Car Boot Meditations
chapter 3

Humans are good at adapting to new environments. This can be seen by the vast array of excess wallpaper rolls and and roman blinds which lie astrewn the diy fold-up tables. So adaptable that it doesn't take me too long to recognise the regulars alongside nailman, hubcap man, birdhouse man there is Commando (comic) man, pots and pans woman and ex-library book man.

Initially I regarded the latter somewhat akin to a mirage in the Sahara, until I realised LBs never come in large print format. Now I am familiar with his loud early warning system which he thoughtfully implemented for me via souped up car stereo. On good days it sounds like Hendrix (tolerable in a groovy sort of way), most of the time a hybrid of Vanessa Paradis with Motorhead (not nice). Along with the beying of the lowly cattle (remember the action takes place in an active live-stock market) one feels like one's stepped into a Pink Floyd concept album (nasty). But at least it indicates the area to particularly avoid now.

Not all things, alas, can be avoided. For every force there is a counter force. Usually this is disguised as some mumbo-jumbo such as "Swings and roundabouts" or "If you keep crossing your eyes like that it'll stick". However it is undeniably an immutable law of physics, which is why, as the good Summer weather approaches and with it fertile CB activity, I approach my seasonal nemesis - hay fever, and with it the desolation of suffering. Sometimes only the quest for Cocky the Lazy rooster gives me the will to face the outdoors.

So that I could show off my car boot au faitness in the face of adversity, I suggested the CB mini-tour to an uninitiated friend - I explained the ritual sacrifice; the need to have an early Saturday night and that I would call round before the pigeons awoke from their perches. It's a dawdle, I assured her, theoretically. The grim reality was oddly at one with a scene from The Living Dead. It is unlikely she will remember much and assume the episode of being confronted by a selection of unwanted fluffy gorillas to be part of the nightmare from which she has just awoken. Dazed and confused, she will call me and ask when I'm picking her up. At this point I will reveal the truth that she has been there and back and the Filipino shell lamp-shade (a snip at a quid) and furry monkey key ring is testament to her CB experience.

I suppose if I knew what I was looking for, it would make more sense, she mumbles diplomatically. She can't quite work out why any one would actually choose sleep-deprivation for 6 scented floating candles even if they did only cost 50p. This is where I am undoubtably at an advantage, despite a doped-up demeanour (anti-histamines). I am able to slough off my slug-like torpor (more anti-histamines) because I have a dream, a burning desire (no sonambulistic wanderings for me - oh no! ). I am as alert and cocky as a ... well, rooster, I suppose.

Perkily early, accompanied by friend, albeit in her parallel universe, I lay claim to a number of LBs: another Barbie title, a first edition Giants of Universal Park (SF series), even managing to unearth a DJ British Birds 3 (the early worm getting the bird), a couple of missing KWs, a smattering of W&H editions... so happy I almost forgot my WC Fields imitation.

The feel-good factor went quite to my head. Before I could stop myself, I had purchased a vintage (no.2 box) Meccano set, a set of hand-painted wine goblets (unwanted wedding gift) and a stack of ancient Bunty Annuals. Such was this feeling of irresponsible light-headedness that I ended up clearing out my purse contents along with my nasal ones.

More Car Boot adventures...

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