Vol. 13 August 2013
Notes from Abroad . . .
THE 2013 JOURNEY BEGINS
This year we planned to go to the south first and for the first time ever we were landing at Heathrow International Airport. Since we were visiting our friend Martin Johnson's shop first we needed to get directions from Heathrow to his shop. We had the route down pat from Gatwick Airport but they had to go and change airports on us. Martin gave us direc- tions. Yes, we had to drive on the dreaded, avoid at all cost, M25, the orbital motorway around London and believe us it makes driving on I-285 in Atlanta at peak hours look like a piece of cake.
TRIP ON.......... ENJOY THE RIDE
At some point in your life, if you're lucky, you get to design the way in which things evolve.. And our 26th buying trip to England was one of those. (Only one incident which you will read about later).
Sitting at our Pub , the Royal Peasant, on one cloudy, gloomy, somber May evening talking about the "ups and downs " of a small business and what
we could do to improve ours, a brilliant thought entered our minds at the same
time. Go to England, fill a container with treasures, give the shop a new look and recharge our batteries in the green and so pleasant island that we both love so much. Out came our new fancy "iphones" and Suri helped us get Delta Airlines on the line. Yes, we had enough points to fly free in the cattle car. Free sounded good to us and we booked the tickets then and there.
Are you ready to ride along with us on our 26th Journey where everyday is an adventure. "TRIP ON ..... ENJOY THE RIDE"
Martin Johnson on the phone making our arrangements
A few minutes later the telephone rang and it was Martin with a great suggestion. He has a good friend, Steve Cuniffee, who could pick us up at Heathrow, drive us to his shop, and take us
around for the three days we were in the south. Then he could take us back to Heathrow to pick up our car and we would not have the expense of renting the car for 3 days. He knows all the places to go and could show us uncharted territory, new and secret shops that we had never been to before and even with a map would be hard for us to find. Also, Martin thought we would enjoy Steve's company and he casually added "by the way, he was a chauffeur to the Royals for 15 years." Yes, you read correctly, chauffeur to the Royal family and now he would be driving "Miss Kitty and Miss Jenny" a.k.a. the two old antiques... a.k.a. Lucy and Ethel. This got our attention immediately. There was only one drawback, Steve had a heart condition and could not lift heavy furniture. Jenny said , "not to worry we have Kitty." We are both such "Royal Watchers" and spending 3
2 Notes From Abroad August 2013
days with someone who knew their comings and goings and hung out at Buckingham Palace was too good to be true. What do you think our reply was??
MEETING OUR NEW BEST FRIEND
On Monday, May 27th our plane touched down at Heathrow and we were so glad we had someone to meet us. There was
day’s work. Also he felt like Diana should have never married into the Royal Family. She never liked the spot light and basically a very shy person. By this time we had reached Martin's after thoroughly
being entertained with tales of the Royals. This was just the beginning of the "skinny" on the family, but it was time for us to go to work.
MARTIN JOHNSON ANTIQUE DEALER EXTRAORDINAIRE
In a years time, Martin had doubled the size of his shop adding a beau-
tiful new show room across the street. We had lots more to choose from and choose we did. Martin has a rare tal-
Steve Cuniffee Our Royal Chauffeur
our Royal Chauffeur waiting at baggage claim with a sign that said "the two old antiques." We're sure Martin put him up to it. W immediately liked him and being met by a chauffeur made us feel like
VIP's.. Steve totally took
charge, retrieved our luggage quickly, and we were off. Heathrow is huge, very busy and difficult to find your way around. We were in and out quickly and on our way to see Martin in short order. He maneuvered the M25 with the skill of a seasoned driver. Oh, what a relief to sit back and enjoy the ride! We did not have to drive or navigate!
We did wait until we were well our of the airport traffic before we began pounding Steve with ques-
tions about the Royals. He served in the army for many years before becoming "senior staff chauffeur to the Queen" Just to drop a few more names you might recognize, he drove for Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher, whom he liked a lot ...quick wit , friendly and very polite even though she was nicknamed " The Iron Lady".
