Friday, August 27, 2010

Just a Little Souvenir...

Although the BBC filming has come to an end in Shepton Mallet, most of the crew haven't left town yet...
Today they had set aside the day to clear the unsold produce from the shops that they created. All the groceries were just 50p each, so it was a great opportunity to get a few bargains, but also some souvenirs of this wonderful production.
Many items had been re-packaged with authentic graphics from each period in history. These were the items I was able to buy first thing this morning before I opened up my shop.
Throughout the day the team added more and more props and other bits and bobs to the market stall outside the grocers shop. I was able to run out and buy several ostrich feathers, as modelled here by the hard working Paul.
Then, very excitingly, a rail of clothes from the wardrobe dept. was added to the selection. Yes, I managed to bag a few, including the punk t-shirt that I showed in my previous post! (I know what I'll be wearing to work tomorrow! ;-)) Heehee!

In other ways though I have been trying to get back to normal in my shop after all the excitement over the summer.
I've arranged some new displays in my windows...

And had a sort through stock on the shelves...

As well as adding some new items here and there.


If the weather holds for Sunday, I intend to have a summer clearance at the Flea Market held at the Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet.
And just as a reminder, my shop will be closed for a week, until September 6th, as I need a short break.
Have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend,
Niki x

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back in the Day...

When a Toffee Crisp cost just 3p...

When the food offered at the family meal table wasn't always of the best quality...

When the cars were petrol guzzlers and were slightly unreliable...

When the fashions weren't always of the best possible taste...

When there were three day weeks, stand pipes in the street due to drought, power cuts and high inflation rates...

Communities were still sure to come together to celebrate a Silver Jubilee...

Whatever the weather!

Well, that is what happened today too, for the climax to the filming at Shepton Mallet.

The final community day, scheduled to be held on the Market Place in a street party style, had to find a new venue - Quickly!

And all went ahead as planned.
It was a wonderful send-off for the families and core customers involved in the making of the BBC history based documentary series, all about the average high street and how it changed within 100 years, from 1870 to 1970. Hubby and I were very pleased to be there to witness the grand finale to the show.
I shall really miss all the activity in the town, as a lot has happened within those two short months. Looking back, I enjoyed the Victorian era best. A lot of the retail activity spilled out on to the Market Place and so the community was a lot more involved with each other. Shopping each day was a social event in itself and I'm sure it would have been very easy for everyone to get to know everyone else, with lives far more entwined together. Fast forward to the 1970's and shopping happened behind closed doors, was often self-service, with people popping quickly in and out for convenience products.
Perhaps, when the programme is aired in the autumn, it will have an inspirational effect and will make people re-evaluate what is on offer on their local high street, rather than always rushing to the out-of-town supermarket or to sit at a PC and order on-line.
For Shepton Mallet itself, I hope that it will be seen in the good light that shone through at the street party event this afternoon. Perhaps new business owners will be encouraged to set up in the town. Also, if more local people and tourists came back and started using the shops - the ones that have weathered the tough financial years and watched customer numbers fall - to feel the community spirit that is within us all, and to work together, the town CAN be a more thriving and beautiful place once again.
Thanks to Wall to Wall and the BBC for choosing Shepton Mallet as the location for the series...May the positive energy that comes from the programme be an inspiration to all the struggling villages, towns and cities in the country.
Niki x

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Guess Who?

Someone (or more) entertained a large crowd of revelers on the Market Place this evening...


The 'Wall to Wall' TV crew enjoy reminiscing (although I think many of them are too young to remember the 1970's!)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sensational 70's

Just thought I'd show a few photos that I managed to take on Saturday of the filming for the 1970's episode of the BBC programme. It can be difficult for me sometimes to capture what is going on, as I obviously have my shop to run, so I do end up with a lot of back-views that I snap quickly in between customers!
The line-up below shows the opening sequence of the next programme, when the families arrive back to see the transformations to their shops. The Market Place was closed at this point, so access to my shop was very limited.
There are two new families/shop owners this time, as the previous shops have received radical overhauls.
Have to say that I am not totally convinced about some of the choices of clothes for some of the cast members. Being the 1970's, I would have gone the whole hog with tasteless psychedelic shirts, lots of mauves, pinks and oranges and huge shirt collars!

Master Sergison looks very cool in his flares and leather bomber jacket, but Mr. Sergison is a bit too conservative, (if you were to ask me! ;-)) - Mrs. Sergison looks great, but Miss Sergison's outfit seems rather ordinary - she could have been dressed in corduroy dungarees and some small platform shoes (I think polo necks were around a lot then, too) - I was about her age in the 70's and was always in mauve, or brown and orange clothes.
I think young Master Sandher (below) looks fabulous though!

The dressmaker has now become a boutique owner. They have used a new shop in Town Street, just a couple of doors down from mine...It's hard to take any photos of the interior as the glass is smoked...Very Biba in style.

So for the next week, I am in direct competition with this arranged my own 70's merchandise in my side window opposite! ;-))
I'd just like to mention a 1970's dress that was for sale in my shop, but which found a new home recently, here.
My front window is a little more sophisticated, with a vintage wedding display. This worked well for me a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd repeat a similar scheme.


I have a busy week this week, as I shall be open on Wednesday as an extra day to my usual opening hours. This is because the final day of the filming on the Wednesday, will have a 'Silver Jubilee' street party theme. The local Shepton community is invited and so it should be a lot of fun. Below are the details that I have been given, for anyone wishing to attend.

