Apologies for the Utter Disgrace that is Me

If you tell me you are coming between 10 and 11, there’s a chance that I’ll be ready for 10.05 at a push. Don’t turn up at 9.25am or you will find me in a vest and pants, devoid of make up, with lion hair. There’ll be breakfast all over the floor, the children will be feral and undressed, the iron will be out and life is likely to be in general chaos. So, apologies Mr Upholsterer for the utter disgrace that is me.

I’m sorry that you found it difficult to look me in the eye. Perhaps it was due to the lack of make up and the fact that I was wearing a vest that was practically see through with just one Ugg boot, as I couldn’t get the other one on quick enough. And I thank you for pretending to ignore what looked like a tiny bit of hardened dog poo on the sofa. Honestly I’m not sure what it was, but I personally wouldn’t have touched it with my human hand. It was discarded, wrapped in a piece of kitchen roll as soon as you’d gone. All I can say is it had hairs in it. Sorry. Also, when you pulled the chaise longue out, I apologise for the layer of dust, fluff, old plastic toys, tissues and a small child’s coat hanger, that it revealed.

Please don’t tell the husband that the beautiful home and immaculately presented wife and children that welcome him home every evening is in fact, a charade.

A (somewhat tatty, crazy looking, embarrassed, disgraced) Confused Take That Fan, 30+

Jo A

Check out more of Jo Avery’s musings on life at her ‘A Confused Take That Fan‘ blog.

Tips from a top Baby Jumble seller

Tracy was our top seller at East Finchley Baby Jumble last year and sold 90% of what she brought along on the day. She has kindly shared her top tips on how to make the most of selling at a Baby Jumble nearly new sale

How did you hear about Baby Jumble?
I heard about the nearly new baby sale online through a mum & baby Facebook group

What prompted you to come along last year?
My twins had reached 3 1/2 years old and I hadn’t parted with anything during that time.  With two of everything taking over my house, I felt that booking a table at Baby Jumble would force me to start sorting everything out and get a room back in my house that I’d lost to baby paraphernalia!

Who did you come with?
My Mum was my right hand sales lady

What did you enjoy about the event?
The location was very local for me so I was able to spread the word amongst my neighbours and friends. Plus I knew East Finchley would be a great market place since it is so family-orientated

You were our top seller at the sale – what did you find sold well?
Yes, I sold about 90% of my goods. People were clearly searching for specific items – especially large items in good condition that are costly to buy new.

Did anything surprise you about the event?
Even before we’d even set up and opened doors, there were shoppers arriving and eager to get in and get the best bargains!

Have you got any advice for sellers?
I think I did well because I did my research before I priced.  I only sold good quality clean items and I didn’t pile things high. Items were clearly visible and labeled properly.  I had a separate price document with photographs and descriptions of items which I shared around my networks beforehand, so people knew in advance what I was selling and who to ask for on the day. But my main piece of advice is to really think about your buyers… most people are coming with cash in their back-pocket – probably no more than £100 – so whilst a large item that cost £200 new may seem a bargain to the seller at £50, most buyers wont go for it because it wipes out their budget.  Everything I sold regardless of original price was £5, £10, £15 or £20 max.

What about advice for buyers?
Have a clear idea of what you are looking for.  Bring cash.  And don’t hesitate too long; if you want to browse all the tables first to compare pricing then don’t expect popular items to still be there when you return.

The Pox

‘Chicken Pox’. The word ‘chicken’ makes it sound quite cute, as if someone, somewhere back in time decided to take the edge off and make it sound appealing to its usual victim – children. And in some respects it does because although it’s never pleasant, it’s usually less horrific on children. But when you get it as an adult it’s not cute. It’s medieval. It’s THE POX.

It started with an itch. And then some lumpy bumps on my face. Around about day two the strange new look my face was worthy of a selfie. Then it became more and more unpleasant until the night of day three when all of the redness and lumps gathered forces and marched north to my scalp where they settled into a pulsing, agonising itch that drove me absolutely fucking insane.

While my son – the deliverer of the gift he picked up from the germ pool also known as nursery – slept soundly nearby, I itched and scratched on the sofa all through that night. TV failed to distract and a 3am viewing of ‘Sweat the Small Stuff’ had me feeling that life was no longer worth living.

The grim news from the NHS website (still more appealing than Grimmy) informed me that I had one of two things: Hand, Foot and Mouth (1 week) or Chickenpox (2 weeks). And so I settled in for the long haul…

It’s nearly nine months since all this happened and looking back at the daily photo updates, I’m reminded of the incredible changes – horrific and hilarious in equal measure – in my appearence over the following few days as the spots took over my entire body. What I remember less well is just how unwell I felt those first few days: feverish, roaring temperatures and exhausted.

By now looking like a fully paid up lepper, I pulled on a hat as low as I could without losing all vision and headed to the doctor.  She visibly shuddered, confirmed it was chicken pox, then shrugged and prescribed me some pills with the admission that they’d almost certainly have no effect. This wasn’t strictly true. Whilst they didn’t have the effect of curing me, they did give me powerful hallucinations. Fun for the first day or so – I remember flying with a swarm of bees – but the drugs quickly began to really addle my brain and so I knocked them on the head.

Meanwhile the outbreak of spots had levelled off to a state of utter carnage and I was begining to warm to them as they had clearly warmed to me. Could this have been Stockholm Syndrome on top of Chicken Pox? By now I was a week in and settling into a homeopathic routine of cool baths garnished with a heavy splurt of Aveno lotion followed by concerted hours of watching Wimbledon on the TV. It worked.

The insanely irritating itching had only lasted the first few days. The fever another couple of days. And then it was just me and the spots. Spots which initially threatened to crush my morale but by day ten I felt I was cultivating them like a proud farmer growing tiny, crusty radishes all over my body.

It was two weeks before I felt the compulsion to pick them. Naughty I know, but with the greatest will in the world, there will always be a place or two where a little scar won’t do any harm. Picking and sitting, no longer itching, the third week was one of feeling much, much better, interspersed with visits to the bathroom where the mirror reminded me that I still looked absolutely ludicrous. Will it ever end?

It did end but slowly. Spots and scars remained for some weeks yet as did an inglorious beard and an unwelcome lesson learned. Until my brush with the pox, I’d been dismissive of the reports that delightful young children could become carriers for far from delightful illnesses. Especially – I thought – my little Fred. How wrong I was. And I’ve got the photos to prove it.

...it's not pretty!

…it’s not pretty!

There is a postscript to this story. Poor little Fred – the cute carrier – who had had a small dose of the pox himself before passing it onto me, clearly hadn’t had it hard enough to build up the antibodies. So while I was on the mend, he was breaking out in a vigorous new batch of spots which eclipsed his earlier outbreak. And as his constantly down turned, sulky and sad bottom lip reminded me of the shitty feeling of the pox, I wished – far too late – that we’d just got him vaccinated in the first place.