Thursday, 14 March 2013

Adventures In The Lost City



There's never a dull moment here, you know. Today, we took a 10 minute trip over to Darlaston, part of the borough of Walsall and known locally as The Lost City. Why so? Once home to a thriving mining and nut & bolt industry, after most of the Black Country's industries collapsed in the recession of the late 1980s it became a ghost town.

The council had the good sense to list many of these once grand 18th Century shops & traditional boozers as Buildings of Historical Interest so the developers couldn't move in and so Darlaston has remained as it always has been only frozen in time.


If you've read by blog for a while you may remember this post where I shared extracts from a housemaid's diary I found at a jumble sale many years ago. I hoped to track down Laura's family home but sadly, despite surviving numerous bombing raids by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War many of the traditional back-to-back houses were demolished in the 1960s to make way for high-rise flats and council housing.


Anyway, let's cut to the chase. The point of today's mission was to look at some "retro" furniture Joan, the 83-year old lady who runs the monthly jumble sale, had put aside for us. This is where the jumbles are held, Slater Street Methodist Church, built in 1910.


What do you think? Of course I had to say yes! 1950s baby blue Formica topped drop-leaf kitchen table complete with drawer, matching vinyl-topped stools and twin dining chairs? Takes me right back to eating egg and chips in Grandma's kitchen as a child.


Polly Piglet approves.

Who doesn't hang their maracas in the kitchen?

Joan insisted Jon bought this 1970 Carlton AM-FM Multiplex stereo system with 8-track tape player complete with the original manual,


and a pile of 8-Track tapes.


Funky!
Jon's already got one of these systems so he's planning to sell it as there's only so many vintage stereo systems a man can have.

1970s English Lady maxi & 1960s psychedelic toilet bag as a handbag (courtesy of Amy), fake fur jacket (£7, retail) and a heap of bastard jewellery.
Bloody hell, I look pale in these pictures, I need an early night and a date with a bottle of fake tan.

See you soon!


83 comments:

  1. The furniture is accepted by the cat, and that's important!

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  2. I love to see pictures of the Black Country, it's great that such a lot of the architecture still exists, whether by accident or design. The furniture is great - I bet Dee will love it. I'm sure I can remember a few childhood holidays spent in self-catering flats with similar furniture! I'm afraid 8-tracks are a little before my time, but I'm sure Jon will find it a good home. The dress is so pretty. Roll on sunbathing weather x

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  3. Hi Vix-the table and chair set is a wonderful find, isn't it in amazing condition too! Loving your faux fur and maxi you always look so snug and stylish xxx

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  4. Hope you're feeling better.....I liked the demure outfit you wore yesterday (AND the tunic, too).

    I'm quite the sucker for tables & chairs. You can tell by how many I already own. This is an interesting set. So, did you spring for it or not?

    I never owned an 8-track. Was stuck on the cassettes and just never converted :) What I'm really wanting right now is a good old phonograph!

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  5. I am so dazzled by your fuzzy jacket and calico that can barely focus on your finds.

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  6. I created a Google account today so I can finally comment! Your posts really brighten my day although I am the polar opposite to you in style I love your blog because it is so well written. I smile, I laugh, I feel sad when you have a bad day and you are my favourite blogger, thanks for taking the time to blog x

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  7. I'm glad the council is warding off the developers. It's so sad when gorgeous old buildings get demolished for office blocks.
    Fab furniture set! I would have snapped it up, too!
    Yes, men and their vintage stereo equipment. I'm sure Jon will have no problem finding a good home for that set.

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  8. I like the pet approved table set, I don't know why, usually they aren't so confortable, but I have a soft spot for stools! The light blue top is lovely!You look stunning even if 'pale', compared to you I look like Bela Lugosi, the Goa's sun effect are still visible for who spent the last months without sun!
    The fake fur you are wearing here is one of my favourite from your collection, it always makes everything special and that dolly maxi is amazing too!
    Lots of Love xxxxxx

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  9. Haha we keep finding and seeing so many 8-tracks at estate sales, sadly trying to find an 8-track player is proving harder to find. So well done on managing to track one down.

