Tag Archives: antiques

Snape Maltings

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Sailing barge “Cygnet” at Snape Maltings

On the first day of the trip (which was also Christmas Eve) we went to Saxmundham for a few last minute supplies and enjoyed a hectic half-hour of being bashed by shopping trollies and delayed by senior citizens before joining a queue to get out of the car park.

That is the Magic of Christmas.

As an aside, although the town fought off TESCO for years they seem to be quite enthusiastic about it now they have one. They also have a Waitrose just across the road, but there was no fight about that. The leader of the original anti-TESCO campaign was Lady Caroline Cranbrook, which could probably form the basis of a PhD on class bias in modern supermarket shopping. Things have never been the same since posh people ran out of money and could no longer afford butlers to do their shopping.

It’s interesting what they say about local food in the article, but I’m fairly sure that families with jobs and kids find supermarket shopping faster and easier than visiting individual shops. The quality might not be the same but I’d rather spend time with the family than trekking round shops. That’s not the fault of the shops, it’s the fault of modern life and my priorities.

I didn’t take any pictures in Saxmundham.

I did take some at Snape Maltings, a large complex of concert hall, antiques centre, shops and tea rooms. There is also a sailing barge and various other things to have a look at, though it was getting on a bit and we didn’t have time to look at everything. Even if we had wanted to stay we were made to feel unwelcome in the antiques centre where the man on the front counter put a barrier across the stairs and announced loudly to his assistant that he was going to close as soon as the place was empty.

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One of the plaques with Newson Garrett’s name on.

There were some nice things in the antique centre cabinets, but many of the prices were concealed, which always annoys me. If you want to sell stuff, show me the price. If you want to annoy me, turn the price ticket the wrong way round.

We looked round a craft shop and a fancy goods shop, which were both nice, with some interesting things. Sadly, a lot of stuff in the craft shop was made abroad, and cheap, which makes it cheap giftware rather than crafts. The stock in the fancy goods shop was also often made abroad, but wasn’t cheap.

We also had tea and carrot cake in a tea room. It was upstairs and access was difficult because the tables were close together and inconsiderate people were sitting so that the gangways became impassable.

It’s times like that when I seriously consider becoming registered as disabled so I can plough through blockages like that making loud comments. Julia, as you would expect, is against this idea. She points out that it’s taken her 30 years to stop me making loud, rude, comments about people and doesn’t want to let me slip back. Slightly more reasonably she also points out that being lazy and irritable with a limp and a bad finger isn’t actually being disabled.

I suppose she has a point.

The other notable event of the visit was nearly falling off the wharf into the river whilst taking photographs. There were some interesting bits and pieces along the top of the wharf (well, I find ferns and rusty bits of metal interesting), but I got a bit too close and I’ve always had a bit of trouble when looking down. I also seem to have a balance problem when looking up to take pictures of towers. The difference is that there’s nothing to fall into when you are looking up at a tower.

I stumbled slightly and dropped my stick. This was awkward as it got under my feet. For an instant I teetered. Then I recovered my balance and pretended nothing had happened when Julia arrived to pick up my stick.

 

 

Watching TV and Reflecting on the Unfairness of Life

I’ve just been watching Countryfile Autumn Diaries on TV whilst writing up the second post about our visit to Stoke. I’m fuming. I often fume, as you have no doubt noticed, but this time I’m having to hold myself back from throwing something at the TV.

It seems that many of our common garden plants are poisonous. Knew that.

Garden soil contains bacteria which helps cure depression. I’ve written about that more than once in this blog.

They also showed us a group of men who get health benefits from working together in a garden group (a sort of Men in Garden Sheds). Knew that.

Darwin was an expert on earthworms. I’ve blogged on that too. I can also tell you that he was related to the Wedgwoods of Stoke, which I visited yesterday, and that he noticed the activity of earthworms when discussing how all the pottery waste was pulled down into the soil.   They didn’t tell you that on TV.

Then they visited the worm farm where I bought our wormery.

So there you are. I’m sitting at home unemployed, and possibly unemployable, and those idiots are getting paid lots on TV for talking about stuff I already know. There’s something wrong with the world.

If I’d been able to find something to throw there would be something wrong with my TV too.

It’s not even my specialist subject.

Talking of which, Tim Wonnacott managed to make three errors in thirty seconds yesterday when talking about Princess Mary tins.

