' An old schoolfriend of mine had a tie fixation. He had literally hundreds of them. So many, in fact, that on special occasions he would wear two or three at a time; rotating them every so often for maximum effect. The louder and brighter they were the better he liked them. He especially favoured the type popular in the late 605 all pink and green geometric patterns and wide enough to recover a three piece suite in. His life was a never-ending search for more. His Saturday mornings were spent in draughty church halls rooting about for particularly virulent examples. Ifhe found one offensive enough he might even splash out another 20p on a shirt equally loathsome and chosen to set it offto best advantage. Thus attired he would turn up at the pub that night looking mightily smug and pointedly oblivious to the cries of horror, retching etc which surrounded him. He is now a PhD. and pillar of the community.

For a long time this put me off jumble sales. The thought of hours

spent grubbing about among a crowd of pensioners or YCs with only a flowery tie or dog-cared copy of ‘Practical Woodwork‘ to show for it was distinctly unexciting. Anyway,

; they were always held at unearthly

. hours of the morning like 9 o'clock.

For the time being I was happy to

lurk about Oxfam and snatch my

grandad shirts off the rails before the

, blue rinsed dears had finished

l pricing them.

Even in the days when the value of higher education was properly

, appreciated there was little enough

left over from drinking and

womanising to fritter away on things like food and clothing. Desperate

measures were called for. I went to a

jumble sale. On the appointed day I

was still congratulating myself for

being up, dressed and reasonably awake at 9 am when I was hurled into the mayhem that was the local bowling club sale. It quickly became obvious that Iwasn’t up to it.

Unfortunately a 19 year old, male

student with all his limbs intact is no

match for little old ladies, their bodies honed to steely perfection by years of working in service - used to rising at 4 and having the stairs scrubbed and the brasses polished by half past they were only getting their

second wind at 9 o’clock. After 15

minutes battering by knees, elbows

and tops of heads I called a halt. Next time, I decided, I would be ready.

'3‘; - ‘M ‘i «'n. -(-;"_‘ 3 .r '2' a .u,- a. at? n- 3‘»

.. . __ % .., ...

The Iona Community has hit on a novel means of fund-raising. Graham Caldwell previews the big day, and considers the nature of jumble generally.

My next jumble sale saw me gleefully elbow my way to the front, leaving a trail of dismayed and wailing geriatrics in my wake. This time it was my misfortune to encounter another jumble sale predator - the second hand clothes dealer. This species frequent jumble sales posing as thin, aesthetic consumptives, taking advantage of people’s sympathy to make off with all the best gear which they then sell up the West End at a profit that would gladden even Thatcher’s stony heart. On this occasion I saw a snappy fedora, just the job, I thought, for posing as the tough investigative journalist about campus. Myself and this pale, emaciated type reached for it at the

same time. Foolishly I let sympathy get the better of me, hesitated that fatal split second and it was gone. The next time I saw it, it was in a trendy indoor market not a million miles from Byres Rd accompanied by an awesome price tag and a familiar face. He didn’t even have the grace to look embarrassed. With the years came experience

and a hardening of the heart until I was able, without a qualm, to trample over invalid and pensioner alike ifI saw something I liked. The years also brought a more selective approach and the realisation that the beauty of jumble sales lay not in old shirts or shabby neckwear, but in the opportunities to indulge in interior design. Cold, impersonal rented flats which felt more like transit camps than homes could be transformed by the simple addition of some bric-a-brac courtesy of the local jumble sales. Old pictures were handy for the frames if not the artwork, which was, as often as not, that picture of an oriental bint every 60s home seemed to have. Old black and white prints made a change from the Farrah Fawcet Majors poster (now I’m showing my age), hat stands were always a nice touch for the hall and net curtains were always useful, even if you had to be particularly quick off the mark for them. Even an instant library of books with impressive titles and looking as if they have actually been read could be had for a few pounds.

Sad to say, it has been some time

now since last I visited a jumble sale. Perhaps I’ll go along to one next Saturday - at least they‘re on in the afternoon when the CAPS won’t have the time advantage.

Radios Forth and Clyde are good at promoting local jumblke sales as are the Evening Times and Evening News. By and large jumble sales tend to be on Saturdays and usually early and the real bargains go quickly so you have to be quick. Some jumble sales drop the admission price after the first hour or so in compensation.

Clothes Obviously not up to the minute fashions, otherwise they wouldn’t be there but unless it is a very tacky sale the quality should be reasonable. The more organised sales might wash clothes first, but it’s always best to do so yourself before wearing anything.

Books Some people are always loathe to part with books, others read them and throw themn away. Even so, it’s unlikely you will get anything at a jumble sale you couldn’t get more easily at the local library, but they can be handy ifyou collect old paperbacks.

Records Jumble Sales are not a good source of records unless your taste runs to old Jim Reeves albums or old, very scratched Mud singles. Bric-a-hrac Make your flat looked lived in with some odds and ends carefully scattered about or put to different uses. This is where ‘Company’, ‘She’ etc can be of help with suggestions otherwise use your imagination. Antiques Genuine ones are rarely, ifever, to be found. Since ‘The Antiques Roadshow’ people are a lot more careful about what they give away.


September 6th is the day of the biggest jumble sale in the world. Organised by the Iona Community it is part of their drive to raise £800,000 for the MacLeod Centre to be built on the island. Once complete, the centre will be used for international and interdenominational youth exchanges, conferences and seminars. So far £425,000 has been raised. The idea is the brainchild of Maxwell MacLeod. son of the community’s founder, Lord MacLeod. He explained how the sale came about by accident. ‘We’ve been running the Go 90 campaign in which about 1500 people have been

36 The List 5 18 September