds Flat

This happens at our house, only smaller.

Our second outing at the Caloundra Street Fair was again a bit of fun, and there wasn’t a banjo busker in sight.  But we did have a very loud didgeridoo player nearby, with a wailing woman accompanist.  You know those accompanists who don’t sing actual words, don’t hum, don’t la-la-la melodiously, but just wail along with the tune?  The same as you might sound if you don’t know the words of a song but feel the need to fake it and loudly join in anyway.  Or if you’re caterwauling in the shower one fine morning.  Or if you have severe appendicitis.   

1950s ceramic liqueur bottle.
You know that I’ve encouraged a bit of reader activity in my posts lately, so here is today’s task:  pick a favourite song, drop the words and insert your wailing instead.  Go on – the worst that can happen is that someone accidentally calls an ambulance for you.  I tried it to Baker Street (by Gerry Rafferty), substituting the saxophone for me.  

And yes, it did clear the room – in somewhat faster than 10 seconds - but hey that was my first go!  I think I show good potential as a wailing woman if I practice a bit more.  Doug says he speaks on behalf of himself and all the moggies when he says Please Don’t.  He’ll be sorry when I’m a famous wailing woman.

I am thinking of having this reproduced.
But there was only so much wailing one woman could do, so our accompanist wasn’t a permanent fixture.  And in a charming twist and a nice melding of cultures which seemed appropriate on Australia Day, during an extended solo the didgeridoo player inserted occasional choruses of Aussie-Aussie-Aussie! Oi-Oi-Oi!  Kind of funny, weird, sweet, and unlike any other indigenous performer I’ve ever heard.

Then came Caleb’s Big Day Out the following Saturday, when he made a special guest appearance at Oople, in Eumundi.  He enjoyed himself immensely, and for the most part he was a good boy and posed nicely for photos.  I hesitated to let him loll about on my jewellery cabinet as he used to do in our shop, because he’s 7kg now and I wasn’t sure the glass top would support him.  But he was determined to climb on and yowled and growled and grumbled until I gave in, and it was fine. 

Caleb receiving guests with Jules at Oople.

The one disappointment of the morning was that the joyful reunion with Polly the Poodle didn’t work out as planned.  Caleb is now 3kg heavier than Polly, but even when they were closer in size she wasn’t impressed with being jumped on and wrestled to the ground.  Now he’s a lot bigger than her, and she didn’t want to be friends any more.  Not one bit.  Poor Polly the Poodle sat trembling on her owner’s lap, and wouldn’t even touch noses.   

Polly did not want to be friends.
So Polly went home, and Caleb returned to admirers who weren’t afraid of him.  Until he disgraced himself and cleared the room (hint: He smelled bad! Clutch your throat, eye-watering, have-we-been-attacked-by-chemical-terrorists? bad).  We couldn’t pin the blame on Polly the Poodle because she had already scarpered, so we decided that his guest appearance had concluded at that point and carted him home, where he was all tuckered out and inclined to snuggle.  Believe me when I tell you that my technique to clear a room is nothing like as effective as Caleb’s.

Next it was on to the Peregian Beach Sunday morning market, and we’re really happy with this venue.  Almost all of our wooden items are now gone, almost all of our enamel, and the vintage and reproduction French pictures are selling so well it will be essential that I source more on our next buying trip.  I’ve started to unpack the other boxes, to bring out some very nice glass and interesting ceramics, some of which I've featured here.  They’ve been well received so I’ll be unpacking more this week.

1940s ceramic cake stand.
We appear to have settled into a permanent spot at Peregian Beach Market, directly behind the sand dunes with a direct view of the beach, and how wonderful it is to have those lovely sea breezes on a hot day.  I photographed one of the many small burrows that were clearly in active use between us and the beach, and wonder if anyone knows what critter would use them?  Brown snake is the wrong answer.

Any ideas what critter lives here?
We’ve asked for a casual stand at the Caloundra Street Fair for Sunday 9 February, so we’ll see if we get in again.  I’m trying for every first and third Sunday morning at Peregian Beach, and every second and fourth Sunday morning at the Caloundra Street Fair.  We bring visitors’ chairs with us and so far visitors have come and ensconced every time, which has been splendid and a great way to keep in touch.

Something I miss about the shop was the pleasure of meeting nice people, who came so often they became friends.  But we’ve already met some nice people at the markets who visit us every time we take a stand, and former regulars at the shop are now becoming regulars at the markets, so we’re re-establishing the social nature of the shop.  Mind you, I don’t get to chat as much as I’d like to because we’re usually pretty busy, so we’ll have to schedule some purely chat time as well.   Get your people to contact my people.

Some of the nice glass & ceramics we've unpacked.
Oh, and here’s a Heads-Up.  You know I mentioned a few posts ago that I was probably going to change the name of the Blog from Chequered Past to Continuum?  We’ll that’s now decided and I will do that.  But not only will I rebrand, I am also going to change sites.  Blogspot has been good, but gradually things are breaking down that apparently can’t be fixed – such as people who have subscribed can no longer get automatic email updates from me – so I shall move to Word Press.  But that will take time, especially if I have to go into full planning mode for another buying trip soon and we shall find out about that this week, I hope.  So it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.  Just letting you know it’s coming.
Moi?  How could you think such a thing?  It was Polly the Poodle, I swear.