Monday, 17 November 2014

A Dorset Owl . . .

It is Autumn in our valley now, and I couldn't resist taking a couple of photos whilst I was on my way to the Post Office this afternoon.  I hope to have a good walk along there tomorrow, but today I have been feeling very tired after the loooooooooong day at the Fleamarket yesterday.  It was a dire day for selling anything.  There were quite a few stalls outside, as it was dry and sunny, and that always bodes ill for us inside folk, who are considered "posh and expensive" (which we're not, we just like to sell our collectables having washed or polished or mended them first!)  Anyway, even the outside folk were moaning about not selling much, and apart from selling a few things to Dealers first thing, we sold only TWO things once the Fleamarket was open for business.  £30 worth!  Then my OH found his birthday present (a vintage pistol) so that was a big chunk of money out, and then he went for a look round outside and came back and announced he'd left a deposit on two sewing tables.  I immediately thought of Singer Sewing machine tables and thought he had gone quite mad.  Anyway, he went off with the rest of the cash and came back with these:

Two beautiful hexagonal-top Victorian Trumpet base sewing/needlework tables.  One, as you can see, has fabulous inlay on the top and is laid out as a games table.  The one on the left needs a good bit of tlc - beading to replace around the edge, polishing, and the interior restoring, but nothing we can't handle.  The one with inlay needs the pedestal base unscrewing (it's been glued and badly, which is why it looks wonkey) and some spilt ink hopefully removing from the top.  (Vicky - any tips?  I am going to try toothpaste first.)

Please excuse the after-Fleamarket clutter - everything just got dumped by my pink sewing materials box and my cantilever ditto.

Then I went for a wander, and found this beautiful old wooden costrel - still with remains of green paint on the iron strapping.  These normally sell for £60+ so I have never been able to indulge myself (having agricultural labourers so large in my family history, this feels like a link to them).  They were used to carry cider, beer, sometimes just water or cold tea, to the fields at harvest time, and left in the cool of the hedgerow bottom until it was time to bait the horses and have your own bait (usually a hunk of bread, a chunk of cheese and often a raw onion for company).

And here's the costrol after a little polish by my OH.  A good £12 worth!

Then, on the same stall, I spotted this and I knew EXACTLY what it was because I have been searching for one for more than 30 years now!  It is a Dorset Owl - basically an earthenware version of the wooden barrel costrel, and in a design which has been used since medieval times.  They were made by Verwood Pottery just on the Dorset border, and it just so happens that I bought a book about Verwood Pottery at the last Malvern Fleamarket, and it has been on the sofa beside me the last few days!  Serendipity or what?  It has a little chip in the mouth rim, but that doesn't bother me at all.  The price . . . I got it for £12 again.  She was asking £15 for each piece, but I haggled.  Talk about being over the moon : )  They sell for around £100 on Fleabay and in West Country Antique shops.

Here they both are in their new permanent home above my corner cupboard which has a lot of my sewing things in it.  A Gothic revival helmet in the centre . . .

I am currently restoring the velvet patchwork throw I got at Malvern in the summer - some of the velvet is so frail and is falling apart.

I'm also now at the quilting stage on my table runner.  I was sewing this bit at 4 a.m. this morning - having woken at 1.45 a.m. and been unable to sleep . . .

Another little me-present which I found yesterday.  I collect this series, for the counties which I love/which interest me.  Looking for Hampshire still . . .

Lastly, looking downstream.


  1. How brilliant that you have found something you've been looking for for so long. And they look so good too.
    Perhaps your next selling day will be better.

  2. Hi you .. hope you are feeling a bit brighter .. no sleep makes a dull girl!
    Great finds .. at least you had good buying .. selling was just rubbish here too... where are all the people? They just dont seem to be comming out .. not many Dealers around either.
    Just loved the little barrel .. and the sewing tables are a find you say .. with a bit of TLC. I dont know about ink .. such a nasty stain .. we have had a few desks with ink stains .. it seems to go so deep into the grain and is as stubborn as hell. Have you looked into Oxalic acid . I've got some from ebay with a view to trying on rust stains on linen etc .. they use it on boats/woodwork to remove stains etc .. or just leave well alone and sell it as it is .. ink stain is part of its provenance! Best of luck with it.

    Vicky x

  3. I love the little pot. What a treasure.

    cheers, parsnip

  4. The views and the autumn leaves are beautiful BB. And those two tables - they are exquisite = do hope you can do them up, I am sure they would be snapped up.

  5. Beautiful autumnal views - I am so glad you found the Dorset Owl :) The book looks very interesting and the two tables are delightful :)

  6. Love the costrels, my husband has a couple of them and paid a pretty penny for them The sewing tables are wonderful. Lucky you.

  7. Sue - it's swings and roundabouts. Since Sunday, we have sold well at the Unit (v. well in fact) and OH found his Christmas present yesterday and bartered for it!

    Vicky - I think K said Oxalic acid too, but it takes the colour out of everything around it! This ink stain is where someone has "coloured in" the round designs on the inlay (dear Lord - what a thing to do) and some of the ink has bled. On-line I found someone showing that nail polish remover works, so I shall try this today. Very carefully. The trouble is, I think of it as part of its history and provenance - buyers think it is a good bargaining point for Money Off as it's Not Perfect. But then they generally want stuff 200 years old but looking brand new . . .

    parsnip - a little treasure it is indeed.

    Pat - the leaves have changed suddenly in the last week and it is SO beautiful along our valley. K had got the (fish?) glue holding the base on the one sorted now (hot water!) and is cleaning the screw up and will put it back together today. An olden-days bodge-job was done on it.

    R. Robin - it's a lovely book and I had a weak moment and bought the Hampshire partner to it cheaply on Fleabay!

    Mac n' Janet - I was so pleased to find it, and so reasonably. They turn up regularly (and too dear) at Malvern. I already have a lovely walnut sewing table that K bought me last year (very like these) or I'd be keeping one.

  8. I like your finds! You and K. have good eyes for a worthy bargain, and between you, the skills to refurbish and restore.
    I wish that I could do anything as constructive as quilting when I am awake in the wee hours!
    I should think repairing the velvet patchwork might be quite challenging--can you find vintage velvet scraps of a similar quality?