Sunday 26 August 2012

A jumble of thoughts

When you are tired, your mind tends to review the day from a rather strange perspective, picking out pieces which made an impression (for good or bad) at the time and re-running them (for whatever reason!)  So today's impressions are rather like this . . .

Wondering why we got up so early when we were waiting in a queue of cars to get onto the showground for the car boot sale element of a big Steam Rally and Vintage Fair and thinking WHY is there always someone who thinks they needn't queue and drives straight past to the gate . . . Then when we did get onto the showground,  a desperate hunt for a space where we could set up, thinking all the while that despite being very early, we were still going to be without a pitch which we had just had to pay a two-day rate for, even though everyone knew that tomorrow was going to be a complete wash-out and most of the folk who had already been there three days were packing up tonight . . .

Taking it in turns to wander round and see what was for sale, and looking at beautifully-restored old steam rollers, and smaller scale models of steam engines which were giving people rides around the Fair.  Hearing and watching a steam-powered Fairground Organ, which I am certain I have seen in what feels like another life, when I lived near Salisbury.  Salisbury had a beautiful Steam Fair each Autumn.  I was suddenly taken back to the late 1970s again.

Trying to block our ears out to the sounds of the commentators in the main ring, one of which was particularly irritating.  Watching people walk around the rows of car boot stalls and then by-pass our side and go straight for refreshments . . .  or seeing people just glance at a stall and walk by, or pick something up, examine it closely as if they were interested, and then just walk off.

Other stall holders were saying how slow trade was today: some folk had booked in for the entire weekend and hardly sold a thing.  This recession is biting hard as visitors were mainly there for a day's entertainment - happy to shell out on food (of the refreshments kind, not the lovely things on offer in the Taste of Wales area) but very little else.  I think Bank Holidays have that effect on people as pretty well every Antiques or Collectables Fair over a Bank Holiday weekend seems to be the same - round here anyway.

My brain is providing re-runs of tooting whistles from the steam engines when the commentator was doing a resumee - unfortunately it was too wet underfoot for them to parade in the main ring as they usually do.  My nostrils are still smelling the billowing coal smoke from their engines, and I am seeing gleaming brass and black and scarlet and gold and men polishing their engines, wearing caps with badges on, and boiler suits and sons who are obviously turning into their fathers from pre-teenage years.

I am contemplating going downstairs to polish the Victorian copper . . . . well, I don't know quite what it is . . . pointy thing* with a handle!!! which we bought earlier on to hang on a beam.  And to look once again on the two more pieces of Torquay pottery I found and bought for just £2 each and which have crowded the shelf over the kitchen sink even more.

*Pointy thing with a handle is now identified as a Victorian  ale warmer, sometimes known as a "devil". This would have been dug into a fire to heat.  This link will give you an idea of what it looks like.  I've only ever seen the boot sort before. I'll take a photo later.

(Photos are from other outings - our local Steam and Vintage Fair, and one of jewellery at Builth).


  1. Dear BB.
    Your holidays and fairs are just like here, going nowhere fast. People are the same, no matter where you live in the world. We are getting ready to have our annual "RailFest" for Union Pacific Railroad and its in a few weeks. I think this year, it may be lots of people, but for vendors or booths, going nowhere. If there is food or drink involved, they will blow money on that. But anything else, forget it.
    Our economy is tanking here also, only we're being told that all is well and just spend money...well, unfortunatly, I and many others don't have it to spend after you pay utilities and grocery and fuel, not unless someone forgot to tell me about the money tree.
    Take care and have a wonderful week.
    Hope you are using your crockpot for a lovely stew or beans.

  2. I think of you each time I go for a walk or have an outing like this denim, and will never take my freedom for granted any more. Our Government is talking "austerity" and spending money itself like it is going out of fashion . . .

    As for my crock-pot - I wouldn't be without it. I love the fact I can stick a meal on at breakfast time, pretty well ignore it and it is ready to eat come teatime - that's still a novelty to me : )

  3. Your experience at the fair is interesting BB as I said much the same at the Wensleydale Show on Saturday - the stall holders seemed to be selling absolutely nothing and I felt they would barely cover the cost of paying for their stalls.

  4. Pat - it's been like this all summer. Even at the venues which in the past we always sold well in we've been scraping the barrel. Since we are trying to a) get rid of a lot of the stuff we have accumulated/inherited before we downsize and b) we could do with the money too, for heating oil etc, it has not been a good year. Ah well, a further cranking of the handle of frugality is called for . . .

  5. I've heard the same from many people here, some of whom have given up altogether for the moment.

    Know exactly what you mean about the fathers and sons at the steam fairs. There's often a lady sitting in a morris minor with a sandwich and a thermos at Chagford Show.

  6. It is much the same at fairs and car boots around here. Friends who took stalls at our Village Fair barely covered their costs. People are being frugal and having cheap days out. Looking, admiring but not buying....