Thursday, 18 June 2015

Why did the woman have two black eyes?


This is the second collectable, antique tray I have picked up in Bath's best charity shop (Women's Refuge) in a year. You may remember the other - an ormolu-edged, Chinoiserie, Georgian thing which John Gray did not hesitate to tell me he hated.

This one seems to date from around the 1920s, and I still have not decided if it is Japanese or Chinese - this is shameful, I know, and I am hoping one of you experts can settle the matter for me.

It's a bit warped and some of the joints are coming apart, but I am going to take it to a woodworker friend of mine and borrow his wonderful, little panel-pin nail gun which fires in tacks so quickly, forecefully and deeply that it even recesses the ends to almost invisibility.

The Bath Women's Refuge shop is a wonderful place, staffed by wonderful women, and it is very rare that anything in it costs more than £4. This tray was £3.50. I have bought brand new, hand-made, Jermyn Street shirts there for £2 each before now. The staff know the worth of everything they sell, but they really want people to go for bargains - unlike their corporate charity shop neighbours, whose prices rise and rise until you may as well buy the stuff new in the first place. Those shops have directors  salaries to pay, and they want to be paid the same as a director from Marks and Spencer.

As the name suggests, all proceeds go toward the upkeep of a secretly located refuge for abused women and their children, which gives respite or escape from troubled or just plain nasty partners or husbands. There is, of course, much more of this type of abuse going on behind closed doors in genteel towns like Bath than you might imagine, but it rarely gets into the statistics, going largely unreported.

I walked into the W.R. shop a couple of years ago, and the women who were in there were standing around looking slightly gob-smacked, so I asked why.

A man had just left - or rather he had been asked to leave - because of a comment he made when told where the profits of the shop went to.

"Mind you," he said, "Some of them ask for it, don't they?"

15 comments:

  1. The greeting from Green-Eyes still rings in my ears: "Have a lovely birthday, buying lots of crap in junk shops. XXX"

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    1. And the image of H.I.: Me, dragging stuff back to the cave every night and piling it high in a corner to gloat over in the flickering light of an open fire...

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  2. The mind boggles at some of the things people come out with doesn't it ?
    You keep buying your crap Tom …..I buy all sorts of old stuff …. it makes me happy !! XXXX

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  3. Hey! My ambergris story came in as a semi finalist at #16!
    So thank you thank you xxx

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  4. Some of the most heinous, cleverly covered-up domestic violence I worked with, when I was at work, was committed by well-to-do professional men. Gosh they were b*****ds to work with.
    Keep buying the crap. I guess you are not into the de-clutter-my-house brigade.
    Nice tray

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  5. I recently bought a 1920's glass bottomed tray. The glass had been under-painted with a highly stylised sunset scene. When I got home, I dropped it. Bleedin eejit.

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    1. I'm putting my ten bob on Japanese.

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  6. I have never seen anything like it. Rarer than hen's teeth.

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  7. My friend, whose house is a rotating display of her collections, recently looked at a cookie jar valued in the four or five hundred dollar range. It was at a flea market in pouring rain, few customers but the die hards. The seller offered it for two hundred. After an internal struggle my friend passed; she had just packed away to cookie jars for another year or two. One seventy five as she walked away. One fifty?

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  8. I love it - and praise indeed from John above.
    Some men ask for it if you ask me - I would have liked to give him more than just two black eyes.

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  9. The inhouse expert says, "Japanese 1920s. Wares of that nature quite common though unusual shape for a tray. Decorative but neither rare nor commercially sought after."

    Personally I love it and would have snapped it up had I spotted it in a local charity shop. Then happily ignored the sneers from the other end of the sofa.

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    1. Does he still ignore my sneers about his shirt tucked into his trousers? I seem to remember he was going to come round and beat me because of them.

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  10. Sorry for not responding to all your comments, but I've let it go off the boil now.

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