Princess Margaret was another story. He recalled once while driving Princess Margaret and the Royal Dog to
Buckingham Place for a visit with the Queen. When they arrived he opened the door and for some unknown reason, the Royal Dog decided to bite him hard on the hand - not a word was said - all Steve wad to us was it was just part of the job... all in a
Painted French Faux Bamboos Bow ent of mixing period Fronted Chest circa 1870 furniture with
sophisticated con- temporary, a good format to build on. We had paint-
ed dresser bases, French fruitwood farm tables, wal- nut chests, timeless furniture at our fingertips - lots and lots of classic styles that will outlast changing
trends. After several hours of
saying "we'll have this, we'll have that "we decid- ed that we needed to leave Martin something to sell on Tuesday.
VINTAGE SHOPS OF LEWES
Steve asked if we were still up for a bit of shop- ping before he took us to our hotel. A seasoned buyer never tires of shopping so off to the antique centers in Lewes , a lovely vil- lage nearby.
Pair of Upholstered French Fautuiels (French arm chairs) circa 1850
3 Notes From Abroad August 2013
Steve knew exactly where the best shops were, let us off at the door, parked the car, helped us negotiate the prices, and carried our purchases....in other words, made our buy- ing so easy.
We closed all the shops in Lewes and
after a full day of bargaining and buying we decided to call it a day and get settled into Ockenden Manor, our home away from home for 3
days, located in the charming village of Cuckfield and a centrally located base to travel from each day....
On the way there, Steve told us about a fair at Kempton Park Race Course a few miles outside of London. It is always held on the first Tuesday of each month and we were in luck. Kempton was on
the next day rain or shine. It has lots and lots of outside stalls, dealers selling our of the back of their lorries and 3 buildings "chocka
on. We were ready for Kempton and ready to shop with the best of the London dealers. They hadn't dealt with the "two old antiques" yet.
And we had our secret weapon, Steve, who by now was our new best friend. He was
more than willing to take us to Kempton at the ungodly hour of 5 o'clock am, collect for us as we bought fast and furiously, and we're sure run interference for us against the big time London dealers. We liked him more every minute.
Walnut Oyster Veneered Chest circa 1850
OCKENDEN MANOR, OUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME As we arrived at Ockendon Manor, we knew we had made the right decision to stay here. This charm-
ing Elizabethan manor house dating back to the 16th century seemed to say welcome and seemed like a
restful haven in which to unwind and catch our breath. The country house surrounded by glorious gardens and beautiful views of West Sussex is brimming with his- tory and character.
It offered the best of both worlds, traditional comfort with all the amenities of modern conveniences. The furnishings are just what you would expect to find. There is an elegant well appointed drawing room with the original Tudor ceiling, and an oak paneled lounge with a glowing welcoming fire (even though it was the end of May), a lovely inviting dining room and spacious bedrooms with a lovely view of the boxwood garden. What more could you ask for?
Antique Duck Decoys recovered with shells gathered from the block"(English
beaches of The Isle of Wight - reclaimed for another life.
term for full) with every kind of merchandise.
Were we up for? The only draw back was that we would have to leave by 5 o'clock to be there by 6:30 when it opens. The traffic is always horrific as you have to take the M25 to get there. It is London deal- ers favorite fair because it's held in their back yard. A lot of French dealers come over on the ferry to sell and this is a big drawing card for English dealers.
We answered with a unanimous "YES", bring it
4 Notes From Abroad August 2013
While sitting in front of the glowing fire, having a glass of relaxing wine before dinner just reminded us that these are the moments
that linger in your memory and make you want to return over and
over again. This indeed was a perfect place to stay and for two weary travelers to rest for the evening surrounded by the beauty and history of the manor house, pampered by a helpful and friendly staff, and to be ready for another full day of shopping begin- ning at 5 o'clock...so off to bed....
Exactly at four forty five, there was a knock at the door and there stood a hotel porter with a tray of fresh fruit, hot rolls and, of course, a pot of strong hot tea to get us going. Fifteen
minutes later another knock on the door and the porter was again there with the announcement that our chauffeur had arrived and
was waiting in the reception room for us. And by the way, you had best take your rain gear because you're going to need it. And if you don't have a "brella"(English term for umbrella) we can provide you with one. We had not opened the drapes and little did we know that the rains had come. A lit-
tle rain couldn't deter these two antiques; we don't melt... so off to Kempton we go.
