Saturday, 15 February 2014

How to spend a happy day

I have been enjoying myself recently, as my visit to Semely Auctions and Shepton Mallet flea market has meant I've lots of  new stock. In my last post I showed my books at Dairy House Antiques, so today I thought I'd share my day at Vintage et al‎ in Warminster.
It's always a pleasure to go there.
This time, there were home-made cakes to tempt me-

and yes, I succumbed!

I have quite a small space but I've recently added a new chest of drawers and bookcase which are now crammed with treasures

This is a lovely edition of the well-loved classic 'Lorna Doone' with beautiful coloured plates of the Devonshire countryside

It's fun to have somewhere to show my vintage finds-

This little evening bag has a matching silk covered mirror inside

I'm pleased with how I've managed to squeeze everything in!

The shop is divided between various dealers' stock and part of the charm is the very different things on sale there.
I fell in love with these beautiful lights-

and unusual wall sconces-

Everywhere you look there are things to tempt...

There are usually other stall holders happily at work

And we all have such fun together!

It's quite a new venture but the shop is gaining more and more happy customers every week and I'm really looking forward to the year ahead-
Let's raise our cups to that!

p.s. I'm off to the beautiful Italian city of Lucca for a week's holiday with my son Sam tomorrow. I hope to be able to post from his computer but we'll see...

Monday, 10 February 2014

Kissing Books

Last month I revived one of my favourite activities- going to auctions. The quirky auction house at Semely  seems just about perfect to me. Everybody is friendly and good humoured and there is a lovely lady selling tea, coffee, bacon rolls and slices of home-made cake to sustain the inner buyer. I love the careful searching and researching needed when looking for stock, the growing excitement as 'the' lot gets closer and the sheer zing of adrenaline when you bid and win!
I bought a fine collection of books and after further research and pricing they were ready to take to Dairy House Antiques where I have my little bookshelf.
On a cold morning I was tempted to join Lily and enjoy the fire...

However, I set to work to tidy my shelves and add my new books. I try to have a selection of books with interesting contents

As well as those that are beautiful to look at!

I get very excited when I find a fabulous book and as I have explained before, I have been known to kiss them!
These are my favourites at present:

Just look at the old cars!

The papers mark where the plates are

And finally,

Ladies' Calender 1838

All the plates are hand coloured

After sorting my own stock I couldn't resist a little look around the shop. As always, there are enticing and eclectic displays.

And finally, some of my more delicate books in pride of place on the counter

Dairy House is a very good place for me and my books to be!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Edward Thomas- ' Birds' Nests'

I was walking in the bare February countryside at the weekend and remembered this poem from the best of nature poets- Edward Thomas.

Birds' Nests
The summer nests uncovered by autumn wind,
Some torn, others dislodged, all dark,
Everyone sees them: low or high in tree,
Or hedge, or single bush, they hang like a mark.

Since there's no need of eyes to see them with
I cannot help a little shame
That I missed most, even at eye's level, till
The leaves blew off and made the seeing no game.

'Tis a light pang. I like to see the nests
Still in their places, now first known,
At home and by far roads. Boys knew them not,
Whatever jays and squirrels may have done.

And most I like the winter nests deep-hid
That leaves and berries fell into:
Once a dormouse dined there on hazel-nuts,
And grass and goose-grass seeds found soil and grew. 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

February 2nd- Candlemas

I have always loved the customs in religion and folk-law for Candlemas Day. It is a day that  falls exactly in the midst of winter, between the two equinoxes and during these short, dark days, the Spring can seem far away. Snowdrops and candles are the perfect choice of symbols for this day.

As a church festival it is known as the purification of the Virgin Mary ( though why she of all people should need to be purified, I don't know) and follows the tradition within the church that a woman who has given birth needs to remain in seclusion for 40 days and then be purified at the synagogue/church at the end of this period. I am glad that this does not happen  in modern life and I'm not very comfortable with the thinking behind it but I still love to follow the old ways and pick a bunch of snowdrops to put by my picture. Snowdrops have long been connected with the Virgin Mary in folk law and are also a sign of both purity and hope.

An old rhyme says:
     The snowdrop in pure white array
     First rears her head on Candlemas day
I have always believed that you need to have the first snowdrop with its head dropped by the 2nd of February to have good fortune and I always try to have at least a couple of blossoms in the house on this day. Luckily, I was out walking with David today and the mild weather has brought them into bloom in the hedgerows and gardens locally, so I have my little posy.
Candlemas is so called because this was the day that new candles were brought into church to be blessed. As a Quaker the symbolism of light is particularly important to me and it makes me very happy to follow the old custom of putting lighted candles in all my windows as darkness falls.

Looking at the brave flames and sniffing the honey scent of the snowdrops reminds me that the days are turning and Spring is on its way.