A morning at the car boot sale

A morning at the car boot sale is not my idea of fun. In fact, it’s pretty much my idea of hell. I’ve ‘done’ three or four car boot sales over the years and come home £60 richer with my soul pretty much destroyed and half of my crap possessions still in the boot to take to the charity shop. I have NEVER wandered around a car boot sale for the ‘fun’ of it. I know lots of people love it, but I can’t see any enjoyment whatsoever in rifling through other people’s tat and asking if they can knock 10p off it.

But on Remembrance Sunday, my eldest wanted to go to the church service with Scouts instead of rugby, which gave him some extra time he doesn’t usually have. And he asked to go to the car boot sale. My son shares none of my prejudices – he really likes the car boot sale.

He’s at an awkward age where a lot of the time he wants to do nothing and some of the time he wants to do things which are totally unreasonable and inappropriate. Either totally unreasonable and inappropriate full stop or unreasonable and inappropriate at that particular time – because we have other priorities at that time. But, where possible, I do try to accommodate his wishes. I don’t want him to grow up feeling I was the mum who always said ‘no’. A trip to the car boot sale was inconvenient, but actually there was no genuine reason why we couldn’t go. So I agreed.

It was just the two of us, which is rare in itself. We didn’t have the car, so we cycled. It was a beautiful, sunny morning and a very pleasant ride – if a bit of a struggle uphill on a bike with broken gears.

The car boot sale was every bit as bad as I’d imagined – complete and utter tat as far as the eye could see. I swear I could even smell the tat. I could certainly smell fried donuts and pork sandwiches, which I don’t like the smell of at the best of times. Bleurgh.

The clientele of the car boot sale was – genuinely poor people who need to shop there, people out to con others into giving stuff away for approximately 10p, chavs, Brummies (where did they all come from?!) and Eastern European people. I fall into none of those categories and absolutely did not want to be there.

But then I realised something. My son was happy.

This was genuine, quality time with him. He was doing what he wanted to do and, by being there with him, I was supporting him and was a part of making him happy. He didn’t talk much, but that didn’t matter, that’s not what he does. My younger son would have given me a non-stop monologue about Minecraft or the plot of the latest Percy Jackson he’s reading. My daughter would have given me chapter and verse on what happened in Maths last week, but my eldest is just happy to be on his own with some adult company.

He is confident talking to adults and went from stall to stall in search of DVDs – asking for the titles he wanted and for advice on good films. I didn’t interrupt – I just left him to it.

This was a completely different boy from the boy who had spent the previous day lolling around the house in front of the television and refusing to get dressed until 11am. This was the boy who is there underneath all the layers of ‘teenager’ – a son to be proud of. A son we don’t see enough of because he’s always too busy fighting his brother and sister for attention.

Once he’d got his DVDs, we got on our bikes and rode home again.

Who knew a trip to the car boot sale could be so priceless?

Mum of Three World

Author: Sarah Mummy

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19 Comments

  1. Sounds like he really loved it, he may have you visiting regularly 🙂 my dad loves car boots! He us an antique hunter and always comes back with vintage little plates or some kind of old thing. My mum despairs 😀

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    • It’s funny how some people do love them! If they have the patience, they might find these little treasures. I most definitely don’t have the patience! Thank goodness we’re usually at rugby on Sunday so we don’t have to go too often!

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  2. That’s so lovely you noticed that and saw the opportunity of being together. We quite like the car boot, though not enough to go regularly, but I know what you mean. It’s such valuable experience to be able to converse with adults and even to haggle. I know a number of children turned adults who struggle with this.

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    • Thanks very much. It was a surprise when I realised what I’d expected to be a hassle turned into a positive experience. He is very good at talking to adults – he always has been. His younger brother and sister both need to take a leaf out of his book!

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  3. I am like you; can’t stand car boot sales myself. I often hear of people getting good things at them and I think I would give them another go but I realise I don’t have the skills required, things like patience and negotiation aka haggling.

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    • Nor me! Plus there’s the bit of me that’s obsessed with hygiene and actually doesn’t like touching other people’s dirty stuff! I have bought second hand stuff in the past, but never from a car boot sale!

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  4. How lovely that a trip to the car boot sale turned into such unexpected quality time. I used to love car boot sales as a teenager (they were great places to buy books) and my dad used to take me throughout the summer. I have so many lovely memories of that quality time with my dad, both of us browsing books at car boot sales together.

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    • That’s lovely – obviously a very similar bonding experience for you and your dad. Does this mean I’ll have to go to the car boot sale again?!

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      • If your son is anything like I was, that may well end up being the case! x

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  5. He sounds like a lovely lad, I’m glad you got to enjoy some quality time. You really can find treasure in the most unexpected places 🙂

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    • You certainly can! Who knew? He is a lovely lad, but sometimes that’s quite well hidden under the teenage stuff!

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  6. You heard it here first…..I’ve never been to a car boot sale! I think my kids would love it but I’ve got all of the horrible images that you mentioned. My colleagues recently did a charity car boot sale to raise money for Macmillan and they were astounding at the actual tat that went and the amount of decent stuff that didn’t! So lovely to see our kids like this from time to time isn’t it? Gives us a fresh insight into their personality and reminds us not to quash every suggestion due to our prejudices! x

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    • I’m impressed that you’ve never been to a car boot sale! There really is no logic to what will sell. I must remember to say ‘yes’ to him more often and do the things he wants to do. A good lesson learned, I think!

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  7. Sounds like a lovely trip out. Somewhere I’d definitely not have thought children, especially older ones, would particularly enjoy, but great he enjoys a mosy.

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    • I think he caught the bug off his old friend who used to live down the road. They were forever finding bargains! He likes the idea of saving money and he enjoys chatting to people 🙂

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  8. Definitely a #loundnproud moment. Don’t you just love it when our kids suddenly surprise us with their “maturity” even at such a young age? It’s like they suddenly turn into different people right before our very eyes 😉

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    • It is! It’s certainly a very different boy to the boy at home who is constantly winding up his brother and sister.

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  9. What’s the fun in car boot sales? I can’t stand going there either. But if you hadn’t gone you’d have missed such a precious moment with your son, life’s full of surprises 🙂

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    • It certainly is! I won’t be rushing to the car boot sale again, but it was a lovely experience 🙂

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