Friday, 6 April 2018

Past-time pastimes

Never mind the weather, we are always looking forward to the Easter edition of our favourite indoor flea market.

I was adamant to wear my newly acquired maxi skirt which, miraculously, is exactly the right length to wear with comfortable, medium heeled booties, which are a necessity for tackling the flea market's many aisles.


With all the different colours going on, you'd think it would be a doddle to combine but, being more than bored with my Winter stuff, I felt quite uninspired. It was way too cold to wear a short-sleeved top, and none of my long-sleeved ones really pushed the right buttons.

I finally settled for this navy polka dot pussy bow blouse. Its fabric is quite thin, almost sheer really, but I made sure to wear the necessary layers underneath. The upside of the thin fabric is that it makes the pussy bow satisfyingly floppy, so that it could be draped over my jacket without being too bulky.


I  had another wobble when it came to choosing outerwear. The temperature had dropped several degrees since Saturday and although one of my fur-collared jackets would have been more weather appropriate, they would have rather spoiled the look I was after.

I can tell you I was feeling the cold in my lighter weight lilac jacket but once inside the flea market venue it was exactly warm enough, especially with my cardigan underneath.


I added another layer of polka dots by wearing this ancient coral cardigan, which has been in my wardrobe forever. The brooch I pinned to it has a wreath of embroidered flowers in sugary Spring colours.


Here's a close-up of the skirt's gorgeous print. 

There is no label identifying the fabric contents, but it feels soft and silky, and it received quite a few admiring glances and compliments at the flea market.



I'm sure you've had quite enough of the skirt by now, so here's Jos posing like a pro, wearing his  charity shopped orange River Woods shirt and Harris Tweed jacket!




Back to the flea market, which wasn't as huge as usual. That wasn't necessarily a bad thing, as we often have to drag ourselves through the last aisles and, with so many stalls offering a plethora of things, it can sometimes be quite overwhelming.



We always start at the same stall, which has tables full of the most wonderful trinkets. Hardly a month goes by when we don't buy anything here. This is where we found the Art Deco egg cups last month and the flower shaped Avon soaps back in February.

I saw some blue and white pottery lurking at the bottom of a carton. When I'd gingerly pulled it out it turned out to be a Devon Blue Ware jug, as I'd suspected all along.

I'm sure those of you living in the UK will be familiar with these souvenir pottery items, which sometimes turn up in charity shops, while antique shops seem to be having them in abundance. There was one in our cottage in Wales mentioning Devil's Bridge.

As luck would have it, we have actually been to Lynton & Lynmouth in North Devon, back in 1997.

Clockwise from top: Lynmouth, where we bagged the last parking spot, 36-year-old
me wearing shorts, and the cliff railway descending from Lynton to Lynmouth

Our next stop was Tania's stall, another treasure trove of desirable objects. We always stop for a chat and usually find something that catches our eye. This time, a vintage enamelware bread basket came home with us.



I can never resist kitsch souvenir items, so when I picked up this tiny wooden windmill, a souvenir from Vlissingen in Holland, Tania gave it to me for free as an Easter present! Isn't she a darling?




It will be joining the Wall of Windmills in our entrance hall.




Souvenirs of a different kind came in the form of these small vintage toys, which Jos remembers from his childhood.

On the left, a small tin frog, advertising Grand Bazar department stores, a true Belgian institution, sadly no longer in business. The frog is making a clicking sound when you push a piece of bendy metal on the back and let go. 




Jos remembers that it was given to him as a young boy when visiting Grand Bazar in Antwerp (the frog we found is from the Liège store) on the occasion of Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas, celebrated on 6 December), when in the weeks leading up to the big day, children patiently awaited their turn to approach the throne he was perched upon on the top floor of the store.

When Jos was telling me about this, he suddenly remembered the existence of this photo!

Little Jos with Sinterklaas in the 1950s

Can you imagine the racket made by literally hundreds of kids clicking their frogs while traipsing behind their parents going down the escalators, the sound of it echoing in the cathedral-like building?

You will probably have guessed that the two round objects on the right are yo-yo's?

These too were a blast from the past for Jos, who had the exact same yo-yo back in the 1950s. They are advertising Bécassine processed cheese, which was produced by a company called Franco-Suisse.

