It was my mum’s birthday on Saturday, so as a treat Jess (my brother’s girlfriend and fellow booty buddy), my mum and I headed to the Royal Bath and West showground for the Shepton Mallet antiques and collectables fair.
It’s run by the IACF, and it was a treat because we don’t get to go to them very often. Most of their fairs are held mid-week (like the famous one at Ardingly – though we did take a day off work to go to that one once!), and Shepton Mallet is the only one that generally falls on a weekend. Plus it’s the most local one to my mum and dad in South Wales.
So off we went, on our little adventure.
The fair was glorious – even the mud! It was bustling with shoppers, and the stalls were over-flowing with treasure. Even the stall holders were (mostly) full of banter and open to some friendly negotiation.
I always find the outdoor stalls the best at these things. They tend to have the items that are desirable because you love the look of them, rather than because they have any intrinsic value on the open market. And there’s something about buying a trinket that’s a bit mucky or tired, instead of something that’s been polished and prepped already (and has an extra 0 on the price tag as a result).
It took us a full 5 hours to work our way round, and we stopped off at the car once to offload some of our purchases.
We also had a bit of a shock when, during a trawl of some of the indoor stalls, we came across a vase and a plate that looked a bit similar to ones we’d once owned. On closer inspection we realized… they WERE the ones we’d once owned!
The stall holder was a lady who’d bought a whole load of stuff from us when we did a car boot sale in Cardiff back in the summer (I recognized the pink wellies!), and she was selling on some of our bits of pieces for a profit! What are the chances, eh?
Anyway, I picked up a few beautiful bits. It’d be great to know what you think :-).
My obsession with jars doesn’t seem to be easing. Bought this lovely Les Meilleurs one, complete with lid. It’ll be gorgeous with a candle in it for Christmas, or used as a makeshift vase.
Les Meilleurs jar
I’m not generally one for buying old stuff just for the sake of it, I like things to have a practical purpose. I like them even better if they can replace a brand new, cheap, plasticky item that I own already. Introducing, my new colander! It’s got cute little feet, and wouldn’t look out of place hanging on a kitchen wall if storage was an issue.
I’m pretty sure my dad thought I was a bit nuts when he saw me walk through the front door with this battered frame… but I have a plan! Fairs are great places for inspiration, and on another stand I’d seen an old frame converted into a chalk board. Genius! My own little conversion awaits… will keep you posted on my progress.
Here’s the one I’m
going to copy taking as my inspiration.
Old broken frame
I had to use my phone to Google the translation for this next purchase. We think it’s a drinks tray, and in Dutch it apparently reads, ‘Let’s drink to that!’ It’s great for a party, and would look very eye catching on a shelf or resting on the top of your kitchen cupboards. The holes in the top could lend themselves to be candle holders… love the potential of this buy!
Dutch drinks holder
This is probably the biggest bargain of the day, and it was our first purchase. It’s a stainless steel milk urn with a spout. I already own one similar which is currently being babysat by some hydrangeas in my mum’s garden, but this one is a bit smaller and has more detail on it. Again, it’d look great with flowers.
Pouring milk urn
I can’t leave a booty or a market without a plate. I have sooo many, and I always promise myself that I’ll stop, but it never works. This meat platter is very ‘70s and in absolutely mint condition. We did a bit of haggling for it, and I think it was an absolute bargain.
Ridgway meat platter
Finally, my most extravagant purchase of the day, a gorgeous French mirror. The guy on the stall who was actually French and had to communicate through an interpreter (!) said it was from the Napoleonic era. It has a really unusual mottled frame, almost tortoise-shell like, and is the perfect size for a bathroom or a cloakroom.
I couldn’t finish without a quick summary of some of my favourite mum and Jess buys. Jess got on a haggling roll, and amongst other things bought this seriously retro Roberts radio. It works (or so the stall holder said), and apparently just needs a new battery. She managed to get it for just a tenner.
My mum came away with some lovely bits and pieces, but my favourite buy of the day was this vivid oil painting on canvas. It must date from the ‘60s and has a wee bit of damage. It’s by Van Dongin (I think?), and I’m transported to the very beach that it depicts just by looking at it. When it’s cleaned up and framed up it’ll be really stunning – and it was less that £20!
Happy birthday mum!