14 January 2015

A Tale of Woe & Things More Weird Than Woe

The culprit.
We love our pets, right?  And we never feel like strangling them, right?

Actually, I didn’t feel murderous but I was quite upset at Mischka’s escapades this week.

For some years we have owned a beautiful old Carltonware bowl, in excellent condition.  My favourite piece of ceramic, and certainly the most expensive we’ve ever owned.  We bought it for a song, but old Carltonware has appreciated nicely over the years and now we would never dream of spending that much money on a bowl.

For safe-keeping, it has been lodged on the top shelf of a glass-fronted bookcase.  And there it has safely sat for the entire time we’ve owned it.

But this week the bookcase door was left momentarily open.  You know where this is going, don’t you?

Mischka immediately took the opportunity to inspect The Forbidden Zone.  She’s never been allowed inside the bookcase, and its lure was impossibly attractive.

She took a wild leap at the top shelf, which from a standing start would have been impressive for any cat let alone a klutz like her.  And, of course, she missed.  She scrabbled for purchase, pulling out a book, which in turn crashed into the bowl, which didn’t bounce well when it hit the ground.  A million pieces is not an exaggeration.  Not much, anyway.

And boy did she run.  A purple streak flew by on its way to the verandah, so fast that at first I had trouble identifying who it was.  But there is only one purple cat at our house.

The disaster.
Identifying the perpetrator was made easier by the fact that she immediately returned to the scene of the crime, to inspect the damage.

Apart from an extended wail of “Noooooooo!”, and perhaps one or two unseemly words, there was no yelling.  Certainly none directed at Mischka.

But she knew she had done wrong.

She spent the rest of the afternoon sitting on me and Doug in turn, putting her paws around our arms, necks, stomachs - anything she could reach - for an extended pussycat cuddle, with lots of head rubbing and head-on-an-angle endearing looks.

How can you resist pussycat cuddles and head-on-angle endearing looks?  You can’t.  Cats practice these looks in front of the bathroom mirror when no-one is looking, for exactly this eventuality.

How fortunate that I subsequently spoke to the very creative Vicki, who makes jewellery and has offered to rebirth at least some of the shards into something nice.  So we shall have a permanent reminder of Mischka the Klutz Kat’s Krime hanging around my neck or dangling from my ears.  Photos will be supplied in due course.

You still love me, don't you?
In other news, there I was sitting at my stand at the Yandina Country Market on Saturday.  It was the third time we’d taken a stand at this market, and we’ll do so for the rest of January and revisit our plans then. 

Anyway, there I was sitting at my stand, when a woman approached me and said Can I show you a picture of my toilet?  This isn’t a question I’m often asked.  Okay…., I said cautiously.

It turned out to not be as weird as I was expecting, because she had purchased a stained glass window from us some time ago, and installed it in the room that houses her toilet.  So, not weird at all.  Really nice, in fact.

But weird was on its way.

A bit later a chap started browsing through our selection of vintage French magazine covers and advertisements.  You sell French stuff but you’re not selling Charlie Hebdo – that’s really hypocritical of you, he declared.  If you sold Charlie Hebdo I would buy it, so you should sell it.

Calypso had plenty to say on the topic.
You may have noticed our sign, I said.  It says ‘Antiques, Vintage & Retro’.  Yes he had. 

So we only sell old things.  Charlie Hebdo isn’t a really old publication, and it also doesn’t have the type of art we want to sell, I said.

I think you will agree this was a perfectly reasonable and immensely polite response, given that I’d just been loudly called a hypocrite.

But no, he was having none of it.  Well I think it’s hypocritical for you to be selling French things but not Charlie Hebdo, he said.  As usual, my left eyebrow developed a life of its own.  Doug recognizes this as an early warning sign, but our guy was oblivious to the fact that the wrath of me was about to descend upon him. 

Had you even heard of Charlie Hebdo before yesterday?, I asked.  No he hadn’t.  Do you read French?, I asked?  No he doesn’t.  So you’re suggesting that as an antiques dealer I stock a brand new satirical magazine in a language you can’t even read?, I asked. 

What’s satirical? was his response.

Sensibly, the boys kept a low profile.
There a woman standing beside him also looking at the pictures and quietly listening to this exchange.  She couldn’t stop herself groaning loudly, and she turned to look at him, incredulously.  Then she turned to me and silently gave me an open-mouthed OMG-Who-Is-This-Idiot? look.  We shared a smile, and I turned back to my nemesis.

Satire is a type of witty sarcasm, I said.  In Charlie Hebdo’s case it satires French politics and culture – you’d never even heard of it before 24 hours ago, you can’t read French, you have no idea what satire is, and I seriously doubt you know the first thing about French politics and culture in any case.  But you reckon that as an antiques dealer I’m a hypocrite for not stocking a brand new magazine so you can tell all your friends how brave you are for buying it.  Am I right?   

And I said all of that in one big breath.

Well I still think you should sell it, he said as his parting shot, before he turned and marched out.  But not before the woman who had been standing next to him said loudly You’ve got to be kidding – who is that moron?  He pretended he couldn’t hear her, but he’d have to be deaf as well as stupid.

Does that sign say 'satire sold here'?
You meet all types when you’re an antiques dealer, I told her.  And he wants to make a brave political statement from the obscurity of Yandina market – where he’s not likely to run into too many al-Qaeda operatives buying their weekly fruit and vegies.   

We agreed he was an idiot and that women are superior in every way, just for good measure.

Other than the occasional Jihadist-defying customer, Yandina is a nice country market with friendly, laid-back visitors.  It sells a good selection of reasonably priced garden plants, fresh fruit and vegetables direct from the growers, and also has small group of artisanal food producers.  There is a fair quantity of trash and treasure stands that largely sell clothes, and a growing number of second hand and vintage stands.   

Among it all are a few little gems, and the Market management told me they would be very happy if I wrote some newspaper articles on a variety of the traders there, much as I do for the Peregian Beach Market.  Yandina Market gets little publicity, but hopefully I can help change that.

And on the journalism front, so far so good.  Since last November I’ve had eight articles published, the biggest of them a two page feature in the nationally circulated magazine Antiques & Collectables for Pleasure & Profit.  It’s the best antiques magazine in Australia, so I was chuffed to get a gig with them.

That magazine’s Editor has now invited me to write a series of articles for them, and the first will be published in the autumn edition (out in March).  Plus I have two articles going into the winter edition.  What a pity it’s only published quarterly, but they’ve scheduled me for every edition in 2015 and are already talking about 2016, so this has been a good boost to my confidence as a writer.  More on this as it happens.

Lots of vintage now at Peregian Market.  I'm writing an article on it.