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Car Boot Who’s Who

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We made the most of today’s glimpse of sun by getting ourselves to the Hayes Street Farm car boot fair. We weren’t expecting much seeing as it is just out of  the London ‘burbs but it turned out to be one of the biggest booties we’ve ever been to.

While I was scouting out an old set of hooks, trying to work out how to get the best price out of a wheeler dealer who had CLEARLY seen me coming from a mile away, an old know-it-all piped up over my shoulder “Oh yeah, 1950’s designer hooks them.” The seller’s ears perkied and he choked out a price way beyond my humble jumble means. I slunked/slank/slinkied (??) off thinking just how typical those characters were.

We bustled about the rest of the fair, spending only about £13 but coming away with a proper arm full. (Okay, er, boot full.) As we bustled we met the whole cast of car booters, the beloved and the beholdens you inevitably find at every one. See if you know them too. . .

Senior Seen Ya

He’s got a House Clearance van full of rusty relics, old stuff that he doesn’t know much about but he knows some people appreciate. Senior isn’t fooled by my guise of “looking poor” especially for the car boot,  he knows I can’t resist his languishing junk and hikes up the price accordingly.

Expect to hear: This piece, you know, it’s a collectible, like a vintage-retro-antique, yeah? It’s £25. A good deal too, for this piece.”

The WinWins

These are another kind of regular car boot sellers. Often a couple, retired, they fetch an extra bob on the odd vintage treasure but also have a a whole load of Rummaging Crates with a sign sticking out; “All 20p”. Their stock flows freely, they go home unburdened,  you take home a worn pack of Dominoes; everyone is happy!

Do say: “I’m just popping back to the car to get my trolley bag!”

Don’t say: “Shall we call it 15p, rather than 20p?”

60p I paid for these two sets of dominoes! I’ll keep one set and craft with the other.

Knock off Norrie

Norrie here, he’s got the Idops and the Idaps, a select handful on his muddy blue tarpaulin. But people are crowding round, and some are even buying. We saw one guy today pay £20 for a tablet off our Norrie – he never listened to his mum’s wise words-  if it seems to good to be true, it probably is!

Slogan: Less Car Boot and more Boot Leg

Colleen the Collector

Her table is a mecca for tiny porcelain creatures, a swarm of dainty ballerinas, hedgehogs and cats.  Either it is a life time of purposeful collecting, OR she made the mistake once of mentioning to someone how much she liked a miniature china hedgehog and every friend and family member has bought her a small ornament for every occasion since. She is finally liberating herself of her fragile army of porcelain.

Trademark:A slight discomfort at having her goods on display.

I got this rusty tin for 10p. Like I need another rusty tin.

Top Makes Dave

One of the rare sellers which will yell, market like, at the crowds “Top makes, everything a pound” as he tries too off load the giant pyramids of loo roll and new household products stacked up behind him. Dave comes from a long line of market traders and is single handedly taking on Poundland.

Try not to:Autocorrect “Makes” with “Brands”

I can’t refuse a Twinkle, especially for 50p. I got the the frame for 10p and a roll of the gorgeous old navy wallpaper behind for another 10p. (“Hey Big Spender, ba, ba, ba, baaa!”)

The Outdoor Boys

You’ll spot these tanned blokes wearing their polo shirts and cargo trousers – often with sons in tow-  standing behind their rows of swanky fishing rods and associated gear. I normally whizz straight by but not before wondering if they manage to shift any of their pricey equipment in this jumble rumble.

Expect to hear: Bruce Springsteen blaring out of their stereo.

Lara Landrover

Meticulous mum with meticulous piles of well priced toys and quality kids clothes. These mums help me leave with not just frivolous rusty tins but some things I actually NEED for Ramona. And I help pay for the kids Scout Camp I ‘spect.

Do say:I won’t take the princess costume but I’ll have these dungarees, please!”

Don’t say: “I don’t really buy plastic toys for my little one, even if it is Fisher Price.”

The Melancholy-Looms

It is apparent a dear elderly parent has recently passed on, or a dear elderly parent is not quite passed on but is clearing out. The table is bending under the weight of not-quite-heirlooms spanning the spectrum of a lifetime. A beautiful antique dinner set next to a modern toaster, a tray full of VHS’s under a pile of retro curtains; a film of dust and sadness clings to everything.

Try not to: Shamelessly yelp with too much glee when you find the vintage crockery you are in love with.

Tool Time Terry

Nothing. But. Tools. Hundreds of them.

Expect to see: Tools.

*curtain raise*

Would you add any other characters to this cast? Would love to hear them!

Linking up with Liz and those cracking Magpies – I bet there are car boot hauls galore over there.

