Car Boots and Sunday Soots!

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Lockdown Lines from a Boot Sale Boss!
Issue 1

The title of this collection of stories stems from our first year of sales back in 1992.A couple turned up with a rather large gazebo. Under the shelter of this they put a number of clothes racks containing suits. At the side of the gazebo was what looked to be a camping toilet tent with a paper sign attached by safety pin that read: ‘Changing Room’
Above the entrance was a large cardboard sign on which was scribbled in felt pen: 
Sunday Soots Ideal for Interviews, Work or Church!’

Down the years I have seen all sorts of signs, but this was the first that made me chuckle and has earnt inclusion into this collection of stories from our car boot sale.
In 1992, we held our first car boot sale. It attracted 12 sellers! 
My reaction? 
I was thrilled. 
That first morning I had no idea if any would turn up. 

In those days Sunday was the day for car boot sales and we were taking a hammer to a long-established tradition in the hope it might work!
We have always opened (when the weather has allowed) on the first Saturday after Easter. 
There has only been one delay before. In 2001 we didn’t have our first sale until the first of June and that was due to the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak.
In the 27 years up to the end of the 2019 season we have played host to just under 45,000 sellers and hundreds of thousands of buyers, so we must possibly be doing something right?
Last Saturday (16th May 2020), on what should have been our fifth sale of the 28th Season, I wandered around the empty grass field strewn with daisies and overflew it with my drone. 
My mind wandered (as it seems to of late!) and I tried to remember some of those sellers and buyers that I came to know over the years. 

I thought of many characters who are now at that great boot sale in the sky, the memory prompted by my position in the field; 
By the old entrance: ‘Mr Spanish’ in his light-blue Transit van. 
Up by the far end (3rd row in): ‘The architect’s mother’. 
Halfway down the far row (facing the hedge): ‘Live Like A Lord’. 
In the middle, wandering around in a thick coat in the height of summer: ‘Damn Seagulls’. 
Opposite the burger van: ‘Backwards Compass’. 
Next to the burger van: ‘Mr Barker – Fruit and Veg’. 
First row at the far end: ‘Lucky with his ex-BT plastic van’. 
‘The Burger Bus’: Far side against the hedge (6 or 7 caterers-ago) 
Along the far hedge, near the far end: ‘The Broken Tea Service’. 
‘Don and Margaret’ (British Heart) Second row. 
And of course I will never forget ‘Steve’ of Trish and Steve’s burger van. 
These are just a few that I remembered with a smile last Saturday.

So many friendships have been brokered here that it has become not just a place to buy and sell, but a meeting place for friends and friends you have yet to meet!
So special, in fact, that it wouldn’t surprise me in the least, if the spirits are happier in this special field than in a burial ground. I think it is not beyond the realms of possibility that they still meet here. If you were to listen closely when the field is empty, perhaps you’ll hear laughter! 
It was when I was reflecting on the passing of yet another regular customer some years ago that I came up with the saying: ‘If it weren’t for people, this would be just another rock in space’. 
To you all, we miss you and hope that soon this terrible virus will soon be a footnote in History and we’ll be able to meet again. I will be adding to this story over the weeks, so until then…

Stay Happy, Stay Lucky but above all Stay Well

Farmer Giles (aka Simon) and the Team
www.u-boot.co.uk

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