Wednesday 8 May 2024

Car Boot Sale, Blarney,. Bank Holiday Monday

Car Boot Sale Blarney, Bank Holiday Monday, the GAA pitch, I had walked the line the night before, from 2.30 onwards into the a.m. so was in no fit state, I could only look for books, or maybe plates and glasses. The complete works of Henry Williamson, for example. I should have bought Tarka the Otter, and The Beautiful Years, I loved them when I was twelve or thirteen. Henry Williamson's daughter cut my hair around then. There were beautiful years if you were this deep in the countryside. There was more than one copy of Akenfield. Plus Urn Burial by Sir Thomas Browne. Which house clearance did this come from, I wondered. Who were these readers?  These owners? I was in no fit state to ask.

I bought Gilbert White's Natural History of Selborne, a 1970s Penguin edited by Richard Mabey; as you turn the pages there's a strong smell of mothballs. And a Mason's blue Regency dinner plate. Pete bought a cement White Rabbit in a red and black waistcoat, for his next performance. A girl with false eyelashes held a ruched pale blue satin against her thin body. It's a bit long, she said. It rides up when you walk, said the vendor, the vendeuse.

Gilbert White had the living of Selborne, as they used to say. His house was called The Wakes.You were left alone to be awake, to observe, if you were a parson in an English village in the mid-eighteenth century, you wrote letters full of your observations and queries. The beautiful years, indeed. Giving names to birds and listening to their song, imagining their migration. 

I met Davina the window cleaner in Ballincollig this morning, outside the Quay Coop. She had been at the Car Boot Sale. I told her about the blue silk dress riding up and she liked that. Her brother and sister-in-law had pitches there. Home made cakes and bric-à-brac, old tools, you know. 

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