Sunday, 27 September 2009

Car Boot Sale

Husband and I did a car boot sale on Saturday.

When I say did I mean we took a phenomenal amount of junk we hadn't used for ages to a field and got weird strangers to buy it from us.


And I'm not just saying that.

The car was loaded with husband's old bike he hadn't used since his college days.
My mini trampoline (which I don't want to go into).
The "travel system" buggy/pram thing we had for eldest when he first hatched.
Some old folding chairs.
A Reebok step.
A sit up exercise thingy.
Lots of pairs of husbands old jeans he was decided he no longer needs.
Some speaker cable and other computery wires.
And some baby clothes. Honest, a load of rubbish.

Well, not all rubbish.

Some of the baby clothes were unstained, not bobbly and could probably be worn again.

I'd been fed up with boxes and boxes and boxes of worn and now redundant little clothes cluttering up my home so decided, seeing as I AM NOT HAVING ANY MORE BABIES to have a cleansing clearout. I threw virtually everything the boys don't wear anymore into a huge "to go" pile and rubbed my hands together at the prospect of making a bit of cash out of my offspring. (Hmm, that doesn't make me sound terribly nice does it? Ah well.)

As it was, the boxes of neatly folded, predominantly blue outfits were initially ignored by the car boot sale regulars. The regulars who are at the car boot sale as you arrive weren't fussed about tiny tank tops and size 6 shoes.

These hardcore regulars swoop in at you as you open your boot to ask:

"Do you have any phones/perfume/games/records/jewelry?"

If you do and you disclose this fact expect help unpacking the car. And then be prepared for some frankly preposterous negotiating.

Buyer: How much do you want for Halo 3?

Me: Ummm, I think the price is on it. Yes, £5.

Buyer: Will you take 50p?

Me: Um, probably not but try do back later. Thank you.

Very poor skills indeed.

But this time it was all about the diddy clothes. And I was totally unprepared for the emotional reaction selling these items would trigger.

When a lady cracked open the newborn box I almost cried. With immense concentration she rifled through the sleepsuits my chaps had lived, breathed, fed and poo'd in. The newborn outfits that seemed vast when I carefully dressed my fresh-out little fellas. She was looking at them, holding them and, goodness me, she was planning on buying some! I managed to momentarily distract her and was able to grab the first outfits of both sons out of her clutches whilst reprimanding myself for allowing them to be anywhere near the "to go" pile.
I resigned myself to giving up the rest. And wondered off for a cry.

And to buy stuff.

Come on! 6 dvds for a tenner is pretty amazing. I snagged:

In the Bedroom
The Secret of My Success
Roary the Racing Car
Fireman Sam
Little Red Tractor

(Though a difficult scene on Little Red Tractor, where a sheep almost got squashed, made Shouty cry a lot yesterday.)

On the whole, our annual car boot sale was a success. I am proud to say we virtually sold out. All we brought home was some baby t shirts and a few bits of pc stuff.

And of course all the new junk we bought.

It wasn't all terrible spontaneous purchases.

I will use the scooter. Definitely.

It's the punch bag with gloves that I'm not so sure about.

I was a total bargain. £15 for the set.

How many times have I punched it?

Um, about 8 times. I make that £1.87 per punch.

The man who sold it to me was pleasant enough.

He asked me, as I began dragging my new bag back to my stall "In to boxing are you?"

My response was "Not really. To be honest I imagine the bag is just going to hang in the shed and get dusty but you never know."

And I haven't even mentioned the guy who was wearing 3 hats.

Monday, 14 September 2009


My Eldest son likes diggers.

A lot.

He also likes trucks, Nee Nars (that's fire engines) ambulances, police cars, helicopters, planes, trains, motorbikes, bin lorries (but that's a whole other post) tractors and pretty much all ride on vehicles, especially ones that do stuff as well as go.

He hates lawn mowers though, really really hates them a lot to the point of hysteria, apart from his own bubble making lawn mower. But this is not my point.

He finds all vehicles enchanting.
He is hypnotised by their flashing lights and by the beep beeping they omit when reversing.

Getting him settled in to the family car can take a lot of persuasion. Baby seats are for, you know, babies. He'll always try to get behind the steering wheel and his face becomes a beautiful mix of concentration and delight as he shouts "brrrrrrmmmmmmmmmm!" as loudly as he can.

And he's already a bit of a car snob. He much prefers driving Daddy's car to Mummy's. (Daddy's car has a telly in it so who can blame him?)

Eldest son thinks that everyone shares his interest in machines. Especially me. He insists on pointing out ALL vehicles we see whilst walking together. This will go something like this.

"Mummy! Mummy! Mummy! Ooohhhhh! Mummy! Oooooh! Car!"

He will repeat this until I acknowledge him and confirm that I too have seen the car. As soon as I have done this he is free to move on to the next machine.