(Advance Notice: I shall be closed from 31st August - 6th September inclusive – Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.)
As I shall have a full week this week, I thought I should try and catch up with a few jobs at home yesterday. I harvested our plums and will try to get these preserved for the winter.
A few cooking apples were made into a delicious crumble last night...

Logs were cut and stacked...

And kindling was made from our prunings after another tiring day in our garden.
All for free! - Very satisfying!

Have a great week,
Niki x

Friday, August 20, 2010


Sometimes we need space; time to take stock and to think...
Life is such a whirlwind these days for most of us; it can be hard to find a moment to count those blessings...
I feel very lucky to be doing what I enjoy every day - My children are almost grown, and although two have not yet flown the nest, I have more time to be me these days than I did, say just 5 years ago.

My days away from the shop usually lead me on a hunt for more stock; to find an elusive treasure or two, as well as scouting for pretty vintage fabrics and trims to recycle.


The two photographs here were taken around 7 years ago when I had my first shop, which I trialled for a year. At that time I was looking out for the very same things that I aim to find these days...It wasn't easy, but was a little easier than it is today, despite me usually having at least one of my girls in tow! That was a good reason to put my dreams on hold at the time, as juggling did not make me happy - Happy girls meant a happy Mum.

Yesterday I had a lovely lady and her daughter in my shop. They were holidaying in Somerset and had travelled down from the Yorkshire area. Mum was heavily into vintage, even having a stand herself at some of her local fairs...She said she had been on the lookout for items whilst on holiday, but was surprised by the prices 'down south'. She said she had trawled several charity shops, but the only items she had found, were more expensive than she would be prepared to charge on her stall...

I know that problem myself all too well. Having a shop in a town such as Shepton Mallet means that I need to keep my prices competitive, so buying well in the first place is a major priority...

I'm thankful that I am able to hand make some of my own stock, as this helps relieve the pressure of always finding suitable items, but the downside is never really realising a fair price for my time...

Having had the shop now for almost 7 months, its been fun to learn how people react to it. Most enjoy having a look around, many have returned more than once, which is encouraging...What is funny though, is the question I am very regularly asked, usually at least twice a day...
It is 'Where do you find all your stock?'

Now being asked that so often, straight out like that, used to take me aback a little, as I wasn't too sure as to how best to reply.

For obvious reasons, I don't need any more competition than I already have, but I also didn't want to appear rude.

But I have come to the conclusion that people are just genuinely interested when they see so much 'stuff' in one place, all of which they can relate to, as they have seen these things in their past.

'Oh, Granny, or Auntie Mabel had one of those' is something that is told to me everyday. We often share reminisces about brooches dear old Nan would wear, or of photos of Grandad in the war, and baby gowns worn at Christenings over several generations...

Many visitors to my shop are not regular visitors to antique or vintage outlets...For them it is not the norm, so I should be less surprised than I am by their reaction, and be more ready to understand that for some, they are seeing these things for the first time again, after many years.

What a privilege that is, to be trusted and to share the memories that they wish to pass on to me.

(Here, we share so many things on our blogs, that it is easy to forget that for some this is a hidden world and they do not know of the abundance to be found with a few clicks of a mouse.)

I've found men in particular are fascinated by old photographs and they enjoy collecting them. Some find them a little creepy, some just sad that these portraits are no longer within a family line.

Women love the pretty china and glass, as well as the handmade products, and will sometimes remark on some of the fabrics I have used - often these are Sanderson prints, which they remember seeing as curtains in the home years ago.
Young girls are always attracted to the vintage costume jewellery and the clothes. Its always a pleasure to see a teenager try on a vintage dress and for her eyes to light up when its a perfect fit - the fact that her friends will not have anything like it in their wardrobes, seems to be an added thrill. I love the thought that another generation is starting out on the vintage journey...later in life they are sure to buy the china and other treasures, once they've been bitten by the bug!

Yesterday a vintage mini dress left my shop with a young she came in beaming, wearing the natty little number and looking fabulous!

Finding the perfect home for the items I have discovered and offered for sale, makes it all worthwhile...

And makes giving them up a little easier to do!

Having taken photos of a lot of my finds over the years, I am reminded of the past pieces, some of which are now with new owners...

And some are things that I couldn't bare to part with! ;-))

Some I've had to own for a little while, and then have later let them go...

Others, if they still pull at me heartstrings, I know I am meant to keep them! ;-))
Thank you for indulging me this short pause in my blog...there are no new photos, all have been posted at one time or another over the years, but I just wanted to look back at some of my 'flea finds', all of which have been a joy to discover.
On the Market Place in Shepton Mallet, 'Wall to Wall' have been working hard on the transformations of the shops, for the final BBC programme of the series (filming begins again tomorrow). They have reached the 1970's and although I do not know the format of this edition, it is evident by the signs above the doors, that this was an era which changed the face of the high street in a big way...and in a way where things would never be the same again.

There looks as if there will be a discount store, where customers can get their 'bargain fix' with bulk/discount savings.
I find it quite sad really; that for some, quality and a unique product are no longer important... merchandise that is disposable or replaceable within a short time seems to be what's required.

I am grateful for my little piece of escapism. To be surrounded by pretty things that are being offered a second chance of life, is what keeps me going. To have my shop, with at least a small flavour of how things once were, is wonderful.

It may not be for everyone, but for everyone who walks through my doors, they are at least offered that option...
Have a lovely weekend,
Niki x