Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Weekend away and a rant!

Hello all, hope you are all well!

As my post title indicates we went away this weekend, actually to visit my Mum but I sadly didn't take many pics, though there is a load online so I'm going to nick those!

I come from the North East of England, in a small town called Eaglescliffe. You would think there isn't much about Eaglescliffe but actually it's a really old place with quite a bit of history despite it not being a particularly big town. The first ever passenger train travelled not so far from my childhood home, it was the Stockton to Darlington Railway and Locomotion No 1 was the first ever passenger train in 1825!

Anyway as usual we had some chores to do for Mum as she doesn't drive so did some heavy shopping for her on Friday but Saturday we decided to go out for the day to Barnard Castle which is nearby. Barnard Castle is a fabulous old town with stacks of history and was established around 1090, yep that old!

Here are a few, cheating internet shots to give you an idea!

This is just the middle of town, or the market cross, fabulous huh?

This is the ruined Barnard Castle itself, established about 1090 and this is what the town built up around

And last but not least the very fabulous Bowes museum, all within a very short distance, amazing huh?

However I didn't visit any of these as I have been to them all many times before, instead we decided to go to visit the many antique shops on The Bank in the town. The Bank is as it sounds the steepest road ever, but packed full of what looked like great shopping. Sadly we were disappointed.

Firstly we went to The Mission Hall Antique Centre which is worth a visit if in the area but I wouldn't travel there especially. There were some nice things but what partly attracted me was the Vintage Clothes section upstairs. Mmmm I shouldn't have bothered. There were some lovely things up there, I'm not complaining about quantity or variety but the prices eeeek, it was not unlike shopping in an expensive London Vintage Clothes shop. I'm really not sure who buys this stuff there, but I only looked at a couple of 40s dresses - out of interest as they were nice though not my era - and when I spotted that they were both in the £120 territory I walked out sharpish. I would have enjoyed having a browse but was asked immediately what I was after and then the owner proceeded to pull out 50s frou frou frocks to show me, I was polite and said not really my thing, but thanks, however the prices and the 'look at this' really put me off.

Next up, I walked ahead as you know Paul is disabled and this was a steep bank, just as well the next really interested shop was shut, on a Saturday? Really? Who shuts a shop on a Saturday?

So we crossed the road to another really interesting shop,which was interesting, but again, sooooo expensive, like London expensive! I was very confused at the pricing in the shops, I'm not saying things should be a bargain but I don't expect to see London prices in a small town in the North East. Then Mum said oh it's always featured on those antique shows, so suddenly I realised, it's a destination antique shopping place. Well they don't interest me. I don't mind paying the price something is worth but some of this stuff was so overpriced I nearly passed out when I looked at the prices, needless to say we didn't buy anything and left rather sad!

As we were driving out of Barnard Castle we spotted a sign for Raby Castle, now I've never been to Raby Castle, so I set off rather excited at the prospect. Here's a picture, how fabulous is this!

It was first mentioned at the beginning of the 1000s, amazing huh?

But guess what, it was closed!!! Again, what closes on a Saturday? Don't get me wrong I do know this is still owner occupied but if it's going to open at all surely a Saturday is the day?

So all in all our day out proved rather disappointing and uneventful. Next time we visit my mum we've decide to go to York for the day, another amazing city with an amazing and long history, founded by the Romans in 71AD in fact.

I would like to say though if you're in the area, Barnard Castle is well worth a visit, there is so much history there, amazing places to visit, but unless you've won the lottery I would give the antique shops a very wide berth!

I know this isn't my normal blog post but I do assume that people who like vintage clothes and other stuff also enjoy a bit of history! Hope you don't mind. There is so much history in the area of the world I come from sometimes it amazes me!


Vix said...

Closed on a Saturday? What madness is this?
Barnard Castle's been on TV quite a bit recently, one of the BBC daytime antiques experts, David Harper's got a shop there, I bet that's his. He comes across as an arrogant so-and-so!
I hate the hard sell,it just makes me want to leave, not that I'd ever spend £120 on anything.

Straight Talking Mama! said...

Ah ha, that explains a lot, ok, well won't be going there again! I would pay that if it was something amazing, but not for a 40s standard dress.

rachel sew-n-sew said...

Man, what a shame! I'm a native north-eastener and have enjoyed the occassional pootle around Barnard Castle, but never got as far as the antique shops. There's at least one second-hand bookshop that is reasonably priced and a nearby cafe that is great for veggies. Like you, I love the Bowes Museum - for anyone interested, their new costume galleries are the best i've seen anywhere for a very long time - just fantastic.

Trixie said...

Oh what a beautiful place! Sorry to hear about the prices. I always wonder what they're thinking. If they had decent prices people would always make an effort to get there. Why over charge and have merchandise sit for ages?

I live in a small town where the majority of people (probably 90%) work out of town and still most of the shops are open Mon-Fri 9-5 and closed Saturdays! Makes no sense at all! Lots of restaurants also!

Alix said...

Prices do seem to have rocketed for anything that can be described as 'retro' or 'vintage' these days - some people charge ridiculous prices. Such a shame! I think I once passed through Barnard Castle on a whistlestop tour round the north-east with a boyfriend who was from near Durham, and I've seen the Bowes museum on TV and would love to go there someday! It's a beautiful part of the world!

Tasha said...

I love the history! That's one of my most favorite things about Europe in general. I feel like things are so "young" over here in comparison (and they are!).

The closed on Saturday thing is really silly. It's a shame about the prices and attitudes in the shops you visited!

Miss Rayne said...

let me know when you do your york trip I can tell you places

Miss Magpie said...

£120!?! I'm speechless.

At least if you go to York you can go to Betty's :-)

Kally said...

We went to Bath this week (I have posted about it) and was shocked at the price of vintage there too - just like you found, nice stock but average 40s-50s day dresses in the £120 area, totally ridiculous! Also 1960s shot glass sets that would retail under a tenner where I live going for over £25.

We go to York a lot, I'd love to see you do a post on it! Hope you had a lovely day, the castles look beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I often travel to Eaglescliffe just to go to The Waiting Room (vegetarian restaurant) and i used to travel to Barnard castle just to go in 'that shop'. You're right about the prices, even when she does fairs they are double everyone elses but i've never had the hard sell. Infact there has never been anyone staffing the shop upstairs and we have always been given the key from the man downstairs and left to browse at our leisure.
Sadly we don't seem to have many vintage shops in the North East.

Straight Talking Mama! said...

oooh Anonymous, yes The Waiting Room is within walking distance of my mums and we're veggie so it's like heaven! We did go this time, so fabulous as ever!

Interesting to know she has double the prices than others at fairs too, I did think they were quite pricey.

1940's Knitter said...

£120 is just madness!! My standard price for a 1940's dress is between £55 and £65. And I only charged £75 for a beautiful CC41 dress. Don't imagine they sell too many at that price.

Perdita said...

Closing on a Saturday seems CRAZY!

Especially as evidently it is a destination for those with a bob or two.

Dolly Cool Clare said...

I love a nice castle, but not overpriced antiques and vintage goods, boo hiss! And who closes on Saturdays? Er, hello! Do you actually want to make any money?!

art deco dame said...

that's silly it was closed.And yes I like history!Huge history nerd so anytime you want to share a back story on anything I am interested =)

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