In this post, I buy a reproduction of a painting by Gil Elvgren, and trace some of the history behind it. I also have to modify the painting in order to be able to hang it.
Tag Archives: shopping
I popped out to a local Antiques & Collectables fair in Hartley Wintney today.
Despite having far too much jewellery, I couldn’t resist this cute pair of silver earrings for £9.
I liked how the inner and outer hearts moved independently of each other.
I also bought yet another ring, despite having far too many already. I just thought it was unusual. In case it’s not totally obvious from the photo, the ring is formed from the word “Love”.
I then had a little wander round the shops, and snapped a nice little selfie in a full length mirror in a shop.
I’m wearing a dress by Atmosphere that I bought ages ago for £5, a jacket by Jane Norman (which you will have seen many times before), and a glass heart necklace that I bought on Friday for £2 in a charity shop (you can see it better in the pic at the top of the post). The bag is by Radley, and the shoes are by Rocket Dog.
a.k.a. “Getting wiggy with it”
Like any girl like me, I’ve got a number of wigs. Many are cheapies that I bought for photo shoots and general fun, but my four main ones are expensive ones costing several hundred pounds each. I bought them on two separate visits to Beesley Wigs in Sandhurst using their “Buy One Get One Half Price” deals as mentioned in a previous post.
My favourite one is starting to get rather tired and “wiggy”, so I decided it was time to do something about it.
It was the Monthly Market at Farnham Maltings on Saturday, and as regular readers will know it’s something I like to go to regularly.
I started to put together a skirt & leggings type outfit, but it just wasn’t working, so in the end I went for jeans, boots, and a top. I chose a nice striped top by Phase 8 that I like, along with a Per Una cardigan and a jacket, and overall I think the outfit worked pretty well.
I wore one of my favourite necklaces – a 1920’s/1930’s oriental style necklace in gold or gilt silver (not sure which) with black enamel inlay and 24K gold engraving that I bought a couple of years back. I have a matching bracelet for it but since it lacks a chain I am always nervous about wearing it in case it comes undone and I lose it. But I decided to risk it.
Partway into the journey and I realised that I had lost the bracelet already. Oh no! But at least that meant that I had either lost it in the house or in the car, so there was a chance I would find it again.
I arrived at The Maltings just before midday, and started having a look around. It was quite busy!
I got talking to a seller who spotted my necklace and showed me two bracelets she had that were similar. They were gold, and very good quality, and so unblemished that they looked almost new. One was too small for me, and the other, which fitted me, was £45 which was far more than I wanted to pay. I told her that I had no doubt that it was a fair price but it was too much for me, and she asked what I would pay. I stressed that I wasn’t trying to beat her down to this price, but that I generally didn’t pay more than £25 for a bracelet. She looked rather shocked, but I went on to say that I’d spent under £30 on the necklace. She semi-seriously offered me that on the spot for it because she said it was worth far more, but I declined explaining that this was one of my favourite necklaces and I simply couldn’t part with it. After chatting a little more, I moved on.
Imagine my surprise when, in another part of the rabbit warren that is The Maltings, I found a seller with a very similar bracelet priced at £25. It fit, it had a chain, and it complimented my necklace. It also had more of a patina to it, which I liked. I don’t see this style for sale very often, so it was quite a surprise to see a total of three bracelets in this style for sale at one event.
I asked the seller if she had any movement on price, but she said she did not. So I just paid her the £25 asking price as I really wanted it and it was within budget. She even threw in a box for it, which was a nice bonus.
I also picked up a pair of tiny little silver heart stud earrings that will be ideal for work, for a very reasonable £4
After I had finished at The Maltings, I decided to go home via Fleet High Street, and parked up in the Council car park. I was pleasantly surprised to find that parking was free due to a “Small Business Saturday” initiative by Hart District Council. I think this is a great idea as I have long been of the opinion that one of the things contributing to the death of High Street shopping throughout the country is the cost of parking. Let’s hope that this initiative was a huge success and encourages it to become a regular thing.
