By

EXTRACT FOR
By 'Royal' Appointment 
(Dee)


In the beginning was a piece of land…

A millennia ago the stretch of water now known as the Solent broke through the piece of land it had been busy eating away for the previous millennia and in doing so, created two separate land masses, the mainland, aka North Island (among other terms for Portsmouth and onward) and the Isle of Wight (it means spirits, which accounts for the amount of spiritualist churches (3) and mediums (many… I don’t feel strange living here despite the usual comments such as ‘anyone tell you there’s something wrong with you? This from a man who had just told me he was aware of an unseen presence alongside him in his house…)
Another millennia later and a lot of history (some missing – there’s 100 years adrift in the chronicles of the ownership of Carisbrooke Castle among other things), a lot of unnecessary deaths (in the 15thc Sir Edward Woodville encouraged 440 men to leave the island, to travel with him to fight the French in Brittany. They lost. 439 are buried over there…one boy came back with the sad tale) quite a few invasions (called tourists and scooterists these days) the island is well settled down, if we exclude disputes over the floating bridge and other major disasters, like ferry mishaps, and it can be surveyed as a whole.
It’s sort of diamond shaped, very photogenic, firmly rooted in the past in many ways (like the council), short on railways, big on not-very-well-maintained roads, rough round the edges, quieter in the middle (like true islanders. Incomers are called overners) and one hospital which will, in a real emergency, fly you over to the North Island where the care might be fractionally better. Best not to bank on that fact, though…
In the 19th c Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert decided to have a holiday home here. Albert got busy and designed what we now know as Osborne House, all beautiful architecture and Victorian goodies. The island is a living Queen Victoria museum because she was often here and she died here. It feels like every other road is named for her and the family, Adelaide Grove, Victoria this that and everything else, York Avenue, Osborne Road, Albert Cottage, Clarence Road…
Use Google Earth technology and zoom in on the river Medina. It’s bound on one side by West Cowes, the yachties’ haven, home to Cowes Week and Round the Island Yacht Race and East Cowes on the other side, home to Red Funnel’s terminal, GKN’s massive works and a huge sprawling amount of houses which goes on for what feels like miles. A vast new estate is being built by Barratts at this time. (‘Little boxes’ springs to mind…) The shops cluster around the centre, the new Waitrose off to one side. (Waitrose, a bit of posh long overdue in arriving.) Elegant expensive apartments are now being built not far from the supermarket. The game is, find a tiny square of land and build a house on it…
And then there’s the floating bridge linking the two towns. This ongoing saga is actually too long and involved to be included in the book; suffice to say there is a 1901 photograph in the shop window of an early floating bridge with the caption ‘this one worked.’ It’s been there for months and still people stop and laugh at it…
Clarence Road is long, straight, terraced houses on one side, industrial buildings on the other, a haven for the seagulls who think they have total right to walk across the main road as and when they wish. At the ‘town’ end of Clarence Road is a parade of shops, both sides. Some have been converted to flats, but there’s enough of interest left: East Cowes Heritage Centre for a start, us for a second… boasting, I know but we do attract attention.
So there we are, a relatively small shop in a listed terrace, flats overhead, lovely wide pavement, useful when we need to photograph a big dining table and six chairs or a gazebo or garden parasol… or just wax and polish a church pew cut into two which we were about to sell to an East Cowes pub…


