At Bath and West Showground near Shepton Mallet in Somerset (approx once a month).
Oh My God! I went there this morning and I have barely stopped talking about it because I am so flabbergasted by it. I try not to swear on these pages, but I’m not going to be able to stop myself, so look away now if you are easily offended: It was completely and utterly shit. It was huge, so I have never seen so much utter crap in my life for such extortionate prices. Have you seen the ‘I saw you coming’ sketch on the Harry and Paul show on Fridays? It’s like that, but on a massive scale.
Some of the stalls were legitimate; they specialised in things like antique lace, or postcards for collectors or military paraphernalia; but 90% of the stalls were simply utter crap. My Mum has some plastic orange food storage tubs from the 70s – she uses them for flour and sugar. £15 for the larger size and £12 for the medium one here!!! There was an iron cooking pan with a handle over the top – perfect for hanging over and cooking on a fire and the guy wanted £70 for it!!!! “They go for more than that on e-bay,” he said when I laughed. “Very popular with the travellers.” Then; by pure coincidence a bone fide genuine traveller came along as I was browsing the next stall and asked the guy how much is was. You could tell he was dithering – I was still in earshot and he knew it, so he had to offer the same price. The traveller had the same reaction as me, but was more vocal about it. “I usually pick these up for a fiver,” he said.
And that’s frankly a good example. Unless you’re looking for a collector’s item and you know how much things are really worth; you’re better off going to boot fairs and jumble sales. They were really trying to pass things off as trendy “vintage” when really everything was just a bit old. I found some bargains at the material stall right by the entrance, and that’s all I came away with. The £3 pounds entry fee wasn’t worth it for that. And frankly I felt as if I’d had my time wasted, as the thing is so big, it took well over an hour to look around – and after a while I stopped bothering to ask the prices of things. If you want a good thorough browse, then allow 2 to 3 hours. But make sure you’ve got a good size wad of cash you don’t mind lining the pockets with of the people who’ve seen you coming. You’ve been warned!