Paula, Steve's charming wife came along (we think she wanted to meet Lucy
and Ethel out of curiosity). There is not telling how Steve described his not so royal pas- sengers. We loved Paula too. She is very knowledgeable on buying at fairs as she has sev- eral booths in different antique centers. We welcomed another
pair of eyes and hands. The more the merrier! The rain was relentless
and Jenny was so glad Steve was driving on the M25. The rain made the traffic even worse. Have no fear our spirits were not damp- ened one little bit even with the down pour. wind and cold (yes, 48 degrees high and it's May 29th). We were ready to buy!
Steve knows everyone, even the gate keeper at Kempton who let us drive right on in and obtain the perfect parking space right outside the main building. Since it was still raining
many of the outside dealers had not even unpacked their lorries. We went immediately into the building and what treasures we found.... French oyster plates, copper jugs,
unusual majolica, great boxes of every type .... the list goes on and on. We had a great system, Paula pointed out special pieces and helped negotiate the price, Kitty tagged and numbered, Jenny wrote the purchases up and paid, and Steve took it all to the van. There wasn't a single London dealer there that has a system like ours. It all worked because in no time at all we had filled Steve's van and had to spill over into Martin's truck. We loved Kempton even in the rain and would definitely go back. (Only if Steve can take us).
Enjoying the fire in May
5 Notes From Abroad August 2013
NEW TERRITORY AND NEW FRIENDS
Little did we know what Steve had planned for us after Kempton. He asked us if we ever watched the "antique" shows on The BBC. "Of course" was our
systems...so we've never been back. By now the sun was out and the rain over for
awhile. We were excited to be exploring new territo- ry and especially to be meeting a TV star. Maybe he would want to put us on one of his programs. We love Mark Stacey, his small, wonderful, quirky shop “Vintiques” packed full of treasures waiting for us and his very handsome and friendly partner, The Spaniard (we never did find out his name or maybe we couldn't pronounce it. He was just The Spaniard to us... very nice and movie star good looking).
We took in all the interesting shops on St. James Street and then joined Mark and the Spaniard at their pub, Metro Deco, Brighton's 1930s style pub for lunch. Not only was the food delicious but our com- pany so entertaining. It was obvious that Mark is a well know host on television. His popularity and friendly personality filled the room with laughter. Everyone there seemed to know each other and made us feel right at home and a little homesick for our pub, The Royal Peasant, just down from our shop. Mike, the kind proprietor, describes a pub perfectly. "A pub is a state of mind, a place where relaxation and conversation are the order of the day, a sense of being at home is very much in evidence, informality is rampant and many a stout gentleman or gentle lady has fallen to the lure of his or her "local", the urge to dive in for a swift pint of beer has challenged and defeated the hardi- est of souls". - This is why we love pubs so much and the Metro Deco certainly fit the definition of a pub. Also, most pubs are dog friendly and recently a dog wed- ding complete with bridesmaids and groomsmen was held at the Metro Deco. Steve and Paul's dog was a bridesmaid. We were so sorry we missed the wedding.
Not only was the day filled with what we like to do most, shop till we drop, but we also made two wonderful new friends. Who could ever forget talent- ed and knowledgeable Mark Stacey and the hand- some Spaniard? We hope our paths will cross again.
Paula, Jenny, Mark, Kitty and the Spaniard enjoying lunch at Metro Deco
reply and we immediately told of our debut on the BBC when we were interviewed on the pro- gram "Put your Money where your
Mouth is" and
became overnight TV stars for a year. (Seriously, even now, we still have people come and ask us if we were the
two on that antiques show) We love it! Well, Steve continued, he has a friend, Mark
Stacey, who is a regular on most of the antique shows on the BBC. He serves as an antique expert and host on the English version of Antiques Road Show, Bargain Hunter and the show we were on. Recently he opened a new
shop on St James Street in Brighton. It's packed with fur- niture, ceramics, and antiques from all eras and for all budgets. He thought we would like Mark and his shop. There are also lots of other shops on St. James St. plus we'll have lunch in the best pub in Brighton, in fact in all of England.
