I spend as much of my spare time as possibly ransacking Boot Fairs and Charity Shops.

Normally I merely scan the Bric-a-Brac and books, just in case, before moving on to a good rummage through the clothes racks. I occasionally pick up a new novel, but not much in the way of exciting new additions to my (already far too large) library. But over the last week or so we’ve picked up 3 marvellous new books, providing essential reference reading.


Make Do and Mend is a modern book, a collection of reproductions of official WWII instruction leaflets. I’ve fancied a copy for ages, but not enough to pay the cover price of £9.99 (I object to paying full price for things!).

I picked this up in Cromer last weekend for £1.25 and it’s full of some genuinely useful tips to make clothes and fuel last longer. I, for instance, had no idea how to darn tights or stockings, and now I do. The tips on saving gas and water are as relevant today as they were then (Did you know if you have an electric cooker it is more economical to grill things than fry them?). It’s also great for highlighting what’s changed, I’ve had some of my bed sheets for 10 years and they’ve yet to wear thin enough to require me to cut them in half and sew them back together again. I can only assume this is due to modern fabrics and laundry techniques, or maybe I’m just a slovenly Woman who hasn’t noticed her sheets wearing thin?


The Correct Guide to Letter Writing by A Member of the Aristocracy

. Also picked up in Cromer, this appears to still be available on Amazon, but the copy we have dates to around 1929. There’s a little label in the back that reads W. H. Smith & Son, Booksellers and Stationers, 19-21 Corporation Street BIRMINGHAM. Though thanks to Google Street View I can see that this now appears to be an empty branch of Morgan, how sad.

Suffice to say, should anyone need to know the correct form of letter being written “From a Gentleman to a Father who has forbidden him to pay his Addresses to his Daughter” I am now now your go-to Woman.

You’re Welcome.


My third book was in a box at a Boot Fair, relates to booze, dates from around 1937 and cost about a £1.

It’s called:
HERE’S HOW – To Buy, Serve and Keep Red and White Wines / to Mix, Shake and Serve All Manner of Cocktails / to Choose Every Drink for Every Occasion… Issued by The Victoria Wine Compant Ltd London’s Wine Merchants since 1865

which I’m sure you’ll agree is a pretty snappy title for a Cocktail book.

It contains such helpful information as “Alcohol plays an important part in the ordering of health” and “..acts as a brain stimulant. . . smoothing over the cares and anxieties of life.” which is excellent advice and why I choose to obtain all my health information from 1930s advertising literature.

I also picked up some new cocktail paraphernalia, meaning my bar is now looking even cooler than it did before.

The Babycham glass, I think, is the 1950s version, with a hexagonal glass stem. Although the deer is yellow, not white I don’t think it’s a later version. I already have a later 60s Babycham glass so, it’s nice for it to have a friend!

The Smartie Cocktail Mats appear to date from the early 50s, I found the second series for sale on eBay, but this is the first. These turned up in a random junk shop we stopped at on a whim that was otherwise full of, well, junk, so I’m quite pleased with them and their witticisms.

Have you found any great bargains recently?