In between the downpours at Newbury Racecourse
I had forgotten all about it…but as I drove to the station yesterday morning, I saw the enticing sign announcing an 'Antiques and Collector's Fair' at Newbury Racecourse that very day; so having dropped off my passenger, I did a left and a right, then a left again... finding myself after just a few minutes on the green at the racecourse, on the opposite side of the track to where the outdoor sellers were already set up.
A steady stream of happy purchasers was already coming out of the ground, pushing barrows and supermarket trollies (now where did they get THOSE??) filled with their loot - which seemed to be largely composed of pieces of furniture in varying stages of decomposition, but with immensely attractive patinas developed from what looked like years in outdoor weather. Others carried bashed-up tin baths, watering cans and troughs - which themselves would have been discarded only a few years ago, but are now used to great effect when filled with plants overflowing against their matte grey or rusting surfaces.
Having come a cropper on Saturday thanks to a raised tile in my hallway, I was more than a little uncomfortable as a result of some technicolour bruises most of the way down my thigh. I'd been feeling sorry for myself for 24 hours - but strangely, at the sight of market stalls and mysterious items, I was extraordinarily restored to full health for the hour that it took me to walk around !! (Amazing what a blessed anaesthetic the thrill of the hunt can be - inanimate items only, I hasten to add!!)
Lovely wooden carvings getting very soaking wet...
...and Mr. 'Some Old Geezer' (his business name) who sold them to me for £20.00
The other thing which encouraged me to Get A Move On was, however, more prosaic. It had been drizzling when I arrived; as I reached the market, The Deluge began - more rain than I have been out in for a very long time, and of course, no brolly or hat brought with me. Did I let that deter me? Certainly not! I kept going, looking more like an Irish Water Spaniel with every step, but also enjoying some lovely chats and laughs with the stall holders, during which we all agreed that the choice between 'braving (and complaining about) the rain' and thinking of various friends we knew who were dealing with tough and scary health issues, or not able to leave their homes for other reasons, was really no choice at all; we were blessed to be able to just be there - we were grateful for the chance to get drenched.
Here are some of the pleasing items I found on my foray - I hope you enjoy looking at them too.
One of the carvings, now dryer and more evenly coloured - lovely, deeply cut work
A beautiful blue and white fruit bowl from De Porceleyne Fles - the Royal Delft factory - a single crack needing restoration...
...with a less beautiful addition - I hit the bag carrying the bowl against the car door, causing a shell fracture, so now there is a much bigger restoration job to be done. (Watch this space).
A couple of pounds for an attractive (1920's?) etching of 'St Paul's Cathedral from Bankside'
And as always, a book - this time 'India' - one of the Collins collection of travel books (this one first published in 1906), illustrated by the watercolourist Mortimer Menpes; here are some of the richly coloured plates -
'A Rajput of Rajgarh'
'Market Women of Ajmir'
'A Popular Stall'
'A Hawksman of Rajgarh'