GRAHAM TURNER: The strange attraction of bric-a-brac

A personal view
A personal view
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I’ve never understood bric-a-brac. Despite the appearance of my desk in the BFP office, I don’t really like clutter or mess.

I’ve wondered why people feel the need to collect the unwanted possessions of others, but the proliferation of television programmes which follow experts and/or members of the public trying to turn a profit from these items and the popularity of auctions (online and in sale rooms) shows there are many who do enjoy this as a hobby– and a business.

I accidentally got my first real glimpse into this world at the weekend when I found myself in Norwich helping my daughter search for secondhand furniture for her new flat.

We ventured into premises I previously would have passed by without a second glance and, worryingly, I found myself coveting items I had absolutely no use for – an Olympia typewriter identical to the one I used in my first job as a reporter, a set of decorative glass panels, odd bits of furniture that would be totally out of place in our house.

There are, I found, huge warehouse-like showrooms packed to the gunnels with this stuff.

Luckily, I was rescued from making any rash purchases by my daughter’s pressing need to find more practical everyday items, otherwise I shudder to think what I would have returned home with . . . but I did like the look of that typewriter, perhaps a return trip to Norwich might be on the cards.

-- Reader Sue Brennan has quite rightly upbraided me for my column last week when I wrote about the trouble my wife and I had in finding English tomatoes while shopping in a local supermarket.

Sue pointed out that had I looked on Bury market I would have been spoiled for choice.

She wrote: “May I suggest a visit to Bury market – there is a cornucopia of fruit and vegetables available, with locally sourced produce, including tomatoes. And it’s environmentally friendly because you can take your own bags, buy just the amount you need and you are always sure of a laugh and a joke with the market traders. It’s cheaper than the supermarket, too, because you get more for your money. The Victoria plums are especially good at the moment.”

Of course, Sue’s correct on every count. My only defence is that during a busy week, convenience usually wins when it comes to shopping.