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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Lost Loos! – Bootsale Archive 4

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24th April 1999 – Arrived at the bootsale at 0530 only to find someone had stolen the portable toilets! After calling the police I dashed to fetch a spare. The policeman that arrived to look at the empty space was called PC Sweeny (Cockney rhyming slang ‘Sweeny’ or ‘Sweeny Todd’ = Flying Squad (at the time a division of the police). I have attached the local newspaper report which is, predictably, even more tongue-in-cheek than the verse!

24/4/99
When I opened the boot sale last Saturday
I noticed that someone had taken the toilets away
I rang the police they sent PC Sweeney
Who agreed that this was the work of a ‘dastardly meanie’
According to the PC known as ‘John’
Police have nothing on which to go on!
By the time the replacement was into position
Many were queuing on a desperate mission
If you are the culprit and are reading this
We all agree “you’ve taken the p***!”

The Baldock Saturday Car Boot Sale returns on the 14th April 2012
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Reject Verse No1

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In all the years I have written verse for the Baldock Car Boot Sales, I have built up a ‘reject file’ of verse that was deemed not suitable for inclusion in the local paper adverts.
It lay forgotten and gathering dust in the far recesses of my hard drive until a search revealed it, standing at the back frantically waving its hands in the air to attract my attention.
So here are a couple of rejects, more to follow…

4/5/09
The Government announced a Bill of Rights for Animals…

My cat’s now got more rights than me
It’s giving me the finger from up a tree
It shouted down that ‘it wasn’t afraid’
As it had recently been granted legal aid!
When the firemen came it was extremely rude
“We’re not doing this we could be sued!”
The cat remains up the tree
And so I climb a ladder to take its tea

© Baldock Bard

11/5/02
Having been on a farm Health and Safety course I found I could think of little else…

Let me have a little word
A cautionary tale
A man bought a chainsaw
At a car boot sale
Ignored the instructions
“Don’t have time”
Ended up the subject
Of this morbid little rhyme
He had a nasty accident
Cutting wood non-stop
He won’t be sawing wood again
His friends now call him ‘Hop’

© Baldock Bard

The Baldock Saturday Car Boot Sale returns on the 14th April 2012
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Bootverse Archive 2

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Over the years many shops have moved from out of the town centre to giant malls on the outskirts. In September 1998 I wrote about our local town, Baldock, bemoaning the loss of traditional shops and the surge in the number of charity outlets, restaurants and estate agents. Since then the trend has continued. Plus ca change…

A man I knew had a shop
In an empty local town
Rent and rates kept going up
Few customers came around
Someone mentioned our boot sale
I think his name was Frank
Now he has his shop in a Transit van
And money in the bank!

1998 was the year of a certain Monica Lewinski saga. Of course the Baldock Bard couldn’t let this one slip the net!

Monica Lewinski kept ‘that’ dress
Under her mothers bed
I bet that now Clinton wishes
She’d sold it in a boot sale instead!

© Baldock Bard

The Baldock Saturday Car Boot Sale returns on the 14th April 2012
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The Early Days – Boot Sale Archive 1

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In 1997, the Baldock Bard (known then simply as ‘Stan’) wrote the first four verses for the Baldock Car Boot Sale adverts.

Based on nursery rhymes they immediately gained recognition throughout nowhere and nobody commented on their humour, originality or content. The world turned, blissfully unaware that a revolution was happening that would leave nations untouched for many years to come.

Mary had a clear-out
Couldn’t believe her eyes
Took a stall at our boot sale
Now her house seems twice the size!

Little Bo-Peep
Couldn’t get to sleep
Because of her telephone bill
She took up a pitch
That made her quite rich
Now her bills don’t make her so ill!

There was an old lady that lived in a shoe
Had so many children she didn’t know what to do
She took a pitch at our car boot
Couldn’t sell the children but made some loot!

Jack and Jill went down the hill
To sell at our car boot
Jill bought a gown for half a crown
And Jack bought a second-hand suit!

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