30 March 2008

Definitely Not According to Plan ...

... so, 2 days to go before I take over Dairy House Antiques and I might, just might, get dressed for the 2nd time in 7 days!

Shepton was as bitterly cold as anticipated - nay, more so - and on the Saturday, despite being indoors, I got chilled to the marrow as they say. On Saturday night I was in bed by 6.15 with 2 hot water bottles, a wheat heat thingy and 2 eiderdowns on top of the normal bedding. I staggered off on Sunday, wearing Pauley's longjohns and plenty of other warm clothing and got through the day. I had something to eat when I got home on Sunday evening and that was that. As I told the doc on Wednesday, I had got up especially to see him and would quite like to go back to bed now please, but would he mind giving me a miracle cure as I was taking over an antiques centre in less than a week and needed to be fit. So I got antibiotics (which he didn't think would work) and extra strong cough medicine (which he hoped would help), and was told to keep taking Paracetomol.

So here I am, 7 days on from 'taking to my bed', contemplating whether I have enough energy to shower and dress, and whether I'll then be so exhausted I need to go back to bed. This is far worse than the 4 weeks of 'flu' that knocked me for six for most of February. Speak and I cough. Breathe and I cough. Move and I cough. Not a lot else to do, really, so I've slept a lot and read 3 books ... and tried not to think of all the things I was going to do last week. Such as ... take 2 display cabinets from home to Dairy House; buy and fit locks for said cabinets; paint one of the areas at DH that is going to become the new main entrance and my new space; empty everything from my old space into piles of re-display, box up to bring out later, box up to go to auction, box up for the charity shop (been there too long to ever sell); make new 'entrance' sign; purchase invoice books and daybook; create various dealer forms on the computer; write a letter to all dealers confirming terms, payment, coding on labels, etc. And I've done absolutely nothing except cough my way through a few phone calls, squeakily pacifying the odd dealer, and agreeing rent for a new one - all conversations taking about 20 minutes instead of 5 while they waited for me to take in enough breath to expel a few words, cough/breathe/speak/cough/breathe/speak and so on. What it did for their eardrums I dread to think.

I don't mean to sound pathetic, although I probably do, and this virus has once again addled my brain!

I reminded Pauley on Wednesday that it was our WA the next day so he dutifully hot-footed it to the gift shop/stationers to get a card, bless him. There is was waiting for me the next morning when I went downstairs to sit upright for half an hour before deciding that bed was better. I didn't open it immediately and apologised for not having written his. I asked him to pay my Shepton money in to the bank and filled out the paying-in book. Fine ... until I got to the date ... and realised that it couldn't be our anniversary because that is on 31st March and I would be taking over DH the following day and I definitely wasn't taking it over last Friday. Doh! So the card disappeared, and I now need to make sure I write Pauley's today in readiness for a re-run tomorrow!!! I won't repeat the conversation we had but I'm sure you can imagine the general theme! Gillie just laughed!!!!

So, as time and tide waits for no man, and April Fool's Day will arrive the day after tomorrow regardless of whether I'm fighting fit or flat on my back, Dairy House Antiques will get a new owner on Tuesday. She may be pathetic, and only working on 2 cylinders, but somehow she'll be in charge, probably reciting the mantra "It's good to delegate!"

Not a particularly good photo, but this was part of our pitch at Shepton.

Liz's weekend was so disastrous that she's not doing it again. Several other dealers had a bad weekend, although I believe some were quite pleased with their takings. Mine were OK, but certainly not sufficient to call it a good Fair. I did sell the child's dresser though, and one or two other rather nice bits and pieces. But I've decided I shall do the May 3-day as it's always been the best one for me, and will then probably admit that I can't keep all the balls juggling in the air the whole time and stop doing the 3-day Fairs, so that I can concentrate on making a success of running Dairy House. I'll keep doing the Giant Flea because that's quite painless in comparison, and doesn't run the similar risk of my ending up prostrate and poorly.

I think I'll go back to bed for an hour, and then hopefully feel like re-entering the world. Have a jolly Sunday. It's a lovely to think we have now altered the clocks and that by the law of averages we should soon have some lovely sunny weather.

19 March 2008

Moving on ...

