The Kestrels and ourselves are both very highly enamoured with the Gnome Factory, aka Waterside Antiques in Ely; three floors of "antiques" of varying age, utility and desirability. It's always hard to go in and come out without buying things; from amusing stuffed ferrets to C19th hand tools, to an astonishingly large number of warming pans, the shop has it all- even a manually-powered dentists' drill.
We particularly like the idea of buying things that are meant to be static ornaments, and using them for their original purposes; of going to the antique shop to buy useful everyday things, rather than for ornaments or things that will never really be used . We saw several fantastic old petrol tins a couple of months ago, and thought that rather than just having them standing around looking great, we could actually use them to carry petrol in. We wanted a larger metal jerry can for petrol anyway, so these would be perfect.
Luckily enough, no-one had bought them in the meantime, so we came away with a wonderful Shell Motor Spirit (in red, to match the boat) complete with embossed shell logo and the original price of "3/-" on the top, with embossed writing on the sides. It's got a few dents, but I think they add character- in the same way that old working boats are often very bashed about at the bows!
Amy also apparently loves ironing- and no, before anyone points out the obvious, that isn't the only reason I'm going out with her!- but as we've not got a large battery bank, or a TravelPower 240v alternator, or a big inverter, we can't run a normal steam iron.
So we bought a lovely solid flatiron, which can heat up on the top of the stove and, along with a water spray and a tabletop ironing board, can make my shirts look far less scruffy.
Whilst in Ely, we enjoyed taking afternoon tea (rather, old bean!) with some friends in the award-winning Peacock's Tea Rooms which are conveniently right by the antiques shop on the waterfront. It's all very, very twee, but they have a wonderful selection of tea and homemade cakes- they even have chocolate tea!
Boats, trains and buses have taken their toll
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