This morning we went to view a house in Ashton-upon-Lyne. Not only did this mean the chance to look round a house, but also to visit the charity shops of Ashton and get some lunch at Lily’s Vegetarian Indian Cafe. Feeling lucky, I sent a message to Twitter and my mum to take on the Charity Shop Challenge. The theme: Kitsch. The spending limit: £3.00. Mum, Aidan and Lisa (blurat’s entry here) accepted the challenge…
Aidan’s entry consists of both the retro glass elephants and this board game:
He spent the princely sum of £2.50 on his two items, leaving him with 50p change.
My mum got these:
It’s a set of retro cocktail sticks in the shape of miniature swords! My mum’s got a good eye for the kitsch. She and my sister bought these two pictures from the charity shop yesterday:
They’re planning to do up one of the bedrooms in their house as a vintage shop for my youngest sister, using all of the retro and kitsch pictures and mirrors they’ve bought to fill a wall. Fantastic idea in my eyes! Not sure where these saucy ladies have come from, but they’re definitely a good bit of kitsch.
My entry… not as successful in the kitsch terms. We found lots – which I’ll show off in a bit – but not much of it could be classified as kitsch. I think I’ll have to bend my own rules a little and use this as my entry:
This little critter came from a car boot sale in Oldham last week, and cost a whole 50p. No idea who made it and no idea what we’ll use it for, but I like it all the same. So – readers, who’s won? Lisa’s kitsch print dress, my Mum’s miniature sword cocktail sticks, Aidan’s glass elephants or my hedgehog pot pourri holder? My money would be on my mum’s cocktail sticks…
What else have we bought today and recently? At the same car boot sale the hedgehog came from, we bought a little plastic Babycham deer (which is already sitting on my desk at work), and from the Ashton car boot sale, these plates:
We only paid £6 for these! What a bargain. They have joined the Homemaker bowls and Barker Bros. 1950s plates in the cupboard. We were going to keep one and sell the others, but we’ve accidentally kept all three…
The rest of our haul from today included:
I also got an old book of fairy tales with some gorgeous illustrations, but I’m saving that for another day. The plan tonight is to get out the retro board games with a glass of red wine. A good end to a lovely day. Just goes to show you can still find some bargains in the charity shops. I’ll get thinking about next week’s Charity Shop Challenge (possible rechristened as the Chazzer Challenge?). Don’t forget to let me know who you think wins the first one this week!
Yesterday I went to the car boot sale in Stafford. Without a doubt, Stafford is the Mecca for car boot sales. Every time I visit my family there and we go to the boot, I always come back laden down. Yesterday was no exception:
Some of it will be Ebayed, most of it I appear to be keeping… these 1960s costume jewellery pieces are becoming a slight obsession. I don’t know anything about them, so I should start researching into them.
I’m having massive problems with WordPress at the moment. I’ve managed to figure out how to insert all of the pictures I want to (using a Gallery function). However, I can’t seem to insert them individually and hence can’t make them any bigger. I’ll keep trying.
Yesterday’s glorious sunshine saw the start of the car boot season for us properly. We made it to both the Oldham Rugby Club and Ashton Town Centre car boot sales. There weren’t massive amounts of retro and vintage goodies to be found, but we did (well, I did!) come away with a few things:
They may be small; they may be brown but these two pots are proof that you can still find West German Pottery in Britain for less than a fiver! They cost a grand total of £2. I actually quite like the swirls on the Scheurich one (left) and the shape and handle of the one on the right (not yet identified).
Considering how much he hated the Scottie Dog coasters, Aidan seems to quite like these. So they’ve managed to stay in the living room for the time being, just in front of the Art Deco glass block and the Carstens Ankara collection.
This funny little game made me smile and as it was only £1, I had to buy. Well, I didn’t have to, but you know what I mean… You twist Dr. Magini to face one of the questions (left hand side of the board). When you place him on the other side, he magically swings around to face the correct answer. How does he do it??
Yet another 1960s pendant necklace. I think I’m becoming a bit addicted to them!
Yesterday was just such a lovely day. Despite having spent most of the rest of the day marking, the fact that I was able to do it whilst sat in beautiful sunshine in the garden made it bearable. Here’s hoping the weather is just as good for our road trip to Germany on Friday.
