Time Is Magic

Entry by: percypop

6th January 2016

Josie loved pretty things. Dolls, bright colours and
birds like the parrot her Granfer owned. She made
paper hats from old wrapping paper she found in his
shop and begged for crayons to make them bright.
But above all she loved going to the annual fair at Melton.

It was so lively and noisy and filled with people dressed in their best clothes, enjoying themselves. Her grandfather always gave her a sixpence to spend and she ticked off the days till the Fair would be coming around.

Josie was ten years old and lived with her father and mother in a farm not far outside Melton. It was a quiet place and she learnt at an early age to do tasks for the farm such as collecting eggs and feeding the stock. The village school was over the hill in Bradstock and every day she walked to school except when Dad took the cart to market and then she travelled with him part of the way.
“Just like a little princess” he said. And for a moment she saw herself in a jewelled crown and waved to her subjects. It made them both laugh as the cattle they passed mooed back at them.

In July, when the harvest was due, the Fair would take place. The Green at Melton made an ideal spot. It was large enough for the Merry –go –Round to sit in the middle and leave enough room for the hurdy-gurdy dances and the stalls of the victuallers who made this day their money spinner. Gypsies in scarlet and black costumes paraded in the streets with their horses prancing in their gold and silver harness. The brazen women laughed and danced whirling their skirts at the menfolk.

Josie went down with her Granfer as soon as she could badger him out of the house.
“Steady, me girl, it’s only ‘leven o’clock and the stalls aren’t open yet.”
“No Granfer! I saw Jenny Withrow down the lane half an hour ago!”
With much more chatter, they joined others making their way in the same direction. Josie clutched her sixpence tightly.

The music from the Hurdy Gurdy man added to the gaiety of the occasion and by mid-day the Green was a mass of colour as the wives and girls paraded their best frocks for the event, some adding parasols to their outfits to show the fashion from Bath and London.

One of the stalls was set up by “The Chinaman.” Every year his stall was the magnet for all the young in the area. He was known as “The Chinaman,” not for his race, but for the Fairings he sold at all the local Fairs. These little china figures entranced the children and young people. Some were figures of lovers entwined, others poked fun at the grumpy husband and wife in bed or a boy bitten by a dog. All sorts of scenes were laid out in these little white fairings and the special attraction was they cost just pence to buy.

Josie looked longingly at the cheap gifts and fingered her sixpence. Would the little dog be best? Would the loving couple be too much? Then her eye would fall on the “Cow jumping over the Moon” and her problems increased.
“Come along my girl! There’s plenty waitin’ to buy” said the Chinaman.
At last, she chose the little dog in his kennel and paid over her sixpence.The man wrapped it in a conical paper bag and handed to her. The rest of the day she carried it with her and occasionally peeped at it as she wandered about. When Granfer carried her home that evening, the fairing found a place on her bedside table.

Jim unloaded the van and set up the table before the punters streamed into Chelsea Town Hall for the Antique Fair. The entry cost a mere £5 and the crowds jostled as they spread out among the stalls. It was a Saturday in November and the women in their
Puffa jackets dragged their mewling children through the increasing crowds. Men in covert coats with velvet collars brushed shoulders with some of the leather jackets from the King’s Road who had wandered in out of curiosity.
Amanda picked up the little china figure of a dog in a kennel.
She knew the lingo these dealers appreciated.
“What’s your best price for this little fairing?”
Jim looked at her, and then he looked at the little figure. The dog seemed to look back at him.
“That’s a special piece” he said “it comes from my granny’s house. I couldn’t let it go for less than sixty.”

His grandmother had lived in a council flat all her life and never seen a fairing.
“Will you take fifty for it?” Amanda knew how to haggle.
“Best I can do” said Jim “Is Fifty five and I ‘m robbing myself - it cost me fifty six last week.”
Amanda knew a bargain when she saw one. “Done”

You see..time is magic. Sixpence turns into gold as time goes by.