Friday, October 09, 2009

Killer Frosts and Bargain Hunting

Half way into spring and we’re still getting killer frosts. My butternut pumpkin has shrivelled to nothing after a night with a minimum temperature of -3 Celsius. The frost got to it despite being covered. At least I have an abundant supply of seed to try again,

I have also had slight frost damage on my squash and potatoes which were also covered. My first bean seedlings are also a bit iffy at the moment being the only frost tender things I forgot to protect over that cold night, but they may pull through since they had a little cover from some surrounding plants.

Around here the growing seasons are seriously affected by the two extremes of frost and heat. We seem to get only a month between the late frosts after winter and the early scorching heat leading up to summer. The same kind of effect can be evident in autumn, with early frosts dealing the death blow to the last crop of frost tender veggies.
A week ago Gloria and I went on an “antiques” quest, starting at the Wagga Wagga antiques fair and then doing a circuit of the antiques shops in nearby towns. Mostly we tend to treat these places as museums admiring the artistry of earlier ages, but when we stumble across a bargain we occasionally make a purchase. Gloria was able to pick up some Art Glass vases for a very good price. Not only do they look good they can be put to practical use to display flowers from the garden.

She also bought a less practical vase, a piece by Colin Heaney from Cape Byron Hot Glass. She has liked his style of work for a number of years after buying a piece in Sydney and she was hoping to find something else by him. However, being very much amateurs we had to rely on the dealer’s labelling to be aware that Heaney was the maker.

The vase was the first thing that Gloria saw when we entered the fair. It was in a cabinet at the entrance. It was identified only as “Art Glass - signed” with no details of who made it. It was a very attractive glass vase covered with various vivid colours (mainly blue) in a metallic like finish. We made a note to check it again when we’d been around the rest of the stalls.

Eventually we went back to the vase and after attempted haggling the vase was purchased. The stall owner suggested that it dated to the 1930s when that particular style of glass was popular (I had my doubts – the “88” etched beside the indecipherable signature gave me a clue). When we got home I had a closer look at the signature and for some reason I compared it to the signature on the Colin Heaney piece Gloria had bought before. It was the same. Without knowing, she had actually bought the piece of Colin Heaney glass that she had hoped to find and the “88” beside the signature DID indicate it was made in 1988 and not in the 1930s. She also bought it for half the price she had paid 10 years ago.

While Gloria got a little carried away with her glass purchases, she was not the only one to make an exciting discovery. I picked up a hard covered, illustrated copy of Richard Adam’s “Watership Down” enclosed in a slip case for the exorbitant price of…


No comments: