Bitten by the bug

I started to itch moments after entering the old – and beautifully cool – barn where the rugs were being sold. And more furniture. It was all in the mind. It had to be.

But still. The local paper had published not one, but two, articles on how people’s newfound fondness for fleamarket bargains lies behind the rise in lice infestations in their homes. ‘Bah humbug,’ I said to myself, thinking it sounded like some new version of ‘lets’ blame it on other people’s filthy habits’ kind of thing. Fleamarkets (what an apt name!) and foreign, exotic, travel.


The Swedish for fleamarket is loppis. It sounds friendly, buts still means fleas in some form or other. We like the one in Harplinge each July. This year we liked it for several minutes, before I had had enough. It was hot. It was full of people. We arrived just as the opening speech ended and people charged. (It reminded me of the post office on pensions day, when the OAPs used to run towards the counter, only to hobble out, once they’d got their money.)

I went left, into the nearby furniture tent. One woman bought and paid for a lovely old chest of drawers within seconds. I was glad I didn’t need anything. There were purple bookcases. Our television bench could be had for a mere £5. Not ours, obviously, but one just the same.

Didn’t buy any home made cinnamon buns, because by then I had been overcome by apathy. Looked at the rugs, but just itched. Went to stare at the car park and the portaloo, where one child, sitting on the grass with outstretched legs still had legs after the car passed her, but no thanks to her inattentive mother.

While the band played summery tunes, I rested my legs by testing the chairs for sale. I can recommend the ones that would have made perfectly fine Charles Rennie Mackintosh chairs if you’d only painted them. They were just right for watching people from. I enjoyed the three elderly friends who wore nicely matching (was it planned?) clothes in black and white. One plain white with black. One black patterned bottom with white top, and the other with black patterned top and white bottom.

And before we walked across the fields to meet the car again, I witnessed a local author walking past, clutching newly bought driftwood. Daughter bought a Christmas CD. The Resident IT Consultant and I bought nothing at all. There’s hardly any itching, and only that which can be explained.


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