Friday, 13 April 2012

SHOPPE KEEPER ~ Hungerford in Spring

I love the architecture in Hungerford which has many variations. The Town Hall is a favourite of mine, and also this tall skinny green house next to it. You can see how blue the sky was first thing in the morning. To look at my photo you would never believe that an hour later it was darkly ominous overhead.

Spring  has been playing hide and seek with us here .... it comes, then hides, then returns just when we have given up hope of it,  and jumps out at us. There are yellow fields of rape, and delicate tree blossoms, yet it is decidedly nippy outside.

Yesterday I journeyed into Hungerford where we have our little stall in The Emporium Antiques and Lifestyle Shop. It was quite a refreshing day because it was a social visit instead of restocking the stall or buying for the shop. I had the time to look about the town and do a little treasure hunt with a friend. I feel very lucky to live close by and to have our 'shoplet' in The Emporium.

This fine Hound on a barge boat on the canal by Hungerford Bridge caught my eye and for a few minutes we watched each other. Many years ago I kept company with a hound, and although this was a very long time ago, I miss him still. I loved this one, perfect ears and keen eyes. If anyone knows his/her name please let me know.

The day began with sun, but suddenly the skies darkened into a deep grey and midnight blue confection which looked as if Van Gough had been at work with his brushes. And the rain came down in great torrents. But only for a few minutes. There was no rainbow afterwards, although I did look just in case! But the air smelled and felt so fresh, it is wonderful after rain.

I'd been to a favourite shop of mine, Below Stairs and found this handsome old teapot sitting outside in their garden area. It has a real Aladdin's Lamp look to it and although it's silverplate has all but vanished (except inside where you can see what it once looked like) I could not resist it. I'm not planning to pour tea from it, but I'm sure there is still plenty of use in it. I can water plants with it, or even put a delicate pansy in it. And maybe, just maybe I can summon a Genie with it!

There was an added bonus as Stewart Hofgartner, the dashing owner, loaned me one of the shop umbrellas so I could continue my shopping in town while the rain poured. Ladies, chivalry is not dead!

If you have not been there and you like unusual items pay it a visit. They always have unexpected items which capture my eye.

I could have taken home everything in this photo, the old table with the crochet skirt, the scales, the pine chair and the stained glass panel just in vision. They have an online gallery and their website is here:

Below Stairs of Hungerford

Last year they had hundreds of tadpoles! They were not for sale though they were being offered to anyone who had a suitable pond and could give them a good home. Their garden is full of frogs and the Spring rains had filled some of their gardenalia with water. The enterprising frogs had climbed into the urns and planters and left spawn, which hatched and thrived. They had to rescue them all and for a few weeks the tadpoles swam in a large, deep trough in which they were fed and loved.

I had time to window shop until I met my friend for a coffee at Azuza. The eating area is a 2 story high conservatory, with original brick walls which are perfect to display the ever changing gallery of art and photographs for sale. This fine Dragon is truly amazing!

As an avid collector of far too many things I have to wear my invisable blinkers when I deliver items for sale to my stall as passing through The Emporium is a delicious, but dangerous journey for me! I often come home with more than I sell. As our home is very small this is not a practical thing. The same applies to Hungerford Arcade where I am drawn to the bargain basement known as The Junk Shop.

I like broken things, I know it is odd, but often there is only a tiny scrack or chip and the price is much less than if it were perfect. Buying 'broken' items allows me to collect things I might not afford otherwise. Some of their beauty lies in their fragility so a little chip does not necessarily detract. I have a few items displayed which have seen better days, but they still have power to enchant and the chips and cracks are part of their long history.

Did I tell you I collect Dragons? So, this Tintagel Pottery dragon bowl (with a small chip on the rim) had to come home with me, and my friend bought a wonderful Louis Wain print of cats who happened to be artists. A fitting subject as she is a very talented artist herself and is often inspired by her muse, a large handsome cat.

If you want to know more about The Hungerford Arcade, this is their website, you can sign up for email newsletters:

And you can find magical creatures and enchanting art and jewel creations on my friend's blog. You must visit her Etsy shop - but be prepared to be tempted! ; ~ )


  1. Hi LeeAnn,
    Lovely to see this post about Hungerford and the treasures you found at the Arcade!
    It was indeed a wonderful day for treasure hunting and the cat print is in my studio with all the cats looking at me with big eyes! ;-)
    The teapot and dragon bowl are very special too. What a great find!
    See you again soon for another adventure.

    Jo. xx

    1. It was great fun Jo, and so nice to share with you. xx

  2. I'd have taken the Aladdin's lamp home too.
    It's lovely to have a new follower, especially one that I'd like to follow in return.
    You live in such an interesting place - far different from here....but I suppose that's the attraction!
    As you walk the old streets in search of vintage treasures I'll be on the beach searching for sand dollars, Japanese fishing floats and interesting shells. There's a little Magpie in each of us!

    1. Thank you, I do love the beach and envy you being so close. We are Magpies indeed!

  3. LeeAnn, I will be in London this fall, October, can't wait as I have never visited England before. I am in such anticipation as I prefer English Country style, love vintage, of course and I know I shall not be disappointed ...I too am drawn to slightly imperfect, chipped or otherwise well worn items especially china! I may be dragging everyone along to at least one antique fair or jumble sale!! N.xo

    1. Nella, what exciting news! I'm so pleased for you. There are so many things to see and do in London, you will feel you have found a Disneyland for adults. x

  4. Maybe one day we will get there1
    Thank you for joining me in France.

    1. Elizabeth, France has much magic too, many years since I've visited, and I long to return. One day!

  5. A lovely post, thank you. I have never visited Hungerford and you have certainly shown me good reason to.
    Your style of writing is really entertaining too, I wish I had that skill!
    I look forward to your next post, hope you have a lovely weekend,
    Essie x

    1. Thank you Essie! I like your style of writing too and find it quite refreshing, real and from the heart. x

  6. hi there,

    I just came over to say thanks for following my blog and have had a great trip through Hungerford which isn't a million miles from here, and one of my favourite places together with Marlborough...although I do have to save up a bit before I visit either!

    Look forward to visiting again and seeing the goodies you have for sale

    1. Elaine

      Thank you so much! I love your shop, Ted and Bunny is such a great name and the little logo is fab. I've been a customer in the past on ebay! I love Marlborough too, so much to tempt us. x


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