I’ve had this date in the calendar for ages. After last year’s bountiful haul, I was positively gleeful with anticipation at this annual event, which is in its 40th year. It runs from 10-2pm, but get there early. They made £10,000 last year. It’s hardcore bargain hunting, with beat-up trailers, shifty looking antiques dealers, excitable boy scouts selling chocolate frogs and bacon butties, Northeastern grannies with their reusable supermarket bags ready to fill to the brim, and families upgrading children’s bikes.
Last year we went with a list which we ticked off pretty smartly. This year, with our own home to buy for, we went with measurements. And a tape measure.
Oli spotted a wooden blanket box/chest thing which he started to make enquiries about while I took pictures of lovely chairs, tables, a beautiful cast iron slipper bath with clawed feet, a great pair of old deck chairs -sold, sadly- and stacks of vintage suitcases. Steering clear of sports equipment and toys, I ventured inside.
The crowd outside was bustling, but the scrum in the hall -bric-a-brac table 3 deep- was unreal. Last year I was very pregnant, this year Otis wailed at me from his sling. He will soon learn about bargain hunting. I had the same feelings of missing out on something that must drive all thrifters, trawlers of car boot sales and charity shoppers. The feeling that somewhere was something that must not get away. I just needed to find it.
Nothing is priced at this sale, either, and the volunteers are not exactly expert antique/second hand goods sellers. There are some serious bargains to be had. I saw a very large rolled up eastern rug (one of those plain ones with little animals dotted about very sparsely) and was told it was £20- but by the time I had found Oli to discuss buying it, it had vanished. Rookie.
But we still made a few purchases: two demijohns for £1, two gorgeous embroidered tablecloths and a hand knitted baby blanket for £6 (rescued by me from a woman who wanted it for her dog’s bed!) and the aforementioned wooden chest.
The boys, by this stage, had had enough, and so we retreated to our friends’ house for a lovely lunch and cups of tea. It had been the first day of sunshine in a long while, and it is set to be sunny today. It feels like a tiny taste of summer.