It's been a long time since we went to a jumble sale. Down south, they've practically stopped having them. It's a downward spiral - less good stuff and more rubbish is collected, because people car boot or ebay their good stuff; so fewer people go, less money is raised, until it's just not worth it. Plus since the advent of landfill tax it now costs money to get rid of what's left over, and for the reasons above, more and more is left over.
So it was interesting to see that there are still lots of jumble sales being advertised in the Express and Star. Most of them are in totally unfamiliar places, where we wouldn't know where to park or be able to find the hall, and we haven't been all that adventurous yet. But today there was one in Penkridge, which we know our way around reasonably well (as long as it's near the bun shop, anyway), and what's more, was in aid of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Trust, which made it feel kind of familiar and friendly.
In the glory days I would come back from jumbles absolutely laden with stuff, clothes, soft furnishings, furniture, bric-a-brac... The front room floor would disappear under a sea of fabric, maybe twenty per cent of which was destined to be used or worn with any regularity, and Jim and I would compare our purchases (he never bought as much as me), and then I would hit the washing machine for a few hours.
Now, of course, that simply will not do. We no longer have a massive outbuilding to fill up with stuff that might come in handy one day (well, ok, there's Chertsey, but... no). So I had to try and be selective. In particular, I resisted some rather nice plates. Between us, in ascending order of usefulness, we came away with:
A Marks and Spencer blouse (too big)
An 'intelligent plug' which is meant to switch off things that are on standby unless the computer's switched on (didn't work with the laptop)
A box of wooden puzzles for amusing Sebastian (age 22) when he visits
A purple velvet 'chav top' (you know the sort of thing, like a hoodie without the hood. But hey! It's purple! And it's velvet!
An Indian print wraparound skirt with elephants on.
A nice chunky little handmade mug for keeping things tidy in the bathroom.
And - the piece de resistance that made the whole trip worthwhile - an air bed! A double, old fashioned rubberised one, no leaks and not a trace of Wergie, which is exactly what Jim needed to replace the one that Willow has obviously put a claw through whilst secreting mice under the bed.
Tonight we are off to the nearby village of Bishops Wood to see (and hear) folk legends Ashley Hutchings and Ken Nicol. This is a rather odd, low key affair, sponsored by a very active local arts organisation, for which tickets had to be ordered by phone and collected from the house of the chair of the Village Hall Committee. Tickets cost £12.50, or £8 without the ploughman's supper. I am rather looking forward to it.