Tuesday 28 August 2018

Towersey 2018 - The Second Coming

 Here we go again....

We've popped back home for a few hours to see the cats, restock the van, wash our clothes (and ourselves) before we head off down to deepest Dorset tomorrow.

So here's what we've been up to over the last six days.

On Wednesday morning we returned to Towersey Festival in Oxfordshire and what a difference a year made. Last year saw a glorious week of wall to wall sunshine after the utter washout that was the rest of August 2017 whilst this time it started off moderately warm and steadily went downhill from there.

Here we are all set up and ready to trade on Thursday afternoon. Trade was - as it was last year - painfully slow but no matter, we shut up shop early and caught up with our trader mates including Mandy of Chameleon, Georgie from Save the Pixies , textile artist, Juliette, and her family from Pivnita Bunicii.

 Friday's weather was the festival trader's ultimate nightmare - gale force winds. All day we battled with clothes flying off the racks, torn tarpaulins and rails collapsing. They say there's no such thing as bad weather just the wrong clothing and they were right - my bag of sleeveless maxis, backless jumpsuits and off-the-shoulder tops couldn't have been less appropriate. By mid-afternoon I was wearing most of my wardrobe, although a poncho kindly donated by Mandy and restorative nip or two of Jim from next-door's Transylvanian plum brandy helped.

At 8pm we closed up and made our way to the shelter of Mandy's heated caravan for Prosecco spiked with Pivnita Bunicii's Romanian raspberry cordial and a party pack of sweet potato crisps.

We were massively relieved to awaken on Saturday morning and discover that the wind had dropped and that the stall had survived the night.

Towersey's layout had changed. Last year we'd faced the bar and had a steady stream of customers wandering in, fascinated by what Kinky Melon's Retro Boutique was all about. Brass bands, Morris Dancers and ukulele bands set up outside the stall and we were kept entertained all day long. This year we faced the back of one of the indoor stages - which had to be accessed via the campsite. The wind direction meant we barely heard any of the acts and, unlike last year, we felt somewhat detached from the festival.

We were delighted to see a few returning customers, like this lovely actress, who also provides the entertainment at some of the Pop Up Vintage fairs we do in London. This 1980s-does-the-1950s Laura Ashley dress was her purchase this time.

When you trade outdoors you become mildly obsessed with the weather and we were prepared for the horrors Sunday was expected to bring. As I made my way to the portaloos at 7.30am I was uplifted by the sight of this hot air balloon ascending the Cotswold Hills.

On Saturday we were thrilled to sell an amazing 1960s Grecian style white maxi dress to Esther, who planned to wear it as her wedding dress next year. When we told Sally, our neighbour, she went home and brought hers, purchased from Pronuptia in 1974 which we promptly displayed on our mannequin.

 Lacking a dress with sleeves I borrowed one off the rails.

Just as the BBC had forecast the rain started at 9am and got worse and worse.

Some of our trader neighbours didn't bother opening at all. We gave it three hours but with barely a soul around we closed up and spent the afternoon in Mandy's caravan along with her friend Mary - an amazing mosaic artist, find her HERE - who we'd met at Cornbury four years ago. A bottle of port, some Transylvanian relishes and chutneys and our body weight in cheese later, the rain finally stopped and we returned for an evening's trading - which turned out not to be too bad at all. 

Monday was dry but bastard freezing, hard to believe that only a few days ago I'd been in a strappy dress and sandals.

Trade was slow first thing so I cracked on with crocheting my ever-increasing rainbow blanket. I must say it's a brilliant hobby, not only does it keep me occupied but it keeps my legs warm, too!

Yet again I'd failed to pack anything remotely warm so I nicked this '70s maxi skirt and Empire-made beaded top from the Kinky rails. Lurex and sequins are surprisingly warm. It had been a week since I'd last washed my hair and the gale force winds and torrential rail had taken their toll - in the absence of a hat, a topknot was the only answer.

This lady was celebrating a big birthday next weekend by throwing a vintage festival themed party. Her husband and best mates absolutely loved what we'd picked out for her from the rails - some proper American cowboy boots and a dress I'd made from a vintage tablecloth. We managed to kit out the rest of the party, too.

Janice was our trading neighbour last year - it was great to see her and husband Ben again. We share a love for dressing up - if you hadn't noticed.

We'd planned to pack up at 6pm but due to an influx of customers didn't manage to close until much later. We packed up and had a party in our empty shop with Mandy and Mary both of whom were rocking the hell out of their Kinky Melon buys - Mandy in a 1970s denim jacket (which was mine but didn't get worn enough) and Mary in a 1960s white satin go-go dress.

And that was Towersey. We battled wind, rain and plummeting temperatures and failed to see a single band all weekend. I'll try to do better at End of the Road (I've packed thermals, gloves, a sheepskin hat and legwarmers, we'll probably have a bloody heatwave now).

Have a great week - I'll see you on the other side!

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

Tuesday 21 August 2018

The Return of The Classic Car Boot Sale, Summer 2018 Edition

By way of a change we spent this weekend not in a field but in the metropolis that is central London, selling our wares out of Gilbert, our air cooled VW bus, at the Classic Car Boot Sale in Kings Cross.

WEARING: Vintage 1960s Young Mayfair chiffon maxi (bought from a vintage fair back in 2012)

Although the forecast was for a dry day with temperatures of 24° we arrived to grey skies and intermittent showers. The sunglasses? We'd been up since 3.30 am - we were bleary eyed to say the least.

