September 23, 2007

The Strange World Of Boot Sales

The Sunday before last we embarked on a journey into the unknown! As part of the ongoing attempt to declutter my life (and make a little extra cash) Matt and I did our first boot sale.

We were up at stupid o’clock on a Sunday morning with the boot of the car duly loaded with tables and a couple of very uncomfortable stools, cash tin and several boxes of tat and made our way to the ‘Huge Car Boot Sale’ in Alton.

We didn’t really know what to expect although I had had a little advice from two veteran bootsalers that I know. Apparently we were mugged as soon as we arrived. Not in the hoodie, 'give me your mobile phone' sort of way of course. But before we could even get the car unloaded we were surrounded by eager buyers. Apparently the ‘professionals’ get there early and go on a bargain hunt. The first guy was only interested in records (although he did also invest in a large smiley face clock that I had) and bought 21 of my old 7” singles for the bargain price of a tenner. He was followed immediately by two people who had both swooped on my old collection of Whimsies which were snatched up for Twenty quid between them, so not a bad start to the day, even if the pace didn’t stay quite so hectic for the rest of the morning.

There was a strange collection of absolute junk on offer with one or two treasures if you look hard enough. We gave ourselves a budget of £5 each for a little shopping and took it in turns to have a look around and came back with a tripod, in full working order, a Polaroid camera complete with film, a garden tool (a sort of cross between a rake and a spade), a Darth Vader money box and a Darth Vader desktop mobile phone holder (not so sure about the last one!). There was also a little underhand dealing in TY bears along the way but I won’t go into that.

So I reckon that so far I’m about even on getting rid of clutter vs. gaining more but didn’t have a bad day, well worth the early start. So much so that we’re going to do it again this weekend. I wonder if that Skateboard will still be there….

September 04, 2007


It’s a strange place. I lived there for over fifteen years and when I was there I really couldn’t imagine ever living anywhere else. I loved it, grime, smog, indifference, anonymity, congestion, overcrowding, crime, the whole scene, at the end of the day I still believed, and still do, that it’s the greatest city in the world.

I moved out just over four years ago now and ended up more by accident than good judgement in a sleepy little village in North Hampshire where the pace of life is so different there’s no comparison.

As I drove up the A3 today, past all of my old haunts, and the landmarks that were part of my life for so long – The Tollworth Towers, a regular mention on the flying eye on the morning commute, dodging the numerous speed camera’s along the way then through Clapham, Stockwell and finally onto the Elephant and Castle, which to my disappointment is no longer pink. Passing old homes and old employers along the way I felt an overwhelming rush of nostalgia and started to seriously question why I ever gave in to the idea of leaving.

Then I realise it took me forty minutes to get to London and two and a half hours to drive fifteen miles into it (the tubes were on strike today and I really couldn’t face hauling the files that I needed for my meeting around with me on an overcrowded bus). I was hot, thirsty and quite frankly out of practise with traffic jams. I listened as faceless people honked their horns blindly in the vain hope that they might get a little further a little quicker and I drove at a pace slower than I could walk! I also had the pleasure of paying £8 congestion charge for having to leave at any of the exits on the Elephant and Castle roundabout (all roads lead to a big red C)

By the time I finally got back onto the A3 and waved goodbye to the City all I could think about was getting home again, back to the nice, quiet, green life that is Odiham.

Do I still miss London? Yes. It’s always going to be a big part of me. I absolutely loved my time there. Would I move back? No. Sometimes the past is best left as a fond memory that you can look back on and smile, but the present is what matters and the future – well who knows?