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Port out, starboard home

Booking now
Booking now

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.

We’d love to see you on Google+ page, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest where you can find out all the last minute bargains before a mass delisting occurs

 

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Got the Time or Touching Clock

Tick tock, tick tock, DONG!

Tick tock, tick tock
Tick tock, tick tock

This is the sound which pervades our existence at Touchstone Towers. You should see the place (though that’s not strictly an invitation to afternoon tea) we have piles of jewellery, silver, copper, brass, wood…well I’m sure you get the picture, but one thing we are definitely not short of is clocks.

I have an obsession and every buying trip starts with the phrase “No more clocks” but inevitably I return home laden with at least one grubby looking antique timepiece. Last week while we were out selling at a fair, I was presented with an offer not to be refused. An 1879 Japy Frere Brass clock.

Tatty, with bits falling off and a movement so gummed up it was like the Wriggly’s factory (please note other proprietary chewing sweets are available) but under the age tattered ugly duckling was a graceful swan waiting to get out.

A bit grubby

Taking this beast apart was no problem, cleaning it – no problem. Putting it back together, sadly a couple of the Victorian pins had had enough quite frankly and with a faint ping breathed their last. Now I’m quite happy to service and clean a movement but lathing and soldering very fine parts is just a bit beyond my eyesight’s (and my finger’s) capability.

But please don’t panic (if you were). After an exhaustive search (and skilfully hanging up on a quote of an extortionate nature) I have sourced some parts. Not cheap but worth it. The Japy Frere will unfurl its wings.

If this seems a longwinded story for very little point I am sorry; there is a point…two. One is the time and delicate energy which has to go into cleaning and servicing (not to mention the money, disappointment and frustration). The other is that we now have so many clocks it’s time to think about moving them on.

The clock market is a tough market, the general public have little appreciation for mechanical clocks, the time that goes into getting them working again or the reason for their value.

Beauty in engineering

There is a beauty in the engineering of a clock and this is why they can fetch what seems to be inordinate sums of money. When a customer last week saw a clock on sale for less than £100 he was slightly aghast that he was paying over £200 to have his version cleaned. Servicing costs can far out-weigh the value of the item BUT can, once completed, increase said value.

As is evident from my experience with the Japy Frere, there is a huge investment for any clockist in sorting out these behemoths of time and this is why both clocks and repairs can be a lot of cash. Worth it though. A good clock in good order will last – after all many have lasted over 150 years now. And while simply changing a battery is a simple, convenient option it has none of the charm or fulfilment of winding an 8 day clock and setting it free to ride the waves of time.

So I am busily trying to finish servicing all the clocks I have in the queue with an aim to adding a sort of catalogue up there. Just up there in the menu bar. These clocks won’t be available through normal channels (Etsy) because I just don’t trust the post. They will be appointment clocks. A phone call and some investigation over postage or buyer collects (then and only then will you get your invitation to afternoon tea)

One of the some we have on Etsy
One of the some we have on Etsy

I hope you will watch this space for more news on our clock catalogue. In the meantime we have some smaller examples in our Etsy store which may be of interest and for now I have a clock to piece back together.

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TouchstoneVintage

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