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Too close for comfort

ATTENTION
ATTENTION

It escaped my attention somewhat.

Now there’s a leading statement if ever there was one. “What? something vitally important escaped your attention? What was it? do tell” OR…”what? your attention escaped?” Even with some cleverly managed punctuation, actually its both. My attention certainly did escape for a while, last seen roaming the Sussex countryside, and in doing so, several things escaped my attention. A sort of online ouroboros concentration loop.

Its all to do with a particularly nasty case of sciatica. I’m not angling for sympathy here, after nearly 4 weeks I’m over the worst and have finally been able to stop dosing myself up on various combos of painkillers. But it was the aforementioned painkillers which did for my attention.

It seems that during this period (which we shall call my “high” period) we bought lots of lovely antiques, did a few fairs, sold a few lovely antiques and woah hang on…only three weeks until we hit our first stand fitted fair of the year!!! (This is what escaped my attention while my attention was otherwise distracted) but I haven’t broken any clocks yet, or slopped French Polish on the carpet (don’t tell business partner) or even stood on any valuable Victorian ceramics.

Not long now
Not long now

It also seems that over a pint or two of scotch whiskey, we agreed to do a few more stand fitted fairs this year than planned AND ramp up our smaller fairs. We need to move house for myriad and complicated reasons and we’re not going to do it on our current “salary” (for anyone who still thinks self-employment is an easy option, you could not be more wrong)

So in my usual, rather round-a-bout way I have used this entire soliloquy to tell you, the wonderful buying public that to give us some chance of respite and comfort from these too close fairs, we’re having to close our Etsy store on the 10th April.

Defintite. For good. Finito. Nada. Enchilada.

Bye-bye baby
Bye-bye baby

Its sad for us because we invested a lot financially, emotionally and physically into it but we simply do not have the time to keep it curated.

There will be more items listed on this site from time to time, which can be purchased directly so worth keeping eyes peeled and ears pinned to the internet AND in the meantime, you lucky, lucky people you can get 10% off anything still listed on Etsy with the checkout code CLOSE10

Our social media will be changing too with more fun and fewer links (I’m so distracted I nearly wrote LESS links there) so you are still welcome to join us and keep up to date with our fair diaries, information, how to’s and other snippets of antique goodness.

Clever punctuation?
Clever punctuation?

If on your travels you spot my attention span, please bring it to a fair or follow one of the links below where a generous rewar………oh look, a butterfly.

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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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