Everything under the sun on sale at boot fair
THE Boot Fair season in Hatherleigh has begun. Last Sunday saw the sheds in the market open for business for the second week, and the stalls, the crowds and the snack bar will now be there every Sunday until Christmas.
Hatherleigh Boot Fair attracts sellers and buyers from miles around.
I spoke to several ladies setting up their stalls with an astonishing array of bric-a-brac, toys , DVDs, chairs, fruit, plants, cakes, candlesticks, guitars and a wedding dress. There was everything under the sun, or, in this case, under the corrugated roof, on which the rain fell, steadily and relentlessly.
From Exeter, Exmouth, Launceston, Bude and even further afield they had come, packing up their cars and vans at the crack of dawn, and driving to be early in the queue and bag the best positions. It must take enormous patience, and quite a time, to unpack the delicate china ornaments, jewellery, mirrors and jugs, and set them out attractively. But more than 50 stallholders had taken the trouble to do so, and several hundred buyers would be examining their treasures. Perhaps they would be hoping to find just that tool they'd been searching for, or that item which might one day be featured on Antiques Road Show, worth a million pounds.
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Melanie Cude, from Launceston, had toys, bedding, handbags, CDs, romantically wrapped Valentine's gifts, a bicycle and much more. It was her second time at Hatherleigh Boot Fair and she said she enjoyed it as a social event, because the stallholders were all so friendly.
Many of these had set up their stalls with the skill of a West End window dresser. Velvet and other attractive cloths covered the worn benches, and an array of clothes was hung artistically on rails, to show them to advantage.
Sandra Turner had come for the first time to Hatherleigh and had already sold a couple of tools to a fellow stallholder as she was unpacking her huge range of items. No one in the town needs to be bored on a Sunday afternoon, whatever the weather.
At 1pm the gates opened and a wave of people surged forward, eager not to miss that special bargain. Then, by 4pm, the sheds were empty once more, the unsold items painstakingly packed up again. Hopefully enough money had been made to pay for those journeys from distant Launceston. But probably some stallholders won't even mind. A wet Sunday afternoon had been spent eyeing up everyone else's treasures, chatting to fellow boot fair addicts, and there might just have been less to pack up than there was to unwrap and set up on those empty benches.