Thursday, 24 November 2011

Achtung, Baby

I met the lovely Zoe yesterday at Birmingham's Frankfurt Xmas Market in Birmingham, the largest German market outside of Germany. 

We arranged to meet at one of Brum's most recognised landmarks, known locally as the Floozy In The Jacuzzi.

We had a couple of Glühweins to stave off the winter chill and spent a hilarious hour and a half gossiping and people watching.

The air hung heavy with the aroma of German sausage.

There was tourist tat galore.

All manner of local characters.

Talking of characters I received a surprise package from the inimitable Helga Von Trollop in yesterday's post. Check out the insane tank top. 

By bizarre coincidence I found this 1960s German-made midnight blue leather trench coat at this morning's jumble sale. It has a heady aroma of foreign tobacco and scent and I feel like a secret agent in it. 

I also snapped up this 1906 double edition of the Harmsworth Self-Educator with fascinating tips on everything from finding the correct staff to run an efficient household, how to set up a baker's shop and touring the Carpathian mountains by train (£16 10s return). 

In the Geographical Guide to England it describes my home as thus:

"Vegetation is blasted, and a pall of smoke overhangs squalid towns of mean houses, little redeemed by the fine administrative buildings and the luxurious villas of the west end - the fashionable, because, with our prevailing west winds, the least smoky quarter. Iron smelting and the iron manufacture in all its countless forms are carried in on a ring of iron towns rapidly growing into one unsightly whole - Birmingham, West Bromwich, Wednesbury, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Tipton, and others, forming what is fitly called The Black Country."

No change there, then.

Where I live might be dirty and depressing but it's probably the only place in the UK where you can pick up antique books and a leather trench coat and still get change from a quid.

Auf WiedersehenPets.


  1. I love a Christmas market! And am very partial to a glass or two of gluhwein. Looks like fun. I like the man with the beard, baseball jacket - and shopping trolley, he looks like he's in a band.

  2. Excellent!!!!! Looks like a fantastic day and LOVE the leather trench - all covered up but still more than a little subversive :-)

  3. I saw the market on the news and quite fancied experiencing it (though I generally loathe Christmas shopping.

    I think leather is up there with lurex for you Vix, it suits you more than anyone I know.

    Helga - what a tank top! That looks like something Stella Mc Cartney would flog for a couple of grand!

    I'm amazed you picked up such a book cheaply, I've seen similar ones locked in glass cabinets in charity shops with £50 price tags. Beautifully written quote - thanks for sharing that.

  4. Wowee on that leather trenchcoat - Have your next passport photo taken in that, Vix, and you might never get back in the country!

    I love German Christmas markets, and am soooo jealous of your trip out! Thanks for enabling me to find Jo too - You both look as if you had a grand time - I am sure the gluehwein helped! ;) Fhina x

  5. OMFG what a superb coat! I swear I keep running out of adjectives when commenting on your blog, there are never enough words to describe your fabulousness.xxxx.

  6. Fab blog and gret apost and photos- looking good.

    Having been to Christmas markets in Brum, London and Manchester I can safely say that the Manchester ones are the biggest ;-)

  7. I have been to Christmas markets in Berlin, and we have Glühweins cups just like that, how fabulous.
    I love your coat so much.
    Thank you my dear friend for your always kind word.

  8. It's true, Vix, you do look like a Cold War spy, very sexy and a little mysterious! I adore that last photo of you, I swear you get more gorgeous by the day. Must be the cider. Or the Gluhwein!
    I've just snorted my tea at the comment about the air being heavy with the aroma of German sausage. I know, it's Benny Hill humour all the way with me!
    Lovely parcel from Helga, isn't she a darling? Can't wait to see you in your horsey tank top! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  9. I do love a good Christmas Market!
    Your coat looks full of character, I love it!

  10. Love the coat, and as for the tank top? only Helga!

  11. I think we might go to the market at the weekend, my husband wants to go every year despite working in the city centre. That description of the black country is much the same isnt it !!

  12. The market looks really fab. Mmmm I wonder what it might of said about the town I live in, it can be the centre of some jokes! lol.

    Loving that trench coat it really looks good on you and teamed up with those fab boots.

    And I am sorry but I am such a child and sniggered at your line about German Sausage hanging in the air. I'll go and get me coat shall I?