At the weekend, I travelled down to Stafford to visit my Mum for Mother’s Day. It seems that the West Midlands is the Car Boot Sale capital of the country! As is the norm when we visit Stafford, Sunday morning involved visiting the car boot sale on the Common. And just like always, I wasn’t disappointed with my finds.
Pretty much the first stall I looked at had an amazing array of bits and bobs. The stallholder was clearing out her mum’s attic. My sister bought a giant horn from them and desperately wanted a huge wooden boat! I went back at the end of the sale, when she was packing up, and bought these as well:
Can you see the label on that?
The coat looks like it’s never been worn – I almost don’t want to wear it as I want to preserve it’s excellent condition. Having said that, I did wear it to work this morning as it seemed a bit chilly. That didn’t last long; did you see the glorious sunshine this afternoon?
I got this for free with the coat:
It’s amazing! But I’ve not yet dared to wear it outside of the house…
These gorgeous ’60s necklaces were tangled up in a tub of other necklaces, mostly cheap, plastic beads. The chunky chain one is a Napier. The other two aren’t signed, but they’re definitely of the era. I’m becoming a bit addicted to these ’60s pendant necklaces. That’s my fifth one now.
Last but not least:
These are almost too kitsch! Aidan hates them, but I think they’re funny. Not sure if I’d use them though… I might put them out and see if he notices!
Everything was carried home in my Big Shopper which I’ve had for a couple of years now and is perfect for carting stuff around in:
Another thing about me and travelling: map-reading. I’m pretty shocking at it. I have a tendency to send us off a junction or road too early, can’t seem to orientate the map and find it really difficult to follow where we are on our route. This hasn’t helped us being able to find Trödelmarkts which are usually down some side street – especially when I’m using a fairly zoomed out map to do the bulk of the journey. Fortunately, Aidan has done a hell of a lot of research before our trip, resulting in some zoomed in maps of the areas we need.
However, a zoomed in Multimap printout still wasn’t enough to stop us driving up and down Berliner Straße approximately four times when trying to find our hotel in Wettensheidt. For some reason, one of the roads was marked in a slightly different place which meant I just couldn’t understand which way we were supposed to be travelling. I made us turn around about three times before Aidan finally took over and logically figured out which way we were supposed to go. Naturally, this was the way we were headed in the first place…
It turns out that Essen and the Ruhr in general is about the equivalent of Yorkshire. It’s a very industrial area – known as the Ruhrgebeit – full of former coal-mines and coking plants. Our hotel was situated right next to part of the Industrial Route. This is part of the regeneration of the area, where the former collieries and factories have been converted into art spaces and museums. We found a running route into and around a park and a ‘fake’ hill made from a spoil tip next to our hotel; more impressive than that sounds! It was really interesting to see how the area has started to be regenerated, and it did make us think about whether something similar could be done in parts of Yorkshire such as Barnsley.
On our second day there we took a trip to Zollverein, a massive former colliery and coking plant built in the Bauhaus era and now a UNESCO heritage site. It is an extremely impressive area covering several kilometres squared and a definite must-see for anyone interested in Industrialist architecture. The main buildings house the Ruhr Museum and the Red Dot Design Museum. We visited the Ruhr Museum, which was extremely informative about the Ruhr area and regeneration, but we wanted to know more about the site and buildings themselves. Unfortunately, this information appeared to be lacking unless you were willing to pay for a guided or audio tour. Skinflints that we are, we did neither and just made our own way around. There was a section in the museum that talked about the local people and the way of life, describing the stereotypical person from Ruhr as being a ‘pigeon-fancier’. This only confirmed our thoughts that it was the German version of Yorkshire! (Note: I’d never heard of this phrase before, but being a Yorkshireman, Aidan says that it’s commonly known. Obviously not in Stafford.)
The next day we really hit the Trödelmarkts hard. And Tina paid for it! We found many of the markets through some websites recommended to us by Stuart (of Bygone Times fame!), and without his tipoffs and help we wouldn’t have found many of them. I had visions before we came to Germany of streets paved with pottery, and it seems I wasn’t far wrong! We picked up so many that morning that it was hard to imagine how we could fit any more pottery in to the car. The business side of this trip is really starting to become a reality.
