It’s been a busy time recently in the real world. My job is changing slightly and I need to focus on learning a very complex new system, but since complexity is my middle name I’m enjoying the challenge. Working with data is a lot like working with physical networking – I can see many parallels between the two and it helps me to better understand the data relationships I’ll be working with…
It’s not all been data though, I was fortunate enough to be invited along to a huge out/indoor Antique fair held a couple of hundred miles south of where I live.
For years now my parents have been visiting Newark and bringing back treasures of a bygone era, I went a few times back when I was much younger but it’s been at least thirteen or fourteen years since I was last down there.
A savagely early morning pick-up at 4:45am began the day…
Having arrived at the site here we are unpacking the Volvo and donning the correct get-up for browsing Antique fairs and markets, generally people wear thornproof barbour jackets and a variety of layers. Here’s a rare shot of yours truly squinting into the morning sun about to take on Europe’s biggest Antiques and Collectables fair.
My parents both go to the fair to buy and sell and trade items but I go to browse the many wonderful and curious items on display (of which as you’ll see there were many) mostly for personal curiosity value, and sometimes to find esoteric gifts for my family and friends.
Here can see a typical lane down one of the 84 acres of space “Newark” covers. Some sellers have opted to pay for various sized marquees and tents, others just set up their wares outdoors and pray that it doesn’t rain. Various items spill out into the aisles, at this stage in the day there’s still a general setting up and clearing of throats going on. Here’s a gentleman uncovering what may have been reproduction furniture… it does look very white and clean.
The interesting stuff is usually just peeking out of the doorway, like in the following picture… These old mannequins are smiling unsettlingly at any punter who walks by them as a taxidermy Deer of some kind reclines on a sofa.
While on the theme of Mannequins here we can see the well made torso of perhaps a shop display for coats. It reminded me of a poseable artists figure who’d lost his legs. Also in the shot there are several free standing lamps, industrial lighting seemed to be a theme for many sellers this year.
Sometimes while wandering around you’ll feel you’re being stared at… however not in this horrific case.
This dog seems un-phased by losing it’s feet and sight, clearly it’s capable of sensing things through some other method gifted to it by hell.
Demonic canines aside, there are many wonderful old devices to look at while wandering the many avenues of Newark, here we can see the remains of an old fuel pump of some description. I don’t think I’m alone in the viewpoint of “things worked better when they were full of cogs…”
Not everything you come across is an antique… Here’s one of a pair of horses head sculptures made from driftwood which I thought were very well done:
Here’s an amazing amount of mostly broken watches. I suppose you could have spent time searching through them for something rare but I was happy enough just collecting an image of them all.
Eastern European enamelled vessels were popular this year… I suspect it may have something to do with what I like to call ‘the Great British Bake Off effect’ where people become nostalgic for retro cooking utensils. I was tempted to buy some of these but each one had some kind of significant ding out of the enamelling or was missing the lid. I was really on the look out for a Bread Bin to compliment my wife’s shiny new home bread maker but alas I could find nothing that would suit.
Moving on from domestic arrangements I found a stall selling bottles someone had dug up. I’m yet to write a post about my bottle digging adventures but going off what’s for sale on this stall for (effectively) nothing makes me think twice about the effort to payback ratio involved… I suppose you could argue that some day you might find a black lotus and it’d all be worthwhile… Below we can see some old Cream jars and various stoneware vessels (which always look nice in the kitchen) along with some other more common bottles. Each of the bottles were priced at a jaw dropping £2 each which seemed like you were stealing from the guy considering what is charged at a bottle fair.
Not all of the stalls are outdoors, I could have pondered the package artwork on display here for hours. Some people put a lot of effort into the set up of their stalls and here’s a prime example. After much deliberation I bought an old cigarette tin (made of tin!) from this stall. I think the brand (Balkan Sobranie) is still in operation although I can’t seem to find a link… The tin I bought has a NAAFI stamp on the back of it but not a good photo yet, I will add one when I can manage to snap a respectable image.
A hot tip for anyone who’s interested in Photography (specifically film) – you can grab many bargains at markets like Newark as this box of many SLR cameras shows. I don’t think you’re overly likely to stumble upon a cheap Hasselblad but you never know…
One of the greatest pleasures I can take from wandering around a place like Newark is delighting in the various old graphics of the items on sale. If I had more space / money (read: permission from my significant other) I’d probably cover every surface of my house with beautiful ephemera and rusted signs.
I’m sure I could write about vintage graphic design all day long but I’ll save that for another day, in the meanwhile here are some examples I found particularly pleasing to my eye.
Ignoring the (most likely) reproduction Coke Sign the clocks are great, I love the Sunkist example!
I don’t know what kind of bubblegum this machine dispensed but I wish this kind of thing was still around the place:
Part of a series of puzzle games. I actually bought this for my son since he loves cogs and the graphics reminded me of this excellent old disney cartoon which my son also loves. I think this may date from around the 1940’s so when he receives this from Santa Claus it’ll be going onto the shelves on his bedroom wall, not to be instantly destroyed by overly curious small fingers… Note that all the balls are in the correct place for having completed this particular puzzle.
I won’t go in to how long it took me to get them that way.
Following on with the theme of toys and graphic design, while digging through a battered old suitcase with a green plaid pattern adorning all surfaces I found this little gem of a money box (yet another thing for my son’s bedroom wall). I remember a time when money boxes like this were commonplace – sadly amazing items like this are becoming harder and harder to come by.
Not only is the design (in my mind) a modern classic but when you place a coin onto the tray the robot is holding he spins around and drops the coin into the hopper at the back. I love the look on this guy’s face he seems very happy and I hope that my son will treasure this item long after I’m blowing in the wind…
I hope you all enjoyed browsing some of the images of my trip to Newark, if I go back, I’ll write about it again.