"Mummy! Mummy! Mummy! Ooohhhhh! Mummy! Oooooh! Bike! !"

It's exhausting.
And I am ashamed to admit, that on occasion this can make me more than a little sarcastic.
My gorgeous 2 year old will be squealing happily about a bus he's spotted and I will respond. "A bus? You are kidding me, right? An actual real life bus? What here? On the busy street outside the bus station? That is mental! Hang on a second! Not another bus?" etc etc etc.

I get withering looks from non parents a lot.

He loves trains and talks wistfully about the fun-times he's had on the tube. He also waves his arms and says "Woo wooo!" if a train gets mentioned.

But his one true love really is for diggers.

He goes nuts.

For months now a team of workmen have consistently been within about half a mile of our home or thereabouts, digging up various bits of road.
For a while they could be seen from his bedroom window!
Before my son was here this would've be very annoying and dusty and disruptive. Now he's with us it's like living in Disneyland. Only the characters smoke rollies, eat crisps and shout swears at each other. My 2 year old waves manically at any utility vehicle he spots (and planes and helicopters now I think of it) and shout's a greeting at it like "Hi! Hi! Digger! Hi! Hi! Digger!"

Turns out that his enthusiasm is infectious.

My husband and I both shout out Nee Nar! if we see a fire engine and we think Eldest hasn't.

But it's much deeper than that.

I think I care about UVs as much as he does.

I too get excited when I see on on the horizon/up the road. And more than once I have excitedly waved and called out a hello to a digger or a forklift. When I've been alone.

I'll miss those guys when they finish whatever it is they are doing. Not sure it's appropriate to suggest we all go out one night though?

Maybe we could be friends on Facebook?

Sunday, 6 September 2009


My children have an obscene amount of toys.

Toys from Christmases, from birthdays, toys donated by older children, souvenirs from holidays, toys 'borrowed' from playgroup and toys bought when Daddy can't help himself.

It's a whole heap of toys.
A frankly ridiculous pile of gaudy plastic. And when you look closely you will notice that some of the toys themselves are utter crap.

I mean, come on, what are some people thinking when they buy these shitty toys? Shitty toys that I have to make space for in my junk filled home.

Some of the toot my children have been given as presents has been verging on the offensive.

I'm not being a snob here, I promise. I don't care if the toy came from Poundland (prices start from £1) if it's good fun.
Let me assure you that some of the more rubbish toys my sons have are pretty darn pricey.

And it's not a noise thing either. I don't mind most noisy toys. Drums are fine. Shouty has a little keyboard, which he batters most days. I think it's funny.

I do, however, draw the line at dangerous toys.
You know, toys that are more like weapons.
Toys that come with large hammers.
Or sticky up bits that are ideal for falling on?
Or bulky awkwardly shaped toys that are all to easily dropped on other babies.
A long while back my boys were given a musical ball, that was about the same size as a football and as heavy as a medicine ball. It’s weight meant it was dropped a lot. It hurt. (The ball is no longer with us.)

Then there are the toys that the children are scared of. My eldest son was given an air-powered toy that pops colourful balls out of the top and then rolls them along a track for them to pop out again. It was super noisy and huge.

And terrifying for my little boy.

Tears literally squirted out of his beautiful big eyes when the machine was turned on. I put it away for a few months and hoped he'd have a change of heart next time it was aired.
Er, no. More tears, only this time a bit louder as he seemed incredulous because a toy he clearly hates has been forced upon him. Again.

But the noisy ball popping fiasco pales into insignificance when compared with the awfulness that is the Curious George Bump and Go Fire Engine.
It moves off, bumps into something and changes direction.
For maybe 2 minutes.
I remember being stuck trying to give little Shouty a bottle (he didn't like milk) with Eldest son sat watching In the Night Garden in his playpen/prison.
Eldest switched Curious George on, let him zoom off out of the playpen and watched him get stuck by some books.
And there he stayed. For about 7 minutes or so, not that I was counting.
The siren wailed on.
And on.
And I was stuck, my ears throbbing, unable to move because of highly strung Shouty.
Obviously I can't throw the bastard toy away.
I'd feel guilty (but slagging it off on the internet is fine).

I was nearly taken in by those lovely adverts for Moonsand. You know:

“Moonsand! Moonsand! Sand that you can mould”

I was just hours away from buying into the dream. Luckily two experienced mum’s got to me in time and saved us for the nightmare and heart ache. Seriously, when is it a good idea for children to play with damp sand inside the house?
Instead of pointing at the screen and saying “Me Mummy!” when the ad comes on I have trained my eldest son to say “Rubbish!” when the music starts.
It makes me very proud.

Next time you buy a toy for a child think about it. I mean really think about what you are giving. The toy, in my experience, will be housed for a minimum of 6 months before the parent gives in to their urge to throw it out. That’s about 180 days of purgatory.

And don’t get me started on Playdoh