Posted by: Valerie | August 3, 2010

Sparkle, bling and another strange visitor

Another long weekend over and done with – only two more before Christmas, perish the thought!

Bancroft was of course completely mobbed, it being Gemboree weekend. I can’t imagine where all the exhibitors, not mention the visitors, were staying. Bancroft has a couple of smallish hotels and several B & Bs. They must have been sleeping in corridors – or their cars. There were  lots of yard sales and other events piggy-backing on the big show too.

Joe and I set out early and visited a couple of yard sales on the way into town. We (Joe, that would be) scooped up an ancient treadle sewing machine in a really ugly base which we have absolutely NO room for. It will live in Joe’s shop. A bargain at $10! Being Scottish, my purchase was more modest. For a buck, I bought a Scrabble mug covered with all the words beginning with X. It is now my official tea mug. I do love my tea.

The show was amazing as it always is – a veritable Aladdin’s cave with lots of sparkle and bling. I can remember as a child being absolutely entranced by stories of rooms full of treasure spilling out of old sea-trunks, and I guess I never really recovered. I think I had a copy of the Arabian Nights.

A partial `skinned`geode

 Generally I like to see the “raw” rocks, rather than the polished up versions and I do have quite a few decent specimens around the house gathering dust as such things are wont to do. Every so often I dump them into the sink to clean them up but discovered that this isn’t always a good idea when I accidentally melted the matrix that was supporting some perfect cubes of pyrites.

Anyway, we spent a couple of happy hours pottering around. Joe went to make a purchase but the stall holder only took cash and Joe didn’t have any. To our great surprise, the seller gave Joe his address and asked him to send a cheque. What about that! That can happen in Bancroft.

Not sure what this is but it`s lovely.

 It was a busy day and we were quite glad to get home but not before we found another yard sale – someone we knew. Joe bought an 18-speed Raleigh bike for $20.00. Joe hasn’t ridden a bike for years and years and he’s a bit wobbly but he is going tootling up and down the yard. I bought a stair-climbing decoration for my bedroom for $10.

A pair of pearlized ammonites - see the price!

 I met my tiny toad again today. Hasn’t grown much. If we keep meeting like this I will have to give him/her a name. Now what would be a good name for a toad, I wonder. I shall mull it over. I also met another interesting garden creature in my perennial bed. I thought it was a baby hummingbird at first but then I noticed that it had insect-like antennae and too many legs. It had a long, long proboscis that it was poking right into the heart of the flowers and it wings were whirring in a very hummingbird manner. I knew it wouldn’t hang around for me to get my camera and I was right, so no photo by me. Of course I went straight to Google and discovered that it was a hummingbird moth. It had a green body with red bands around where the tail would have been if it had been a… well, you know, you’ve got the idea. This photo is courtesy of someone on the net but it’s close enough.

Weird, isn`t it!

 Given that we live a fairly isolated existence out here, it`s good to know that there is strange company to be had in our own backyard!

For those with faltering vision, the price of the ammonites is $795. I like them, I would happily own them but I wouldn’t pay that for them. Yonks ago when my older kids were small and the younger one not even thought of, we went on a family holiday to Dorset on the south coast of England. The place is littered with fossils much too large to steal. I used to have an small ammonite that I picked up on the beach at Lyme Regis that was completely pyritized – meaning that it looked as if it was made of gold. I have no idea what became of it. Sad.


  1. What is a stair climbing decoration Val? That is intriguing!
    I love geology too. It’s a wondrous world we live in.

    The backpacker’s code, according to a cryptoquote I did the other day is: Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.

    I used to take rocks off the beach for my rock garden and had a box full as a collection, they are all gone now too.

    • A stair-climbing decoration is a machine for exercising that may turn out to be no more than a decoration! I have used it though! I have!

  2. Quite possibly that is a green amethyst piece of quartz?

    • Anything is possible but actually I think it was something pretty fancy. It had a fancy price tag! Our local rocks around here are a very attractive sparkly white quartz and I have managed to accumulate enough – almost – to edge my flower beds. The other local rock is sodalite which is bright blue. We also have uranium but I’ve no idea what that looks like and nor do I want to.

  3. That toad needs a name! Thus I am submitting the following for your consideration … Henrik Heron Killer. A bold name for a hardy toad. I am reminded of that ancient cartoon of a toad caught in a heron’s beak but with its hands firmly around the heron’s neck. The caption was “Never Give Up”.

    • Excellent! Henrik is a great name.

  4. I remember that holiday in Dorset with the Prices.

    • I think you must have been about four. Good memory. There is a photo somewhere – I will post it if I find it.

  5. Henrik is a great name for the toad.

    Those stair climbing decorations become excellent clothes valets. I know from experience. You should have had to pay more than$10. Then guilt might become a motivating factor in your usage of said decoration.

    Your Gemboree weekend sounds like a lot of fun. Tucson has the largest Gem Show in The World (their capitals not mine) when thousands and thousands from all over the world descend on our little pueblo. It is big business and certainly no one would offer to take later payment!! It lasts for 3 weeks and I can’t get a reservation at my favourite Indian restaurant.
    Maybe if you can guarantee that there are no black flies, mozzies, horse flies or other flying nasties we should visit yours.
    Interesting blog, Val.

    • Yes, I have heard about the Tucson show and I can certainly relate to your feelings about the city being taken over. Ottawa is a big tourist destination in the summer and the same can be said there. The locals just keep their heads down and wait for life to return to normal. Meanwhile tourist dollars are flowing into the local economy which has to be a good thing.

  6. From Wikipedia (where else):

    “A toad is any of a number of species of amphibians in the order Anura characterized by dry, leathery skin, brown coloration, and wart-like parotoid glands. A distinction between frogs and toads, though common in popular culture, is not made in taxonomy. The characteristic features of toads are a result of evolution in dry habitats. A group of toads is called a “Knot.””

    Toads in literature are often called “Mr. Toad” and human characters are called “Toad” as a nickname. There doesn’t seem to be much of a trend to give toads names.

    The common European toad’s Latin name is Bufo bufo, which is kind of fun. In looking for names that start with “BUF” we have Buffy and Buford. Now there’s a fun name – Buford!

  7. I called my toad ‘turd’ as that’s what I first mistook him for. We came to be great friends.

    A good name for the ammonites would be ‘Ra.’

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