Our New Friend - Mark’s quirky shop Vintiques on St. James Street in Brighton
We have never shopped in Brighton because it's huge and we've never knew where to go. Once someone told us about "The Lanes" in Brighton and we spent a morning trying to find the area and finally gave up. All the streets are one way systems and hard to navigate. We don't do well in one way
6 Notes From Abroad August 2013
A LITTLE HISTORY LESSON THE ROYAL PAVILION OR THE BRIGHTON PAVILION
We even found time to do a little sight-seeing in Brighton. The Royal Pavilion is a must if you are ever in this charming seaside town only an hour's drive from London by train or car. A great day trip. The Royal Pavilion was built by the Prince Regent, later George IV, in stages between 1787 and 1823. It has an exotic oriental appearance both inside and out, and designed to replicate the Taj Mahal in India. It was built as a seaside retreat for the Prince who in 1811 became King of England. It was often referred to as the Regents Pleasure Palace. If you like chi- noiserie' furniture and interiors, this is the place to visit because you will see the most extravagant chi- noiserie' interiors ever executed in the British Isle.
History has it that the young prince had a taste for gaming, the theatre, Indian architecture and cuisine... another words he liked pretty women and fast living. Being remote from the Royal court in London, The Royal Pavilion was a discreet location for the young prince to "sow his wild oats" and sow he did.
George IV died in 1830 at a young age, too much fast living in the fast lane. The next king, William IV, also stayed in the Pavilion on his frequent visits
to Brighton. Queen Victoria who followed as Monarch disliked Brighton and the Pavilion. She definitely did not approve of the fast lane. So in 1850 the Royal Pavilion was sold to the town of Brighton and has been known as the Brighton Pavilion since that date.
Queen Elizabeth in the 1950's helped restore the rooms and created replicas of some of the original pieces of furniture. As you walk thought the beauti- ful rooms you think if these walls could talk what tales they could tell. Around 400,000 people visit the Pavilion each year. We were so glad we could be part of the group.
OLD HAUNTS AND NEW
The morning of the last day with our new best friends Steve and Paula
was spent revisiting and shopping in old haunts of ours like the Vinery where there is a vast amount of furniture all located in one area. The afternoon was filled with new adventures shopping in quirky shops in
A real find from the Vinery Walnut Serpentine Low Boy Brighton with wonderful
names like snoopers
Paradise and it was exactly
as the name implies. We
were all 'snoopers" in a
huge building filled to the
brim with hidden treasures
at every turn... all kinds of
antiques imaginable ...art
Chest from The Vinery We also shopped in the in mahogany - circa 1850
Brighton flea market and the Lanes of Brighton all tucked away in the heart of the town and only discov- ered because of Steve and Paula's knowledge of where to go and where to find it. What a great day buying and exploring. As the old saying goes "noth- ing ventured...nothing gained".
deco, Victorian furniture,
painting and so much more. Walnut Chest cross banded
7 Notes From Abroad August 2013
ENDING TO THREE PERFECT DAYS
We loved being in the south of England. We bought a mindboggling variety of unusual furniture and accessories... stayed in a gem of the past manor house...we were totally spoiled by Steve...had enchanting adventures everyday and most important- ly we made wonderful new friends. It's all good, three perfect days for us.
GOODBYE TO STEVE AND A BIT OF INFO FOR OUR CHILDREN
The next morning when we said goodbye to Steve he asked very politely if he could say a few words to us. "Uh oh" he's going to tell us he can't drive Miss Kitty and Miss Jenny anymore because we were so demanding etc...etc... Instead he said that he and Paula had a great time with us and even learned a few new buying tricks and a few new words and expressions. And speaking truthfully, he liked driv- ing us a lot more than the Royals. We were a lot more fun, not near as demanding and very easy to please and get along with. "Listen up children" you heard it from the Royal Chauffeur, "not demanding, fun and easy to please". How about those compli- ments for the "old antiques"? We were smiling from ear to ear. We will always remember and be grateful for the fun filled adventurous and we hope profitable day we had the pleasure of spending with "Our Royal Chauffeur."
Do you have something to go here so we can start Lucy and Ethel at the top of the next page?
THE FIRST AND ONLY INCIDENT
Have you, our faithful and loyal customers, who hopefully read our newsletter noticed anything differ- ent about this journey. No incidents yet...get ready. It's a whopper!
