Sunday, 25 May 2008

Knowing what your mother likes: a valley tale

An enterprising trio of valley-dwellers recently opened a shop where they sell everything and anything from plants to old 45s (remember them?!).

They encourage locals to scout through their sheds and attics and bring them their ‘junk’, knowing that one man’s deeply-loathed plated-silver tea set given to him as a wedding present by his mother-in-law could very well be just the thing another woman has been looking for for years.

In a community this small, though, this concept can very easily turn full circle, which happened recently when G was browsing in the shop and came across a stack of old floral fine-china cake plates. He was thrilled: ‘These are just the kind of thing my mother loves!’ he said. ‘I’ll take them all!’

So he paid for the plates, then sat down to have a cup of coffee with the proprietors (who have also had the brilliance to apply for and receive a temporary liquor licence, which means you can have a shot of Jameson’s on the side to get you started on those cold misty winter mornings).

While G was sitting there, nursing his coffee, his mother walked in. G couldn’t wait to show her his find: ‘Look, ma!’ he said. ‘More cake plates to add to your collection!’

She eyed the modest stack. ‘You’ve just bought these?’ she asked. ‘For me?’ And when G proudly said yes, she laughed until she cried.

Because (you’ve guessed by now, haven’t you?) G’s mother had brought those very same old floral fine-china cake plates to the shop the previous day, to put up for sale. But because three people run the shop, and are not always on duty at the same time, she’d handed them over to one, they’d been put out on display by the second, and had been unknowingly sold to G by the third.

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