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  • Debra Palmen

I'm blogging on you!


Waiting, waiting, waiting. Yes, disaster has occurred and the ship containing our new stock was delayed by a week. I know, it’s a very First World kind of disaster. And yet it’s still a problem for us.

Fortunately, I am well known as a person of infinite patience. It’s true I tell you! That’s why I haven’t headed off to commit piracy on the high seas, hijacking the freight ship to make it rev-up and get to Australia on time. So now the ship docks in Brisbane today. They promise. Shipping Magnate’s Honour.

Our fabulous Agent has arranged for Customs pre-clearance, and if we somehow score a competent Quarantine official this time we could be collecting our new stock by Friday afternoon. I’m not holding my breath, but it’s nice to dream.

And that means new stock in the shop next week! Yay! Can't wait! If you've delayed your Christmas shopping that could turn out to be a very good thing because we have beautiful things and outstanding bargains coming your way.

Meanwhile, we’ve just finished our first month in the pop-up shop and things are going well. One entire bank of shelving is now empty (except for all the secret Christmas gifts I’m storing for people), plus all the bottom rows of the other shelves. People are asking when I’m going to finish unpacking, but I have finished. At least for now. Pretty soon I’ll be overwhelmed with unpacking. Pretty soon I’ll have more stock than I can possibly fit into the shop at one go.

But while we wait for the new things I've taken more random shots of current stock in the pop-up shop for your review. There are more pictures, with descriptions and prices, on our FB site https://www.facebook.com/frenchandvintage/.

As usual, the majority of our shop visitors have been lovely. But there have been three notable exceptions. And yes, the Rules of the Shop mean I’m blogging on them. Unfortunately, they’re all women. Sorry Sisterhood, but when you’re notable by your horribleness even you will be blogged on.

Offender 1

A woman stepped into the shop and saw Calypso reclining on my desk. “Oh My God, that’s disgusting!” she said “It’s hideous!” Then she turned heel and marched off. Calypso has been called many things, but disgusting and hideous are not at the top of the list. Horrible woman, Calypso and I agreed. Deranged.

I did have another woman who didn’t notice Calypso until her husband kindly pointed her out. Then the woman let out a little scream and bolted from the shop.

“She’s afraid of cats”, he explained, “and your cat looks particularly frightening.”

“So why did you point her out?”, I asked.

“Because it’s really funny”, he said.

That was just a woman with a phobia and a horrible husband, rather than an awful and rude person. But hey, Calypso does not look frightening. Just look at sweet face, she’s a gentle little soul. Unless you’re an insect – then you must die.

Offender 2:

A crowd of matronly, blue-rinsed chickens descended on the arcade outside my shop. I’ve set up some nice old vintage trestle tables there, to display a few wares. I suspect the girls had enjoyed a long, long lunch at the pub a few doors down, and they communicated mostly through a series of cackles and shrieks. But one took the volume to a whole new level. She picked up a large 1940s clear glass water jug with a nicely faceted hobnail design. “You’ve got to be joking!” she brayed at the top of her lungs. “The people in this town really know how to charge!” The jug is $16.

I thought she had perhaps misread the label, maybe thinking it was $76 instead of the utter, absolute, unbeatable bargain it actually is. So I moved towards her, to point out the correct price. But she saw me coming and braced for impact. Adopting the Superhero Pose, she planted her feet, put her hands on her hips, and jutted out her jaw.

“Hmmm”, I thought. “I don’t think this was an innocent misreading of the label. I think she’s just a silly old chook who knows she’s a silly old chook but will defend her right to be a silly old chook until her silly old chook’s neck is wrung.”

So I didn’t engage as she expected. I simply looked over her shoulder and said “Oh dear, is that your bus leaving?” With exquisite timing, a local bus was just pulling out from the stop. It wasn’t one of the many tourist buses that come to the Eumundi markets, which park on the opposite side of town. But it was a bus and that’s all I needed right then.

“Oh no, the bus!” she bawled. She took off in pursuit of the now disappearing bus, but running like a wind-up toy. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. There was certainly forward momentum, but mostly she rocked from side-to-side as she waddle-ran down the street. Her friends ramped up the shrieks, trying to call her back because of course it wasn’t their bus. But she was deaf to their screeches and squawks and kept on waddle-running. So finally the group went to retrieve her and peace returned to our arcade.

“Ha”, I said to Calypso. Just “Ha”.

Offender 3

A visitor admired Calypso but was concerned that she was in a harness with a lead. “Don’t you let her run free?” she asked. None of our moggies are allowed to go outside except on a leash. They would decimate the wildlife, and at the mountain stronghold there are also plenty of predators higher up the food chain than little pussycats. I told this woman if I let my cats out they wouldn’t know what hit them and would be dead inside a week. We have pythons, eagles, dingoes and ticks in the immediate surrounds, and that’s just the obvious killers.

“Oh I know she’d be killed”, this woman said. “But that’s just nature, isn’t it? I had a snake take one of my cats, but what can you do?”

I told her what she could do is take better care of her pets. It's not what I was thinking she could go and do, but it's what I said out loud.

“Too much trouble”, she said.

“Then you really shouldn’t have pets at all, should you?” I said. “I’d hate to be one at your house.”

There wasn’t anything left to say after that, and off she toddled. Back to her self-absorbed, uncaring, who-can-be-bothered little world. Which I’m mighty glad to not be part of.

So that was it. Three Offenders in four weeks. It’s low given the overall number of visitors we’ve had, but I deemed all Blog-worthy.

In other news, terrific news, the national promotion that’s including my book is now up and running. Yay! At last!

My book is being offered as part of a package, where you can obtain:

  • - the Australian Antiques & Collectables Price Guide (I’ve got one, and it’s excellent);

  • - PLUS a year’s subscription to Antiques & Collectables for Pleasure & Profit magazine (for which I write feature articles);

  • - PLUS Miller’s Antique Marks Reference Book (for identifying maker’s marks on ceramics and silver, etc);

  • - PLUS free postage to anywhere in Australia;

  • - PLUS a copy of my little ol’ book.

It’s a great package, if you are looking for a gift for someone you love, or for yourself. You can find it at www.cartersistershandbook.com.au.

More news after our annual battle with Quarantine, and I’ve been buried in boxes of new stock.


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