Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A resistant return to modernity.

For those of you who either know me in person or have perused this blog on more than one occasion you may have gathered by now that I am rather partial to collecting *stuff*.
The recent summer jaunt I embarked on down to Devon: Vicarage Hill to be precise [which according to it's owner [via the Post Office] doesn't really exist] left me frothing at the mouth when I realised just how much *stuff* I was going to be able to accumulate.

The first day of arrival did not really include any *stuff* gathering expeditions apart from a small jaunt to the nearby beach where, of course, it would have been rude not to collect one or two pebbles and sticks. Said pebbles and sticks now sit in this tea cup and saucer [which was a later find] on my living room table reminding me just how much I miss being near the sea.

Alongside collecting physical *stuff* with which to clutter adorn my house, this trip included collecting many special memories. The top highlight of the trip has to be a trip to Greenway, one of Dame Agatha Christie's homes in her home county of Devon. I visited Greenway on my second day in this picturesque county with a childhood friend Simon, who is equally fanatical [and some may say eccentric] about Agatha as me. [See I'm even on first name terms with the Dame herself!] We spent many a happy hour wandering and pondering about her home, with me even wondering what the penalty for smashing the glass cabinet containing all of her first editions may be and whether my handbag could carry them and small legs could whisk me away fast enough before an official lady in a green sweatshirt could grab me and haul me away for a strong ticking off!
During lunch in the courtyard we read the guide book which of course one is obliged to purchase from the gift shop, dreaming about a time which it is simply not possible to return too when I came across this picture of Dame Agatha and her husband Max Mallowan...

[Image taken from the National Trust Greenway guidebook].

After lunch we took a stroll in the sunshine around the grounds and happened across the 'Battery' as it is know where this picture was taken in 1946. You know what is coming next don't you? I accosted a lady who was somewhat reluctant to use a camera insisting instead that I ask her husband. It is at this point that Simon pipes up from the edge of the Battery 'We're trying to recreate the picture in the guidebook.' This was possibly one of the greatest highlights in my life - the woman looked at us as though he had just murdered her first born child and a few others had a look of bemusement cast across their faces. The important thing? We got the picture.

It's not as perfect as I would have liked [the angle being somewhat different from the 1946 version] but I really didn't want to upset the poor woman anymore by asking her to take another!
And so the holiday began on a high note, after that the collecting commenced apace with many hours spent in one particular charity shop in Exeter where some of these delights were purchased...

I even bought two copies of the child's illustrated dictionary [shown above sprinkled with buttons] to give as a holiday 'present' to Mother Dear so keep your eyes peeled here to see if any of the images or text appear soon.
I admit to having a [small] love of old board games too - so a Spears Junior Scrabble for £1 was not to be sniffed at - neither are the many hours of delight it provided me with on returning home with a pot of tea and counting all the letters. I am pleased to report that my £1 was not wasted and in-fact all the pieces are there. Happy times.
Other purchases included some old 60's-70's children's books with super illustrations and or covers; purchased for the small sum of 20p, some buttons, a pinafore pattern circa 1970, a rusty valve key [just what every modern day girl needs] but the bestest best purchase of the day had to be a coat hanger for 10p. No I have not lost the plot - it really is a beautiful coat-hanger.

Hey Presto Cleaners! With 'real' telephone number! This may now be my prized possession: If my home was on fire I would probably save the coat-hanger. [note to self: get out more].

I also managed to find this book:

Which I have wanted to own for sometime due to it's cover of flock-flamingo-wonder however refused to pay the cover price of £15! and there it was, waiting for me for £1 in the charity shop of wonder. Happy day's indeed [again].
I made enough purchases to keep me quite with many pots of tea for a long while after returning back to Vicarage Hill.

Not only did I return back up north with many wonderful charity and car boot finds [see above for fab box and a sneak peak at some more 'new' china] but I also acquired a rather fabulous East German typewriter on loan from Simon who just happened to have two in the cupboard.
[Are you beginning to understand why we get along so well now?]

I typed quite a lot of nonsense on this lovely keyboard with its intensely satisfying clickety clack sounds and I can honestly say that returning to my laptop was somewhat of a shock - my fingers were no longer used to it, if Blogger could be linked to my typewriter then life may be complete. Now I have found this one here so if anyone would like to buy it for me I would be very happy. Thank you.
The trail of collecting did not stop in Devon, on returning home me and Julie went for our annual jaunt to Whitby [of which you can see some evidence here] On our way into Whitby we passed a sign for a car boot sale which started at 10am, the time now was approximately 10:01am. It would have been rude not to stop wouldn't it? Stop we did and purchases were made including:

Some old postcards which had the writing detailing many jolly jaunts on the back. [So sad I always think to realise that your life and memories could end up at a car boot sale] On a happier note there were also some fabulous Cowboy and Indian themed scraps and at £1 a pack they were definitely not to be sniffed at.
Other purchases included 'more' retro story books including Jackanory for 25p! With the most fabulous illustrations of Donkeys and Birdies - life really doesn't get better than that.

So off we pootled into Whitby and adjourned for tea, cake and purchase perusal. A good day was had be all rounded off by a discussion about the end of the world in Sandsend car park overlooking the end of the world; literally.
Back to normality now and I have to admit that I'm not overly fond of the modern world, has anyone invented a time machine yet? Let me know when you do, I could do with a visit to Hey Presto Cleaners to help me with all the holiday laundry.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for a v entertaining read Hannah! Great retro finds, & I love your photo recreating Agatha & her pal!
Alison x

Julie Kirk said...

Ahhh I seem to have gone all nostalgic ... for last week.

Love your re-enactment photo! It *must* be scrapped!

Gorgeous finds. And Ineeeed to see the rest of that living room table. Soon. Hopefully.


Lulabelle said...

What amazing finds!That coat- hanger is lovely. Love your photo!

Heavenly Anarchist said...

What fabulous finds - I love your coathanger!

Sid said...

Did you get some 'stuff' or what on that trip? Great stuff though and glad you had a fab time !

Effie said...

This girl has too much stuff!

Angelnorth said...

Different class of charity shop in Devon, obviously - nothing like that round here! Fab finds, hope they're very happy in their new home! (hee he - my word verification is "natty", perfect for the return from the dry cleaner?!)

HannahBanana said...

@ Effie: It is never ever possible to have too much stuff. Until the walls explode that is! x