Well not in my house and not here in sunny Brighon, there are only so many sequins I can wear in the garden. I’m not saying that in a sad way. I was once keen on a bargain. But these days there is only so much ‘stuff’ one can possibly need!
I loved the sales as a child. It was my job to go to the sales with my grandmother. Off we went on the 134 bus from Highgate to Central London, to queue outside Bourne and Hollingsworth in Oxford Street. Gran’s favourite store.
Once the doors opened we’d rush forward. In the early days, it was lengths of cloth and liberty bodices. These were essential items for post war children.
In later years we were still queuing, not for the ready made dresses in the window, but for a bigger choice of fabrics. Grandmother and my mother made all our clothes.
In the store I staggered along with Gran’s bags of shopping, then we would rush to haberdashery where Gran would sift through lace and trimmings, always managing to secure a bargain. Well according to Gran.
Finally the ‘piece de resistance’ a hat. I would stand in awe while Gran esconced herself on a chair in front of an enormous mirror and tried on as many hats as she dare, under the watchful eye of the posh sales assistant. My opinion was highly valued, while the poor sales assistant did not get a look in.
By this time Gran was a respected member of society and was always called upon to open the local church bazaar. Mother said it was because Grandpa was in trade (a family fruiterers in Goodge Street) and she could be relied on to put a £5 note in the donation box, setting a good example to the local grandees of Highgate.
We lived on the edge of Highgate not far from Holy Joe’s as it was known to the locals. But by the 60s we could sometimes queue for dress or coat on display in the window. Times had changed!
Note – My father made our nativity, the shepherds leg has fallen off and the angel has a piece of wing missing! The were poured in clay, he made wine goblets too, one of many successful businesses that eventually became less successful. My mother ‘hand built’ dragons and clowns, both of which were much sought after and admired by Lawrence Bradbury at The Tate. My parents argued endlessly over the use of the kilns!