The day was lovely (no rain) and we were on the right motorway (the M6) headed in the right direction (north0. Everything was going along smoothly. We were right on schedule to arrive at our next stop by six o'clock. And believe it or not we had already booked a place to stay.(no more "mirages" like last year for these two seasoned travelers). There was only one hitch...we had to drive through the heart of Birmingham, one of the largest and most populated cities in the UK at 5 o'clock in the after- noon, which you want to avoid at all costs. Luckily Steve told us to take the toll road around the city. It would cost us 9 pounds(around $15) but it would save us several hours of trying to deal with Birmingham traffic.
Sounded like a plan to us. (The Ethel and Lucy story begins now). The toll plaza is
divided into four lanes. We chose to use the pay by credit card lane because we never seem to have the correct change for the machine.
Ethel, the driver, pulled up to the machine as close as she could but her short arms just would not reach the machine and as she was trying to stretch she dropped the American Express credit card and it dis- appears (yes rolls under the car out of reach and out of sight). By now the cars behind started honking. Can't they see Lucy and Ethel can't go anywhere...the gate is down and the credit card is somewhere under the car. Ethel started to hyperven- tilate and Lucy took control. She got out of the car to try to retrieve the credit card. Even her long arms
8 Notes From Abroad November 2012
wouldn't reach it. She got down on all fours to see if she could even see the card. The horns were blow-
ing...angry men were shaking their fist and shout- ing... lights were blinking and the line of cars kept growing and growing and growing. We couldn't go forward because the gate was down and we couldn't go backwards because a car was there and now Lucy was down on
all fours and couldn't get up! Ethel was sit- ting in the driv- ers seat with a glazed stare on her face like surely this can't be happening. Two toll booth attendants quickly appeared our of nowhere to try to get Lucy upright and back in the car and try to retrieve the credit card deep under the car. And the line of cars kept growing and growing and the horns kept honking and honking and the fist kept shaking and the shouts kept coming all aimed at yours truly. Finally before the angry men attacked, the attendants found the card... they managed to get Lucy upright and back in the car again... the gate went up... and Ethel somehow put the pedal to the metal and away we went. They were so glad to be rid of us that they didn't even make us pay. As we sped away, it was a frightening sight to look back and see the miles and miles of cars lined up behind us and all because Ethel dropped the credit card. Stay Calm and Carry on.
As the curtain closed on our latest incident, we heard that there was an all points bulletin posted to the radio travel channel urging drivers to avoid the Birmingham toll plaza on the M6 at all costs. The queues were quite long...backed up for miles and
miles. We just kept driving hoping no one would rec- ognize the black Vauxall Astra hatchback as the car that caused all the problems at the toll plaza. Also we wondered if the police would be sending a ticket for disruption of traffic at the toll plaza. So far so good ... not ticket has arrived in the mail.
When we finally arrived at the Green Man, our lodging for the night, we immediately "nipped down" to the Quiet Woman, our favorite pub in Leek
and nearby so we could walk for a glass of much needed medicinal wine. We did not want to see the car for a
while. While sitting in the pub trying to recover from our experience of just a few hours before we over- heard a gentleman, as he tossed down a pint of lager, telling his friend about the unusual incident that hap-
pened on the toll motorway around Birmingham. Why he was tied up for an hour because some lady dropped her credit card trying to use the machine. He proceeded to describe the incident and all we heard was that he wished he could meet the person that caused all the
problems .. He'd really like to give her a piece of this(and he held up his fist and shook it.) We both sank further and further down in our booth and immediately had another glass of wine. Thank good- ness he didn't look our way because the look on our faces was a dead give away that we were the culprits. It really is a small world. Hard lesson learned: from now on get out of the car id you can't reach the machine at a toll plaza and about all stay calm and carry on.
9 Notes From Abroad November 2012
AT LAST A STAY AT LANGAR HALL
For years we have been hearing glowing tales from our fellow antique dealers and very good friends Ben Everett and Ross Spain about Langar Hall in Nottinghamshire (home to Robin Hood and his Merry Men) that we have really missed out if we don't
stay at Langar for a night or two. It was not too for from Newark where we would be ending our travels. So we decided this was the year for Langar Hall. It would be an ideal place to take a break...relax...and get ready for our favorite fair, the gigantic Newark two day International Fair and our last chance to buy before going home. It is also important to put aside shopping for a day or two, enjoy a four o'clock tea or a glass of wine and just soak up the beauty and histo- ry of this great country. Langar Hall seemed to be the perfect place.