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  10. Pale? Are you kidding? You have seen me, the very walking definition of pale? You still look gloriously tanned to me, Vix! And equally gloriously attired in that gorgeous frock. I needed full length sleeves today, it was freezing again here!
    Darlaston is probably very similar to many old mining towns (there are lots in South Yorkshire) that had the guts ripped out of them in the 80s. Although it looks somewhat more attractive than some round here...
    The kitchen table and chairs takes me back to my childhood too, we had a blue formica table with a drawer in our kitchen. Look at Polly Piglet, checking out the comfort factor!
    Hope you get your early night, darling, you need to be fully refreshed and raring to go for the weekend! xxxx

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  11. I think I win the pale contest...I'm nearly TRANSPARENT!!!

    You look fabulous in your maxi and fur!!
    The table and chairs are AWESOME--LOVE LOVE LOVE!!
    What a cool haul of vintage 8-tracj tapes--funkadelic!!

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  12. What gorgeous furniture, I really love it! Will you keep it?
    I love those shop fronts and the pub too. Portsmouth has a fair few of the Victorian tiled ones left, though they did completely demolish one not so long ago which was a crying shame. I had such hopes when they left the facade and went at the interior with an almost frenzied passion, but passing by about a year later, the whole thing was gone.
    And fab outfit too xxx

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  13. Love that maxi and faux fur. The little dining set is perfect! That town is sweet- glad they are preserving the buildings.
    Looks like a fun haul and I think you look great! Not pale at all!
    Becky :)

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  14. That's the sweetest furniture! I LOVE pale! (Which is very lucky as I'm ghostly.) You always look lovely Sixties Lady! xx

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  15. My grandad had a set just like that, in fact it could be his set ;-) it looks in excellent condition. My grandad used to work in Darlaston, he walked there everyday from Bloxwich there and back for 40 years.

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  16. So jealous, I love 1950's Formica furniture. You'd pay a fortune for that lot in trendy vintage shops here. I want to come over there and nick it from you, ha ha!

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  17. Pale or not loving that dress you are wearing so pretty! Goes well with the blur furry jacket.

    Love the table and chairs and look in such good condition. Of course they had to come home with you.

    Chuckling at some of those cassettes. Jonathan King? lol. Though I do know Mungo Jerry only as far as the summertime record goes. Though did name one of my beloved puss cat that many moons ago. Well he was called that or stripey jumper boy. Yes I am mad.

    P x

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  18. Looks like a really nice place. Love the furniture - reminds me of my mother in law's house!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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  19. Loving the table and chairs - really stunning bit of Fifties kit. And that 8 track stereo - what a find. I gather the tapes are as rare as hens' teeth these days.

    Don't mention pale to me, I'm like a ghost at the moment and am also thinking about cracking open the fake tan.

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  20. I loved your pictures Vix, the ones of the town made me so nostalgic, thanks for posting them.
    My grandma and mum came from Birmingham, so much of my childhood centered around your area. Many fond memories.
    Are you going to keep the furniture for yourself? It looks great and in wonderful condition.
    You look fabulous as always, not pale in my opinion!
    Love Pam in TX.xx

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  21. Oh i love the kitchen set! I remember that my dad had a 8 track , even recognazie some of the tapes .

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  22. Joan didn't disappoint what a sweet little table set. I'm very sweet on your maxi with the sweet little print styled perfectly with the jacket an outfit that is perfectly up my alley.

    By the way I don't think you look pale, I seriously thought you were glowing as usual. X

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  23. It's so sad that a place can just die like that. The buildings look lovely; what a shame...
    Your dining set looks like it's in really good condition. It makes me feel very nostalgic.

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  24. Fantastic looty, I used to have a yellow topped table like that, we even found some vintage spoons in the drawer lol.
    V
    xxx

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  25. I love seeing pictures of your lil town and all the stories that come from it. The Swan what did they do there? I adore this fur number on you and with that floral maxi you are ready for a long hug from me, and you look beautiful pale as you do sun kissed!

    That table is in amazing much loved condition. What a treasure that will be so at home in your place and if olly Piglet approves :) Jon and his electronic goodies, he could open a museum with his grand collection. Hope you are still taking it easy sweetie and staying warm!