We definitely need to improve our German, though we are making fairly good progress with the small amount that we know. I’ve no doubt that some stall-holders are adding a couple of Euro onto prices when they hear our accents, but they seem fairly willing to barter. Most of the time, people don’t seem to realise that we’re not locals, or at least fairly fluent, as they launch into streams of German whilst Aidan and I either look blankly at each other, or nod along as if we understand. We’ve taken it as a compliment so far that we’re passing for locals!
It probably wasn’t a good sign when I got us lost in Britain. Our first stopover was to break up the journey to Dover, staying at Aidan’s brother’s house in Letchworth. Unfortunately, I managed to direct Aidan off the motorway a stop too early and we spent a good half an hour trundling down some tiny country lanes before we found our way back to civilisation.
I won’t mention the fact that half an hour into our journey, Aidan became convinced he’d left the PC on at home…
After a relatively dull (and sleep filled) 6am ferry crossing to Dunkirk, we began the first proper leg of our journey to Belgium. Now, I should probably explain a few things about travelling and me. Whereas most normal adults have grown out of their travel sickness at the age of about five years old, I still suffer with it quite badly. However, normal travel sickness tablets make me incredibly drowsy – not good for a navigator! So, after some research into alternative remedies – and a conversation with a Boots pharmacist who insisted that homeopathic remedies were ‘all in your mind’ – I bought some ginger tablets from the Glossop Wholefood Shop on Friday and a big bag of mint imperials. I think that I will forever associate Germany with the smell and taste of ginger and mint. Anyway, map-reading whilst trying not to fall asleep or be sick is not one of my super-skills. Aidan has been incredibly patient so far with: my lack of knowledge about roads; ability to fall asleep between vital junctions; constant nibbling on car snacks; inability to explain which road to go down without either gesturing or shouting, “That one!” usually when it’s too late. We’ve done quite a few U-turns so far (“We’ll have to do a U-ey…”).
We arrived in Brussels about midday on Saturday and immediately commenced towards our first flea market. From that first market alone, we discovered that WGP was in great abundance compared to the UK. We bought a huge Bay pot for 10 Euros, some smaller ones for a couple of euros and a Scheurich Fabiola glaze for 3 Euros. In addition to this, we got a very (too…) large Maia print for 3 Euros. I love the picture, but I have a feeling it is going to become the bane of our journey.
As chance would have it, there was a free festival on the way to our campsite for the evening and one of our favourite bands happened to be playing: iLiKETRAiNS. The festival was quite small but with a large stage under cover for the bands to play on. We managed to catch the end of Tokyo Police Club before iLiKETRAiNS came on to some strong applause. This was probably the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen the band play to and everyone seemed to be really appreciative of the band. Not as much, however, as a rather drunk (or stoned) Belgian man standing next to us. I have never been witness to such passionate, slightly Spanish matador-ish dancing as this man displayed. He stamped his feet, raised his fists, beat his chest, jazz-fingered his way through the entire set; only pausing to offer his cigarette lighter to others around him – despite not smoking himself – and to clasp random strangers about the shoulders in glee. The music was pretty fantastic; the band were on top form and there were a few new songs thrown in which sounded good. One in particular sounded fairly epic and I could easily imagine it reverberating around a much larger venue.
That night we stayed in a large campsite in Belgium – Les Murets – where we arrived at 8 pm, went for some food, slept (albeit disturbed initially by a very close train line), woke up at 6am and went onwards to Tongeren. Not much to say about Tongeren other than it was slightly disappointing. It is supposed to hold the largest flea market in Europe every Sunday – yeah, for extremely wealthy fleas! Not our standard of junk at all, even if we had been spoiled by the bargains in Brussels.
Those finds were not bad at all, we thought, until we found our first Trödelmarkt in Deutschland itself. It was a tiny car boot sale; yet on the first stall we bought three WGP for 1 Euro each, two Italian donkeys for 1 Euro each and four WG plant pots for 50 cents each. 50 cents! The best one was a Roth pink chimney vase – very similar to what we’ve been eyeing up on Ebay for the last six months or so. By this point, Tina (our trusty Ford KA) was already a mess. It honestly looked like two tramps had been living in the back of it. Yet still we filled it with yet more pots…
Onwards to Essen and the Ruhrgebeit.
