Found on a table at a sale of vintage and collectables this disguised Abu Toby lure. Clearly decorated in the original owners favourite colours I wonder if this was for predatory fish or for a Spring or Autumn Salmon. I guess the only way to find out is to fish with it, but in the meantime it can be used as a decoration on the tree, once the treble has been removed.
Under bright skies the farmers market was quieter then usual, some new vendors stalled amoungst the regulars and the usual banter filled the air, then one stall holder shouted ‘Downton how are you?, that’s the nickname given to me by Ed the purveyor of Sushi, I have to say it is rather good, better than what you’ll get in M&S, Yo Sushi and other fast food outlets.
Having spent a good part of the morning in the loft looking for the Christmas decorations and trying to have a good tidy up, just that I need to find some space to store things before Mum comes for Christmas. Having a passion for collecting art and an eclectic mix of decorative items I’ve seemed to have collected enough to fill Downton Abbey let alone our humble home which is comfortable but a bit on the small size, I guess that’s the compromise for living in this leafy part of London. Amoungst all the boxes of collectables, paperwork, mirrors, old furniture and obsolete electrical goods. However, in one area of the loft are several boxes of Speyside Whisky, a collection put together over several years and have remain unopened for at least a decade.
I have always had a passion for whisky in fact I was fortunate enough to work for the well respected merchant of fine wines and spirits, Berry Bros & Rudd. The heritage of the company in St James’s spans over 300 years and the owners of the Glenrothes brand and that familiar tipple when on holiday, Cutty Sark, which they have now sold on. For me the crisp winter nights becon a dram or two of a fine malt and a dash of Franklin & Sons Artesian Water which comes from a well know Scottish spring. I’ve still not acquired any whisky stones yet as I have in the past used a large round ice mould to chill my glass down so maybe a trip to Whisky World this week to see what new releases there are to add to the Christmas drinks list.
I’m behind this year on my writing and sadly I’m behind on my Advent posts so I will aim to put one together for tomorrow. With the loss of my father earlier this year, a new job which has become all consuming and with little opportunity to fish, source vintage tackle or walk the shoreline I’ve been short on inspiration, hopefully I’ll get back to more activity in the New Year. For now I’ll raise a glass of the fine spirit and think about returning to the water over the Christmas holidays for an early frosty and crisp mornings Perch or Grayling fishing…now there’s a thought.
The streets were packed with people, children crowded around a couple of real Raindeer that were grazing in a makeshift pen, choirs sang and bell ringers rang their bells and classic Christmas songs sung by iconic singers of the 50’s filled the air.
As we made our way along Church Road towards to Olympic Cinema originally know as the Olympic Studio known better as the recording studio of the Rolling Stones, Led Zep and a cast of many well known groups. There on the pavement was a pop up vinyl DJ booth playing an array of tunes from groups which frequented this leafy village in SW13. It was an evening of nostalgia and one where everyone took to the streets for the annual Christmas shopping evening.
As vinyl is making a comeback there is nothing quite like picking up an old LP feasting your eyes on the graphics then listen to the sound from that rotating black disc. These old records make great secret Santa gifts and if purchased from a charity store should cost you no more than a couple of pounds.
After a busy day and with Christmas rapidly approaching I can’t help but reflect on a image of a young child from Syria featured on a poster that I saw on the train today. Whilst we all prepare for Christmas I spare a thought for those less fortunate. With countries at war, famine, hardship, the homeless and closer to home those now displaced from their homes after the torrential rain and floods. For many Christmas is not a time of joy, it is simply just another day in a journey of survival and getting by.
In support of the Octavia Foundation and several other local charity shops that have supported their fundraising by retailing donations I myself in them some of them from time to time purchasing an eclectic mix of items. Featured below some trinkets, a set of tasting cups and an ashtray bearing a coin from the reign of King Edward. These cast offs cost little however I see a certain beauty in them as they can be reused. The cups for sipping this years Sloe Gin from and for the ashtray for the once a year cigar.
Purchased before the end of the summer for the sum of £2 a fine copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and illustrated by Arthur Rackham, published in 1952. This copy by William Heinemann Ltd, London makes an ideal Christmas gift for all ages.
This well illustrated book with simple black and white along with fine colour plates is a treasure to behold.
Interestingly enough my old friend Steve Hunter is playing in our local production of a Christmas Carol by the Barnes Community Players and directed by Emilia Lerderleitnerova, this I must see and have booked tickets for the family.
There is still nothing quite like the vintage illustrations to evoke the thoughts of Christmas past.
Lucky Seven is reputed to be the most authentic Diner this side of the Brooklyn Bridge based in W2 along the Westbourne Park Road, it was also the title to a TV series, the title of a film and a tobacco brand State side. However my lucky seven was this evening for on my journey home I found a £5 note drifting along a pavement in the breeze.
As I bring to you a range of possible gifts sourced from charity shops, table top sales, car boots and the like I can’t help putting a grin on my face after remembering picking up a pewter tankard from a junk shop off the Askew Road in West London paying a £5 note for it only to find that it was stamped on the bottom with the Dunhill brand logo.
It is now my treasured vessel for consuming ale out of and when used gives me great pleasure. Yet again I prove that there are treasures to be found amongst the tat and cast offs that reach the charity shops and bric-a-brac stalls across the land. I therefore raise a glass to those who go in search of treasures past for future Christmas presents.
Earlier in the year I found a tin decorated with an oriental theme with a price tag of £3 on a self in one of our local charity shops. I picked it up to find that it was containing a full box wood chess set. Inverting the tin carefully it beard a logo of the Twinings Tea company with the further detail ‘Fine Quality Blend Of Indian & Ceylon Teas Half Pound Nett Twinings’ along with (Registered Trade Mark).
A long time ago I purchased a black lacquer and gold painted gaming board with a chess or checkers board on one side and within a back gammon board. This small tin an ideal partner to that board. I thought for young Tales a welcome departure from the modern age iPad, there is something satisfying when picking up a box wood chess piece and saying checkmate.
There are some items in life that become trusted friends, fountain pens, watches, tools, cars, rucksacks, catapults, rods, reels, priest, Barbour, fishing bag, camera and they never let you down and always do what they’re meant to do. Without question these are one of the best knives you can own, simple yet the quality will mean that like a Rolex timepiece they can be passed down to the next generation. One of these Opinel knives will cost you less than £10 unless you want one with a carbon blade. I use mine in the kitchen, when camping, fishing or just out in the garden or in the countryside. If you by one of these as a stocking filler it will be cherished by the user long after the snow has melted and the decorations are down.
I found a small brass spirit stove a while back in a charity shop for the price of £2. This would make an ideal stocking filler. These little stoves are small and robust, if looked after will last a lifetime. This most certainly won’t cook your turkey, rib of beef or goose, however I always carry a small spirit stove if I head out to the rivers, wood, hills and dales during the winter months. Capable of heating up a brew or even cooking a breakfast and if lucky enough to catch one a trout wrapped in foil on a tray or at this time of year to pan fry some pigeon or pheasant breasts.
I believe items like this make treasured gift at this time of year and goes to prove that will some stealth in looking around you can find items for less than the cost of a pint of ale.