Posts Tagged ‘second hand’


For Otis. As I sit every night at the moment, huffing and puffing grumpily into a dust mask as we scrape and sand hundreds of reclaimed hardwood parquet blocks, I try to remember that not every purchase of second hand goods from gumtree means blood, sweat and tears. Although Otis’ antique brass bed, acquired at a price to make the bargain hunter in me very pleased indeed, did require some serious polishing and a bit of repair work on three decorative spindly bits, it was nothing compared to the mammoth task of restoring Sol’s bed.

I really wanted a metal bed of a similar age to sit next to Solomon’s, which meant waiting a while for the right one in a reasonable location to pop up. But pop up it did, and we’re all really pleased, none less so than Oti!


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Ah, Gumtree. Source of great amusement (cries of who will buy that?! and, How much?!) and great local bargains, it can also lead to disappointment, which I experienced on Friday. But we got back on the Gumtree wagon the next day with the snapping up of this mid century Ercol-alike Danish coffee table for an absolute steal. Ok, so it was in Macduff (on the very tippy top of the Aberdeenshire coast), but we incorporated a visit to the aquarium and an award-winning fish and chip shop and it was, all in all, rather a nice day out! It won’t stay in this room, which is stuffed to the gunnels with furniture, books and the inexorable creep of toys, but in the -eventual- sitting room. Just once we get that unasked-for water feature sorted…

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It’s the only second hand shopping experience where I go with an actual list and expect to tick it off: the now legendary Banchory Scout Jumble Sale. Alas, I forgot my camera, but Oli took a few interior shots on his phone. A rainy start to the morning made for a better place in the queue and, I felt, a better chance at the myriad bargains inside the totem-poled gates. We also had a better strategy this year of splitting up and so I swerved the outdoor displays -garden furniture and equipment, suitcases, furniture, rugs, toys- and dived straight in to the meleé that is the indoor hall: books, clothes, DVDs, textiles, electrical equipment and the 12 metre long bric-a-brac table already two deep like a pub at half time.

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The volunteers are easily divided into two groups: the experienced and the fearful, and I’m sure you can guess who gives the better price! Sadly the linen was disappointing this year; mostly curtains and no hand knitted blankets. The hand embroidered tea tray cloths, tablecloths and napkins were also pretty thin on the ground, which isn’t surprising as they have -quite rightly, if annoyingly!- regained their status as high-value items. But there were baskets a-plenty, and I nabbed a big one for dirty washing, a smaller one for vegetables, and a wee one for… well, I don’t know yet but I do love a basket.

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I also picked up three clip-lidded glass jars and my long searched-for perfect lemon drizzle cake tin. A hand knitted jumper and some school trousers for Sol (school!) were the only fruits of a rummage through the mountain of children’s clothing, and we fought our way outside with my massive basket to make one final purchase of a battered old suitcase for the boys’ dressing up clothes. I spent £10 in total. Oli splashed the cash and spent £13 on a work bench and some ski poles to compliment last year’s skis.

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The scout leader who sold us the claw footed bath last year spotted us immediately and enquired as to its status- sadly reported back as a handy receptacle for unused carpets and bits of wood. But no longer- it may be on the move towards fulfilling its fitful purpose, so watch this space! (And watch, I predict, one or two plumbing videos on YouTube)

Last year the scouts raised in excess of £10,000 from their sale, and in terms of bargains, enjoyment and general amusement, I think every penny spent by the customers was very well spent indeed. Can’t wait for next year!

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