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My US friends might ask “What’s doing a car boot?”

Well, it’s where you pack the boot of your car on a Saturday night with as much tat as you can find, and then set your alarm to go off at 05:10 hrs on the following Sunday morning in order to stand in a cold, muddy field from 07:30 hrs with about fifty other like minded souls in order to sell said tat.   The bit about setting your alarm for 05:10 hrs isn’t funny, as I came to realise last Sunday.

My daughters-in-law are prolific car booters.  I’ve never discovered just why my eldest daughter-in-law always has so much tat to sell.  Where is it all coming from?  She usually makes quite a bit of money every time too.  After finally clearing out my mother’s flat and being left with a mountain of tat, she suggested adding Dot’s tat to my own tat and joining her for a car booting session, and she knew just the one to go to – the Sunday market at Woolpit.

Woolpit Sunday market has been going for years, certainly for as long as we’ve lived in Suffolk.  The tat stretches far and wide across the aforesaid muddy field every Sunday morning, and if it’s a nice day then vultures start arriving from 07:00 hrs in order to buy up the best tat before somebody else takes it.  Sam and I had so much tat that we had to pay £14 for two cars to enter the field.  I fervently hoped that we’d soon sell all of it and make a grand profit.

The weather was a bit cold and overcast, but otherwise dry.  I trundled my car across the field and parked next to Sam and Kelly’s cars.  Before we had turned off our engines the vultures were flapping around all three of our cars, shouting through the windows and asking what we’d got.  I had some of the grandchildren’s outgrown toys in a Fortnum and Mason’s wicker basket that we’d been given several years back.  One chap asked how much for the basket.  I shouted back that it wasn’t for sale, just the toys inside.

We set up tables with our tat, and the vultures starting picking it over.  Quite a few of them wanted our Fortnum and Mason wicker basket, and Sam suggested selling it for £100. The sight of a group of vultures around our tables sent other vultures racing over to see what they were missing.  We were surrounded; this was a good start!

The morning ticked by. I felt as though I’d been up for hours, and it was only 08:15.  Kelly as usual was raking it in with her kids’ toys, books and games, but our tat wasn’t being shifted as fast.  Sam wandered off to buy a bacon roll and to look at other people’s tat, with strict instructions not to bring any of it back as we had enough of our own.  I yawned, sat in my beach chair still covered in Isle of Wight sand, and looked ever hopeful whenever a potential customer mooched along.

By 11:00 hrs everybody was packing up and I was windswept and starving hungry, as I’d eaten my breakfast at 05:45.  Kelly had made nearly £90, but Stevie with twice the amount of tat had only made £22.50 and had to bring the majority of it back home again.  Hey ho, such is life.  I worked on the assumption that it was a cold day and not many people had ventured out.  Kelly said to try again, but I think I’ll leave it until the summer!

Have you ever ‘done a car boot’? Would you do another one?  What’s a car boot sale called in the US?

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