Monday, 16 March 2009

Special Purchases

The Kestrels and ourselves are both very highly enamoured with the Gnome Factory, aka Waterside Antiques in Ely; three floors of "antiques" of varying age, utility and desirability. It's always hard to go in and come out without buying things; from amusing stuffed ferrets to C19th hand tools, to an astonishingly large number of warming pans, the shop has it all- even a manually-powered dentists' drill.

We particularly like the idea of buying things that are meant to be static ornaments, and using them for their original purposes; of going to the antique shop to buy useful everyday things, rather than for ornaments or things that will never really be used . We saw several fantastic old petrol tins a couple of months ago, and thought that rather than just having them standing around looking great, we could actually use them to carry petrol in. We wanted a larger metal jerry can for petrol anyway, so these would be perfect.

Luckily enough, no-one had bought them in the meantime, so we came away with a wonderful Shell Motor Spirit (in red, to match the boat) complete with embossed shell logo and the original price of "3/-" on the top, with embossed writing on the sides. It's got a few dents, but I think they add character- in the same way that old working boats are often very bashed about at the bows!

Amy also apparently loves ironing- and no, before anyone points out the obvious, that isn't the only reason I'm going out with her!- but as we've not got a large battery bank, or a TravelPower 240v alternator, or a big inverter, we can't run a normal steam iron.

So we bought a lovely solid flatiron, which can heat up on the top of the stove and, along with a water spray and a tabletop ironing board, can make my shirts look far less scruffy.

Whilst in Ely, we enjoyed taking afternoon tea (rather, old bean!) with some friends in the award-winning Peacock's Tea Rooms which are conveniently right by the antiques shop on the waterfront. It's all very, very twee, but they have a wonderful selection of tea and homemade cakes- they even have chocolate tea!


  1. Are you seriously telling me Amy let you drink from that dainty cup and you didn't break it? I suppose you could probably have got some more from the Gnome factory.

    Did you see the stuffed fox? I thought that would look lovely, along with the ferret, on Kestrels bow.

  2. It was twee in an alternative kind of way though...
    Hence the tasteful but mismatched coloured crockery etc etc.

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