Now it seems that on Saturday there occurred what might be described as a latterday Derby Day for bloggers, in the form of the Vintage and Handmade Fair.
I seem to be a little late to the show-and-tell party (late being the story of my life, really, but I was punctual once, she says in an agonized, Aguecheek sort of voice), but I did have a jolly time there, and did part with some spendidos. Perhaps not as many as I might have done if I had not been under armed escort by the Head Chef, and supervised by the beady eye of Princess Bunchy.
I am glad to say (and I can tell this from the surreptitious rustling of brown paper and various giveaway signs and exclamations) that at least one Christmas present was bought for me. I am now going to follow dearest Tif's style of punctuation and say that this is, of course, a 'surprise' present, and I have reason to believe that might just have been purchased from Hen, but I will say no more because I never want to spoil the fun of others.
My 'surprise' presents from the Head Chef usually end up being less of a surprise than he might wish, because they usually end up being addressed to me (because the original catalogue was) and delivered to my doorstep in packaging liberally bedizened with the supplier's logo on days when the Head Chef is not at home, so I can't help noticing 'accidentally'. (Sometimes these helpful suppliers even write letters to me informing me that the item is out of stock and will follow shortly, and apparently the only remedy available for avoiding this is to ensure that we live apart, as their computers cannot cope with more than one name at one address. But then, if we lived apart, my dear heart would probably not be ordering presents for me, so I am not sure of the answer to that one, and no, I would never deliberately 'notice' carrier bags left carelessly under his desk.)
But back to the Fair. I shopped wisely and well, keeping the strictures of the Ultimate Challenge to mind, and fearful of the spectre of Tif wagging an admonishing finger. The stalls were all uniformly beautiful, but for informative pictures you will have to look to the work of others: I seem only able to photograph on the small scale, and, to be quite frank, in the bustle and press of such a wonderful bazaar, locating my camera in the disorder of what is more a portmanteau than a reticule was the last thing to mind.
Now, this was one of the themes for the day - and thanks to the lovely Sal of Sal's Snippets for providing the perfect prop. (We also bought one or two other goodies, but they are for presents, so must remain anonymous.)
And here is a charming little basket of buttons, bows, lace and fabric: I seem to have opted for a particularly patriotic colour theme here, which is rather odd and not one that I would have predicted. The lace and buttons are from the wonderfully-named International Quality Kitsch, where Princess Bunchy was overjoyed to find all sorts of exciting, jumbly, sparkly boxes of bits and bobs for 50p each. So these all qualify under the secondhand label.
I bought some craft supplies (ribbon, of course) from Michele of Cowboys and Custard, and reminisced over her retro Christmas decorations. I think she must have spent the last few years rummaging in the family attic, so much were they redolent of my childhood.
I had a lovely chat with Donna Flower and bought the fabric with blue roses from her stall, which was quite overwhelming in the desirability of its wares. The spotty fabric came from the stall just along from Henhouse - perhaps someone can enlighten me as to its name, because at that point I think I had totally lost my sense of an existence outside such a hall of enchantment.
From craft supplies, I moved on to the handmade and was rather taken with the electric blueness of this snuggly scarf from Lizzie the Washerwoman. I felt that it was just what my pet Jack Be Littles needed to keep them cosy this winter, well until I eat them, that is, and then I can wear the scarf.
And from Hen I bought these most adorable labels: not being entirely sure what my guards had bought for me, I had to restrain myself from gazing too long at the delights of her stall, not wanting to spoil the 'surprise'.
And thank you all round to the organizers and stallholders - you made it well worth the wet and windy journey, and it was quite delightful to meet so many other bloggers. So, in conclusion, on Saturday in Chipping Sodbury a lovely time was had by all (and very thoughtfully there were comfy chairs, tea and cake for off-duty guards).
Here is where you will find lots of pictures and the names of all the participants. And I have seen lots of far more informative pictures (which will show and tell you more than I have) taken by Hen, Sal, Michele, Heidi, Victoria, Kelly, Cathy, Isabelle, ... have I missed any out? Shout and I will put you in!
And thank you all for the sweetest comments on my last post, I do appreciate such kindness.