Tuesday, June 19

2 Shillings in Old Money

What can you buy for 20p that gives you a buzz for the whole day?


I know it’s probably not normal for someone my age to spend half an hour playing with buttons and taking photos of them and thinking about what I could use them on. I would have spent longer in my new sewing nook but had a date to visit my old neighbours.
This morning I had walked up to a local charity shop (thrift shop in America) to buy a Fortnum & Mason picnic hamper that Stella had spotted in the window - £3.75 As I was paying a little basket full of buttons called to me.

When I was growing up before the phenomenon of car boots and Ebay there used to be Jumble Sales.These days you sometimes see the odd one for Alsatian Rescue or the Rotary but mostly if you want a second hand bargain the only place left are charity shops; the golden age of the jumble has passed.
As a teenager living in a provincial town and with a very limited income jumble sales kept me dressed and gave me independence from my mother’s overbearing clothes choices. My friend Julie and I would spend most Saturday’s queuing up outside a Conservative or Church Hall not knowing whether we would find a Jaeger jumper or a suede Mod jacket for 10p.My parents would put in requests for different items and usually I would bring them home- candlewick bedspreads for the dog – shirts for my dad, crimpolene dresses, granddad shirts for my brother. The cult of ‘Vintage’ had yet to develop.
Over the next few days I shall show you some of my second hand and jumble tresure.


  1. i can't wait...i know why i like you, because you spend your time playing with buttons...and thrifting for treasures, along with your wit.

  2. happy happy times! buttons for 20p is my sort of thrill : )

    years back i would spend many a day trawling through my local charity shops...mostly buying clothes & finding some real gems for pennies. i had a particular favourite shop in my grandparents town where i would spend hours sorting through old boxes of anything from old mens waistcoats to sparkly shoes. i still go there but rarely find so much...but when i do i am one happy girl!

    jumble sales? i could do with hosting my own right now...there is a lot of jumble in this house! but i like you have very fond memories of the joy they could offer in terms of a new outfit for the weekend! looking forward to seeing your finds from the gigibird 2nd hand archives...may even join you & post a few of my own! xxx

  3. Do you know i really miss jumble sales, i used to think they were terrific, i used to have a real forties thing going on in my head during those days, back then everything was either 10p or 20p, i used to collect scarves, good quality ones at that, last week i bought a cranberry and cream rose screen printed one from the Mind shop it was a Jacqmar for 75p how things have changed, but it took me back to when i was 15 and used to queue outside village halls and community centres. This my dear is called synchronicity, and it is not the first time you have raised an issue that i have been pondering on again thank you Sx

  4. We still have the odd jumble sale in our village, so much more fun than souless car boot sales and still full of elderly ladies with sharp elbows!

  5. I grew up dressed out of jumble sales as well, though I was accompanying my Mum.

    I also used to sort out the jumble at the end of a local sale - it would all be delivered to my parents garage and we would sort the clothes into piles - any going for rags would have the buttons and zips cut off. I got to keep the buttons as a reward (odd child)- hence my large collection of buttons (well it seems to be diminishing now).

    Those are particularly nice sculptural buttons - right in the same way that cream kitchen ware is just right - and a hamper as well,

    Happy day as you say.

  6. I forgot about the sharp elbows - oh how it's all flooding back to me!

  7. Oh yes I grew up dressed from a jumble sale too, money was tight so no new clothes except a new outfit at Christmas and I guess there must have been the odd item through the year. But oh I can remember the thrill of lining up at the jumble sale! We used to come home with huge bin liners full of clothes, like you we tipped them out,sorted them, laundered them and would be proudly wearing the new outfit the next day. "Vintage" hadn't been discovered then so I used to feel slightly embarrassed about wearing second-hand clothes (I wasn't lucky enough to have a friend who shared my passion!)
    But now it's cool to wear vintage, I'm very proud when someone asks where I bought my skirt and I can tell them I picked it up at the car boot sale...and of course I don't give a **** what they think about my shopping habits...wish I had this confidence 35 years ago!
    I went to a jumble sale a few weeks ago, they've not changed much and yes you still get elbowed!

    I love buttons too, I can't resist them but have far too many now :)

  8. Lovely buttons! I play with my buttons, too. I suppose it is similar to when I played with marbles as a kid.

    You know, I still have some shillings in my little treasure box from my very first trip to England. Silly me went back to England the next year and innocently handed one in with my change to a cashier, only to find out your shillings had been phased out! Embarrassing moment for a girl who was trying to pass off my English heritage as being a full blown Brit! hahahaha (And no, I didn't fake an accent... just accentuated my Boston one!) =)

  9. It's such a shame that jumble sales seem to be becoming a thing of the past. I remember visiting many with my Mum when I was a child. Shame I didn't appreciate them as much then as I would now. Those buttons are really great and I don't think its unusual for anyone to spend half an hour playing with them whatever their age.

  10. Hello Fiona.

    Glad you have memories of jumble sales too - I thought you'd be too young:)


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