Bargain Hunt

PUBLISHED: 15:04 22 October 2007 | UPDATED: 14:54 20 February 2013

Bargain Hunt

Bargain Hunt

You can plonk the girl in the country but it will be with ruthless London stealth that I'll soon be plotting and scheming in the countdown to the January sales, just 65 shopping days away! Karen Daniel continues her tales from Wedmore, and there's...

Certain reporting assignments you never forget - South Armagh, the Bay City Rollers' first Welsh gig, Roland Rat quitting GMTV - they're all there, dusty with age and re-reading in the scrapbook of my psyche. But the one that became lodged (and remains) front of mind, was that glorious morning I covered the first day of Harrods' sale. It all comes back to me in the oddest places - at busy airports, in crowded shopping centres, in my worst nightmares. There's something about the mentality of the mob when confronted with a sale on this epic scale. It's a potent blend of warm-hearted internationalism and interracial mateyness, coupled with the adrenalin rush that comes with knowing that somewhere behind those doors sits a pair of Jimmy Choos/cashmere swagger coat/plasma-screen telly, with your name on it. It was like the Normandy landings without the camaraderie, and I was reminded of it again in the village only two weeks ago.

Walking up the lane I saw it - a neatly tied fly-poster advertising 'large house clearance 10am-4pm Saturday'. I stiffened, I am told by my husband, like an animal scenting blood and for the next three days planned/worried/ schemed as to tactics, arrival time, etc.

Having visited the house in question on a previous occasion I had spotted a rather nice fender as well as several good pictures. Moreover, I learned in the hardest school there is - Knightsbridge SW3 - that the spoils go to She Who Plans Ahead. And boy, did I plan ahead.

On the morning of said sale, I was third in the queue. It was a magnificent house with a beautiful garden and many people had their eyes on some lovely outdoor artefacts. The doors opened and in we surged. Within minutes the place reassembled that Bruegel painting of the sacking of Rome. I scented quarry in the first room on the left and sure enough, there it was. A lovely still life in oils of a kitchen table groaning with food. I grabbed it and ran, forcing my way through a hideous bottleneck in the hall, to my fender. It was, I'm ashamed to say, an appalling scene.

Both items now grace my home and give me so much pleasure that the sense of shame I always feel after behaving like a Visigoth on an away day at any kind of retail outlet is subsumed by self-congratulation.

Few things, however, have given me more pleasure than this year's influx of dragonflies. They circle my courtyard like tiny, iridescent helicopters and I cannot get enough of them. The hedgerows have been filled with lush, sweet blackberries and my young friend Daniel, one of Wedmore's master blackberry pickers, placed me on his priority distribution list.

Wedmore Harvest Home came and went, with much good food and company, and everyone had a ball. Red meat, in many forms, is the centrepiece of the lunch and we ate it until, like Homer Simpson, our sinuses reached bursting point. As the afternoon sun emerged, everyone waddled to the bar as quickly as their varying degrees of stomach overload allowed, and lounged like overfed pythons in the setting sun.

This week saw the first meeting of the Wedmore Theatre Club's 'Under Milk Wood' team, of which I am delighted and gratified to be a member. The Byzantine logistical feat, which its directors have already accomplished in terms of rehearsal organisation, casting, scene-blocking and staging arrangements, would do credit to a West End production, and if flair and application have anything to do with it, this production, in the club's 30th year, will be its finest to date. Our Welsh dialogue coach conducts two sessions next week - I can hardly wait.

The mythical town at the epicentre of 'Under Milk Wood' is a seething hotbed of misunderstandings, squabbles, venality, greed, lust, laughter, comradeship, tears and envy - just like the Harrods sale! You see, darlings, there's no getting away from it...

'Under Milk Wood' runs at Wedmore Village Hall from 28 November until 1 December. Tickets can be purchased either from Jendy Weekes, Rhyneside, Grange Paddock, Mark, TA9 4RW, tel 01278 641370 or The Paper Shop, Wedmore, tel 01934 712545.


Wedmore Theatre Club

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