He has no idea where it came from but it might have been given to him when visiting Expo 58 where the company had a pavillion. 



While I was researching Bécassine and trying to find out more about the cheese, it struck me that a lot of the images coming up were of comic strips.

It turns out that Bécassine is an iconic French comic strip heroine, going back to 1905. She is considered the first female protagonist in the history of French comics. The character Bécassine is a young Breton housemaid, usually depicted wearing a green dress, lace cap and clogs, as a pastiche of traditional Breton peasant costume.

I'd never have known this if it hadn't been for blogging!



The flea market has lots of stalls selling jewellery in all price ranges, from the cheap 'n cheerful to the ridiculously expensive. By keeping an eye out and making the effort to rummage in boxes and trays full of cheap tat, I have so far managed to find the majority of my brooches at reasonable prices.

Both the wooden brooch on the top left, encrusted with tiny shells, and the 1950s ceramic leaping deer were mine for € 5, while poor cross-eyed Mr. Owl was just € 1.

There are certain categories of brooches I'm expecting to pay a bit more for. A case in point are the delicate Italian made micromosaic brooches. One has to examine them very carefully, as sometimes some of the tiny tesserae tiles are missing and, although I don't really mind if it's a particularly nice one, I obviously don't want to pay over the odds for them.



It was love at first sight for the sweet little forget-me-nots framed in ochre and the Milan souvenir brooch containing a picture of Milan's famous cathedral, the Duomo, surrounded by the most exquisite micromosaic border.

We will now have to wait until well into May for the next indoor flea market but until then there are the first outdoor ones to look forward to. For these, of course, we do need Spring's full cooperation!



39 comments:

  1. The photo of Jos visiting Sinterklaas is adorable.
    Love your maxi skirt and the blue owl brooch.

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    1. Thank you Goody! Got to love that little squinting owl ... xxx

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  2. That maxi skirt is a winner! Love how you've layered it up with one of my favourites...a pussy bow blouse and with polka dots no less!

    You guys have quite the collection of old photos. I wish I had more from when I was a kid. Seems my parents never took any photos. A far cry from today where each kid has had millions of photos taken before they are even one.

    I've seen those kind of frogs at vintage stores here. Toys were so much easier to operate at that time.

    Suzanne

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    1. Pussy bow blouses and dresses are some of my favourites too. I'm the keeper of the family archives, and indeed I have quite a lot of old photos. But then my Dad bought a film camera, and photos started dwindling since then ... xxx

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  3. What a fabulous skirt! I can see why you were so determined to wear it. I think the lilac is the perfect colour to wear it with.
    I like the Devon Blue Ware jugs. My friend brought me a mug back from her holiday in Devon when I was little. It had my name on it, I was thrilled! Hazel isn't a common name so I never saw anything with my name on it. I have no recollection of what happened to it though.
    Xx

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    1. Oh, what a pity you don't have that mug anymore! We keep seeing Devon Blue Ware items when we're in the UK, but I'd never seen any turn up here. And how lucky that we'd been to Lynton & Lynmouth ... xxx

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  4. fab looks, both of you! - gorgeous finds! - but im in a hurry - our first outdoor flea of the season is today!
    xxxxx
    eh - hugs! ;-)

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    1. Thanks Beate! We've only got our first outdoor flea coming up in May ... xxx

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  5. You look fabulous in your new maxi skirt, Ann! I just love the colours in it and you've styled it so well! Jos looks great too, so you make a very stylish couple! The photo of him as a kid meeting Sinterklaas is so cute too. I am in love with your Mr Owl brooch! He is the sweetest little thing, isn't he? Hope you have a fun weekend, Ann. XXX

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    1. Thank you Sasha, I knew you'd love Mr. Owl! xxx

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  6. I seriously l.o.v.e. that maxi skirt and I'm not surprised that it gathered compliments at the flea market and probably some envious glances too! xx

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    1. Thank you Liza! I couldn't wait to wear it ... xxx

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  7. You two must have looked absolutely fantastic at the flea market, you both look so stylish. I'm not surprised you got lots of compliments.
    I love looking through your acquisitions, the brooches are great, as ever I love the micromosaic.
    That's a lovely photo of Jos and it looks very different from the Santa photo's I'm used to but I can see how Santa Claus got his name!
    Hope you're having a lovely weekend. xxx

