Empty Summerhouse

Despite a heavy overnight frost and another frozen birdbath, this beautiful Easter morning lived up to it’s coincidentally being the first day of British Summer Time, when clocks are put forward for six months so we all get up early to enjoy more daylight.  Some of us did emerge from our beds in good time.  Some of us didn’t.  Those who did took great delight in a game of shinies, largely at my expense.

Shinies are the reflection of sunshine in wristwatch faces.  These produce little golden discs which, with minimal movement of the wrist, the owner can send travelling across a wall.  Oddie is fascinated by this phenomenon.  Purely, of course, by accident, Jackie managed to put these UFOs into orbit just above my head.  The result was that, in his eagerness to reach them, Oddie’s horny feet trampled over my bare toes.  For some reason this created great hilarity.  Over and over again.

I first discovered this game about fourteen years ago when commissioned to keep three year old Oliver entertained.  He had a child’s bow with rubber-tipped arrows.  As long as I occasionally kept my wrist still, he enjoyed firing at his largely moving target.  I was able to achieve my object without stirring from my armchair.

After coffee I accompanied Mat and Tess to Bursledon Car Boot Sale, where Tess bought several bargains for use in the shop.  The Car Boot Sale is a particularly English phenomenon, where a mixture of items, some old or obsolete, some apparently useless, some hideous, and some interesting, are laid out on the ground or on trestle tables and change hands for amounts starting at about 20p.  Bursledon Car Boot SaleThe occasional stall has more ambitious stock with some kind of pedigree.  There are catering vans and the smell of frying onions is very tempting.  This particular venue was vast and very well attended.  Clothes, fabrics, toys, books, and CDs became more and more higgledy piggledy as prospective buyers rummaged through them.  Mat spotted an extensive set of vegetable stalls, and, after a phone call to check with Jackie, bought a cauliflower and some mushrooms.  Two young men, anxious no doubt to get home, were offering their last two items, a lawn mower and an adjustable office chair for £1 each.  Some time later I saw one of them walking to the entrance carrying the chair and accompanied by a young woman brandishing car keys.  She had obviously just bought the chair and he was being obliging.  In fact he was struggling so much I thought the woman may have had less difficulty.  Near the entrance a couple of men were displaying second-hand laptops for what seemed to me to be optimistically high prices.  I didn’t notice any sales.  I imagine the outside arena where this took place must have been a quagmire most Sundays during the last six months.

In France, these phenomena are called ’empty attic’.  So the English term focuses on how sellers transport their wares, while the French consider where they came from.  Neighbours of ours in Newark were asked by the people from whom they bought their house for permission to store the lightbulbs and other items they had removed from the property in the summer house in the garden.  This was apparently for a car boot sale.  Perhaps their event should have been termed ’empty summerhouse’.

Before Jackie’s excellent roast lamb meal we all went down to the Trusty for a drink.  Just as we were about to leave there we were tracked down by Elizabeth, Jacqueline, Danni, and Andy. Back at the apartment we had a very enjoyable evening. Flo, Ian, (Becky), Oddie and Scooby At one point whilst I was attending to drinks, the whole Becky family joined Oddie on my chair.  They thought it was amusing.

While we ate our meal, the gatecrashers kept us company.  I am beyond recording what was imbibed.


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