I love all that mid-20th century vintage stuff, but never thought of going to an antique show until I read a really great new little book called The Vintage and Antique Fairs of England, by Sandy Price. It explains all about where the different shows are and it turned out there was one coming up in my north London neck of the woods at Alexandra Palace.
So I went along yesterday, and spent a pleasant 90 minutes browsing. Funny really, I have been to a few different fairs at Ally Pally and the people at each one couldn’t be more different. At the stitch shows each October you get mown down by grannies in wheelchairs hunting for naff cross stitch patterns. At the ‘Amma’ hug-in my sister has taken me to, it’s filled with wafty, drifty hippies eating vegan curry. And it turns out that antiques fairs are full of middle aged men who smell of cigarettes, plus eccentric oldies and the odd young hipster.
I found lovely 20th century embroidered/lacey linens but didn’t buy any because I hope to one day use my grandmother’s incredible collection, currently in storage at my parents’ house.
There were Laura Ashley dresses from the 70s, and I got my husband some rare jazz LPs.
Finally, I spotted this beautiful, characterful (Victorian?) doll sitting watching the world pass by. Having not too long ago reread Tottie by Rumer Godden, I couldn’t stop thinking how many children who had played with her she had outlived, and the lives she had witnessed. And I wondered who would buy her next.