I always look forward to bank holidays – not because the Sunday night dread is removed (although that is pretty nice), or because working a four-day week brings the next weekend that little bit closer, or even because you get an extra lie in, but because of the good old British car boot sale.
As a seasoned boot sale-goer, I know that when those few and far between bank holidays do come around, you’re in for a good rummage. Perhaps it’s because, like me, many others revel in the fact that they can enjoy that extra lie in on the Monday and so don’t mind the inevitable early Sunday morning start. This year, I made the most of the first May bank holiday and took myself off to two different car boot sales, for maximum bargain hunting.
I’m not sure where my love of ‘old’ really came from, but nothing makes me happier than rooting around old yard sales, vintage stores or charity shops. While others may find it tedious, I love not knowing what I’ll be coming home with – although mostly it’s remnants of vintage fabric, dainty gold jewellery and the odd floral vase.
There is something very humbling in sourcing and finding these pieces, knowing they had a different life in a different house with, perhaps, a different purpose. During my Sunday haunt, I stumbled across a house clearance pitch, filled with old VHS’s, floral sheets and paperback books. Hidden in amongst these household treasures I spotted a photograph in a gold gilded frame – it was of an elderly couple holding hands and smiling in the garden. Whilst I have no way of knowing whether this was their home I was looking through, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt and sadness. These two people shared a home and a life together, and now something so personal is sprawled out on the tarmac of a car park and stored in old banana boxes, selling for just 20p per item.
Of course, on the other hand, it is also nice to think that these memories and possessions can now be enjoyed by others, treasured for many more years to come. The problem, I feel, with always buying new and not old, is not only that we miss out on these true vintage gems, but that there is no story to tell and no legacy to remember.