Scavengers

February 3

An early start before the sun is fully risen, my usual giant bowl of coffee, and I’m into the car and heading to a boot fair. This one, just outside Canterbury is on hardstanding, so no mud.

I gravitate to the jumble of boxes that signify a house clearance – so none of those pieces stuck in an endless trade loop, passing from hand to dealer’s hand, rising each time in price.

Along with the excitement I always feel (treasure hunting) I’m aware of a dichotomy – that the items I rummage through were the property of someone who has passed away. So I try to be respectful, but need to elbow with speed and aggression, others like me, looking for that marvel amongst the mundane.

I stand back and see them briefly as scavengers. And we are, just as creatures in nature pick over carrion remains to benefit their survival, so do we, except our survival, complicated species that we are, has become all about material things.

I come away in triumph, finding a blue and white Royal Doulton Norfolk cheese dish, and beautiful pastel 19th century plate by Bloor Derby. It has a wading bird in the centre and rim decorated with flowering shamrocks. Next stop eBay.

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