Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
This weekend I went to my first American Garage sale with my hardcore Garage Sale Hunter friend. She already had a list of the local sales in the area and we cruised around a nice looking neighbourhood looking for open garage doors and a pile of household goods on the driveway. When we spot one we park at the bottom of drive and jump out. My friend is half way up the drive before I’ve even shut the car door. A few other cars arrive as well, they all stop and the passengers quickly jump out and almost run up the drive way.
My friend and I were mooching about looking at the various items of this house’s past, things that they are willing to sell for a mere buck or two. The other people that have just arrived just start grabbing things, they aren’t even looking at what it actually is, picking up anything. They then pay and load up their truck, off to the next house and a repeat of the same grab and dash scene. It’s like a drive by, suburbia style. I won’t be surprised if in a few years time there will be drive-thru garage sales, it seems to be the American tradition of don’t get out the car and interact if you can help it.
My friend tells me that she goes to these every weekend, this time of year is the busiest, as everyone has a spring clean and de-clutters. She tells me that some sales have items that haven’t even been used, they still have tags on or are boxed. The consumer society is never more evident than at Sales like this. But if you’re a buyer and a frugal person you can easily furnish a house with good quality, often new pieces and find toys and clothes for kids that have barely been used. I do wonder if the recent downturn in the economy has increased the number of garage sales in recent times especially in more middle class areas.
Back home before we left for America we did a Car Boot (trunk) Sale to get rid of the things we couldn’t take with us. It was the first time I had done it as a seller and it was quite an experience.
The differences of a Car Boot to a Garage sale is quite self explanatory, one is done out of your own house and people come to you, the other is done out of the back of your car on trestle tables in the middle of a boggy field several miles from your home.
Just like at the garage sales, where people can’t wait to see what you’ve got and run up your driveway, at a car boot you have only just pulled the handbrake up and people are opening your boot already. It’s like the zombie apocalypse, but instead of crowds grabbing at your flesh they are dipping their hands into the back of your car and pulling things out, asking do you have any phones. No sod off and wait, you have to shoo them away like naughty children.
So you stay there in a field till a) you’ve sold most of your stuff b) the crowds are thinning c) if someone tries to haggle with you one more time about that drill set that is already next to nothing in price, you’ll stuff it where the sun don’t shine, so you leave as to not get arrested.
So I suppose they both have their good points, Garage sales you can just put some junk outside your house and sit there, not too much hassle. Or you have to load up the car with junk and tables. Car boots can be fun because they feel like a fair, you get to have a bacon sarnie and an ice cream from the burger van.
I would love to take my friend to the local car boot in my town back home, to see what she makes of it. Both experiences though definitely give you a real hit of either Americana or British eccentricity.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
The drive was long and hot. The views were mostly of trees and creeks. But we made great progress and managed to get to our hotel in Florida just before sunset. We were shattered and hungry and went straight across the road to a restaurant for a big juicy steak!
Below are some photos of the time there.
Above: Damage from the Tornado
Monday, May 2, 2011
On Saturday 16th in April we started our epic road trip down the east coast of America towards Florida. Our little hairy baby Dexter was dropped off first thing in the morning at the Vets for boarding. I feel so bad, because he looks at us with those poor doggy eyes not understanding why we’re walking out the door and he’s not coming with us. Then we went back home and loaded up the two cars. It was a miserable cold and damp morning in New York so I couldn’t wait to get on the road and enter more sunny climates. The first couple of hours on the road went quickly and we had a quick stop before getting onto the New Jersey Turnpike. It was still dark, cold and feeling of rain was in the air. We passed NYC and Newark with the sky getting darker and darker until finally the heavens opened and the rains came. This coincided with heavy congestion that seemed to have no reason to it.
Left: Us at the start. Right: NYC on a grey day
Below: Stuck in traffic but we see a British car with NY plates over the British ones.
We took the opportunity to stop again even though we hadn’t travelled that far since the last stop, but we had been in the car in traffic for ages. I also took over the driving to give my husband a break. It was as if the fates knew and decided that my leg of the trip would mean I had to go through torrential rain and thunderstorms. It was quite a sight going over the Delaware Bridge with lightning dancing around you. My parents who were in front of us some way, called to say the I-95 was heavy with traffic again and coming to a stop, they suggested that we get off and take another route. It was at this time that it really pelted it down. I had the wipers going as fast as they could but you could hardly see anything and I had to reduce my speed down to 20 mph. We parked and swapped drivers again and the thunder shook the car it was that loud. The skies looked evil.
We got back on the 95 which was clearer now and passed Baltimore, then the skies cleared and the sun came out. It was now I noticed that the trees were green and in full bloom, the trees back in New York were still bare and dead looking. Our plan was to stop overnight on the outskirts of Washington DC for the night and then get the Metro into the city first thing in the morning to go sight-seeing before continuing on to our second overnight stop in Raleigh NC with a friend of my parents. Just before 7pm we stumbled onto our motel opposite Andrews Air force Base.
I was shattered, hungry and gasping for a cup of tea. We thought we’d drive down the road for a place to eat, but our drive turned into an hours drive around some unsavoury areas. In the end we came back to the McDonalds that was next to our Motel and that had to do for the night. When we got into our room and switched the TV on I turned to the weather channel. That when we saw the news of the terrible storms that had passed up the east coast that day, the storms we had driven through were part of that system, it also turned out that a tornado had hit parts of North Carolina including around Raleigh.
The next morning we were all up bright and early to go into Washington DC. It was amazing, a really beautiful city. It was a gorgeous day, sunny but breezy. We did all the normal tourist sights, such as the White House, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington Cemetery and the Smithsonian as you do and walked miles. Below are some photos of the first leg. Hope you enjoy.
In these pictures are Hubby, mum, dad, sister, brother and Me
The second leg of the trip is to follow.