26 March 2016

Shop like the wind!

12 x French felt egg coddlers, c1930. Tres cute. $12 each.

I am a Shopping Demon!  There’s no stopping me.  I can shop like the wind.

Yes, the Peterborough fair was an outstanding success.  I hit the semi-industrial mother-lode, and literally filled the van with great finds.

It wasn’t a promising start, though.  We were there for the traders’ early entry at 7am (costs a lot more than the normal entry time at 10am), but at first the pickings were slim.  Slim to nothing.  I saw plenty I really liked, but the prices were ridiculous. 

Oh no, I thought, this isn’t good. 

Actually, I thought something a lot ruder than that but this is a lady-like, well brought up blog, thank you, and we don’t use that type of language around here.

French lunch boxes, way cool, c1920.  $64 each.
So for the first half hour I couldn’t find a single thing I liked and could afford.  But that all changed when I found a fabulous French dealer, selling fabulous French semi-industrial stock.   

Voila!  Suddenly my plaintive cries of I-got-nuffin changed to me doing little jigs.  What’s French for I shopped like the wind?  J'ai fait des courses comme le vent.  I think that’s actually a nonsense sentence in French, but you know what I mean.

I bought really old wooden well buckets, seriously cool wooden industrial stools, big, big pieces of enamelware, big metal milk carrying pots, big galvanized grape picking baskets – lots of big stuff. 

A few of the French utensils, c1930. $30 each.
But I also carried off colourful enamel utensils, and those nice, dinky enamel lunch boxes that customers variously use as handbags through to kitchen storage containers.  

And I got my hands on the most enormous green glass wine bottles I’ve ever seen.  They’re called carboys and they’ll look very fabulous on our stand at the Peregian Beach market.

After that the floodgates opened, and I shopped nonstop for the next six hours. 

Finally, finally I found a few small French wooden dough troughs.  I’ve been looking for small ones for the last few trips, with no luck because the very big ones are much more common.  I’ve only got three so far, but we’ve only been here for three days so there’s plenty of time.  If there are more out there, I’ll find them.

Vicki Carter are you reading this? This is yours.
And yay, I’ve also been looking for nice French Art Deco glass lidded trinket boxes for the last few trips, without a great deal of success.  Now I’ve got five.  

I've also got some really unusual pieces, including six English wooden kettering racks (used to store potatos during the winter), and a benchtop French bottle drainer that will look fabulous with small thingies hanging off it in someone’s kitchen.

I always look for French wire flower baskets, and so far I have three, but I also scored a good metal potato basket.  

The really big rectangular and round wooden French boards that everyone loves have increased enormously in price - thanks for nothing, Jamie Oliver! But I did get one of each.   I want to find a whole lot more of these boards, but there weren’t many to be had at remotely affordable prices at this fair.

Are we having fun yet? Poor Doug lugging a lot.
Poor Douglas was run ragged because I kept buying heavy and oddly shaped things.  He made many trips back to the van and had to get creative to jigsaw it all in.  Now he’s knackered, poor chook.  My own feet and back were complaining vigorously, and I didn’t cover anything like the kilometers he did.

I think it’s safe to say that Quarantine’s going to have a cow when it sees this shipment.  We’re trialing a new freight clearance company this time, though, so we’ll see how well they fend off the Feds. 

French wooden laundry tongs & butter pats
We had a bright, bright, sunshiny day for the Peterborough fair, and it was lovely.  But now it appears the English weather is closing in on us.  We’re traveling down to Somerset later today, to position ourselves for the Shepton Mallet Giant Flea.  Unless we’re lucky, we might be shopping in gales and driving rain down there.

The Shepton Mallet Flea is great fun, but knowing how to thwart the Queue Police is essential to ensure a happier shopping experience.  Happier for us, that is.  

The Queue Police aren’t keen on being thwarted, it has to be said.  I’ve devoted an entire chapter on this in my book, because the Queue Police’s antics are almost Python-esque in their absurdity.  And their apoplexy when you thwart them is dead impressive and worth seeing.

I’ll report from the wilds of deepest Somerset soon.


  1. Hello Shoppers. I'm liking the photos of your finds. Even happier to hear you have found French wire flower baskets. Yay. ����������

    1. I have a great variety - better than I've ever had before. So I'm one happy vegemite.

  2. I'm here and I love it...no wonder you were not happy.

    1. Not happy about that lovely plate being cracked, you mean? As usual, my disaster is your gain. But you're right - I wasn't happy. A few rude words were spoken.