First the place, then the people…

That’s the history, that’s the ephemeral bit taken care of, that’s a hint of where we are, now to the main people involved in this story of determination, hard work, faith in each other and, most of all, laughter.
First is Terry Wakelin. If you’ve not read the dedication, go do it now and get some idea of the overwhelming personality of this man and how sad we are he’s no longer with us.
When he stopped being a full on member of the shop, the crazy man bought a mobility scooter to get around, to stop running the battery down on the Jaguar he drove the rest of the time… many times we’d see him take off, almost literally, from outside the shop. I bought Betsy (his name for the scooter) Jaguar decals… just don’t ask me about the day I walked into his house and found him dead in his bed. You could, just about, ask how I called Shaun and shouted down the phone at him, how he arrived in record time and told me to go open the shop, as life and shop had to go on. So I did, leaving him to deal with everything, from getting other family members in to help to getting the doctor and undertakers to the house. I remember standing in the shop, looking round and thinking ‘Thanks, Terry, for all of this.’ (Actually, I say it several times a week every week…)
Now, when people ask about his photograph (more on that later in the book) and we are once again talking of him, we are aware as never before that all we do and all we are is down to his influence, his example and his spirit pushing us where we need to go. It hasn’t let us down yet.
Second is Shaun, a man capable of turning his hand to just about anything and who is living his childhood dream of running a second hand shop, with all that entails. It means research, travelling around buying stock, acquiring knowledge all the time, being able to see the good from the rubbish and bring it back to the shop to (hopefully) sell. He’s not failed often. His maxim is ‘every item has another owner. We just need to wait for that owner to arrive.’ He has a history of studying fine metals; he loves diamonds and can talk about them with authority. He spends hours researching items in the shop, learning to read hallmarks and look for the clues on a piece someone is offering us. Not all gold and silver is hallmarked, gold from India and other places isn’t. Then it comes down to experience and gut instinct to know whether a piece is genuine gold or not.
I spend time writing humorous comments for the items listed on Wightbay and Marketplace, the County Press website, in the hope it gets people reading the ads and remembering us. I love writing nonsense; the ads do seem to work when they’re nonsensical. A customer recently commented that she loved to read the ads, but thought they were written by someone younger. I’ve decided that means I simply haven’t grown up… That’s my contribution, along with some window dressing and fancy ideas for the shop floor which entail a load of work… mostly for others…
Apart from that, little old me comes with a background of legal work, writing, (novels, short stories, articles) editing, photography and mediumship. I’ve been a working medium (as in taking part in services in spiritualist churches and giving readings) for over twenty years.
Then there’s Asha, a snow white German Shepherd/Samoyed cross who was introduced to me in July 2017 as the third member of staff. She’s a rescue dog, utterly devoted to those she takes a liking to, shameless in cadging fuss and compliments from customers who aren’t afraid of her (some are) and brilliant at leaving a carpet of white hair on the dark grey carpet even when she’s not moulting… she’s very vocal in her protests if the person giving her fuss and attention dares walk away or, even worse, not come and talk to her in the first place. Quite a few people and children come in ‘to see the nice dog.’
There’s a lot of other people associated with the shop in different ways, friends of Terry and Shaun.

We’re not alone in this mad world.
We’re at the heart of it.
We’re different.
We’re not your usual second hand shop.
We are
The Old Curiosity Shop of East Cowes
and proud of it.

By

EXTRACT FOR
By 'Royal' Appointment 
(Dee)


In the beginning was a piece of land…

A millennia ago the stretch of water now known as the Solent broke through the piece of land it had been busy eating away for the previous millennia and in doing so, created two separate land masses, the mainland, aka North Island (among other terms for Portsmouth and onward) and the Isle of Wight (it means spirits, which accounts for the amount of spiritualist churches (3) and mediums (many… I don’t feel strange living here despite the usual comments such as ‘anyone tell you there’s something wrong with you? This from a man who had just told me he was aware of an unseen presence alongside him in his house…)
Another millennia later and a lot of history (some missing – there’s 100 years adrift in the chronicles of the ownership of Carisbrooke Castle among other things), a lot of unnecessary deaths (in the 15thc Sir Edward Woodville encouraged 440 men to leave the island, to travel with him to fight the French in Brittany. They lost. 439 are buried over there…one boy came back with the sad tale) quite a few invasions (called tourists and scooterists these days) the island is well settled down, if we exclude disputes over the floating bridge and other major disasters, like ferry mishaps, and it can be surveyed as a whole.
It’s sort of diamond shaped, very photogenic, firmly rooted in the past in many ways (like the council), short on railways, big on not-very-well-maintained roads, rough round the edges, quieter in the middle (like true islanders. Incomers are called overners) and one hospital which will, in a real emergency, fly you over to the North Island where the care might be fractionally better. Best not to bank on that fact, though…
In the 19th c Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert decided to have a holiday home here. Albert got busy and designed what we now know as Osborne House, all beautiful architecture and Victorian goodies. The island is a living Queen Victoria museum because she was often here and she died here. It feels like every other road is named for her and the family, Adelaide Grove, Victoria this that and everything else, York Avenue, Osborne Road, Albert Cottage, Clarence Road…
Use Google Earth technology and zoom in on the river Medina. It’s bound on one side by West Cowes, the yachties’ haven, home to Cowes Week and Round the Island Yacht Race and East Cowes on the other side, home to Red Funnel’s terminal, GKN’s massive works and a huge sprawling amount of houses which goes on for what feels like miles. A vast new estate is being built by Barratts at this time. (‘Little boxes’ springs to mind…) The shops cluster around the centre, the new Waitrose off to one side. (Waitrose, a bit of posh long overdue in arriving.) Elegant expensive apartments are now being built not far from the supermarket. The game is, find a tiny square of land and build a house on it…
And then there’s the floating bridge linking the two towns. This ongoing saga is actually too long and involved to be included in the book; suffice to say there is a 1901 photograph in the shop window of an early floating bridge with the caption ‘this one worked.’ It’s been there for months and still people stop and laugh at it…
Clarence Road is long, straight, terraced houses on one side, industrial buildings on the other, a haven for the seagulls who think they have total right to walk across the main road as and when they wish. At the ‘town’ end of Clarence Road is a parade of shops, both sides. Some have been converted to flats, but there’s enough of interest left: East Cowes Heritage Centre for a start, us for a second… boasting, I know but we do attract attention.
So there we are, a relatively small shop in a listed terrace, flats overhead, lovely wide pavement, useful when we need to photograph a big dining table and six chairs or a gazebo or garden parasol… or just wax and polish a church pew cut into two which we were about to sell to an East Cowes pub…