39 responses »

  1. Excellent! I’d love to see your take on the buyers too…there are some definite characters there as well!

  2. The novices: Young couple with bored, dummy sucking toddler loping around in the boot. Total tat but always with the odd gem. Have seen them with a vintage dressmakers dummy (which I missed out on by 5mins & was sold for £7 OUCH), vintage mirrors & lovely crockery amongst the usual a load of crap. LOVE the boot, we’ve got Chelford 10 mins from us. Yesterday got a lovely green granny lamp with gold trim, wooden magazine holder ripe for painting & oilcoth fabric to cover some chazza shop chairs. Bliss

  3. This is great. If it were the Welsh indoor car boot I’ve been to I’d have to include ‘Dai the Mystery Meat Man’ – I can’t imagine ever being desperate enough for something to cook for lunch that I’d buy off his stall!

  4. Digital Dean – Spotty teen selling his xbox games to save up enough cash to buy the next big thing in gaming technology. Surrounded by battery packs, bizarre looking cables and the odd memory card – Dean can’t quite muster up the courage to engage with the punter so his mum woefully sells his wares!

    (don’t) Expect to see
    anything here you want.

  5. I love car boot doughnuts. They’re the only people I’ll buy from even if they’re grumpy. I totally object to giving moody people my money but if they’re selling hot, fresh doughnuts I’ll throw my money at them regardless.

  6. Beautiful crockery!

  7. Ahh fab post Lu.

    You forgot Sam and Ella from the greasy burger van – NEVER EVER buy anything to eat from someone with that much dirt under their nails.

  8. Great post, I think I’ve spotted all of those in my time! A suggestion for buyers – Bargain Brenda, can’t bear to pay marked price for anything. if it’s marked at 10p she’ll offer you 5p.

  9. Great finds and a fab post! I’ll be interested to see what you do with that gorgeous wallpaper and the picture frame.

  10. Fun post! I usually learn a new phrase or colloquialism from your posts. I had never heard the terms “boot sale” or “boot fair” before finding your blog. Perhaps you could take a picture some time so I could see if my mental image is correct. Here in the southern US we have swap meets, which I suspect are similar.

    Yard sales are the big bargain source in the warm months. On any given weekend there might be 25 within 10 miles of my house. I think I will “borrow” your idea and do a blog post about the types of folks one meets at yard sales.

  11. How about Old Knitbags?

    The lady who has knitted baby clothes in the same pattern for 60 years but has run out of grandchildren, So now her wares are individually wrapped in plastic– identical items in a range of garish colours.

    Do not expect to see: Any of the newer, trendier makes the kids are wearing nowadays.

    • Yesssss!! One of my FAVOURITE! Ramona has many of her hand crafted jumpers! I have often said if she could just update the colours/ design a tiny bit she could charge twenty pounds rather than twenty p 🙂

  12. Sooo true! Love it!

  13. You’ve made me want to go to Hayes car-boot, I’ve been really unlucky the few times I’ve been. Think last time I came away with nothing and Kit had a battered tin of dinosaurs! I do recognise all your characters though! 🙂

  14. Oh my gosh this is great! Ive seen them all, and old Knitbags!! So so funny!
    I joined in with Magpie Mondays too, lots of old pottery amongst other things came home with me,
    Aqeela xx

  15. Love this post! I’ve spotted all of those before! I need to get to another car boot soon. Love what you came away with. Twinkle! Awesome! Xx

  16. Awesome! Takes me back to our one UK car boot experience… where we bought a beautiful antique (looking) phone (made in china), lugged it around Europe, took it back to NZ and it makes a loud screeching noise in your ear. Oh well it looks good. WE NEED CAR BOOT SALES IN NZ!

    • Looove this comment. Heheh your phone ooohahaha. What the heck am I going to do without car boots in NZ, when we come back? I think we may have to start the first one together!

  17. So funny. I need to get a good bootie. AND I have a couple of those plates you got…they always seemed really lonely…;)

  18. Pingback: Dominoes Fridge Magnets – the quickest, most fun craft ever « Lulastic and the Hippyshake

  19. You missed the Wideboys who will try to buy your old mobile phone for 20p, even as you’re trying to use it… what do they do with all of those mobile phones? I should do a similar post to this about the German car boot sellers – they’re a different breed altogether. My favourites are the middle aged women who give you the dead eye then mutter, “Ein Euro” in the same tone of voice as they would if you’d killed their favourite kitten. Briliant! Emma x

  20. Pingback: Transforming rubbish old tins with old paper « Lulastic and the Hippyshake

  21. As an avid booter I loved reading this, seams the characters you mentioned are at every boot sale all around the UK, is there some kinda training they undertake??? lol. The two phrases I hear over and over at our Oxfordshire car boot sales is “well, if I don’t sell it for a top price here I’ll just ebay it” and “well, I paid £20.00 for it so I want £18.50” both get a polite smile from me as I swiftly move on. I’m like yourself and am all out hunting out the bargains. Louise x


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