    MBB x

  13. Love the atmosphere at these markets. Naughty coat!! M x

  14. Dear Vix I love your coat, and your beautiful hair!!!

  15. I walk pass the German Market everyday to and from walk and have yet to walk around and experience it properly so im very excited to do that :)

  16. OMG! That trench is wonderful.
    Thanks for coming in to town. I must say I could become quite partial to a 'shoe' of Gluhwein! Luckily didn't roll of the osteopath's table!!!!
    Z xx

  17. Helen feels a pilgrimage may one day be in order... how can one resist paying homage to the floozy in the jacuzzi? You look fab and the market looks charming and fun.

  18. That trench is gorgeous!
    The market looks fab, it makes the Leeds one look tiny! x

  19. I love the Floozy!
    It looks like a great market...I'm feeling festive just looking at it.
    I'm in awe of the trench and that waistcoat of fabulousness!

  20. Hi my dear-what a lovely venue for a blogger meet, sounds like you both had a great time!! The trench is fabulous too, a perfect fit on you! xx

  21. I absolutely adore Christmas Markets! I shall be going to Bristol's Christmas Market on the 22nd of December and I can't bloomin wait!

    Mostly all of England's main cities have a rough area but even amongst it all you still find large beautiful buildings and landmarks which will be around far longer than any tatty old council estate!

    Those books are an amazing find and sound like a fascinating read! The covers are beautiful!

    That trench is unbelievably amazing! Probably one of my best finds from you yet! So mysterious and sexy most importantly, it looks divine on you!

    Auf Wiedersehen! xxx

  22. i love that jacket.

    And that book sounds awesome.
    Still love how you got change from a quid! ;p


  23. Wow that book is in excellent condition!
    Gorgeous trench aswell, and the German market looks great fun, loving the welly mugs. :)

  24. Super trench, just needs a fedora and a packet of Strand ciggies, Ultravox in the background and Steed standing by with the Bentley

  25. guten tag, liebe vix! :)
    nice weihnachtsmarkt and the glühwein sounds yummy! love your outfit. didn'tknow that the christmas market in birmingham is so big!

  26. The coat is fabulous and the tank top with the horses' heads is utterly brilliant.

  27. I love the horse tank top, excellent gift! :)

  28. Got to love a crimbo market, looks like you had a fab day out, im also still chuckling over your 'local character' - he's brill!
    The trench is a foxy number - you look fabulous :o) Scarlett x

  29. Straight out of an episode of The Professionals, that coat! You are a sexy East German spy about to seduce Bodie or Doyle! We used to have a book called Everything Within from the 1920s which also had advice on taking on staff, writing thank you letters, the value of wearing cold cream when motoring, etc. - not one dull page! German market looks fun - did they have Honey Buttons? I love them so much but can't always find them in shops. xxx

  30. AHH-THAT TRENCH! So cool, love the secret spy look! That market looked great too :)

  31. EEEEp! I want to go to that market with you! How awesome! In october in Chicago they have a big german fest set up with tons of amazing beers...then I'd go to the art museum tipsy and really understand some confusing modern art! :) hee hee! I love it...and I love that trench! Thanks for stopping by and wishing me a happy holiday. You really spoil me so! LOVE you! Hearts, Janna Lynn

  32. You look great in your coat! I recently bought a leather trenchcoat similar to yours, I can't wait to wear it! :)

  33. Change from a quid?! that would be totally unheard of in Yorkshire!! Well at least in East Yorkshire!

  34. Ahhhhh Christmas really is around the corner, isn't it? That coat is absolutely fabulous, Vix - and how lucky are you, receiving fantastic little packages from the blogging world?! xx

  35. Screw the weather. I'm coming for the boot sales!!!

  36. You're not wrong about those Black Country bargains - charity shop prices down here in Devon are getting ridiculous! Thanks for your comment about my Dad - he's out of hospital and recovering well now. xx

  37. Oh Helga is awesome, that tank top is amazing! Zoe looks adorable, I'm glad you two had a nice day together :) xx

  38. Your secret agent coat is amazing

  39. Ha,Flooozi in the jacuzzi!!!MOST amusing!
    I love Zoe's boot beer mug! So lovely to see you out,meeting new folks,doing somehting as unusual as a German Market! Fun! Looking totally foxalicious,I might add!!!
    And O,JAYSUS,that secret agent coat!Schwing!!What's under there,missy?!What a divine find!
    Was hoping for a pic or 2 of you and Zoe staggering around,but I'll settle for imagining it!!!
    Helga xxxXXXxxx

  40. That looks like fun - I've wandered round Brsitol and Bath's German markets in the past, but Brum's looks a lot better (excluding the tourist tat, of course). The little gluhwein cups are so sweet - I would have been tempted to 'liberate' one! Looks like you two had a great time.