Unfortunately, it has decided to bucket it down with rain today. We had planned to do a car boot sale this morning; car was packed and ready to go. However, waking up to rain at 6am put paid to that idea and the usual Sunday morning lounging was resumed!
I do have some bits and bobs from a previous car boot sale that I haven’t yet shared. Whilst I’m sure you’re not interested in the Game Boy Color (why didn’t they rechristen it ‘Colour’ in Britain?) I bought for Ebay, there were a few interesting pieces to be found – both with a 1950s theme:
Firstly, a cute little set of egg cups in a basket:
This item is a sore point between Aidan and I! He once saw one at a car boot sale, but I wouldn’t let him buy it as I thought it was junk. He then found one on Ebay which sold for a silly amount; subsequently, he’s found, bought and sold others for equally silly amounts. I can see their appeal, but I don’t think I’d like one in my house – therefore, this one will also be making an appearance on Ebay! We never know what to call them though, as we don’t really know much about them. Usually, they’re listed as Tretchikoff style as they do seem to be reminiscent of that era.
We’re saving up at the moment for a road trip to Germany – hence the constant carbooting and Ebay selling. We’ve booked our ferries and have asked on the Pottery and Glass forum for recommendations of where to go/what to do. People are very generous with their knowledge, so we already have some ideas about the trip. Hopefully, we’ll be able to come back with a (Ford KA) car full of West German pots and other retro delights!
…I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. I know the exact look that Aidan is going to give me when he sees that title as well. It’s a head shake and, “Ohhhh Emma!” in his Baaarnsley accent, despairing at my pathetic attempts at toilet humour. Yes, I said toilet humour (watched an episode of ‘I’m Alan Partridge this week – I’d forgotten how good it is. They were just amused by the ‘Cock Piss Partridge’ bit.). Too many full stops there? Not sure.
Anyway, I seem to be meandering away from the point of this post. I went to a swanky party last Saturday, wearing a 1980s-reproduction-of-the-1950s Marks and Spencer dress. Whilst I spent Sunday morning recuperating at my friend’s flat in Chorlton, Aidan got up at daft o’clock and went trawling round the car boot sales. This was the result:
I was spitting feathers when I saw this lot. He ALWAYS gets amazing things when he’s not with me. Probably because he’s (usually) spending more attention on keeping me entertained rather than looking for the retro goods.
Despite having all the time in the world this evening to do some blogging, I’ve decided to leave it there. I’m going to do a bit of research into some of the bits and bobs he found (including a Louis Shabner print); sharing my knowledge with t’world and its dog once I’ve collated everything. Until then, I’ll leave you with this preview of the print:
Well, Sunday’s car boot sale went pretty well. I made about £35 just from the retro vintage side of the stall and we made £70 in total. A few of our friends popped down to see us and one of them, Claire, took some lovely pictures and wrote about it on her own blog and Flickr account. Even makes us look quite professional! So, no picture from me unfortunately (as I forgot to take my camera) but if you go to Claire’s sites, there are some pics there. Thanks again to Claire and Kim, Rachel and Deiniol for coming to support Little Owl Vintage’s first venture into the big, wide world!
I’ve been thinking about setting up a vintage and retro stall at my local market in Glossop for a while now, but still haven’t got the guts to really go for it! It’s ridiculous: I’ve even found out how much it is but I’ve been stumped by being told I need public indemnity insurance (or something like that). I’m a bit chicken at the moment to ring up and find out about it. I suppose if it goes any further, then I’ll really have to do it and I’m a bit of a wuss really. Despite the fact that I’d love doing it, I still need a push to make me set it up.
Anyway, the Glossop Rotary Club are holding their first car boot sale of the season tomorrow morning. Aidan and I have decided to go and hold a stall, but I’m actually going to have half of it for retro and vintage items: my ‘Little Owl Vintage’ section. As I type, I’m in the middle of creating some labels for my items. I need to get a move on really as we’re supposed to be meeting friends in the pub at eight…
Wish me luck tomorrow! If this goes well, then I’ll get the stall going.