My main reason for visiting the High Street was to call into Serendipity. If you’re not familiar with this shop, it’s a small unassuming shop front on the Fleet High Street that belies a large Tardis-like rabbit warren that seems to go on forever, culminating with Daisy’s Tea Room at the very back.
I didn’t find a huge amount there, but I was drawn to a cute & cheeky laundry sign. It was brand new and made in China, but at £12.50 I thought it was just about cheap enough to justify buying. I tried to get it for a tenner but unfortunately the ticket price was fixed. Oh well.
I didn’t find anything else I wanted there, so walked up the High Street popping into the various charity shops, but didn’t get anything other than a DVD. I did get a new scarlet matte lipstick by Maybelline in Superdrug though, which I think will look nice.
When I got home, I hung the new sign on the mirror in my bedroom, which is above (but to one side of) my laundry basket. I think it fits in there quite well.
I then went looking for my bracelet. It wasn’t in the car, or on the driveway, and it wasn’t in my bedroom where I had put on my cardigan (I thought perhaps this is when it might have fallen off), and wasn’t any of the places in the house that I had been that morning.
I was scratching my head by this point, and then I remembered that I had transferred the contents of my old hand bag to my new Radley one. And there, inside my old handbag, was the bracelet; it must have fallen off whilst I was moving stuff across. So that was a relief.
Clearly I needed to put a chain onto the bracelet if I was to wear it again with confidence.
I’ve been collecting this style of jewellery ever since I bought the necklace, and now have the aforementioned necklace, the two bracelets, a broach, two pairs of clip-on earrings, and another necklace which is rather clunky and has some damage and which I have never worn.
As luck would have it, the broach has a small security chain on it with a spring clip at one end and a safety pin at the other. Since I don’t really wear broaches, the chain looked ideal for use on the bracelet.
I very carefully opened up the ring securing the chain to the safety pin, removed the safety pin, and then attached the ring to the bracelet. It was a very fiddly job and took me a while, especially closing the ring up again satisfactorily, but I got there in the end. I’m quite pleased with myself for achieving it, even though I say so myself.
Before I got my makeup off, I also managed a quick photo shoot in the outfit I was wearing. I chose the spare room for this, with me sitting in the window. I was quite pleased with how it turned out, although the end of the bed does rather distract from the picture. I could have digitally removed it, but I thought it was far funnier to leave it in and lampshade it with a knob gag. 😀
I’m wearing my new lipstick in this pic, but you can’t really see it very well.
Today I decided to get into girl mode and to pop into Camberley for a spot of shopping.
I wanted to pick up a few things, specifically a valance for my bed, and also perhaps something sexy for a photo shoot. I’d previously bought something on eBay for the purpose but it turned out to be a bit naff and also doesn’t fit (the strap across the back is non-adjustable and too tight, although perhaps I could replace it with ribbon).
First port of call was Primark. I figured that they would be the best place to get something cheap that would be good enough for a photo shoot. I wasn’t disappointed and got a really nice thong body (see later) for a very reasonable £12. I also found a really nice faux suede jacket. Due to the length of my arms and also the width across my shoulders, it’s usually quite hard to find a jacket that fits me, and I usually end up having to go several sizes too big. I picked out a size 18 (even though I am a 12-14) and it was actually too big. However, when I tried a size 16 it fit perfectly, so I was over the moon about that! At £25 it didn’t break the bank either.
I looked around for bedding, but couldn’t find that area despite venturing upstairs which is where the children’s section also is. It was so crowded and noisy with screaming kids that I didn’t last long before I had to get the hell out of there.
When I got to the checkout to pay, the checkout girl told me she absolutely loved my hair, that the colour was amazing, that it really suited me, and asked if it was my natural hair colour. I don’t know if she was a good actress, or genuine, and if she thought it really was my hair or realised it was a wig, but either way it absolutely made my day. 😀
I called into a few charity shops, but found poor pickings, and then into The Ark. I had changed into the new jacket by now and was itching to take a selfie, and found a nice full length mirror to take one.
