Archive for August, 2013

Working from home:

August 23, 2013

Not so very long ago, the idea of “going out to work” would have astonished most of our ancestors. Most people lived & worked in what I’ve heard described as the “Domestic Economy” i.e. they farmed, they spun or wove, made buttons, kept a few sheep or hens, grew stuff & sold the excess. In town, they might have taken in laundry, or done a bit of dressmaking or knitting for cash. Shopkeepers, innkeepers, bakers & postmasters lived above or behind their premises, domestic staff lived in the nooks & crannies of the great (or middle-class) houses that they worked in. Only the middle “professional” class would have travelled to work, and for most of them it would have been a short walk. But now we’ve created a monstrous rod for our own backs of “commuting” to work; you are very lucky indeed of you can find well-enough-paid work within walking distance of anywhere you’d want to live.


So if you don’t want to lose weeks of your precious life sitting fuming in traffic jams, or standing jammed into wildly-swaying tube trains, or paying vast sums of money to be packed into trains that get you there late as often as not, and may not even run at all, you have to think outside the box & come up with something profitable that you can do from home. Or several tangentially-related somethings, as I have, though I’m the first to admit I’m lucky enough not to have to earn a “realistic” wage in order to keep the roof actually over our heads.


BUT, it seems we are so stuck in the “going out to work” groove now that it can be rather difficult for others, even your nearest & dearest, to get their heads around the idea that yes, you’re there at home, but YOU ARE STILL WORKING! People who wouldn’t dream of disturbing someone head-down at their desk at the office will happily ask you what’s for tea just when you’re trying to refine a particularly difficult sentence. Or yell from the rubble that used to be the ironing pile that they need a certain t-shirt RIGHT NOW, or ask for a lift to somewhere the bus could have got them to, if they’d thought of it in time. And it’s always delightful to see friends, but some warning of an impending visit would be a gracious idea, so that urgent tasks can be completed or rescheduled, and dangerous substances or valuable & fragile items aren’t lying around where your puppy or toddler can eat them. Although of course that does risk the possibility that I may say, “Terribly sorry, but could we do it another time?”


Rant over…


What happened next…?

August 17, 2013

Just a quick post to let you all know I’m still here! Just busy looking after my young PGs, my stall at Molly’s Den, and planning a little holiday in France at the start of September. I’m beginning to see the point of package holidays… by the time you have sorted out transport there & back, transport whilst you’re there, insurance, somewhere to stay, whilst trying to please as many of the people as much of the time as possible, you can quite see that travel agents really do earn their keep.

But what’s on my mind today is stories. One of the things I love about doing a stall at Boscombe Vintage Market is the sense I share with my elder daughter that all the things that pass through our hands have stories of their own, or play a part in other people’s stories. And when they come to us, we play a little part in those stories, whether we mend them, clean them up, re-purpose them somehow, or just find new homes for them, albeit usually at a profit, or that’s the idea. When you sell something to someone face to face, you usually have some sense of where the story is going; part of the fun of it all is chatting to your customers & getting to know their likes & dislikes. But when I leave an object on my stall down at Molly’s, I don’t know what happens next. Sometimes I almost feel a pang of guilt when I place things on the shelf; it’s as if I am leaving them to their fate, which may just be to be an on-trend ornament for a few months, then thrown out without a second thought when the “vintage” fad passes. I have no doubt that many people will value & look after their carefully-chosen treasures, but not everyone thinks like me! Which is probably a good thing, or no-one would ever throw anything out, in case it could be mended or the parts come in useful somehow… I know I have regular customers down there, but I don’t know who they are or what they’re looking for.

I might just put some cards on my stall asking anyone who’s interested to leave a comment here about their purchases and what they intend to do with them. I wonder if anyone would respond? It would be good to hear, sometimes, what happens next…


What stories has this little 1950s tin tea set played a part in?