Monday, May 01, 2006

The auction in Huntingdon

On Saturday, I went to a country auction in Huntingdon, QC. That's a bit further than I've gone before for an auction, but it looked quite interesting, with lots of tschotchkas and miscellaneous stuff. I left at 6:00 AM, and drove to Cornwall, then over the bridge to NY State, in order to make a little dash through the U.S. to get to that part of Quebec south of the St. Lawrence but just north of the border. I must say, that toll bridge in Cornwall is a disgrace - I've never seen anything so patched and shabby, not even in India. Some impression this must make on visitors from the U.S., driving up to Canada!

While in the U.S., I couldn't resist stopping at a grocery store, and stocking up on some of the stuff we've missed since leaving Boston:

Cocoa Puffs for Emma (she hates the Canadian ones - says they're not as chocolatey as the American ones.
Pistachio-flavoured instant fat free, sugar free Jello pudding mix - we have the other flavours, but NOT THIS ONE! (also ff tapico and rice pudding mixes)
Low fat English muffins
Fat free potato chips cooked in Olene
Libby's pumpkin pie mix - it's not that we can't get the stuff in Canada, it's just that it's half the price in the U.S.!

I looked but could not find honey-flavoured Robitussin cough syrup; I'll have to try to find that in Las Vegas next week. And I forgot to look for the decaffeinated sugar-free Nestea instant tea mix.

Anyway, on to the auction. It was run by Dean Hooker, who will also be doing an auction in St. Jacques-le-mineur in 2 weeks' time that I want to go to. I didn't find any melamine or aluminum stuff, such as I like to collect, or any weird lamps. But I got a box of old books for $15, because there was one book in it I thought Dean would like "Turkey and the Armenian Atrocities" from 1896. I also got a lot that I wanted because it had 4 umbrellas in it - unfortunately, it also contained 5 large corsets! Maybe someone on ebay will buy them - I used to know a girl who collected them, because she designed and made theater costumes. Maybe there's someone else like that out there. Also got a nice box of handkerchiefs for $5, most from the 40s; a box of huck towels and various linens for $14; four feather pillows for $10, and for $5 an old wooden crate covered with genuine art nouveau fabric - quite soiled, of course, but I'll wash it and see what can be salvaged. The box was lined inside with old wallpaper, which I'm scraping off as much as possible. I'm sure it was used to store clothes or blankets; now it's come down in the world, because I'm going to use it to store potatoes in the cold cellar in the fall. I need to fill and seal all cracks and holes to keep the mice out. There's a box with some quilting scraps and sewing notions, and also a very old, very solid office chair for use at the computer. It has solid aluminum legs, and is very heavy. James can't even tip it over - he's taken to just pushing it into the corner when he wants it out of the way. Altogether I spent $75, and nearly half of that was the box of books and the umbrellas/corsets.

I so enjoy getting out of Ottawa and going to these auctions. It's a relief to get away from the city; out in the country, you can see the old Ontario, before the place was overrun with immigrants and progressive-minded eggheads who placed no value on the province's past. Out in country, people know how to do things - if I have to disassemble a table, or fit something into the van, there are always people there who can figure out how. It's reassuring to be around people who obviously have learned how to do things for themselves; that sort of self-reliance isn't so easily found in the city. And the accents are very broad, traditional country accents - it's great fun to listen to people talking, as they mostly all know each other.

There is almost always a chamber pot up for sale at one of these sales, which never fails to raise comments and laughter. I keep learning different terms for it - "the thundermug" is one I heard last month. This time there was a new one: "the gazunder"..."Gazunder the bed, gazunder the bed, dont'cha see!"


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