2020 Grateful 28: A new pastime

Back in the day when I was writing CVs or resumes, I struggled a little when it came to hobbies. Reading. Writing. Theatre. They sounded too banal. I wasn’t much into sports or team events of any kind. I wasn’t into dancing or pilates or yoga. I could never find that edge that hobbies can give jobseekers. Who wouldn’t want to interview someone who listed extreme belly dancing as a hobby?

Given the limits that COVID-19 has put on team sports and crowd entertainment, were I to write a CV today, I’d be down to two: reading and writing.  Until himself reminded me of my new passion: markets. I love a ramble around a good flea market. I like the thrill of a good find. I’m fascinated by what other people think worth selling and the value they attach to their wares. I’ve been buying huge glass wine/palinka bottles, some a metre high, with a view to making them into lamps. The same with the wire bottles – regular-sized bottles in coats of woven multi-coloured telephone wire. At the rate I’m going, I won’t need overhead lights at all. I’m quite partial to embroidered cushions, too. And clocks. And old wicker baskets. And carved wooden plates. Anything carved really.

Bottles covered in colourful woven telephone wire

Imagine these as table lamps


Matyó embroidered cushion

Last week, I scored a fabulous enamel baby bath on a wrought iron stand. It’ll make a great planter. It took me over my self-imposed budget of 5000 ft (less than $/€15) but given that I’m not going out anywhere – no bars, clubs, concerts, or cafés – I’m seriously considering doubling my budget, Sunday just gone, I found this lovely Matyó cushion. Hours of work went into it but the young lad selling it wanted 1000 ft – less than $/€3. My piece de resistance, though, was this carved gem.

I was initially attracted to the carving and wasn’t quite sure what I was buying. When you pull the handle on the left, a drawer opens and the bird dips its beak into it. Fascinated by what I figured would be a great conversation starter, I shelled out the 1500 ft the chap was asking for it and put it in my basket. Sometime later, I was showing off my buy to a mate who immediately figured out what it was for.

Who’s a clever birdie then?

I’m looking forward to whiling away many Sunday mornings in markets around the country. I’m always grateful if I find what I’m looking for but even more so when I find a find. Next stop, Pécs.


6 replies
  1. Bernard Adams
    Bernard Adams says:

    Serendipity still rules! Those bottles, if I’m not mistaken, are pieces of folk art from mining communities, such as that around Pécs. The coloured wire may be light current electric wire or perhaps even detonator cable. My forthcoming book Almost an Esterházy refers to the making of such items, often a labour of love dedicated to wife or girl-friend. There will often be a heart or flowers or the like included in the tricky wire work.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Talk to me...