Nothing much caught my eye, so I then moved on to Boots because I needed some new liquid eyeliner.
I ended up buying a Metallic Anthracite by Max Factor, and a Velvet Black also by Max Factor.
I’d been walking quite a bit by now, and wanted to go into House of Fraser (formerly Army & Navy) next, but needed a rest first, so called into the in-store Cafe Nero for a coffee and a caramel shortbread (mmmm). Whilst I was there I observed a slightly creepy looking bloke eyeing me, and when he got up and headed my way I thought “uh oh. Here we go”, but instead he went to a blonde lady seated near me. I didn’t hear what he said to her, although I can guess, but I overheard her reply “uh, thanks. That’s very kind”. I’m not sure which is worse, getting slightly creepy compliments, or not getting any. LOL.
Then to more shopping. Yay!
I was quite tempted by a lovely sequinned club dress, but frankly I know I will not have the opportunity to wear it so it was fairly easy to pass on it.
A little harder to resist was a gorgeous soft jumper by Vera Moda. I really deliberated on this, but in the end decided that I have far too many jumpers already and passed on it – but only just! I’m still not sure that I made the right decision though. If my bestie had been with me, she’d have probably tipped my indecision into a purchase – she’s good like that. 🙂
I also popped into TK Maxx and was briefly tempted by a Gigi leather handbag, reduced to £44.99 from an alleged RRP of £110. It smelt wonderful, and I liked the exterior design of it, but the interior was really lacking – just a vast open space with a small phone pocket and nothing else. I prefer my bags to have loads of compartments rather than just being a cluttered sack, so sadly I had to pass on that. Shame.
I still hadn’t got the valance for my bed yet (I hadn’t fancied paying House of Fraser prices), so I popped into Argos. I haven’t been there in years, and it was quite the nostalgia trip. There were still the multiple copies of the Laminated Book of Dreams, the little slips of paper, the tiny pens, the tills that you take your slip to. Oh, for sure, there are now touch screens that allow you to search for stuff, which is what I used to find a suitable valance, but you still have to write down the catalogue code and take it to the till (although there there were two automated tills, but one wasn’t working, and one was in use, and even then the systems aren’t linked and you have to type in the codes). So it was off to the till, old school, with my little slip of paper, where payment was made, and I had to wait for my order to be fetched. All very retro, and not in a good way.
So, with my mission accomplished, and my feet increasingly sore, it was just time for one last selfie, and then I was done and headed off home.
When I got home, I tried on the body that I bought in Primark and it was absolutely brilliant – it fits so well, is flattering, and looks more revealing than it is due to flesh colour modesty panels; I’m really looking forward to doing a photoshoot with it. Be sure to keep an eye on my Flickr!
So, I got what I set out to buy, spent frugally, and had a really nice day. I’m calling that a win.
Recently, one of my colleagues wore the most GORGEOUS pairs of shoes to work. They were a pair of either black or dark Navy court shoes in a Mary Jane style, in material / fabric, with an ankle strap and a bow on the ankle, in a kind of vintage retro style.
Initially I didn’t think it would be appropriate for me to talk to her about them in guy mode, but as luck would have it I bumped into her in the canteen mid-morning whilst we were both waiting to be served, and it was nice and quiet with nobody else in earshot, so I simply blurted out “OMG I love your shoes so much” and fortunately she was brilliantly positive and shot back “I know! Aren’t they fab!”. She wasn’t at all fazed by me wanting to chat about them, nor by me asking what make they were and where she bought them.
Turns out that they are by Ruby Shoo, who I must confess I have not heard of before, but from looking at their website I can see that they specialise in quirky fun shoes with a hint of vintage about them, and that is definitely my style.
When I had a moment, I started google image searching for “Ruby Shoe” (since that is what I had misheard) along with various attributes of the shoes my colleague was wearing, and I very quickly homed in on Piper in black by Ruby Shoo. It had to be the black because hers were plain with a floral bow, whilst the Navy blue version is polka dots all over. I surreptitiously checked her shoes a few times as I saw her around during the day to make sure I had correctly identified them, and I am absolutely sure I have.
