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  • Debra Palmen

It's getting hot in here, but please keep on all your clothes


It’s a quickie Newsletter this time, because time is of the essence. It’s Market Day here in Eumundi, and despite the awful heat the joint is jumping. Well it’s jumping at my place, which is what matters.

Over the course of the day customers have been coming in, in increasing stages of undress. Or is that decreasing stages of dress? And some of those mini-outfits have been downright alarming.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - gentlemen, going Commando doesn't work with short shorts. Oh boy, it so doesn't work. And ladies, those flouncy, light-weight pretty little skirts really do need accompanying underwear in a high wind. Since when has Eumundi become such an Undies Free Zone?

Anyway, with those images seared into my unwilling memory, and now so generously shared with you, it's on to my news: we’ve been in the new pop-up shop for one and a half weeks, and our decision to relocate to a shop with street frontage is proving to have been a good one. It’s right next door to our old retail shop, so we knew the location was good.

Even the dire warnings from all and sundry about February is Deaduary have proven false, as they always have for us. February is just another month, with plenty of customers if you’re offering the right thing. That’s just common sense, isn’t it?

But our on-going saga with Quarantine still hasn’t finished! Finally, finally we wrested the rest of our shipment from their clutches. They kept it for an extra two weeks on the grounds that it “needed cleaning”. So then a final inspection was apparently conducted and at last we were able to collect it. Only to find not a single thing had been cleaned. Nothing was done. Nada. Nichts. Niente. Or, as the French would say, sodomisez tout.

But we fully expect to receive a bill for the alleged cleaning. Which we can either shut up and pay, and thus avoid future grief with Quarantine, or we can go to battle and win but be certain to end up down Future Grief Alley. That’s life when you’re dealing with the Australian Quarantine Service, I’m afraid. Those of you who have read my book know how much I hate dealing with Quarantine, and they keep proving my deep-seated enmity is well founded.

But back to the good news. The pop-up shop is doing swimmingly. I’m bringing new things out every single day, and already Doug and I are discussing taking out some shelving because I can’t keep it adequately stocked because I’m running out of glass and ceramics. That will make room for some furniture, though, so it’s all good.

We’re now discussing whether we should abandon 2017’s plan to go on a buying trip only in September, or what the heck go again in March as well as September. It’s a tough call.

If this pop-up shop does as well as the one down the laneway, I’ll have made more than enough to go on another buying trip this year. If it does even better than the shop down the laneway, which so far it’s on track to do, I’ll have enough to finance two buying trips this year.

But it means shutting down the shop on 16 March and being on a plane to Paris by 22 March. Do-able, yes, but it would be nice to have some time off to play, get the rest of the house built, go to the beach, and just lounge about in the way that a cruisey lifestyle is meant to entail. Plus it means I’ll get my Little Beasties & How To Collect Them books finished a whole lot faster.

And yet, Paris is calling.

But a brutal winter in Europe this year means that Spring in that neck of the woods isn’t likely to be very warm and inviting. There won’t be a whole lot of picnicking among the bluebells and daffodils going on this year, I’m thinking.

And yet, I’ve got a good coat and gloves. Heck, I’ve even got a good woollen beanie that totally makes me look like a hijacker hiding a bad hair day.

So it’s a tough call, but we’ve got a few more weeks yet before we have to decide. I’ve planned a rudimentary itinerary just in case, and then it’s just a matter of booking flights and accommodation pretty quickly. But that’s not difficult, as you know.

So we’ll see. Being utterly sensible means going on a buying trip only in September, as planned. But when have we ever been utterly sensible?

More soon.


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