Vintage Villages

Where we are there are several villages and pretty much each one could be described as old and vintage but earlier this year I was coaxed to another one in Stockport.

Busy crowds in Stockport market 2012

I have always loved markets. As a student I spent most of my time out of lectures in the local pubs or at the market. I knew what days to shop for fish, when to buy the best shrimps (a big favourite of mine when I was younger) and where to buy the all important clothing, which had to be old and which had to vintage. I have fought tooth and nail to get my hands on a decent crombie overcoat. One of my greatest regrets was losing one of these wonderful winter coats at a party over two decades ago, time often heals pain but never the loss of an item from your wardrobe, especially one that is hard wearing and timeless. I remember Afflecks Palace, Manchester in the 80s being awash with clothes from the 40s and 50s. They were cheap, lasted a long time and more importantly were easy to mend. Then this way of dress fell out of favour and the last of my pinstripe trousers became too tight for me to wear. The waistbands of youth are wasted on the young. Yet markets have stayed in my blood and when I went to the Vintage Village in Stockport I caught the scent of all those early bargains. There are still bargains to be had, well worn, well cared for bargains.

Buyers look over the wares on a vintage stall at Stockport Vintage Village

You know you have been sucked in when you spend twenty minutes looking at a coal scuttle you don't need. We don't burn coal at Pig Row. However, I wanted it for my walking sticks, which I have quite a collection of due to my crooked spine. In the end, with a tight budget and the realisation that there is no point dressing a house that needs significant knocking around, it was left on the stall with a heavy heart.

We always forget how much cutlery meant to the English. Great swathes dot vintage markets.

I'm all for buying bargains but they must have practical applications. I found a stall of pipes and I just stood there remembering every relative I ever knew who had a pipe, from long gone Uncles to an irascible Grandparent, who I never called Granddad; this may account for his irritability towards me. I can still hear the sounds of pipes being knocked out on open fireplaces, Great Aunts yelling at the men to stop fouling up their parlours and a scent, a scent that is almost forgotten now, a cosseting smoke that is gentle, warm and a million miles away from the harsh tang of the cigarette. Smoking of any kind is not a great idea and I wouldn't warrant it, I am an ex-smoker and we are the worst kind to advocate smoking. However, the pipe is more than smoking. Alas though, if I had a pipe I would want to use it and that is never a good thing.

The forgotten trinkets of male domesticity

Little D though and Carol bounded from stall to stall, me in their wake, dreaming of times when we can start to dress our house and forget the time we had to take down ceilings, break down walls, put up stud work and get in builders who always seem to think leaving the front door open in the dead of winter is a fine thing to do.