I’m a UK 8 for shoes, and initially was gutted to see that on Amazon they only go up to 6. But then I went onto the Ruby Shoo website direct and saw they actually go up to size 9 (unusually). Size 8 was out of stock but they did have a size 9, so I took a chance on that and ordered since they were the same price as on Amazon. Even better, I got a 15% discount for signing up to their newsletter so got them for £37.50 including postage. That seemed quite reasonable to me.
The very next day I got an email and text to say that the shoes had been despatched and would be delivered the day after and they indeed were.
They’re gorgeous and I love them, but unfortunately they are way too big and I really do need a size 8. Currently I am waiting for a reply from Customer Services as to when (or if) they will have size 8 back in stock and if I can exchange. I so hope they are not permanently sold out or I will be so upset!
Ruby Shoo responded to my email (and also posted a nice reply to my Facebook post) saying that Piper has been an extremely popular choice this season and subsequently has completely sold out in size 8 and that they are not expecting any more stock of this style and colour. However, they did identify a stockist for me who did still have stock; a company called My Vintage. I went to their website and found that they did, but that they wanted £40 + £4.95 postage for them, which seemed excessive to me. I sent them a polite message asking if they would give me a discount code and received a prompt reply saying that they would not. However, I then found another stockist called Scorpio Shoes who not only had stock, but had free delivery, and even better had them in a sale, and they were reduced to £31.20! So I’m over the moon about this, as you can imagine.
I just need to return the size 9 to Ruby Shoo for a refund and keep my fingers crossed on the size 8.
The size 8 from Scorpio Shoes arrived today (actually yesterday, but I wasn’t able to pick them up until today). They fit absolutely perfectly and I love them!
I also received the refund from Ruby Shoo direct. I was a little disappointed that the refund was less postage, however they only deducted the price of postage in one direction rather than both directions, so that’s something.
It’s been said that trying to ‘pass’ as other than your birth gender is like playing a game where the moment someone becomes aware that you are succeeding, then you have just failed.
On Saturday I played just such a game, as I do every time I go out in public in girl mode.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I always feel like there is a fine line to be walked when going out shopping in girl mode. If you dress up too much then you will stick out like a sore thumb as many women don’t bother when just going shopping. Some appear to make no effort whatsoever, in fact. But at the other end of the extreme, if you emulate them and also dress down then you won’t have a hope of passing. You often have to over-feminise to compensate, which means paying particular attention to your makeup and wardrobe.
On Saturday, I didn’t heed my own advice and went out in jeans, unisex Merrell sandals, and a top. On reflection, although very comfortable, the sandals were a bad idea. I find that wearing a heel encourages me, and constantly reminds me, to walk in a feminine way. Flat shoes do not and you often forget. I also have bad posture in guy mode, and again heels encourage me into better posture as they affect the way you stand as well as the way you walk – in short, it’s much harder to slouch when you’re in heels.
Anyway, that all said, into Camberley I went like this.
I parked up in the multi-storey car park and even in my little super-mini class car, I found the parking bay very tight indeed. I had to reposition several times so as to leave enough space for the driver of the car next to me to get in, whilst leaving enough space on my side to get out. It was very tight indeed. (There is a reason for me telling you this and I will come back to it later).
I was primarily shopping for a short sleeve office or school uniform type white blouse for an upcoming photo shoot. After trying BHS, Primark, several charity shops, and (earlier in the week) M&S, I found what I wanted in New Look. And best of all it was in the sale, reduced from £12.99 to £7. Bargain.
Things had been going well, and nobody had given me so much as a second glance (which is what usually happens) apart from one point where an older man accidentally bumped into me and said “oh, I’m so sorry my dear”. However, all that was about to change as I headed back to the car to leave.
