Time was when the mere mention of a car boot sale would have brought me out in hives. Yes, I will confess to having been something of a snob (in fact I do still turn my nose up at a few things despite myself – I still can’t bring myself to buy second hand clothes, daft eh?). But thanks to programmes such as Kirstie’s Homemade Home (but not Bargain Hunt you understand, urgh), my eyes have been opened.
The first boot sale I actually made the effort to explore was only about six months ago and I wondered why on earth I hadn’t been before. Particularly having a toddler at the time, I could not get over how many children’s toys, books and clothes could be snapped up for an absolute steal. Given my sons’ voracious appetite for books and how quickly they get bored of or grow out of toys, I discovered to my joy I could pick up sack loads of the stuff for a few quid. After all, what happens to all those toys when your children have no longer need or use them anymore? And at this age, they don’t know or care whether they’re new or second hand. A case in point – one of my first ever purchases was an immaculate Early Learning Centre cash register for £2. I saw the very same one the following week in the shop for £25. That first boot sale I also bagged a lovely old galvanised watering can for a fiver and an earthenware jar to put my kitchen utensils in for one whole English pound.
This weekend, my haul includes a beautiful little teacup, saucer and cake plate set for £2 (perfect to add to my little collection of mismatched cups and saucers), a perfect little jug for milk or cream, and for the boys three vintage Rupert annuals for £5, the collected stories of Winnie the Pooh for a pound (proper old school Pooh mind, not yer Disney muck) and an as-new Early Learning Centre work bench that had a very noisy drill, vice, circular saw and nuts and bolts for £2. The elder Belatedly Junior was chuffed to bits and I have to say I was pretty pleased with my treats too.
I did actually drag the mother-in-law with this time (a boot sale virgin) and bless her, she was quite game – coming away with a little ceramic jug which matched a style she collects and some books and toys for when the grandchildren stay. I do think she went home and had a shower though.
I am quite sure I’m preaching to many of the converted who are doubtless rolling their eyes at my stupidity for being so stuffy about them before. But perhaps there are still a few of you out there yet to dip your toes into the boot sale waters, in which case I urge you to dive straight in – you never know what treasures you’ll net.