Not one to let the grass grow under her feet, Gillie has found, made an acceptable offer, and signed on the dotted line for a brand new house 2 weeks and one day after beginning her search in Somerset. Not bad, eh! And the developers want completion by the end of April. So, she won't be here with us for much longer - the shortest length of time we've had any of our 'lodgers'! She'll just be 20 minutes up the road (and very handy for the antiques fairs) at Shepton Mallet. VERY handy!!!!

Moving on even further I realise it's my birthday tomorrow. I haven't had a chance to think about it over the last couple of weeks, what with trying to get everything sorted for Dairy House - only 12 days before I take over - and Gillie coming to stay, and going to Cheltenham, and packing up for Shepton 3-day Fair this weekend. We were going to share the cost of the Cheltenham overnight stay, but Pauley has decided I needn't put in my share which will be my birthday prezzie. How romantic is that!!!!! Mind you, what do I need? I'm happy to say I don't actually need anything (other than a sylph-like figure which sadly money can't buy - well, I expect it could, but no thanks), so not having to fork out for those exorbitant costs last week is fine by me. Besides, it's our 31st wedding anniversary at the end of the month and I have plans for a meal out at the new 'Bistro' which has opened in Somerton - walking distance so I won't say no to a glass of champers thanks! The scary thing is though that my next-but-one birthday has a nought on the end and I just wish the first number was a 5 but it isn't! I'm not old enough to be grown up or of pensionable age, but apparently I will be in 2010. Oh well, there's plenty of life in the old girl yet and I have things to do, people to see, and some more life to live, so I'll just carry on as if I was still 18-ish!

No photos I'm afraid ... nothing to show as it's all packed ready for Shepton, although I suppose I could show you a clear, uncluttered, empty, unsullied, sitting room floor ... but I won't!!!!

Have a super Easter weekend. Apparently in Shepton Mallet the weather is going to be dire, so we'll see whether anyone turns out for the Fair or whether they all stay home and eat chocolate. I'm not saying which I'd rather do ...

11 March 2008

Cheltenham Festival ... and a Textiles Auction

Well, this week is THE week of Cheltenham's year with the Cheltenham Festival taking place from Tuesday to Friday. Everyone remotely interested in horse racing has their eye on the sporting pages of the newspapers, and the really serious punters flock to Cheltenham on Monday, booking all the rooms in all the hotels and B&Bs until Saturday ... and all the prices are doubled.

Me? Well I decided I needed to attend a Textiles Auction in Cheltenham and tried to book overnight accommodation for Pauley and me so that I could take my time looking through all the Lots yesterday, we could have an evening away from home and treat it as a holiday, and then I could spend several happy hours in the saleroom today. Unbelievably there was a cancellation at one B&B and it was at that point (doh!) that I realised it was Cheltenham Festival Week. We were offered a room which was going to cost us 3 figures. But bless him ... Pauley said 'book it'. So I did. We rarely have holidays, so we decided we'd work on favourite uncle's maxim of one night away is equal to one week's holiday, 2 nights away equals a fortnight and so on ... So, we had a week's holiday yesterday and today, and had a great time!

Our B&B was taken over by the racing fraternity - 2 from Yorkshire, one from Blackpool, one from Darlington, one from Somerset and a few others who we didn't get to speak to. Last evening we sat in the sitting room/(honesty) bar with an amazing group of men gearing themselves up for a great week's racing. They couldn't believe we had gone to Cheltenham for anything other than the racing, but at least I was able to tell them that I once worked for the Clerk of the Course of Nottingham Racecourse. And we were able to throw in the odd comment about Arkle, Desert Orchid, and some jockeys' and trainers' names. Despite being quite inebriated after an evening 'on the town', they were charming ... and hilarious ... and we stayed up listening to their views on the going, racing form and the likely winners until nearly 1.00 am. We certainly crammed a week into last night, visiting all the above places through listening to their dialects. I became 'bonny lass' which made me smile, and Pauley was even 'bonny lad' once or twice. One of them was referred to as 'big man' and occasionally a Christian name was thrown in. I have to say that last evening was the best part of the 'holiday'.