The History of the Hall
The name Langar is an ancient Indian word for a place where travelers receive rest and nourishment and we needed both after going nonstop since arriv-
ing in the UK and having to deal with the toll plaza inci- dent. The stuccoed apricot washed Georgian house is reached by an avenue of ancient lime trees. The house has been in the same family since 1860 but the house itself dates back to the thirteenth
century. The property sits adjacent to a beautiful twelfth century village and at one time was the recto- ry for the church. The present day owner, Imogen Skirving, transformed her ancestral home into an instantly likeable hotel that mixes the best sort of a well lived in look with style and surrounds you with warmth and history.
After checking in we were given a tour of the house and lovely grounds. We were disappointed to find that Imogen was away
on holiday. We so wanted to meet the lady who had managed to maintain and keep this lovely corner of England as it was in the 1860's. A few alterations were inevitable but on the whole the house hasn't changed too much and it certainly hasn't lost
Michael the Maître d its family home appeal. Langar who took such good
care of us Hall is one of the most successful privately owned hotel in Britain today and is known for its unsurpassed cuisine and comfort and there are very few hotels in England that can rival the history and charm of Langar. Guest and ghosts(yes, ghosts but friendly ones) are frequent visitors as well know personalities and now to the list of happy guest our names would be added.
Imogen Skirving of Langar Hall
Since the sun was shin- ning brightly and we arrived at tea time, we decided to have tea in the Butterfly Garden. We had not enjoyed a proper tea since arriving. The view looking out into the mag- nificent parkland were sheep grazed freely was spec- tacular. The ritual of tea at four, the sudden showers and unpredictable weather, the centuries old tradi- tions, and the ambience of a by gone age are just a
The beautifully appointed dining room
10 Notes From Abroad November 2012
few of the rea- sons we love to visit this island so steeped in his- tory, beautiful unspoiled landscapes, timeless unchanged vil-
lages, country hotels and of course the best and friendliest pubs
(although our pub is now giving the pubs in the UK a run for their money).
We changed into our best Chico's traveling outfits, dressed up with a little jewelry, and entered the beau- tifully appointed dining room. We were met by Michael, the maître d, who welcomed us and showed us to the best table in the rom overlooking the gar- den. We were impressed he even knew our names. Michael has been with the hotel since the beginning and makes sure that everyone's dining experience will be a truly memorable one. The dining room filled up quickly, not an empty table in the room. The three-course dinner consisted of fresh fish right out of one of the nearby lakes with seasonal vegetables all locally grown. We were extremely delighted with the food, presentation and service. While waiting for dessert the lights dimmed and al of a sudden Michael (who had become our friend by now) walked towards our table with a beautifully decorated cake that said Happy Birthday Jenny and the entire dining room began singing Happy Birthday. For one in her life Jenny was speechless and couldn't imagine how Michael could know that she had a huge birthday coming up in August. The mystery was solved very quickly. Our friends, Ben and Ross had arranged with Michael to present her with the cake. They had remembered that she always said she wanted to cele- brate her 80th (yes 80th) birthday in England. No wonder Michael seated us at the best table and knew our names. We were the honored guests.
Needless to say our friends from North Carolina
did make Jenny's wish come true to celebrate (a little early) her big birthday in England. A perfect ending to a perfect day. And we just received an email that Langar Hall has been nominated Food and Travel Magazine's Readers Award as best rural hotel of the year. It is indeed a unique and very hospitable place to stay and our visit will linger in our memories as a place we want to revisit over and over again. Another day... another happy ending.
NEW FIND, NEW FRIENDS
While roaming the many, many lanes at the Lincoln fair, we discovered a wonderful interesting new venue... French Lavender Interiors. All French furniture as the name implies. Zaria, our new dealer friend, presents her furniture in a very attractively
Tea for two in the Butterfly Garden
Our new friend, Zaria with her wonderful painted French is based on a classic
furniture at Lincoln Fair
decorated marquee that gets your atten- tion as soon as you see it. Most of the vendors just set up tables or sell out of the back of their lorry. Her collection
French style with antique decorative furniture to compliment any kind
of room. She also shows a wide range of small accessories for home and garden. Not only did we enjoy buying lots of her unusual items
but we also found a charming new friend who is English but most of her stock is purchased in France. She is also very knowledgeable on French fruitwood and painted furni- ture. We did not leave Zaria much to sell the next day... What a find!!