    I love the coat - totally secret agent!

  41. love your leather spy trench, and you look fabulously glamourous!, and so funny to met people in a xmas market!!, fantastic event!
    And you're right, it's an insane tank top!!!, delightfully insane!!

  42. Sounds like you had a fabulous day xx

  43. You had change from a quid for that fabulous trench??? I'm slack jawed with shock - you look amazing in it!

  44. I love the Christmas market :) Glad you had a great time xxx

  45. I love Gluhwein - just the thing on a chilly autumn/winter day. But that leather coat!!!!! Fab and suits you so well. And for less than a genuine English pound? You are a true Vintage Vixen - so jealous!

  46. It looks sooo lovely over there.
    The buildings and scenery are AMAZING.

    German sausage?? Ohhh *mmm* sounds delicious.

    *OOoOHHh* prezzies from Helga!
    That horse vest is completely insane (In a good way) GIDDY-UP
    Every darn person is talking about PINEAPPLE LUMPS it's driving me batty. "I plan to go to the produce section, and lump a pineapple right in the isle" lol
    That bag looks pretty fantastic!

    OOOOO at the trech coat (It looks great on you.)

    Whenever you show pics of your area. It does not look depressing in the least to me. =) And if I could get bargains like you do... I would be in pure bliss.

  47. Ah Vix, you are looking amazing in the leather coat! Can you believe I've never been to a Christmas market, neither in the UK nor in Germany. X

  48. Oh how lovely that you and Zoe met up! It feels like months since I met her and I still think it's shocking that you and I haven't met yet.

    Helga's horse tanktop is the most insane and genius thing I think I have ever seen. Love it!

  49. We used to play 'Allo 'Allo when I was little, that coat would have been perfect! What an amazing book, so jealous of that find. x

  50. Fab coat! I've got a very similar one in tan. Sounds like you had a fun day! I'm not looking forward to christmas shopping this year...will try to make everyones presents myself! Xoxox

  51. Change from a quid?? You are the bargain meister.

  52. You look so James Bond bad gorgeous kick ass villain! all you needed was my leopard eyepatch.
    market looks so inviting,looks like you had so much fun and bargains.
    luv ya!

  53. FARK - that midnight blue leather trench is AMAZING - you look STUNNING! Also love the red hat in your first pic and the insane horse vest from darling Helga!!!

    Love! Sarah xxx

  54. Vix, it looks like you have a blast at the Christmas market meeting your blogger friends and enjoying the people and the scene around.
    Your outfit makes me think if The Avengers, Diana Rigg, you look sexy, assertive and stylish just like a well dress spy should look!

  55. Gossiping and people watching with a girlfriend is the perfect way to spend an afternoon, as far as I'm concerned. And what a fabulous place you picked to do it!

    The coat is stunning! But I am especially coveting the 'Harmsworth Self Educator'; what a fun read that must be!

    xo, Anita

  56. Ha! Brilliantly written, as always. Love the amazing spy coat. xxxxx

  57. Looks like you had a lot of fun! Love all the lovely goodies you got in the post you lucky girl!

  58. Sounds really fun especially the Gluhwein. Not sure I like the aroma of German sausages so much though. Love the jacket and am constantly amazed by the vintage bargains you find.

  59. Hi Vix! I remember those Xmas markets! went to them when i was living in Germany, nothing spectacular but fun for the kids.
    Your leather coat is fab looks fantastic on you girl! Mr. D. has one like yours, maybe i could wear it, hummm...about the local characters, you should see ours, plenty around here...