    Loveyoulots!!!!
    XXOOOXOXO

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  26. Wow that is an amazing table & chairs! Of course kitty approves! Thanks for the photos of your local 'ghost city' its quite eeire & beautiful. My parents live very near a ghost town, there quite a few in the area I grew up. Its quite fascinating.

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  27. OMG! A revelation!!! My parents had an 8 track player in their car when I was a kid (A '71 Ford Fairmont V8), but we called it a cardtridge player...I never knew it was an 8 track!!! I have just learnt something new! It's an awesome specimen, as is that divoon "cafe" set!!!! Baby blue formica! Swoon! I'm so pleased it was a winner, I hate it when someone says "o, I have this fabulous old blah, blah, you'll love it" and it turns out to be bollocky shite!!! Makes me cringe.
    Anyways, Darlaston is fascinating!!! I want to have a cruise around there and go to The Swan, assuming it still does business!
    YOU look a treat, my darling. A tasty treat!
    Love Helga xxxXXXxxx

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  28. Fabulous for a shopping trip.
    Thank you for sharing the true England with all of us.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  29. Oooh, how fun! You have such an eye for items!!!! I must just say I am loving the gorgeous dress, so pretty! If Funkymelon gets another one of those, do let me know!
    x

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  30. Darlaston looks like a charming town...the church has really cool architecture. The wallpaper behind you in the first photo is beautiful. Now you have me intrigued with the Housemaid diary, I'll have to look for your post on that one. Glad the furniture was so cute...I hate to go on a call only to be bummed out. Looking sultry Vix! XXX PS 8 tracts brings back lots of good memories.

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  31. Its such a shame to see borded up places....it looks quite a nice place really.

    I totally love the pattern on your dress...such a nice oufit.

    Look pale...you don't look pale to me ! x

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  32. Polly Piglet

    Vix, you win Best Cat Name.

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  33. You still look like a brown bird to me Vix and that 70's maxi must be a keeper, it's SO pretty. Loved seeing the snaps of Darlaston and your 50's furniture. Would you believe my bum is on the very same chair right this minute! I found my set of four in a skip outside Argos about 15yrs ago when it was being refurbed, sadly a table was not available.

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  34. Kitty's approval is totally necessary. ;)
    And wow! Amazing finds! I love that sound system...and your coat!

    xoxox
    theefface.blogspot.com

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  35. Well I think you look lovely. That table and chairs is to die for. I love it. Xx

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  36. Lovely buildings despite the area taking a kicking in the Eighties like many an industrial town. Newport took a proper hammering and looks like a building site to this day.
    I have the same table and stools. They used to be in the old kitchen and I always thing of sitting down with my granddad to eat our Sunday dinner. No lovely...you don't look pale. Not like me apparently who was told today that I looked as pale as a toilet bowl!! Charming!
    Loves ya.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  37. wow i love everything. a feast for my eyes on a rainy day in dublin.

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  38. How nice of them to keep the furniture to one side for you!

    You've obvs built up some serious thrifting karma over the years ;)

    www.mancunianvintage.com

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  39. We had furniture like that in our student house. So many happy memories.

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  40. One of the things I love the most about England is the fact that we can still find buildings like that everywhere yet not many people seem to notice. Of course the main attractions are beautiful (otherwise they wouldn't be main attractions) but I think some people forget what else surrounds them. I guess some people take it for granted. I have friends that start noticing it once they've been abroad but you can find beauty everywhere in England. xxx

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  41. Cute kitchen table,chairs and stools - stamped with cat approval too. I love the photos of the ghost town and glad some of the architecture and buildings have been preserved. The blue fur jacket is so gorgeous with the maxi.

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  42. Never could figure out how 8-tracks work. All I cared about was it was where the music came from in the cute guy's bitching camaro.

    That town looks so pretty. Sad that's it's a ghost town( isn't that a Madness song)

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  43. Sweet maxi! You look gorgeous as always, tan or no.

    That cute little table and chairs set is very cozy looking.