I joined the queue to pay for my parking at the pay station. In front of me was a lady and her friend, and the lady was having trouble with the machine. On these ones there is no ticket – you have to type your car registration number in, and the lady had several failed attempts and her friend explained to everyone that it was a new car and her friend couldn’t remember the number. Or, rather, she thought she could but evidently couldn’t.
The lady started rummaged in her handbag saying she had it written down, but then half turned and said “Oh, I’ll let this gentleman… lady… go first”.
I had hoped that I was doing an ok job of passing but clearly not. But it was said without rancour or making a big deal about it. It was all very matter-of-fact, and that’s probably the best way to handle a situation like this, I think. I know some people might have apologised or something, which would have ironically drawn far more attention to it and made things worse. So credit to her for this.
After I had paid and returned to the car, I was faced with the owner of the car parked next to mine, on the driver’s side. He had a small boy who was trying to let himself into the passenger side, and I just stood and watched, sure that I was about to witness a massive car park ding happen to my car. The father must have had the same idea and said to the boy “Wait. Let the man into… um… their car first”. The little boy, in keeping with a lot of kids that age adopted an “I can do it” stubborn determination and, to his credit, did get in without dinging my car. Amazingly.
So, again, it was just a little slip up and no big deal was made of it. Although it was also clear that I had failed to pass again. In fairness, the car park was dimly lit so it’s possible that the bloke didn’t notice my female top, makeup and, indeed, tits. After all, some blokes do wear their hair long. And he did have other things to think about – like the owner of a car his son showed every likelihood of damaging standing right there watching.
It has, however, made me ponder as to what are the key indicators to gender that these people were picking up on? In neither case was it my voice as I hadn’t spoken. It wasn’t necessarily height as although 5’8″ is reasonably tall for a woman, it’s not excessively so. It might be build. Or could have been the way I was standing – as I mentioned previously, flat shoes don’t encourage me to pay attention to my posture.
In both cases, the person didn’t make a big deal of it and for that I should be grateful. Although it would have been even nicer if they hadn’t noticed at all.
If you are into clothes shopping in charity shops, then I can thoroughly recommend a visit to Eastleigh. And if you’re not, then try it – there are some ridiculous bargains on nearly-new (and sometimes actually new) clothes to be had.
There are a disproportionately large number of charity shops in Eastleigh, in the area North of the Swan Shopping Centre (on Market Street and High Street, to be precise), and they are all really large stores too. I guess the rents must be very reasonable or something.
I’ve only recently discovered Eastleigh, having had until now no reason to visit, but necessity brought me there recently and I’ve since been back twice by choice. The first time I visited, I parked in the multi-storey car park at the Swan Shopping Centre because I didn’t know any better, but it’s worth noting that the ‘Pay & Display’ on-street parking on Market Street (and possibly elsewhere, but not everywhere) lets you park for free for up to an hour from 3pm onwards. You park as normal, go to the machine, and press the green button to get a free ticket for an hour’s parking. Do check the machine first though, because not all roads do this. For example, Leigh Street (literally round the corner from Market Street) does not.
Another thing worth noting, if you do this, is that the closing times of the various charity shops vary quite markedly. Some stay open to as late as 5.30pm, but others close as early as 4pm, so it’s worth bearing this in mind and planning your visit accordingly. I’d suggest that arriving at 3pm and getting your ticket at 3.01pm would be the sweet-spot, otherwise if arriving later then prioritise the earlier-closing shops.
Without exception, I found the clothes in all the charity shops to be clean, pressed, in very good condition, ordered by size, and very cheap. Prices seem to range from £1.49 up to around £8.99 for normal day dresses, tops, skirts, etc., with prices averaging in the £3 ballpark and with it being exceptionally rare to see anything over £4.99. Some shops have higher prices than others, but overall they are all pretty cheap. Prices tend to end in either .49 or .99, although you’d be pretty tight if you didn’t put the penny straight back in the collecting tin by the till (if paying with cash, obviously).