Jon's wearing a 1970s blazer, Doc Martens (50th B'day present from me), charity shop skinnies, a scarf from Suzy loves Milo and a Pal Zileri shirt our mates found at a car boot sale.

Jon's day was made when Kevin Rowland (Dexy's Midnight Runners) walked past. Alright, Kevin! Jon shouted. Alright, yam yams!* replied Kevin (he was born in Wolverhampton) and we had a proper chat. He asked if I dressed like I did all the time or just for days out and loved it when I told him I wore dresses like this to pop into Lidl. In fact we got on so well did that he came back on Sunday morning to continue the conversation and, being bostin' types, we never mentioned Come On Eileen once.

*Yam yams (what Brummies call folk from the Black Country)

 It was great to catch up with Mim, resplendent in a fabulous vintage frock, handmade cardi and the cutest knitted ankle socks. When we were at Indietracks one of the lovely volunteers tasked us with re-homing some of her mum's collection of embroidery magazines, which she'd kept for over half a century, to someone who'd appreciate them and we thought Mim would fit the bill perfectly. Mim kindly donated some unused rupees from her and Mr Robot's trip to India earlier this year along with three dresses she no longer wore - one found a new home the same day, bought by a delighted Mum whose young daughter loved the green Dumarsel day dress at first sight.

I met Samantha back in April and have followed her on IG (here) ever since. I was thrilled to see her (and her fabulous glasses) again.

 DJ and barber Paul bought a handful of 1960s Mod scarves off us. We loved his style.

I've been reading super chic Alyson's blog, That's Not My Age, for almost a decade so I was excited to finally meet her. She had such an infectious laugh and a mutual love for Cillian Murphy.
Setting up for work on Sunday morning

As in April, we stayed at The County, a family-run Art Deco hotel a ten minute walk away from Kings Cross in Bloomsbury.  It had shared bathrooms but, for £65 including an unlimited breakfast, we thought was pretty good value for London and, after a 20 hour day, once we'd checked in all we did was sleep. We had tea (or dinner, if you're a Southerner) and a few drinks with some trading mates at The Skinners Arms - a refreshingly down-to-earth back street boozer - a cosy & characterful oasis in comparison with the hideously bland, overpriced tourist eateries dotted around St Pancras station. 

One of Sunday's first visitors was Katy, a blogging buddy for some nine years. She was absolutely lovely and looked amazing in her Jean Varon maxi and shark print parka. A fellow fan of the statement sleeve, she found an early 1970s gauzy cotton Berketex maxi on our rails and looked like an absolute goddess in it.

Tina and I met at the Classic Car Boot Sale last year and hit it off instantly. Isn't she gorgeous? We share a love for outrageous clothes - especially catsuits - and yet again she was able to find something she liked on our rails.

As is usual at the Classic Car Boot Sale both us and Gilbert caught the attention of photographers and visitors and we posed for photos galore. 

WEARING: 1960s Luvisca leisure shirt (bought from Mel at Moseley Vintage & Retro Fair), skinny jeans & suede moccasins (charity shopped), antique leather cap (End of the Road Festival, 2013)

It was lovely to catch up with American ex-blogger Jo again (I pinched this photo from her IG page). It had been four years since we last met. We also chatted with Heather for a while. When she left Jon asked how we knew her as she seemed so familiar and he just couldn't place her - we were beach shack neighbours in Agonda the week David Bowie died, I reminded him.

Of course, as well as selling we also buy a pile of stuff at the Classic Car Boot Sale. I bought a heap of groovy 1970s gear from some trader mates who specialise in an earlier era as well as some fabulous psychedelia from both our neighbours and Jon bought a bale of vintage chores jackets from organiser,Wayne Hemingway.

WEARING: Vintage 70s Prova (British Home Stores) maxi I've owned for seven years, Liberty silk scarf (from a charity shop £1 bargain bucket) and my clogs.

By Sunday afternoon the weather was just as the BBC had forecast, warm and moderately sunny so I had a wander about and took a few photos.

Oh look, a seldom seen Type III VW Variant - we've got a Type IV (HERE)

Absolute birthday babe, Suzy from Suzy loves Milo - a women who loved ridiculously kitsch poodles even more than I do.

I loved nearest trading neighbours, Huzzar Huzzar. I spent an age rifling through their rails - we have similar taste!

I'm a bit crap at taking customer photos so here's one I've nicked off Instagram - Goldy Loxx fell in love with this silk chiffon maxi at first sight even though it wasn't her usual era of choice. 

Photo courtesy of Suzy Loves Milo Boutique

Marley (in yellow) won Best Dressed Man - you can see why!

Pimp my ride - hanging out in our friend Bobby's cool vintage Merc coupe. Photo courtesy of Suzy Loves Milo Boutique
 At 6pm we packed up, said our goodbyes and headed off home, rolling in a 10.30 pm (Gilbert might look cool but he's not the fastest ride in the world.) 

Yesterday we unpacked Gilbert, set up a trading gazebo in the garden and, ably assisted by Liz, did a mock set up for the the next festival. Other than a huge pile of ironing, a bit of mending and packing our own clothes, booze and food we're almost ready for a 7am start tomorrow. Towersey, here we come!

Linking to Patti and the gang for Visible Monday.