Original painted French carved serpentine chest circa 1870
11 Notes From Abroad November 2012
TWO SHOWS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE
While walking the endless rows of outside pitches of antiques at the Lincoln Fair, we heard the deafen- ing roar of jets. Were we being bombed... should be take cover...run for our lives. Little did we know this deafening noise was the Red Arrows, the RAF aerobatic team with their red, white and blue jet streams.
Some of our English friends filled us in on the par- ticulars of the Red Arrows. We learned that the Red Arrows were stationed at
Scampton RAF Base not far from the fair grounds. This precision team consists of 9 planes which are painted red in color to make them more visible in the sky. They are piloted by 9 pilots with a 3-year tour of duty and are the best of the RAF pilots. They are very similar to the US Blue Angels.
Forget the antiques we were mesmerized by their daring feats. They were engaging in precise forma- tion training sessions to our amazement with looping and rolling in perfect symmetry.
After enjoying these spell binding sights, we decided it was time to get back to the business of antiques and the thrill of the hunt. How fortunate we were to just pay for entrance into the Lincoln Antique Fair and enjoy a free air show.
CAFÉ BLEU AND AN UNEXPECTED GUEST
After a long and hard days work at the Newark fair, we always make it a point to try to have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in all of England, Café Bleu, in the heart of Newark...known and enjoyed by all the locals who frequent it often. Here you can savor both British culture and cuisine, as it's not your typical tourist attraction. We were lucky this year that they had a cancellation and could take
us at seven. Since it was out last night in England it was a perfect place to say "good bye until next year".
While sitting in the bar, having a glass of a very good chilled Pinot Grigio relaxing and savoring the moment Jenny kept staring at a very handsome man seated next to them. She does not make a habit of staring at strange men but this one she said she had seen somewhere before. She never forgets a face, name yes...but face no. Kitty said she had never seen him and to stop staring because he's looking this way and he'll think you are flirting (at almost 80 that's the last thing "the old antique" would be doing.) Jenny thought that Kitty needed another glass of wine very quickly to help her "chill out". Jenny recalled a story to Kitty about their friends who befriended a stranger in a bar in Savannah and it turned out to be Cameron McIntosh, the great producer of “Les Miserables” and only all the best plays on the London Stage. Now they're great friends and even visit him in England. And by the way she continued "Do you remember when Regis Philbin came in our shop early one morning some years ago. First of all you didn't know who he was and secondly I had to tell you he was a well known TV host. "I'm telling you this man is famous and I've seen him somewhere", Jenny continued. "We need to engage him in conversation". The bar area is small and we guess it wasn't hard to overhear our conversation. The handsome stranger all of a sudden very politely asked us what part of the states we were from. "With your accents it could possibly be the south." He was so nice and friendly and the more we talked the more we were sure we knew him. Kitty was even coming around and was also sure she had seen him before. The bolt of lightening hit both of the old antiques at the same time ...Downtown
Cafe Bleu Wonderful restaurant where we spent our last evening in England and also met Matthew Crawley
12 Notes From Abroad November 2012
Abbey! He's Matthew Crawley, a major star on our very favorite series that's been showing on PBS every Sunday night for the last three years. We both simul-
taneously blurted out "You're Matthew Crawley and why did you have to die?" He smiled and admit- ted that his name is Don Stevens (not a household name in the States but well known in the UK) and he did play the character of Matthew Crawley on
Downtown Abbey for three years. He has now exited the series because of other commitments. Of course we told him that he was our favorite character and we absolutely loved the program and couldn't wait for series 4 to begin he would certainly be missed. He told us interesting facts about filming Downton Abbey but did not reveal any details of the upcoming episodes. It was hard for us to believe that we were really having a conversation with the star of Downton Abbey. We're sure we acted like two teenagers inter- viewing Justin Beavers. Soon his friend came into join him for dinner and goodbyes were said and we thanked him for being so cordial to the old antiques and meet-
ing him made our trip com- plete.
We can't possibly tell you what we had for dinner...all we can remember is meeting Don Stevens a.k.a Matthew Crawley - We will certainly never forget our last night in England.