I picked up a number of tops and dresses in my visits, from brands such as Store Twenty One, Tu, Marks & Spencer, H&M, Dorothy Perkins and Papaya. None were more than £4.99 and one was little as £1.49, with the next most expensive £2.49
Favourite pick was this gorgeous dress by Dorothy Perkins, modelled by the lovely.. um… me. 🙂
It’s a size 16, which is a size bigger than I usually go for, but it fits really well and I’m really happy with it.
The only poor choice I made was this white linen dress by H&M. It was sold as a size 14, but when I got it home and tried it on it was way too small, in both waist and chest (in fact it wouldn’t even go round my chest without any breast forms). When I looked at the actual label I could see it was a Eur 40 / USA 10, which depending on whose conversion chart you look at is a 12-14 (predominantly 12).
It didn’t cost much though so maybe I will re-donate it.
In every shop I visited, nobody batted an eyelid that I was buying ladies clothes in guy mode, and everyone was very friendly.
Anyway, I just thought it was worth sharing the knowledge.
Update: By May 2018 I had lost enough weight that I could get into the H&M dress. Yay!
I had the day off on Monday, so went to the IACF Antiques and Collectors fair at Newbury Racecourse. Or, more specifically, I took the day off so that I could visit it.
You may recall that the last time I went, back in April, there was terrible traffic congestion due to roadworks with three-way temporary traffic lights on the approach road that were causing absolute mayhem and gridlock. Fortunately, this time was much better and I breezed in without delay. However, I did note that the approach road that had been subject to the roadworks last time was in an appalling patchwork condition now and is evidently long overdue a proper re-surfacing. It’s a shame they couldn’t have done that at the time whilst they were causing traffic chaos.
I’d no sooner got on-site when I saw a lovely antique cow milking machine thing, which of course I had to take a photo of and post a groan-worthy pun on Facebook. I apologise to those of you who follow me on Facebook. 🙂
I didn’t enquire how much it was – it looked expensive and I really don’t have anywhere in my house for it.
I mooooved (groan) on to the next seller and spied a framed collection of six advertising postcards from the early 20th Century. The frame wasn’t anything special and the postcards were of indeterminate age, but for £5 I didn’t think it mattered too much so I bought it.
After a while I noticed a camera crew, then my eye was drawn to two chaps in blue polo shirts with a BH logo who were being talked to by a third who appeared to be telling them about an item they were looking at. Then the penny dropped and I realised that I was witnessing an episode of Bargain Hunt being filmed.
The team were looking at a large fossil (you can see the expert picking it up in the photo) and debating whether to buy it or not. The seller was prepared to take £65 for it (I don’t know what the sticker price was) and they were undecided. Eventually they decided to leave it and to move on.
I talked to the seller afterwards, and he was enthusing about the piece.
“I’ve never seen a fossil on Bargain Hunt,” he said, “so it would have been good if they had bought it.”
“What about Tim Wonnacott?”, I replied.
I continued my browsing, and it was very quickly apparent that there were far more sellers this time than the one back in April. In fact, I overheard one seller saying to another that they had never seen it so big before, and that certainly seemed to be the case with the outdoor area stretching way further into the distance than before and also visibly much, much wider.
Also, and I don’t know if this was new or if I failed to spot it last time, there was an indoor area in the ground floor of the hall under the “Dubai Duty Free Grandstand” that was easily 2/3 of the size of a Sandown Park fair or roughly the size of the Epsom Downs Racecourse fair I went to back in April (which I didn’t ever blog about). The indoor area was selling the usual stuff you’d expect to find in one – jewellery, memorabilia, postcards, Militaria, pottery & ceramics, glassware, and the like.
Back outside, and I came across some more filming for Bargain Hunt. This time the contestants were two girls, also in blue Polo shirts (so it must be one of those “double header” episodes you sometimes see), and this time I recognised the expert; Mark Stacey. I didn’t see what the girls were buying, but I did get within earshot to hear the director telling the girls they needed to do a re-take and telling the girls what to say and how to react (“Could you maybe say ‘oh that’s so sweet’ and put your hand to your chest as you do?”). It was an interesting insight into the scripting process.
