It doesn’t matter where we’ve lived, there has always been a market within a short driving distance.
Most are twice a week, and there may be a slight difference in the number of stalls available or the wares on offer.
In Lincolnshire, we would get our socks from the Saturday market, 6 pairs for a fiver.
Personally, I loved the fresh fruit and veg stall. Lovely plump tomatoes for 50p a bag, 4 huge jacket spuds for a pound, seasonal fruit at a pound a bowl and red, green, yellow or orange peppers 20p each. Warm fresh bread was 50p a loaf and cakes started at 15p each.
More than twenty years ago, I purchased two tee shirts from a Bournemouth market at a cost of £5 each. I still have them, and even better, although a little faded, they still fit!
A year or so later, I went back to the same stall holder and purchased another one, this time for £6. I washed it once, the diamante motif came off and it stretched. Even at my heaviest (18 and a half stone) this was still miles too big, so it ended up in a charity shop.
Similarly, I bought a ‘jingle jangle skirt’ in what I’d describe as an Indian cotton. It had an elasticated waist threaded through with a narrow black cord belt which had tiny bells on each end. It cost me £7, and I lived in it. It washed well and was one of my favourites for the office. Again it lasted years, but eventually I ran over it once too often with my chair and it tore.
I was always on the lookout for another, and found one in Scarborough when we were on holiday. I washed it once and it fell apart….. completely. Ten pounds down the drain.
I no longer buy clothes from a market.
Hm. Times have changed.
We had a Farmer’s Market in town at the weekend.
They closed the High Street which was then completely occupied by stalls selling various items from food to arts and crafts, toys and confectionery.
They were also manned mainly by foreigners.
And they were very good salespeople.
A boating friend got chatting to a very nice Polish girl on the bread stall. She was also very pretty, and he was smitten as he selected his loaf of brown bread.
Yes, you read that right, its not a typing error.
He paid NINE POUNDS for a small (400g) loaf of brown bread and didn’t have the heart to withdraw loafless.
When he told us, I checked he wasn’t running a temperature, and said she’d probably made a mistake (bad English) and it should have been 90p.
We passed the stall and it wasn’t. Ninety pence that is.
Hubby and I both have a sweet tooth, and Candy Fudge is pure heaven for us.
Not at £4.50 for 100g it isn’t (that equates to more than a pound an inch).
Handmade cards (OK, they looked more professional than mine from where we were standing and were in little cellophane bags) were …… wait for it, wait for it………. £5 each.
But what took the biscuit (unpriced on the cake stall by the way) was a guy selling toys.
He had this charming wooden duck on a stick and wheels, just like kids used to have in the 60s.
People were standing around watching the stall holder demonstrating his merchandise.
They were fascinated by the way it waddled on the stick as the little feet attached to the wheels propelled it forward as you pushed.
Several were discussing gifts for grandchildren.
Forty pounds was mentioned with a straight face.
That’s more than our week’s shopping bill!!
Most people, including us, walked away.
I have since looked it up on the internet and Hubby may well be able to do something similar in the whittling line for a fraction of the price as a sideline.
Hubby and I think we have woken up in a parallel universe to the UK.
We feel irrelevant and insignificant bystanders gazing in on an unfamiliar world.
We feel poorer that our already skint status.
Don’t get me wrong, we live and eat well, pay our way and don’t owe a penny, even on a limited budget.
We have our treats and don’t go without the important things.
But with the best will in the world, neither of us can get our heads round the amount of money people are prepared to pay for, in this case, market items. The whole idea of a market all those years ago was to save money and get things cheaper than the shops!
Perhaps Market Stall Ware is the new M&S or Harrods?