    Love your shots of the old town. England is so full of lovely, old buildings, yours included. Thanks for sharing. ;)

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  44. Love the dress, Ive NEVER eaten egg and chips :O Keep meaning to try it ... and I have that Motown Gold album on tape (well its my mums really shhhhh)

    Hope your well, havent been on in a while ...

    Sal xXx

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  45. Oh noes!!! I have to hide this post from The Phoenix as he will be GREEEEEEEEEN with envy at the 8-track player and tapes - they're utterly fabulous!!! And oh yes, of course you HAD to have that beautiful kitchen set - I shudder at the thought of where it may have ended up had the friendly granny not saved it for you - I love the formica and the drawer. Please share pics when you find a home for it in your glorious house. Well someone at the council had an early night, a good shag and bumper breakfast the day they made the right decision on the future of Darlaston didn't they? Damn, I'll have to show this post to the fella now, coz he teaches urban planning - Darlaston is beautiful!!!! Thank you for sharing these glorious pockets of the Black Country and maxi with giant frill **faints** xoxoxoxo

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  46. i love your signature make-up!i want to do it everyday!but the heat here melts of even my kajal by the end of the day!love the maxi..and you don't look pale...

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  47. I've just read your housemaid's diary post . What an amazing find! And also what an ever so sad story about how she lost her sister. It's too bad you were unable to find her home.

    The ghost town is also very interesting ... and quite a shame.

    The furniture is so perfect. Good that Polly likes it too!

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  48. Shaved Fish, one of the best albums ever. Loved the table and chairs.

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  49. Some times its just like taking a time machine back into the past walking around the midlands, but when you live here you never really take too much notice.

    Loving the outfit vix, that Purple fur coat is A Ma Zing!

    Super cute furniture. For fear of sounding like my granny, they don't make it like that anymore.

    As for the 8 track, brings back happy memories of me and my dear dad singing away in his old rover. They were very on trend then.

    X x

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  50. Marvellous table set! I really love these historical bits about Black Country. I'm just mesmerised by that furry jacket and beautiful maxi. You look gorgeous dear! Have a great weekend love! xx/Madison

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  51. I love finding out about old towns and thank goodness the buildings remain - shudder to think what the developers would have done! That house with the green shutters is gorgoeus! The table and chairs set is brilliant - they know you so well! And you look wonderful!

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  52. very pretty pics.
    this dress is adorable!

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  53. It's just so lovely, it would be great to eat your breatfast off in the garden in warm weather. But, if you've got no room for it, I'm sure you'll find a loving home. Love the dress, that freebie haul was just wonderful. That diary should be published! xxx

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  54. The table and chairs are awesome.

    And it made me laugh that you think you look pale!! I'm always death-like in pallor!

    Lx

    www.whatlisawrote.blogspot.co.uk

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  55. Call me deluded, but I think markets, independent shops and small forgotten towns will thrive again one day. I'm so glad to read that the council made a sensible decision for once. It's important to remember that a lot of the 'suits' who work in town planning are passionate about the towns they represent and keen to do the right thing.
    That table! I love Formica, mum had a similar one in buttercup. Such a simple and classic design, I can see it in a diner style café with 4 glasses of milkshake on it.
    Don't you just love this time of year when people are having a spring clean and getting shot of stuff? I think aside from coats, old sound systems would be my Achilles heel. So you have bastard jewellery, Jon has bastard stereos. What a pair!
    Love the fine detail print on the dress, pretty but not twee because of the dark colours.

    Have a great tanned weekend. I'm off to the caravan to watch the rain over the sea. Bring on the bastard cans!

    Lucy x

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  56. Despite their sad history, I love abandoned buildings and ghost towns. And, Formica rocks!! As do church sales---they always seem to have the best stuff :)

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  57. You always look fab, not to worry. Love the dress and "fur" and of course all the jewels. i wouldn't mind having the table and chair set, either. Joey would love to have that 8 track, too. :-)

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  58. Im in love with that table and chairs! Looking good hope your well x

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  59. I'm SO behind with my blog reading, but I've caught up with your adventures now!

    Those buildings really are lovely. How farsighted of Walsall Council to protect them - not like the Philistines where I live.

    Great furniture and stereo. I just wish I didn't actually remember 8-Track!

