This week’s Usual Shopping very nearly turned into a take of woe – and this pair of Dala horses into extremely expensive wooden ornaments (especially given that I hardly need any more of the damn things; now up to five). Bought them (£1) at a jumble sale in the charming little village of Litlington, near Alfriston; stuffed them and my wallet into my shoulder bag, went to rummage through the clothes… and when I came to pay for my other purchases, my wallet – with all my credit and debit cards, driver’s licence, university library and ID cards, various other membership cards, etc., as well as £50-odd – was gone. I didn’t think I’d been pick-pocketed – most likely my wallet, crammed in with the horses, fell out in the usual scrimmage. However, a shout-out around the hall and a thorough search at the end of the afternoon failed to find it.
I cancelled all the cards, assumed it lost for good, and worried about ID fraud, given that my address was on the driver’s licence along with my date of birth – there’s a lot someone could do with that information. Then… arrived home late Tuesday night and there was a brown envelope in the hallway. Containing the wallet, and all its contents, though no note or any explanation as to who had posted it (the handwriting on the envelope suggests an older person). I phoned the jumble organisers yesterday to thank them, thinking that it had turned up in the final clear-up – but they hadn’t found it. So the wallet must have left the building with someone else, perhaps accidentally bundled up with their stuff, or maybe it even fell into an open bag of purchases. I prefer that explanation to the idea that perhaps someone picked it up then thought better of pocketing my cash, having decided that my faith in humanity – called into question – has been restored. I’ll very happily refund the £3 postage and give thanks to whoever sent it back, if any of you Sussex jumble-goers know anything about it… Charlie, thank you too for lending me £2.50 to pay for my other finds (and for your sympathy in my moment of distress).
Anyway, the other finds – not all are pictured here, as some are being put by for surprise gifts and birthdays (a-ha), but include a brand-new blue anorak for Lucy’s eldest boy, a huge bright blue satin fringed scarf and a large black woollen shawl/wrap-thing (stocking up again for festival season). Oh, and this week my mother found me some new bicycle panniers, too.
Incidentally, and call me sentimental if you like, my thing for Dala horses stems back to an “I’ve come on holiday by mistake” moment in central Sweden. I’ve driven through the backwoods of Arkansas, into the netherlands of the Ozarks, down the Blue Ridge into Virginia, but can honestly say that the scariest rednecks I’ve come across were actually Swedish – it can get a bit weird and Deliverance once you get away from the major conurbations and approach the Arctic Circle. (We found ourselves in the midst of a neo-Nazi rally, for a start, and that was after some crazed hillbillies in a beat-up old banger tailgated us for over an hour and tried to run us off the road). And much as I do (still) love going to Sweden, I wouldn’t recommend an out-of-season trip to Mora – pretty though it is, by the spectacular Lake Siljan – in the strange dead period after the summer tourists go home, before the wintersports crowd arrives, either.