08 September 2009

boot sales and bootlegging

The Old Butcher on the Corner: Say, have you been to a boot sale yet?
Me, slightly confused: I've been to shoe sales before, but never specifically 'boot'...are they different here?
OB, chortling merrily: No, no, a BOOT sale! Like a CAR boot!
Me: OH! A trunk!
OB: YES! All these cars drive into a lot and sell things out of their boots! A boot sale! They're great fun!

I have to admit I was intrigued. People selling things out of their trunks? This can only lead to excellent, semi-illegal dealings of black market goods. Of course I couldn't resist. So I did some research, and narrowed it down to two boot sales this past Sunday: one on Holloway Road, a rougher part of town, and one in Battersea, a nicer part of town. I was curious to see if the difference in neighborhood would effect the quality of wares...

Holloway Road...where I have never seen more broken electronics, bootlegged dvd's, and questionable designer sunglasses in my LIFE. It was awesome.

I also overheard the following snippets of conversation:

No, man, I can tell you, that stereo WORKS. I mean, I can't plug it in or anythin' to show you, but it's good, it's good.

Hey! You broke the cork on that jug! No, no, don't try to tell me the cork was already rotted away, it was ALL THERE a minute ago. You have to buy that.

This, this is very old, very valuable, one of a kind. You put this saint in a good spot, you get good luck.

Despite all the trappings, however, I managed to score a 50p copy of the Bill Bryson book I want to take with me on my road trip. This will happily replace the one I'm reading right now that belongs to the library, as they may not appreciate me marking up various pages and then stealing it.

Then we have the Battersea Market. The crowd here was much different than the Holloway crowd, where you worried about getting pick-pocketed or having someone accuse you of stealing a cassette tape. Here, there was slightly more space between the rows of cars (though not between the people), the items for sale didn't look like they had been stolen the night before, and the delicious smell of frying food wafted across the lot.

It was also crazy busy. People were selling used clothes, boxes of dusty bottles, china, wooden elephants, toys, EVERYTHING. Part of me saw a romantic treasure in everything, and part of me was compulsively santizing my hands every eight seconds.

One of the sellers there had some great old wooden toys. 'His neighbor' gave them to him to sell. Everyone's got a story like that--the handbag came from a cousin, the vase from an aunt--because if you aren't selling things that you got for free, or that are yours, you get classified as a 'trader,' with all of the legal implications that come along with the title--including small things, like accountability. Plus, saying a bag came from your cousin sounds much nicer than 'it's a knock-off from the Philipines.' This man's story I believed, though, because his toys were so FUN, and I'll always believe a person when it's in my best interest to do so. Check out this fantastic taxi:

I know. Killer cute, huh? I didn't get him, but I should have.


Okie said...

Thank goodness for nice ole butchers.

The word verification requests that I type in "gorest" before it publishes my comment: is that an old English form of gore -- the bull gorest me?

Anonymous said...

Boot sales...flea markets...uhm, which one would you rather go to? Boot sales, the term makes sense. Flea markets,ugh, makes you wonder, doesn't it?
I can't believe you where able to resist "Taxi",adorable!

Young & Sara said...


Alissa - the Big Sis said...

That taxi is so awesome! I want it!!