Second-hand Treasures

I love boot fairs. On the Isle of Wight we are blessed with loads of them that go through from early spring to late summer. 

My mum got me into car boots from an early age, but back then I was on the mainland and I used to go to ones in carparks in towns. I always remember seeing lots of old computers that would be called vintage now - Atari STs, Amigas, C64s… and lots of dodgy looking traders selling copied CDs, VHS tapes and computer games. 

As I grew up and I kept going and now with a family I also like to take my kids. They have always been able to find something at a boot fair to entertain themselves at a price that won’t eat into all their pocket money. 

I find they are great places to pick up a cheap item or toy to supplement a new fad. For example, my daughter is into skateboarding, and in order to encourage her I picked up a £5 skateboard so I could show her some moves I learned back in the 80s. At the same boot fair I also found a gorgeous blue typewriter, also for a fiver. A lady was selling items for a local charity and I was glad to part with my money to help a good cause and get something I could write my next book on into the bargain.

I have often gone to a boot fair while on holiday in other parts of the country. It’s often a great way to find some real local products like craft items, and local paintings and pictures.

Of course, there’s also another great thing about a boot fair. You can sell all the stuff you purchased at boot fairs over the years when you get fed up of it or when the children grow up! It’s a great way to have a laugh with the public, haggle and make a bit of beer money. 

My personal favourite boot fairs are St Helen’s, mostly every Sunday from 8am, and the big ones at Chale. I’ve also recently visited the one in Cowes, which yielded a great many bargains, vintage items and books. I also really like the Calbourne car boot but usually cannot go due to work commitments as it’s on a Friday.

No matter what boot fair you visit then I hope you enjoy the serendipity in the chance discoveries of finding secondhand treasures at spare-change prices.

To find out if a car boot is on near you check out these links:

Like the Island Car Boot Fair Facebook page. 

Search for boot fairs on On the Wight

Search for boot fairs at the official Isle of Wight tourist website

The Isle of Wight County Press also lists information about local boot fairs.

Philip Bell Author Photo by Chris Cowley

14 June 2018

By Philip Bell in The locals' blogs