I was successful on half a dozen Lots today, but missed out on several that I was keen on because prices went too high. There was a lot of vintage costume for sale and I saw a couple of dealers I knew. The early part of the sale consisted of the most amazing collection of WMF silver and glass art nouveau candlesticks, table centres, pin trays, inkwells, vases, coffee sets, claret jugs and so on. I have never seen so many pieces together and they were superb. I just wish I had a bottomless money pit to buy, buy, buy. Sadly, I don't, and so I just watched with envy as bids rolled in and items sold.

So, after a very blowy journey down the M5 this afternoon, we're back home and the sitting room floor is once again littered with doylies, lace, napkins and all things vintage. I'll hopefully take some photos of the sweetheart pincushion and the pincushion shell box tomorrow once I've had a good night's sleep and my energy is restored!!

08 March 2008

04 March 2008

The Godfather ...

... This weekend I wasn't able to be at the Giant Flea at Shepton Mallet. Important family occasions, a wedding in January and a special one this weekend, have meant that I have missed the first two of the year.

This weekend was an exceptionally important family 'do'. Mum's youngest brother, my favourite uncle who is also my Godfather, turned 80 and my cousins organised a super party for 50+ family and friends. His youngest daughter, who happens to be my God-daughter will be celebrating her 40th birthday this week, too, so it was certainly a party not to be missed. The age range was from just about 2 years old up to Mum at 87, with a fair few of us placed well into the upper half of the range! This is my farmer uncle, who taught me to drive, showed me how to milk a cow, feed lambs, pluck turkeys, collect eggs, stack hay and straw bales and, not least, introduced me to antiques and vintage from an early age. I used to attend farm sales with him and my aunt back in the 1960s and it is probably thanks to them that I finally became the person I am today.

The cake was made by a 'girl' from the village (well, she is a few months younger than me!) who I have known since the mid 1950s! She makes superb cakes and we always look forward to one of Velia's masterpieces. This one depicts a farming journey from the early days of an Ayrshire milking herd, to his becoming a hay & straw merchant, to a grower of turkeys from day-olds to the Christmas table, their first bull mastiff, my cousin's Freedom Foods free range hens, my God-daughter's new Farm Shop and the homes they have lived in (the first one being the farmhouse where Mum and all her siblings grew up, and which only left the family in recent years).

Just to make sure there was plenty of emotion throughout the weekend, I created a book of photographs using http://www.blurb.com/ which meandered through his life where it intertwined with ours - photographs taken by my father and latterly by me. Some of them had never been seen by my cousins, and definitely not by their children. It was great fun to do and I have nothing but praise for this company. I downloaded the free software to create the book. I designed and laid out the photos and then uploaded it all to Blurb (an American company). I uploaded the photos on 16th February and was told it would be sent out to me on 26th February. I admit I paid for superfast 2-day shipping to ensure it arrived in time, but imagine my surprise when a 7" x 7" hardcover book of about 40 pages with dustjacket actually arrived in the post on 22nd February - only 6 days after ordering it, and in plenty of time for the birthday party. I'm delighted, he was delighted and I shall certainly use them again. I've already created an 80 page book (which needs condensing!) of skies and sunsets. I haven't ordered it yet, but it's there to be published at some point!
So it's back to earth with a bump now. The sitting room is once again filled with stock, although I am trying to get it packed into Shepton Antiques Fair boxes ready for 21 March, and Gillie has finally come to live with us. Amazingly her house sold within a few weeks, and completion was last Friday. She is now another one to have left Northampton to relocate to Somerset (sensible girl!). We've been out today to do a recce and for her to decide where to cross off the list. She hopes to find somewhere soon - there's only so long that anyone can cope with living with us! Paul and I are no 'cat people' - you either are, or you aren't! However, Jasper has come, too, and guess what ... Pauley is his new best friend (and vice versa!!)! He is actually quite sweet, and very well behaved!!! If he ever comes out from under our bed (Jasper that is, not Pauley) I'll take a photo so that all you cat-lovers can join his fan club.
It's so annoying when you publish a post and find that all the paragraphs have joined up into one. What's the betting that now I've edited this post and added this extra paragraph I shall be proved wrong and the whole thing will be beautifully laid out with space between all the paras!
Have a good week, one and all.