Our trips to England have not passed without histori- cal events - We have seen royal weddings, death of a princess, a Queens diamond jubilee, the London
Olympics, the wedding of William and Kate, the much anticipated birth of the heir to the throne and vast technological leaps that have seen our amateur- ish picture taking and record keeping replaced with our fancy new IPhones and ipad. "Yes, we've come a long way baby."
This meager attempt of an overview of our annual buying trip is hopefully to share with you a small part of why and how we go to England to buy antiques. There's a certain pleasure to be had from sharing the hidden gems we've had the good fortune to stumble upon through the years and the adventures we've had along the way.
THE REASON WE LOVE ANTIQUES
It matters not if you know a Georgian bookcase from an Edwardian chest on chest or a porcelain plate from majolica compote. If you can appreciate the simple beauty of a well-made piece of furniture and the remarkable talents of those who have made it their life's passion then you are soooo welcome to see our latest shipment.
Lancaster chest or mole chest Brown oak crossbanded in mahogany, original swan neck
Walnut Louis XVI Panetiere or bread cupboard circa 1760
handles circa 1830
In this day and time when shopping on line is so common and antiques literally seem to be a thing of the past our commitment to you, our wonderful
customers, is to con- Found this unusual and hard to find stantly search for the
piece at a warehouse in Oakham, totally off the beaten path while exploring the countryside
best and most unusual
furniture and acces- sories we can find. And to inspire all those with an
interest in antiques to continue the love of a hand- made piece of furniture. We hope this years shipment
13 Notes From Abroad August 2013
will satisfy your nostalgic desire for the ways things use to be and yet we hope you will find times furni- ture for contemporary liv- ing. Combine these objects in a various ways and it will create a person- al statement all your own and help you make your
house a home.
18th century mahogany chest on chest (even the drawers are lined with mahogany) cast bronze roco handles with canted corners, circa 1780
OUR TRAVELS THIS YEAR
Our travels this year took us from the vibrant streets of Brighton all the way to the Warehouses of Liverpool. Along the journey, we have found a stretch of land that is like no other. Here we have had timeless adventures around every bend in the road. But most of all, we have discovered the perfect backdrop for a lifetime of memories and we always remind ourselves on the way home... there's always tomorrow and another journey.
Chris Hamilton, owner, gave us directions to his very interesting garden clasics center.
Rutland Garden Relics specializing in the unusual reclaimed garden artifacts. We found these staddle stones & chimney pots there.
Primo Piano in Leek Staffordshire - one of our favorite places to eat for it ambience, delicious food and charming owner and servers.
14 Notes From Abroad August 2013
On the right is George at Maggs in Liverpool - a 3rd generation Webster, who we hope will carry on the business for years and years to come. Also pictured: Sue, His mother, Paul Webster and a worker
A street in the ancient market town of Asbourne. They still have their Olympic flags flying. We found the chest on chest in a shop “top drawer” here.
15 Notes From Abroad August 2013
16 Notes From Abroad November 2012
Our trips to England have not passed without his- torical events. We have seen royal weddings, death of a Queen mother and a princess, Queens Diamond Jubilee, the London Olympics, and the much antici- pated birth of the heir to the British throne. Our amateurish picture taking and record keeping havea been replaced by vast technological leaps with our fancy and new iPhones and iPad. (Yes, we’ve come a long way, baby).
This meager attempt of an oveview of our annual buying trip is hopefully to share with you a small part of why and how we go to England to buy antiques. There’s a certain pleasure to be had from sharing the hidden gems we’ve had to good fortune to stumble upon throug the years and the adventures we’ve had along the way.
1730 South Lumpkin Street Athens, GA 30606
RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED
All's Well that Ends Well
As the airplane touches down in Atlanta, we real- ize that is was in fact the perfect trip. We think we bought well(an unbelievable variety) ... we had great R & R.. always new adventures and new shop- ping spots... made incredible new friends... indulged ourselves with some of the best food and wine.. did not get lost once... and only had one incident. Who wouldn't call that a perfect trip.
Life is definitely a wonderful journey and it's family and friends at home and in England that make that journey worthwhile. We learn from yes- terday...we live for today and we have hope for tomorrow... All is Good.
Kitty and Jenny a.k.a the two old antiques a.k.a. Lucy and Ethel and now a.k.a. Miss Kitty and Miss Jenny
PRESORTED First Class Mail US Postage PAID Athens, Ga Permit No. 11