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  • Debra Palmen

A Surprise Opening


My life rotates in a cycle of cruising along, taking it easy and watching too much of The Bold & The Beautiful, to OMG there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I’ve undertaken to get done.

Right now, the planets have rumbled back into alignment to move me into OMG mode. So goodbye to The Bold & The Beautiful for the next little while. And just when Hope was about to learn that her dead baby is actually alive and well and has been illegally sold to her arch-love-rival. Da-da-daaaah!

On the other hand, knowing how TV soaps work, they’ll milk the drama until there isn’t a drop left. So it could take months, years, until the truth is out. The child could be married with children of her own by the time the truth is out.

So I’ll be able to catch up quickly enough when I next tune-in. And at least it’s in English. I once tried to catch up on The Bold & The Beautiful in the company of a bunch of rough-as-guts men in a run-down backstreet bar in Portugal (my former life was sometimes a little odd). The guys were more into it than me! But my Portuguese isn’t all it could be so I couldn’t understand a thing that was going on. The red wine was good, though.

The now-I’m-too-busy phase of my life includes:

1. We’ve opened a pop-up shop. Surprise! Well it was a surprise for us. It was serendipity that I was in the right place when a lovely space became available. And seeing how my usual pop-up venue has been permanently leased, it seemed like a good idea to try. So now we’re ensconced in the light and airy back space of Old Barn Café, at 15 Diamond Street (aka Cooroy-Noosa Road) in Cooroy. We’ve been selling things since we started bringing them in last weekend, but we officially opened on Wednesday. Who knows how long we’ll stay? Early signs look good, though.

2. Anticia, the illustrator of Calypso’s books, has now cleared the decks so she can focus on getting the pictures for Sink or Swim finished. There have been a number of major setbacks on the technology front, but she’s hoping to have a final product with me by October. And that means a November publication date. Yay! I’m about to launch a Go Fund Me page to see if I can attract some funding to get the series finished sooner than it will otherwise stand a chance of being done. I’ll tell you that link as soon as it’s up and ask if you’ll be kind enough to share it. I tried to get a good photo of Calypso in front of the cover of her book, to use in the campaign, but you can see she wasn’t in a cooperative mood. The entire sequence of I don’t get out of my catbed for less than a tin of premium cat food a day, is on the FB page.

3. Volume 1 of Fabulous Beasts & How to Collect Them is now in the editing phase, which turns out to be longer than the actual writing phase. But it’s well advanced. The cover designer has been engaged and I have a good idea of what I want so the brief will be easy for him. I’m really hoping for publication of that sometime in September.

4. Volume 1 of The Foodies Guide to Antiques & Collectables is started, and it’s a bit of fun (albeit a whole lot of work) to research and write. The chapters on Champagne and Cheese are done. Pineapples is in progress, and I think I’ll do Ice-Cream next.

It’s the same concept as the Fabulous Beasts series, so the first part of every chapter will cover the interesting social history of different foods (drawing on my tertiary qualifications as a social anthropologist). The second half of each chapter will explore the vintage collectables associated with that food, what you should buy if you want a rocking collection, what you should pay, and what you should avoid (drawing on my 30 years of experience as an antiques dealer).

5. I’m still writing the Secret Source feature articles for the magazine Antiques & Collectables for Pleasure & Profit. The current edition includes my article on shopping and sight-seeing in Madrid. Right now I’m working on shopping and sight-seeing in York (UK) for the Christmas edition. The current edition also includes an excerpt of the Chickens chapter from the Fabulous Beasts book. Did you know chickens have more bones in their necks than giraffes? Or that they’re the closest living relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex? Or that they have an enormous range of associated vintage collectables that are hugely popular? Lots of people love their chooks, and always have.

6. I’ve just started a new feature series for the magazine called Under the Hammer. It looks at different auction houses around the country, focusing on a piece the head auctioneer found particularly interesting, what the reserve was and what it sold for. I tell you what, though – herding auctioneers is worse than herding cats! What I thought would be an easy-peasy job is actually a bit of a challenge as I try to get auctioneers to provide me with some useful information that I can turn into an interesting article. My nagging skills are getting a real workout. Fortunately, Doug informs me that they are world-class.

Meanwhile, I’m delving into boxes from everywhere we have them stored, and coming up with noice, different, unusual things to bring into the shop every day. It’s been a lot of work to get the shop established, but it’s coming together nicely. I’m not following my own advice and have opened a pop-up shop with no street frontage and no passing traffic, but it's such a nice space I couldn’t resist giving it a go. We’ll see what happens next. More soon.


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