I love a bargain. Everybody loves a bargain. What could be better than finding something for a fraction of the price that you would have been prepared to pay. Result. As a boy I used to love the regular occurrence of jumble sales in the small town I grew up in. I didn’t care if they were at the Methodist Hall, the Baptist’s place, Catholic, The Lifeboat Institute – I expect I would have gone to a jumble sale at the Church of Satan if they had had one. (And for all I know they may have done – if they did I probably went!)

Inside these events was a treasure trove, an Aladdin’s cave of precious things. For mere pennies you could clothe yourself, furnish your room, discover new music and purchase more books than you could carry in your Adidas shoulder bag. Of course, this was dependant on you not minding a few things;
You shouldn’t mind that the clothes came from an elderly (possibly dead) person who was not the same size as you
You shouldn’t mind that the furnishings and trinkets were probably from incomplete sets, usually damaged and often slightly unhygienic.
You shouldn’t mind that the music was not necessarily the things you would have selected from the record shop (yeah – ‘record shop’ Google it youngsters!)
You shouldn’t mind that the books may not be the latest editions of the newest books, but slightly more esoteric and sometimes so old they were starting to disintegrate before you even go them home.
As long as you didn’t mind these things, the world was yours, on a budget so tight it squeaked.

The things I enjoyed! I once had a pair of yellow trousers, a yellow shirt and, to top it off, a matching yellow lambswool jumper. Trilby hats, books, evening suits, bikes, a T Rex album, books, tartan trousers, books, a selection of mysterious electronic equipment that looked as if it might do something good – but never did – and more books.

Nowadays jumble sales are not as frequent as they once were. Their place has been taken by the plethora of charity shops on every high street in every town. These are not quite the same, but still do yield a fine selection of clothes, music, furnishings and books for reasonable prices.

Today I was reminded of those halcyon days, a trawl of some charity shops turned up a good selection of finds, all for minimal prices. As I did in my youth – I came home happy with my bargains. Just like my younger self – I have carefully examined the purchases, making sure they are complete and undamaged. Lastly, in a final echo of my younger self I have listened to my new musical purchases, in fact I am listening as I write. I don’t like it.

I will finish with a link to my favourite song about jumble sales, it is by Clearlake and is called Jumble Sailing;

The photo at the header is me at 17 in a very fine jumble sale jumper.


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