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    1. I think Sinterklaas (indeed Santa's got his name from him) is mostly celebrated in Holland and Belgium. Santa Claus wasn't in the picture here until quite recently. xxx

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  8. I am coming to your house to steal that leaping deer brooch, you have been warned!
    Fab finds as ever. xx

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    1. I'd better make sure to lock the door then, as you've got my address ;-) xxx

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  9. I love this skirt with the coral cardi and blue blouse - gorgeous picture of you! Jos could model for magazines, now and then, what a stylish fellow. Congratulations on your sweet finds! Love the brooches you picked, and am looking forward seeing them featured in upcoming outfits! Tania is so kind for giving you a little cute present for Easter!

    Lots of love!

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    1. You should have seen Jos's face when I told him what you said ;-) xxx

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  10. Whoa! Now that's a skirt! Love its bold design and bright colors. I'd wear that in a dozen different outfits. By the way, who's that handsome male model pictured in your post?!

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    1. I'll be wearing it in a dozen outfits too, Ally! xxx

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  11. I love this skirt Ann. Okay Jos orange hemd is great, too :))
    This Devon blue ware is adorable.
    I wish you a great sunday, huge hug Tina

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  12. I laughed at your chill wearing the (perfect) lilac outerwear coat - how we suffer for fashion! - but it was the exact right coat. I would have done the same!

    What a wonderful trove of trinkets you've found. I love the pic of Jos and seeing his Sinterklaas picture!

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    1. I was sure you'd understand, Sheila! xxx

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  13. Mwahaha, I understand very well that you wore that lilac jacket even if it was cold, because it looks lovely with your skirt, and what a fabulous skirt!!, so vibrant colors!, and I love too that cute polka dot blouse with the polka dot cardi!
    And it's so lovely to see that old picture of Joss!
    And the fab purchases, all those brooches and the tin frog! (I had one of them, only bigger, but don't remember where it came from!)
    besos

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    1. Thank you Monica! It was like I was drawn to the skirt the minute I spotted on the shop's rail! xxx

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  14. When I read your post title I thought you were going to talk about the national retailer that used to exist in the UK called Past Times. I used to work for them (managing the online shop), so was instantly intrigued. How wrong I was! Never mind, I got to see all of your lovely purchases and that amazing maxi skirt. You really couldn't get anything more late 60s/early 70s than that skirt and you wear it so well! xx

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  15. The print on that maxi skirt is fabulous. Great colors and I like that you mixed with polka dots. Very springy! Your husband looks very dapper. I'm sure he was the best dressed guy at the flea market.

    Theresa

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  16. Your maxi is very striking, I can understand why you received so many compliments...and look at Mr.S, he's got that model's pose to a tee, just like 'Man at C&A' (Going back a bit there I know!) Ah Lynton and Lynmouth...you've just evoked memories of a 70's holiday. Xxx

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    1. Mr. S. could be the "Man at C&A"! Do you still have C&A over there, I'm wondering ... We do! xxx

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    2. No it's long gone but I knew that you did. xx

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  17. Jos was such a cutie!! What a lovely photo!
    Don't you both look wonderful? I adore that maxi skirt, I bet it brightened everyone's day. A great haul of goodies, too!
    I loved those metal frogs, how fab to find one.
    Jon & I are obsessed with Belgian crime series at the moment. We loved Thirteen Commandments and are hooked by Rough Justice. the BBC are showing series two of Salamander from this Saturday. xxx

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    1. It seems Belgian series are really hitting off in the UK. Apart from Salamander, I'm ashamed to admit I don't know the other two. Not watching too much television here at Dove Cottage ... xxx

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  18. Oh my goodness Ann, I love how that skirt goes with everything. Jos looks very dapper and is very photogenic. You should get him some catalogue work xxx

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    1. Ooh, thank you Lynn! What a great idea about getting Jos some catalogue work, so that he can finally earn his keep ;-) xxx

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  19. I love Lynton/Lynmouth - we stayed there about three years ago and it was such a delight.

    Your 'uninspired' is still ten times more fabulous than most people's normal. I'm not surprised you got lots of admiring glances. Jos' jacket is a winner too.

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    1. Thank you Mim. I'd love to go back to Lynton & Lynmouth, as we were only there for a day. xxx

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