I remember traipsing around Berowra Heights with my mother while she delivered pamphlets for a part-time job in the 80s, and she would get SUCH a kick out of looking at the way people designed their front gardens, the facades of their houses, even their letter boxes. It was kind of interesting but kind of boring and I never could quite understand why she found it so compelling… until I owned my own house.
On Saturday, as we strolled through the perfect spring sunshine and in and out of unexpectedly cool spring breezes, hand in hand with two pretty adorable children, through Carlton North and into the back streets of Brunswick, I could hear my mother’s 1980s words coming out of my 2015 mouth.
“Look at what they’ve done there – I like the gloss on the paintwork on their fence,” I said, without a hint of irony or sarcasm. And, “Hanging plants like that would look good on our balcony, too,” and, “I don’t like this street as much as ours but imagine how amazing it would be to have a big front yard like that.”
Maybe home ownership makes us all middle-aged, whether we are six or sixty.
And also, garage sales. Oh my gosh. Garage sales were so bo-o-o-o-oring when I was a teenager. By this stage we were living in the bush without electricity and Dad was building our house, so my parents would scour the newspaper every weekend and circle garage sales, then off we’d go, looking for second-hand floor-boards and fence-posts and old generators. It became a truly monotonous way to spend the day, weekend after weekend.
But now! Apparently Mr B and I are little old ladies because there is nothing we love better than a garage sale, full of miss-matched teacups, old books, kooky clothes, 70s glassware and ceramics, and enamel just about anything. One of our favourite things is when the warmer weather comes about and all the students in our street host impromptu garage sales on the grass strip that divides our street.
Our walk on Saturday, through the sunshine and the breeze and past all the houses we admired, had a purpose. Our goal was to visit one or 10 of the several thousand garage sales being held in Melbourne that day, as part of the Australia-wide Frankie and Friends Garage Sale.
What we bought:
1 x quirky painted enamel cat-brooch
1 x succulent plant and pink-painted concrete pot from Pop Plant
2 x sweet, vintage little fruit-embellished glass bowls from Pip Lincolne
2 x chocolate and hundreds & thousands doughnuts from All Day Donuts
1 x jingly jangly (but a bit smelly) gold necklace for Scout
1 x truly hideous gold-glitter purse, also for Scout
2 x lucky-dip parcels (resulting in glitter transfer-tattoos and stickers, plastic dinosaur, rocket-ship pencil)
2 x adorable edible teacups made out of biscuits and lollies
What we resisted:
Seriously, you will never know what it cost me (other than money I didn’t have) NOT to buy some of the amazing handmade stoneware, super-fine gold rings, limited-run letterpress prints, vintage Little Golden Books and beautiful vintage clothes also on sale that day. Budgets. Le sigh.
And so it came to pass that spending the day with the people I loved, doing things that my parents used to do that I once thought were quite boring, turned out to be one of the best kinds of days a weekend can throw out there. I guess I’m middle aged.