Sometimes tactics are called for to ensure a measure of success at the Car Boot sale. When I say tactics I am, of course, referring to Warfare Strategy, exemplified by Lao Tzu and that good all-rounder standy-by, Machevellii. The enemy should be positioned on the same side making her advance competitive - but not advantaged (equidistant to book-box) and a retreat impossible. (You both start from the same table). Which is why this preposterously early morning I have rival/friend sitting in the passenger seat for a trip to the 'big one'.
En route we stop at CB1 where I inexplicably buy a large bundle of Pokemon cards. (Nerves and a need for a sacrificial offering to fate being possible contributory factors). There are no Ladybird books being offered up in return.
Rival/friend does however point out the 'other collector and partner' to me. Sure enough, they are strapped in their 'I mean business' all-purpose ruck-sacks - handy, I see, when partner stuffs wooden play garage and three boxed-up Barbies into the loose change section. This pleasant observation suggests they do not possess an all out compulsion to line their bags exclusively with Ladybirds. With any luck, they will soon be forced to hold out on Bunnikins 1st ed. because the extra weight of the Dust jacket will tip the balance, manifesting itself as a whirling mass of turqoise and purple stay-dri nylon, propelled by G force X body mass, coming to rest eventually at the hot-dog van. Well it is still early.
Friend falls in love with a large mirror adorned with silver grapes - "I don't really want to part with it" says seller, "but I've just done up the bedroom where it hung in a specially constructed alcove". I consider this normal looking, unassuming middle-aged housewife and think dark thoughts on Bacchus and car keys tossed on the shag-pile...
Ergo we are forced to find a Link machine before embarking on our M9 bound journey taking us to the big one. Trouble is we are already on the 'looks like simple chalk drawing of Cow with five legs' roundabout. I have been assured it is a mere 22 minutes stretch of motorway and in a way it is; if you happen to be the proud owner of a turbo-powered McLaren.
Nevertheless, teeth intact, we arrive in good time but we are disappointed. Sure enough, there is the promised gi-normous Gorilla (inflatable) happily beckoning us through his legs (A clever device ensuring regulars have no doubt that they are at the venue intended). But The sky has turned grey, and like lost children in an unknown playground we are confronted with exactly the same playthings, only they are not so good, by dint of expectation and inflated 'City' prices. I scrape by with Daisy the Dancer; my friend almost regrets not buying the hugely over-priced art deco bookstand.
We attempt to make a hasty retreat to CB2. The good thing, I believed, about the big one was the fact that, despite serving a City population, it is on the near-side outskirt, thus avoiding a drive into the emergent urbanised areas. What I hadn't taken into account was the lack of gaps on the dual carriageway, so after the briefest soujorn possible to Edinburgh City Centre we headed back home.
Some week's there appear a propensity of a particular item. This week it was Hamster cages: "Oooh that's a state of the art one there" squeals friend, cheeks puffed in contemplation. What worries me is not the number but the distribution. I contemplate why anyone would be parting with 6 Hamster cages (different shapes and sizes) I do not like my findings.
I have acquired a paltry sum this week, mainly doublers - Barbie, Coarse Fishing - but as I reluctantly agree to take my friend home then offer her a lift to Church (adding 20mins to my journey) I reflect on the one new title, The Good Samaritan. Now I am certain: all these good turns today; lending a fiver, giving a lift, sharing my in-car Neapolitians, will be rewarded. Next Sunday.
More Car Boot adventures...