Friday, 31 January 2014

Busman's holiday - I hope you like antiques!

This dull wet grey January has seemed interminable.  Kept inside by the weather, we have fretted and grown bored and decided we needed a bit of English air to cheer us up again, so as the forecast was for a dry day yesterday, we got in the car and set off for Leominster, which is packed with antique shops so plenty to keep us interested.  In one of the shop windows, this piece of genius caught my eye!  I think the bottom of the can says something like "May contain feathers"!!!

The scenery was graced with a milky veil of mist.  Here is Weobley through the trees.  There is at least a little colour in the hedgerows now with the golden rain of the Hazel Catkins, and even when they have turned to yellow ochre, it still brightens the monochrome tones.  Yesterday's countryside was so soft and smudged with the mist and very comforting on the eye.

I was trying to capture the winter beauty of the trees, but it is difficult when one is hurtling past at 50+ mph!  The dirty flock of sheep were still folded in a big field of turnips (or similar) and as the weather had not improved with keeping in the intervening weeks, they were dirtier than ever and the only hint that they may once have been white sheep and not mud-sheep, was a grubby stripe down the middle of their backs!  Along the river before we turned across the Wye just short of Hay, the crack willows had been rent asunder by recent gales, and there were fallen branches and twisted wrecks of trees lieing broken on the river bank, trunk wood livid white.

If you're not interested in antiques, I should look away now, as there are quite a few photos coming up! This gorgeous little child's Windsor chair with crinoline stretcher was beautiful - but pricey!

A pair of bizarre gazelle-leg lamp-stands.  I've seen similar before so obviously in our Colonial past such things were considered de rigeur . . .  Whilst I wouldn't condone this sort of . . . design form . . . these days, I am of the opinion that it's a bit too late to change it.  The same goes for much old taxidermy really, and it is a good thing civilisation has moved on.

Along the same lines, the front end of a Water Buffalo . . .  Just the thing for a statement piece in a London flat . . .

I just loved the rough oak and patina of age on this little cupboard, but then my husband pointed out to me that it looked to be a made-up piece using very old pieces from perhaps a coffer or similar, and that certainly the hinges were much much later as they had been put on over the carved area.  This wasn't reflected in the price . . .

This little chest had SO much character and had definitely Seen Life (look at the bottom edge).  The top had bowed (see photo below) in the middle, and so the top end edges of the base had been modified to accept the dip of the bow.  Beautiful.

Something you don't see every day - a Lark Spit, probably Georgian.  I only knew what it was as antiques friends of ours had one in their shop many years ago.  It beggars belief that Larks were considered fair game, and there are recipes using just Lark's TONGUES . . .  The Romans loved them, along with stuffed Dormice . . .

Two cast iron loom lights (to hold candles).  Very rare - never seen anything of this ilk before.

My husband loved this old comb-back Windsor chair with its faint residue of red (oxide?) paint.

I love good honest pieces of furniture like this old table.  Legs simply turned on a pole lathe, with beautiful hand carving on the end planks.  WAY beyond our pocket though, but we have Good Taste!

So many things JUST to our taste.  Look at those old Costrels between the furniture.  These would have held cider or beer and been taken to the fields for the ploughman's and fieldworkers' morning "bait" - bread, cheese, perhaps raw onion, and good farmhouse cider or small beer to wash it down and refresh you.

Then it was on to Hay-on-Wye for a late lunch in the Sandwich Cellar in Backfold, a wander round the shops and market (Thursday is market day in Hay). A wonderful display of good ciders and beers in one of the shop windows.   Last time we were here I treated myself to an (illicit) bottle of Organic Cider (Dunkertons I think) and very good it was too . . .  None of your mass-produced rubbish for me these days.

A little woolleyness in a shop doorway.

I went for quality, not quantity, for our Library yesterday.  This little book is a 1923 reprint of a much earlier (Victorian) one and whilst it seems to be centred largely on Cornish folk lore, there are plenty of Devon myths too, and it is fascinating reading.  It wasn't the cheapest book (ahem, £20), but we will eat out of the freezer next week (it needs emptying) and in the meantime, I have called it my Birthday Present . . . a few months early!


  1. Happy eating, be sure to defrost beforehand;). I sometimes don't know why you are moving, all those gorgeous auctions to wander round for goodness sake.

  2. Purely need a much smaller house thelma, and so as we are nearer good road links to go and see Tam, or visit friends and family. Oh, and to get away from the RAIN!!!!

  3. BB, those reasons for leaving your present location are all very good ones. hard as it is to move, sometimes circumstances dictate that moves must happen and it looks like this may be one of those times. Accessibility to good roads is critical when wanting to travel to see family and friends. And by golly, who can stand the rainy weather for decades on end ?~! Besides Oregonians here in the Pacific NW-they thrive, along with Seattle-ites, in a drizzly world of mist and seem to love it. I prefer sunshine myself. I went to Paramedic school in the rainy part of Oregon and was suffering badly from lack of sun after a few months only.

    I love your book choice. Do tell us about it a bit as you read, please, I am thoroughly intrigued. I have never read anything like that before-may have to find a similar book and have a peek at the style.

  4. I wish I could have joined you on your amble around the antique shops. Wonderful things.....! I would have been sorely tempted by the little Windsor chair.

    Larkspits!! Hard to imagine nowadays, thank goodness.