Greetings fellow antique enthusiasts and vintage doyens. I have to report some singularly high stress levels not realised since my glory days in youth offending (I mean I worked in youth social care – I was not a young offender). A different kind of stress than that though: who knew that the powers that be, crushed beetles and tiny bits of paper on string could invoke such panic!
The week got off to a fairly bad start with an “admin” day. this largely involved filing three…yes THREE tax returns for her majesty’s revenue and customs (they collect the revenue and their custom is to make life as difficult as possible). Now this isn’t the forum for political rants; but seriously the UK government needs to sort its act out. They are now forcing us to BUY software in order to file a tax return online. One suspects our honoured (sic) chancellor may have shares in these software companies. Upshot being that we have thrown eco-friendly and expediency to the wind and filed a paper form – LATE!
Anyway, the whole affair near drove poor business partner to tears so I suggested she start tagging and labeling all our goodies for the posh fair which is now less than a week away. This she has duly undertaken with nary a moan or whimper: more a sort of death rattle of frustration and tedium. Meanwhile I have ruined two perfectly good tables with substandard proprietary French Polish – I shall be boiling my own beetles from now on. The labeling and pricing continues apace but not fast enough for either of our tastes and there is still a mountain to climb as the days tick-tock-tick-tock away.
Having said all this however, the week has not been entirely unsuccessful. The list of jobs, though still substantial, is shrinking and the world of online retail appears to have woken from a five month hibernation despite dwindling items and caretaking of our Etsy store. Be aware that the shop may fall foul of changing circumstances in the new year so all the vintage goodies we have on offer are basically on a last chance to by option for the next two months. Preparing for posh fair has relieved me of my online SEO and copy tagging duties to some extent and that has proved something of a blessing despite all the paper tags still needing to be written.
Well far be it from me to assign undue labels (a firm believer in live and let live) but HMRC are over priced, over valued and pointless. French polish is best if it comes from France, and price tags are probably best left to Jessie J. I’m off to try and rectify the polish issue, console business partner as she attempts to write Birmingham 1903 on yet another impossibly small treasury tag, and destabilise the UK tax system.
It may, or may not depending on your point of view, be evident that after a week or so of daily posts, we have been a bit quiet of late. It’s all to do with timetables. We have so many regular (and irregular) engagements that there are obvious times when my laptop (I call it Saucy because its an HP) seems a million miles away and despite the obvious advantages of m-m-mobile technology the rigors of our schedule keep me at a fingertip distance from my beloved interwebs.
We have weathered some real peaks and troughs this week: after a VERY dry spell we have had some spectacular orders online, not least a bulk order of four items and yesterday (while shopping POSH, and more on that in a minute), both mine and business partners phones were cha-chinging like crazy – we are very pleased to have sold some pearls to the costume department at Warner Bros. studios in Hertfordshire so fingers crossed you’ll be seeing our necklaces in the movies very soon.
Sadly, and thanks to a contretemps between business partner, a vacuum cleaner and my camera (a Nikon D60 for anyone interested) we have given the last rights to my macro lens, but every cloud and all that and a new one is winging its way towards me as we speak. But the main excitement has been our extensive buying for our posh fair (see Antiques Takeaway) We have really stepped up the quality of goods thanks to the Wimborne antiques centre and some very generous traders. However in the pursuit of poshiness, our home – a shoe-box of Borrower’s proportions – has the look and feel of the basement at the British Museum (or Steptoe’s yard for British sit-com fans)
It has also involved us wading through our online stock to find the creme-de-la-creme ready for the fair; this has been catalogued and will be soon relieved of duty on Etsy so there is plenty of “last chance to buy” going on. We’re telling Twitter all about it but there are a few choice pieces shown in photographic form below as a sort of tribute to the macro lens. We just hope that aiming posh, with a yen for a 1st class berth with port out, starboard home lands us on the QE2 and not the Titanic.
The more perceptive of you, or at least those who read “So many pies...” will recall that I talked about putting things back once they had been away; I also mentioned that we have a lot of pies in which to dip our grubby, dust stained fingers. Well the pies just got a whole lot bigger.
Business partner and I received an email inviting us to take part in what can only be classed as a posh antiques fair – Galloway Fairs at Avisford Park near Arundel in West Sussex. We are talking the other end of the spectrum from our usual rickety tables in draughty community centres and sports halls…This is a three day event in a Hilton hotel no less, with gold lettering above our booth and hob-nobbing with TV stars and the generally well-to-do. The human being in me thinks we shouldn’t be pandering to the gentry (believe me in this game the feudal system is alive and kicking) but the pauper in me says lets make lots of money.
This is not so much a pie as a five-bird roast with twenty-seven vegetables, a starter, fish course, FULL dessert trolley and lemon sorbet between courses – all served in French with full access to a very generous wine cellar. A bit nerve racking as its a jump in the ocean for us (not that we don’t have quality stock, its just that we’ve never tried anything on this scale before).
Anyway at this fair, only the best will do so we will be leaving behind the battered brass and curvy copper, abandoning the broken boxes and crusty curios and as some of our fine arts and collectibules are in our Etsy store, we are sadly soon to be taking them off the interwebs and packing them into carefully lined crates.
The bonus is that some of our “affordable” pieces will get a chance to shine in the meantime and we are really gearing up for Christmas now. Just take a sneaky-peeky at the pics below and you’ll see what I mean. Give us a tickle on our Google+ page, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for more as it is listed and watch this space as business partner loses her hair with stress and I paint myself into a shellac’d corner…