I’m not saying I’d be any good at presenting TV shows, or that I’m always accurate, but it does seem like money for old rope when all you’re doing is talking about stuff I already know.

A Rare Wolves Football Badge

Yesterday a dealer asked me if I’d take a look through a couple of bags of odds and ends . It’s a tempting offer when your natural habitat is the margins of the antiques trade.

There were some interesting bits in the bags, including a couple of bits I wanted for myself. I suppose I could have declared a liking for the badge in the picture and bought it for a fiver, but I’m both honest and an idiot. Honest is good because, apart from the obvious, you get given bags of interesting stuff to look through. An idiot, because I’m poor as a result.

It looked to me like a pre-war football badge. I’ve had a few, mainly picked up cheap, from dealers. I’d never cheat anyone by telling them they were worthless, but if a dealer wants to put one out for £5 I’ll happily hand over the money.

We checked it up on the internet and it’s a badge done for Wolverhampton Wanderers fans for the 1939 FA Cup Final. Portsmouth won 4-1 and held the cup until 1946 due to a pressing away fixture against Germany that took a few years to clear up.

Wolves went on to win it in 1949 and 1960, making their record four wins in eight finals.

The badge is currently making £21 on ebay. My professional opinion is that it will make at least £40 and, if you have two keen collectors after it, possibly twice as much. If it does, I will be right and people will think I’m an expert. And if I’m wrong it will be the fault of the auction for failing to attract the right quality of bidder.

See, it’s easy to be an antiques dealer – you just have to say things in the right way and you will never be wrong.

Ebay or not Ebay…

I didn’t post yesterday. You may not have noticed, but if you did, I apologise.

This was mainly due to hypnosis and poor time management; I spent so much time looking at Ebay that my brain started to shut things out in self-defence.  By the time I’d finished I was late, functioning on half a brain and feeling depressed. So I switched off and watched TV.

It was a learning exercise rather than a pleasure, as I have been examining the possibility of returning to the antiques trade. I have been given two opinions – one, from a person I trust, is that Ebay is the best place to sell and that quality pieces do best. The other, from someone I also trust, is that Ebay is the best place to sell and that average to low quality items sell best.

From that I deduce that Ebay is the best place to sell.

As to what sells best, I have always felt that the best selling items are always the ones sold by other people.

I’m also feeling slightly shell-shocked by the number of “rare”, “scarce” and “original” items being offered for sale. For one thing, I know much of the stuff isn’t rare, and some of it clearly isn’t original either when you look at the photos. The truth is that although I may have lost touch with prices I can still (mostly) remember everything else.

If you can push a button and see 20 more “rare” items I have news for the sellers – they aren’t rare.

There’s a suspicion at the back of my mind that if an estate agent, an Ebay seller and a mass murderer wanted to marry into my family I’d probably be happiest with the murderer.

However, beggars can’t be choosers, and if Ebay does the business I will have to sign up. Shops are expensive, markets are sensitive to weather and antique fairs require early starts. So greed and idleness are conspiring to make me into an Ebay seller again – how can I resist such powerful forces?.

Blood Pressure,Tranquility and a Simple Solution

I’m generally at peace in three places. One of these is when I’m out in nature (though a cold day at a gravel pit doesn’t work the magic as much as a spring day in the woods. Another is in church. The third one is among antiques.

We seem to be wired to respond to nature, and I suspect church builders knew more about promoting tranquility a thousand years ago than we do now. As to the third, I’m not sure why it happens, but it does. It might just be that I’m strange.

One place I find it hard to be relaxed is in hospital. That probably starts in the Workhouse. They weren’t meant to promote relaxation, which is fine when you are building to scare the poverty-stricken and the elderly. When they were turned into hospitals, as many of them were, a change of emphasis might not have been possible. I’m not saying this is the reason, but it might be.

There is also the well known “white coat effect”. I used to be able to control this by imagining sunlight streaming into a wooded clearing. These days, I can’t hold the picture in my mind and I frequently find myself having discussions with doctors about my blood pressure.

I don’t know why it should be so. I’m overweight, so as far as I’m concerned that gives the blood more room to spread out. I should have low blood pressure, not high. Unfortunately this, according to my doctor, is not how it works.

Plan B then, should surely to go back a few hundred years and do a bit of cupping and bleeding. Looking at it logically this will reduce the pressure, just like letting air out of a tyre. Simple.

I shall have a word with my doctor when I see them on Thursday.