Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Perfect Experience

Jolly Old England! What a wonderful trip! Our buyers have gone off again to bring you new treasures. Oh the thrill of the buying trip. With hundreds, no thousands, of pieces to choose from, where do you begin! Our treasures come from far and wide, but the bulk of our buying is done in a matter of several days, several hundred miles, and lots of walking. The pictures below show the tedious, exciting process by which we select perfect pieces, just for you. 

Two of our buyers hard at work.
 You see, to comb through the "Junk and Disorderly", as one shop is affectionately named, takes skill, expertise, practice, and above all patience.  Our buyers trudge through the mud and muck at old abandoned air strips to seek out the hidden gems at antique fairs.

The sights, sounds and smells of an antique fair are unlike any other. The people dress for the weather that is ever-changing and in a place as "eclectic" as an English antique fair...you never know what you'll find! For years my family has been travelling to England to buy, and over the years we've run into some of the same antique dealers (some well dressed, some dressed as though they stepped right out of the workshop), some of the same buyers (typically dressed in their wellies and Barbour waxed rain coats), and some of the same "travelers".

Now, by travelers I do not mean people who board planes to go and see the world or visit a cousin or even buy antiques. The travelers at antique fairs are gypsies or wanderers of sorts. Though the adults tend to blend in, the children are the spectacle. They are a sight to behold, and one of the aspects of an antique fair that separates the experience from anything you're accustomed to. English antique fairs are a great place to see interesting people, interesting dogs (the English do love their dogs), and unique and amazing junk.
Though his owner loves him enough to bring him along,
this little guy doesn't seem to be enjoying the sights!

The sounds of an antique fair are just as interesting and captivating as the sights. The low hum of voices haggling over prices with the occasional vendor shouting out information about his merchandise, the sounds of generators running on food trucks, and the diesel engines of the lorries (trucks) that are constantly going up and down the aisles loading up purchased merchandise that will be taken to a shipper, packed and sent around the world. It is a collection of voices, some with the enchanting English accent, some with an American drawl, others with a different language altogether. Antique fairs are surprising melting pots. Finally, to truly feel as though you are experiencing an antique fair, you must imagine the smell.

The smell of an antique fair is truly unique in that it encompasses a bit of the musty smell of antiques, the warm essence of furniture wax, the occasional whiff of greasy chips slathered with ketchup (or in some cases mushy peas), the aromas of Thai food, and the fresh bouquet of rain.Often at an antique fair, no matter the season, you find yourself wet, cold, and hungry. The cold is that kind of bone-chilling cold and nothing will warm you up like good, food-truck prepared fair food. The options seem to be endless. One truck has chips you can have covered in ketchup, mushy peas (which are just smashed English peas), onions, and more. There is always a truck with delicious Thai food, spring rolls, stir fry with beautiful vegetables, and steamy rice. And finally, you must not miss the "toasty" truck. A toasty is an English version of the grilled cheese sandwich, except better...You can order whatever your heart desires on a toasty. They make toasties with garlic mushrooms and Swiss cheeses, cheddar cheese and tomatoes, bacon, cheese and tomatoes...the possibilities are endless. And, just as you would imagine, a toasty warms you up like nothing else can at an antique fair.

I'm thrilled to say that with this most recent trip, our buyers enjoyed their fair share of toasties, "pub grub", strolling through the mud, and finding those perfect pieces to bring back to you. Our container has arrived in the port... so be on the lookout for your next Perfect Piece.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you guys had a great time, can't wait to see some of the finds. I would die to go visit that place!! And the toasty sounds delish!! And that poor English bulldog.