    You are looking as gorgeous as ever, and you've made me want to go chazzaing again. Have a great weekend xxx

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  60. Amazing Jacket and only 7 pounds?!!!!! What a bargainnnn!!!!!!
    Come and see mě and we can follow each other ?:)

    www.olivains.com

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  61. That is a fantastic look. You're a pro shopper. Thanks for posting the photos and feel free to drop by me too when you have time.

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  62. Really love that furniture,definitely has a feeling of nostalgia about it. Loving the maxi dress and faux fur as well.

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  63. fabulous furniture, and so lovely lady that thought you would like it!
    and you look gorgeous with your maxi dress and fur jacket, such a pretty outfit!
    besos

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  64. OOOh, the lennon/yoko one looks fab! I have a yellow round eight-track palyer that still works! I love to find old music memerobilia, especially old albums, the artwork is awesome! great post, love to see your nick of the woods!
    hugs
    Reva

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  65. What an interesting read the maid's diary was, it's a shame you didn't find her house.

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  66. That furniture is in perfect condition! Also, that is the prettiest maxi dress I have ever seen. Great selection of tunes too!

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  67. I love this pictures and your treasures...Awesome furniture and you as usual are radiant! All the best for the weekend markets xxx

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  68. the furniture is really really cool!!! I would buy it in a jifyy!!!

    and ur jacket looks posh!!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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  69. At least your "pale" has some brown to it; my version comes in pastel blue, not very flattering. Tremendous maxi look.
    Darlaston is beautiful. Cheers for their town council.

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  70. You look ravishing in this fur coat, I remember when you bought this sometime back! Bet you got the life back into the ghost town!

    xo

    Shubhi's Revels!

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  71. You don't look pale you look stunning as always! I love that town I'm glad most of it is preserved the buildings are beautiful I hope it has a second chance one day. xx

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  72. Great table and chairs, I think we had the same one too when I was a kid. So pleased to read that the buildings have been listed, its so important to preserve buildings such as those as well as imposing stately homes and the like xxx

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  73. You look magnificent sweetie, not pale at all (postively deep tanned when compared to a white skinned lass like me!), I love your outfit especially that gorgeous fluffy coat. Really enjoyed the tour of that area too, you know where all the treasures and bargains are you clever magpie you :)
    p.s. cute pussy!!

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  74. oh there is something about formica that makes everything feel innocent and lovely. Gorgeous find. Take me shopping with you one day please!
    xox

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  75. Fab furniture! :D LOVE! Speaking of love, that jacket is amazing. You are so stunning! And what a great bunch of 8-tracks; fun find!

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  76. Thank you for the tour of the Black Country - I'm glad they made some efforts to preserve the heritage of the area, so much of that in the UK gets lost to developers who have no scruples into turning it into bland badly thought out developments aimed at making max profit and nothing else.
    Love your floral maxi and blue fur!

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  77. OMG 50's table and chairs :-) im loving this. dee xxxx

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  78. Oh I do like a vicarious trip out, thanks for this Vix.

    Snap! I am transported back to my Nan's kitchen. Cup of tea in a cornish ware cup, homebaked cakes and George listening to the wireless. xxxx

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  79. 8 tracks. i didn't knew them before my bf started to buy 8 track players (quite collectable in the states) ... you have a fantastic collection of tapes.

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  80. The kitchen set is perfect. I would've bought it too. But the 8 tracks are just too funny. Love the town pictures, thanks for showing them to us. Amazing story.

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  81. Your new kitchen furniture is so gorgeous! And what a luck that it is complete and in a beautifull condition. So nice that Lady Joan put it aside for you.
    And that lost city looks like a lovely place. Would love to take a walk around that place. The buildings are so beautifull. Overhere we also have something like buildings of historical interest, but you can live in them and run a shop as long as you leave the building the way it is. I once live in a house that was on the Dutch list. Only bad thing was that the windows didn't close that good. :)
    xxxxx Love your outfit.

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  82. Its amazing how much of the local history I learn when I read about your thrifting adventures!

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Don't be shy, if you enjoyed your visit leave a comment, I can come and visit your blog if you do.
Love from Vix
xxx