Archive for January, 2012

A little downtime…

January 31, 2012

…in more ways than one. It’s not every day that I fall down from the loft…

I should have known better; it’s not the first time that that ladder has slipped on the bathroom floor. I’d hurtled up there before work, to look for some knitting machine parts (which weren’t there anyway) and on the way down, the ladder just slipped away underneath me. Luckily I still had one hand on the side of the trap, which braked my precipitous plummet, and somehow I fell clear of the fallen ladder, so only ended up with a sprained ankle and some right royal bruising where it can’t be seen. But methinks it’s time for a proper loft ladder; it’s not as if they cost very much, and I might not be so lucky next time.

I had to close the shop for a couple of days & keep my foot up to keep the swelling down. But that gave me a little time to play with some of the resources that have come my way lately, that I’d been saving up for a “rainy day”… some pretty 50s wallpaper that had survived reasonably intact by lining someone’s drawers, a couple of old maps (an outdated Michelin map and a tatty old National Geographic wall chart from 1952) some A5 waste offcuts of paper & card from my landlord’s printing press, some strong linen thread that I know won’t sell, and a lovely book on bookbinding that I treated myself to back in the summer. Add some big needles, some strong glue, some scraps of lace & ribbon, and I came up with these:

…a series of little notebook/journals handmade, and hopefully decently-bound, made entirely from reclaimed resources – well, apart from the glue. I shall try selling them at the next Boscombe Vintage Market, and perhaps on Etsy afterwards as well as in the shop.

So all’s well that ends well!

Sales? What sales?

January 17, 2012

Following on from the last entry, has anyone else noticed how the January Sales didn’t actually seem to contain any genuine bargains this year?

On Christmas Eve, I dashed up to the shops for a last-minute present for one of my sons. I’d been looking for something else & just hadn’t found it, so I thought I’d buy a decent t-shirt or something similar for him to unwrap on The Day – this one in particular is still easily impressed by a brand name. And just like last year, a local store had put out its Sale signs, and the staff were slapping on the Reduced labels. I picked up some good bargains there last year. So I headed for the t-shirt rails and stopped dead in my tracks; t-shirts were “reduced” to £48.50. Sweatshirts were “down” to an eyewatering £80. We are NOT talking about designer garments, just fairly-pleasant chain-store activewear. For a few moments I actually felt quite disorientated – have I somehow slipped below the poverty line, that I consider these prices to be anything but bargains? I spotted one of my neighbours, who I know not to be well-off, with an armful of garments for her sons. She staggered over to the till, gasped in horror at the total, but whipped a credit card out to pay, muttering, “Well, at least they’re reduced…”

Forgive me, but I can’t help seeing “Sales” like that as a cynical marketing exercise. Or does everyone else happily pay in excess of £50 per t-shirt on a regular basis? I’ve been to several other shops during the Sale period ( I don’t need a lot of stuff – in fact I need to get rid of a lot of stuff!) and have been equally unimpressed; all I’ve actually bought is one pair of much-needed sturdy practical boots, down from £60 to £40, and some cracker snaps towards next Christmas. The sight of two elderly ladies squawking with glee at a pack of three Cath Kidston-style tea towels “reduced” to £12.99 had me utterly gobsmacked. Yes, they were very pretty. But are three tea towels actually worth £13? Would anyone ever have paid more for them?

Am I stuck in a time-warp here, or possibly just as stingy as my kids have always claimed? Or are the days of genuine bargains at the dawn of the New Year behind us now?