    Have a good weekend - lots of love

    Ariane xxxxx

  60. Oh Fraeulein Vix, you look so lovely in your new coat! Ah I am jealous you got to drink Gluehwein from little shoe mugs - must go to the market in London!x

  61. I must get around to visiting the German market. What a beautiful leather coat, I love it. The book sounds fascinating. Xx

  62. I'm off the the London equivalent tomorrow, very excited. Mainly, of course, because of the wine and tat.

    I love old books- we have an encyclopedia which refers to a certain Mr Hitler as 'a young and up-and-coming force in European politics'. Little did they know HOW up and coming he intended to be! :/

  63. Wonderful ooat! Your "Black Country" sounds much like what we call the "Coal Regions" in Pennsylvania. -T

  64. oh hallo schöne frau;)
    ooooh black leather, i love your coat and you look like a really hot secret agent darling;) it´s really curious that your coat is german so i could speak to it ;)
    wish you a fabulous weekend
    alles liebe und kuss, mary;)

  65. hI vIX!
    Popping in to say how thankful i am for you, Helga and all you beauties across the pond!
    I put you in my gratitude collage :0)
    It's still women like you that keep me from losing my inner ME!!!
    I am so grateful for that. You just don't know! (tough time-the holidays)
    Have a beautiful weekend my love,
    Hugs and love always,

  66. Nothing quite beats an old book- I sure bet it smells as good as it looks xxx

  67. QUEEN! ♔♕♚♛ Always so Fabulous!

  68. What a gorgeous secret the old book finds too! Have a wonderful weekend Vix!

  69. On the way to our Dudley stores, we pass a roundabout just outside of Netherton, with sculpture that celebrates the Iron Industry of the Black Country. We have another stores at Minworth, very close to the 'Spitfire Roundabout', where the engines for these fabulous aeroplanes were built.
    Always wanted to go to the Carpathian Mountains, ever since seeing 'Nosferatu'...count me in.
    Mr B

  70. That market looks like a lot of fun! Especially drinking out of mini boots.

    Helga sent you pineapple lumps - YUM!!

    Amazing jacket - I would love to visit you just to go second hand shopping, you find so many AMAZING things for next to nothing!

  71. My darling Vix, I am doing a big catch-up on everybody and of course I'm never disappointed to get my greedy little eyes all over you!!!! What a glorious, glorious coat! It was made for you - waiting patiently for you with it's tobacco scent, ready for secret assignations:). And what an amazing book - I could feast on that one for days! I love the description of the Black Country and your positive attitude is infectious:)))). Looks like you had a jolly grand day out with Zoe and my god I need a much closer perve at Helga's parcel - bet the Pineapple Lumps didn't last long! xoxoxooxox

  72. Wow amazing Coat that you found!! It looks great on you....hmmmm to think of where that coat may have been hehehe!! I saw recently one of those vintage dresses that someone found at a second hand shop that had the maps all sewn in it for a spy mission they were like maps of China I believe printed on silk inside the dress bodice.... Looks like fun...Oh thankgoodness for Friends!!! Life would be so drab without them!! and lol @ Floozy In The Jacuzzi that had me giggling :P ..... Enjoy your weekend ~Love Heather

  73. I Love those mugs! So Cute! I am Seriously Loving that leather trench! OMG! You look Amazing!

  74. We went to the xmas market in Birmingham last year... you cant beat a good mulled wine! What an amazing find that coat fits you like a glove :)

  75. Love love the new are rocking it for sure:0

    You both are adorbs!! Happy weekend friend:)

    A Funky Little Fashion Blog

  76. Actung baby indeed - I adore German christmas markets. They are such fun. And the gluwein ios usually good too. Looking chic, my lovely, in your leather coat.xx

  77. Hi Sweetie~
    What a cool market and how nice to meet up with Zoe. You crack me up with the air hung heavy with German sausage, dirty mind I have. The parcel from Helga looks friggin FAB I am loving whatever that purple lovliness is.
    BUT MY GOD that leather trench brings me to my knees!!! Leather is your second skin and no one does it better than you, your look smoking HOT! Love the quote from the book about Walsall and I want nothing more than to pay your lil town a visit!

  78. guten abend! frankfurt isn't toooooo famous for it's christmas market here in germany ...well... but those pictures taken at the market look very very german! ;) ... of course, i love good gluehwein!

    your dark coat is just awesome!

  79. If I had been shopping with you, you would have had to arm wrestle me for that divinely sexy trench. You are so channelling Mata Hari, just be sure to use your powers of seduction for good, not evil :)

  80. I'm glad you remembered to photograph the local characters.

    The book is hilarious. Does a pall of smoke really overhang your town?

    You look like a spy in your trench coat.


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