One seller had a large Beer sign that I thought was quite cool, but to be honest I couldn’t think where in my house I could possibly put it, so I passed.
About halfway down the outdoors area, on the hardcore past the asphalted area and before the grass area, was a burger van, a drinks van, and an ice cream van. I was quite hungry by now, so had a container of chips at a rather steep £3, and continued on down to the grass area which was easily several times larger than back in April. In fact it covered a huge area and was rather a lot of walking. The chips proved to be not that nice and pretty soon I wanted to bin them, but there were no bins anywhere. I ended up carrying the container around for almost an hour getting more and more annoyed until I finally returned to where the vans were and found one solitary overflowing bin and was finally able to ditch them. I think this was rather a poor showing by IACF and/or Newbury Racecourse. They really should have positioned some bins down there.
I hadn’t found anything much I wanted to buy. There was a length of thick heavy hemp rope that was exactly what I want for my nautically-themed cloakroom, but it was rather short and also one end was terminated in a metal hoop which I didn’t really like. Also the seller wanted £45 for it, which was more than I wanted to pay for something that wasn’t exactly what I wanted.
Another thing that caught my eye, again for the cloakroom, were some plastic lobsters. They had a certain kitsch appeal to them and I liked them. The seller wanted £10 each for them though, and I wasn’t sure I liked them enough to start haggling them down to about half that which is what I thought they were worth. So instead I passed.
As I headed back up to the Dubai hall, I finally saw Tim Wonnacott and he was preparing to do a piece to camera.
A nearby seller called to him “Are you still here then?”
“Of course I’m still here! Why wouldn’t I be?”, responded Tim, coming closer to the seller.
The seller replied that the teams are only meant to be here an hour and they had been there all day. Tim didn’t make a lot of comment to this, but instead showed the seller a disc-like object in his hand and was about to tell the seller about it, but was then called over to the camera as it was now set up.
It turned out the that object was the hand guard that is part of the construction of a Katana – the Japanese Samurai sword. I actually knew a little of this already as I have such a sword in Second Life that is made by someone who has a great passion and interest in their construction and models the individual parts that are analogous to the real life construction and then assembles these together into an accurate model of a Katana in Second Life, along with a scripted version on a floor mat that disassembles and reassembles so that you can see how the individual parts are put together. So I already knew this as a Tsuba. Tim took several takes to camera to explain this to the viewers, although didn’t use the Japanese name “Tsuba” and merely called it a ‘hand guard’. But he explained how it is slid down the blade to the hilt, in order to be fixed there, and also (rather unnecessarily, I thought) what a hand guard actually does.
I really wanted a picture of me and Tim together, but at this point I should confess to you that I was in guy mode. I had decided on this for several reasons, one being that I simply didn’t have the enthusiasm to go in girl mode. The other being that it was very hot day and the thought of being in a wig, and in makeup, and in impractical shoes, didn’t sound too appealing to me when I could be in jeans, t-shirt, sandals, and an Australian bush hat. In many ways I think I made the right decision, but I did wish at that moment that I had been in girl mode as I would have definitely have asked Tim for a photograph of him and me together otherwise. When he was free, of course – I wouldn’t have interrupted him when he was trying to film.
I’d been on-site quite a while by now, and was pretty hot and pretty tired, so I headed back to the entrance which took me past the seller with the fossil. It was still there and he said that, no, the Bargain Hunt team had not been back. I did notice next to it a ceramic crab and matching lobster. Although they were red, rather than the blue and white of my cloakroom, I thought they were a bit of fun and asked about them and how much they were. The seller said he thought they were Portuguese and that he’d do them for £12 for the pair, and on a whim I offered £10 which he accepted. I’m not entirely convinced I made a good purchase there, but we’ll see when I try them out in the cloakroom.
After that, I thought it was time to head home. Unlike last time, there were no queues to get out, and I wasn’t held up at all and made it home in good time.
