12 April 2016

All Good Trips Must Come To An End

We avoided most of the April Showers

We have reached the end of this buying trip, and couldn’t be happier.  Didn’t get snowed on, didn’t get rained on (much), and spent all our money. Plus some.

I hope everyone likes good Art Deco and Semi-Industrial (and sometimes downright industrial) design, because that’s what you’re getting. Trust me, it’s good. 

Good enough that I had to fend off all manner of French and Italian dealers to get some of the really good stuff at the Newark International Antiques Fair. But how civilized is your shopping experience when fending off various gentlemen rivals includes outrageous flirting as you try to maneuver each other out of the way.

We have a number of pretty plates coming home.
I’m not immune to a wink and a roguish smile, especially when it’s accompanied by a heart-melting accent.  But when it comes to serious shopping, boys, you can flirt and flirt, and give me one of those lazy smiles while you raise an eyebrow suggestively at me, and I will enjoy it immensely.  But then get out of my way.

The pressure was off at Newark, because I had already shopped up a storm throughout the rest of the trip. So I was able to stroll about and select only the most interesting pieces. Of course, everyone wants the most interesting pieces, hence the flirting and fending. But what a fun way to end the trip. I really must recommend this lifestyle, you know. I know I’ve just written a book all about it, but having done a quick double-check before I start the publishing process, I’ve confirmed it’s all correct as at 2016 and as fun as I say. 

This is just one stand at the Newark Antiques Fair
And sometimes, like this time at Newark, it’s more funner than other times.

Last Sunday, when most of the packing was done, we had an excursion to Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Castle.  The castle was ruined by Edward Montegu, as I mentioned in the last instalment, so there’s not a lot to see anymore.  But the Cathedral is another matter.  Enormous and very beautiful.

And there, in the shadow of the Cathedral was a nice little antiques street market.  So I bought a lovely smoky-blue painted French trug and some semi-industrial metal boxes, and that really was that as far as the buying went.  There’s something quite joyous about the pealing of Cathedral bells, and our last shopping was done while the bells rang out over the city.

Next time Caleb is naughty I'll remind him he's worth more dead
Packing is always the most tedious part of a buying trip, but if we don’t pack well we have only ourselves to blame if things come home damaged. So it’s a necessary tedium. 

We ensconced in the hotel room for a few days – with wriggle-bum Doug going out for supplies from time to time – to get the job done. There were old James Bond movies, Time Team episodes and some appalling show called Jeremy Kyle in the background for entertainment.  Why would people agree to appear on TV to discuss intensely personal and horribly embarrassing details about their private lives? It's either entirely fake, or they’re paid a lot, lot of money.

The last pack of the van couldn't get more packed
Now I can’t wait for the shipment to arrive home.  I’d love to do a pop up shop, if I can find a good location with lots of passing foot traffic and a reasonable landlord.   

Alas, such a combination is hard to find.  But I’ll look.  Landlords in Australia aren’t used to the concept of pop up shops, where you pay less rent because you don’t get the benefits of a long-term lease.  They can’t seem to get their heads around it. 

In the UK landlords really embrace the idea of pop ups, to give them some cash while they’re waiting for a permanent tenant.  So it’s a bit frustrating when you attempt to engage with an Australian landlord who only sees dollar signs when you walk in the door, and insists you sign up for a long lease and thinks you’re so desperate for their premises you’ll do anything to get them.  Even though their shop has been vacant for months, and it’s the landlord who should be falling to their knees in joy that anyone is taking an interest in it. 

Chinese & English china, all nice, all well priced.
We dealt with one landlord who insisted that we could only take a one month pop up if we first paid for the (considerable) overdue electricity bill left by the previous tenant.  He couldn’t understand our mirth, but at first we really did think he was joking.  He wasn’t joking.  

The premises had holes in the ceiling, walls and floor, no electricity, no running water, no toilets or any in close proximity, plus he wanted us to sign a lease for a month, with the agreement that the rent would go up from its already high retail level if we stayed for more than a month. Yeah, no.

But this shipment will look fantastic presented all at the same time, rather than the piece-meal approach I have to do at the Peregian market.  So I will try. Otherwise, I’ll get a website up and running and every time we take a stand at Peregian for the next ages it will look completely different. And that’s got to be a good thing.

My favourite bridge in London
Now we’re back in London, and will fly out to Bangkok tomorrow. So we’re almost home. I’ll get my hair done in Bangkok, get some sleep, get some good room service.  There’ll be time for a rat around some antiques shops, and then the long, long flight home continues.

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