On Saturday I popped over to The Maltings in Farnham for their monthly Maltings Market. I’ve not been to one of these before, despite Farnham not being too far away for me. But a recent advert in a magazine mentioned that it has around 200 stalls of arts, crafts, jewellery, antiques, collectables and memorabilia, and that sounded like it was right up my street.
It was a quick and easy journey and after a bit of searching I managed to find a car parking space – the car park was pretty full.
There were some sellers with trestle tables out in the car park and immediately outside the Maltings, and I started to browse them when I suddenly realised that I had come out without my wallet.
A quick search on google revealed that there was a branch of my bank nearby within walking distance, so I walked over with a view to trying to get some cash.
So without my card or any identification, and armed only with the knowledge of my account number and sort code, PIN number, telephone banking password, internet banking password, inside leg measurement, and with my mobile phone in my possession (and whose number they have on file and could ring), I asked to withdraw money from my account. The cashier said that all she needed was my signature. Which, it turned out, they did not have on file, despite me banking with them for 25 years, because they had recently gone digital and hadn’t digitised their paper records. D’Oh.
All my passwords etc. were no good to them – all they would accept was my signature which they didn’t have on file. It was all rather Last Century and it initially looked like I was out of luck. Fortunately when the manager was called, she had the good sense to ask me various questions about my account activity which I was able to answer, including recent transactions, where my monthly salary payments came from, and eventually was satisfied I was who I said I was and authorised the cashier to let me withdraw the £50 I wanted.
The fact that I was in guy mode probably helped enormously in this case as it would have complicated matters enormously otherwise, as I would have had to explain why a woman with no identification was trying to access a bank account whose account holder had a male name. I think that if I had been in girl mode I simply wouldn’t have bothered and would just have gone home.
Anyway, I walked back to The Maltings and tried again.
Once I’d browsed the outside stalls, I headed inside and discovered that The Maltings is an absolute rabbit warren. It has several halls, on several levels, and also has a large courtyard and also several side rooms. All of these were full of stalls. Some were selling the usual Antiques and Collectors Fair stuff (and, indeed, there were some familiar faces from other fairs), some were local artists selling jewellery and art that they themselves had made, there was one stall with handmade leather goods, there was vintage clothing, new clothing, art, postcards, ephemera, cakes, jams, and all sorts. And being in many different rooms and halls meant that there was quite a bit of exploration and wondering if you had found everything. I loved it and will definitely go again.
One seller had some dragonfly drop earrings which I liked. She saw me looking at them and said that she makes them herself, and without really thinking I said that I love dragonflies and butterflies, and drew her attention to the little silver butterfly stud earring I was wearing.
“So, um, are these something you’d wear then?” she asked, slightly surprised. Rather than be embarrassed or flustered at the fact that I had said something out-of-gender, I simply smiled and replied “Well, not dressed like this. I’m disguised as a guy today. But when I’m dressed in girl mode then definitely”. She didn’t seem overly bothered by this, and merely asked if I had both ears pierced to which I said I did, and she just shrugged in a sort of “fair enough” kind of way and I bought them for £9.
Another seller was selling older stuff, and was playing 1930’s music on a period gramophone. It surprised me just how much volume it was managing to kick out, despite appearing to be purely mechanical.
Amongst the stuff he was selling was a necklace which caught my eye (pictured). It was unusual not just because of the shape and decoration, but because it was the same on both sides. Usually necklaces have a show side and a back side, so if they turn themselves round whilst you’re wearing them then they don’t display properly.
I asked the price, and he said £25 and that the chain alone was worth that. I asked if he’d take £20 and he said that he couldn’t budge at all on price. And he didn’t – I couldn’t get him to drop even a penny, which is quite unusual as you can usually get something off. But I decided to buy it anyway.
I had a good wander round all the stalls and whilst there was some nice stuff, there was nothing else I wanted to buy, and eventually I headed home.
I will definitely visit the Maltings Market again next month and this time I will make sure I don’t go out of the house without my purse or wallet (delete as appropriate).