First the place, then the people…

That’s the history, that’s the ephemeral bit taken care of, that’s a hint of where we are, now to the main people involved in this story of determination, hard work, faith in each other and, most of all, laughter.
First is Terry Wakelin. If you’ve not read the dedication, go do it now and get some idea of the overwhelming personality of this man and how sad we are he’s no longer with us.
When he stopped being a full on member of the shop, the crazy man bought a mobility scooter to get around, to stop running the battery down on the Jaguar he drove the rest of the time… many times we’d see him take off, almost literally, from outside the shop. I bought Betsy (his name for the scooter) Jaguar decals… just don’t ask me about the day I walked into his house and found him dead in his bed. You could, just about, ask how I called Shaun and shouted down the phone at him, how he arrived in record time and told me to go open the shop, as life and shop had to go on. So I did, leaving him to deal with everything, from getting other family members in to help to getting the doctor and undertakers to the house. I remember standing in the shop, looking round and thinking ‘Thanks, Terry, for all of this.’ (Actually, I say it several times a week every week…)
Now, when people ask about his photograph (more on that later in the book) and we are once again talking of him, we are aware as never before that all we do and all we are is down to his influence, his example and his spirit pushing us where we need to go. It hasn’t let us down yet.
Second is Shaun, a man capable of turning his hand to just about anything and who is living his childhood dream of running a second hand shop, with all that entails. It means research, travelling around buying stock, acquiring knowledge all the time, being able to see the good from the rubbish and bring it back to the shop to (hopefully) sell. He’s not failed often. His maxim is ‘every item has another owner. We just need to wait for that owner to arrive.’ He has a history of studying fine metals; he loves diamonds and can talk about them with authority. He spends hours researching items in the shop, learning to read hallmarks and look for the clues on a piece someone is offering us. Not all gold and silver is hallmarked, gold from India and other places isn’t. Then it comes down to experience and gut instinct to know whether a piece is genuine gold or not.
I spend time writing humorous comments for the items listed on Wightbay and Marketplace, the County Press website, in the hope it gets people reading the ads and remembering us. I love writing nonsense; the ads do seem to work when they’re nonsensical. A customer recently commented that she loved to read the ads, but thought they were written by someone younger. I’ve decided that means I simply haven’t grown up… That’s my contribution, along with some window dressing and fancy ideas for the shop floor which entail a load of work… mostly for others…
Apart from that, little old me comes with a background of legal work, writing, (novels, short stories, articles) editing, photography and mediumship. I’ve been a working medium (as in taking part in services in spiritualist churches and giving readings) for over twenty years.
Then there’s Asha, a snow white German Shepherd/Samoyed cross who was introduced to me in July 2017 as the third member of staff. She’s a rescue dog, utterly devoted to those she takes a liking to, shameless in cadging fuss and compliments from customers who aren’t afraid of her (some are) and brilliant at leaving a carpet of white hair on the dark grey carpet even when she’s not moulting… she’s very vocal in her protests if the person giving her fuss and attention dares walk away or, even worse, not come and talk to her in the first place. Quite a few people and children come in ‘to see the nice dog.’
There’s a lot of other people associated with the shop in different ways, friends of Terry and Shaun.

We’re not alone in this mad world.
We’re at the heart of it.
We’re different.
We’re not your usual second hand shop.
We are
The Old Curiosity Shop of East Cowes
and proud of it.

EXTRACT FOR
By 'Royal' Appointment 
(Dee)


In the beginning was a piece of land…

A millennia ago the stretch of water now known as the Solent broke through the piece of land it had been busy eating away for the previous millennia and in doing so, created two separate land masses, the mainland, aka North Island (among other terms for Portsmouth and onward) and the Isle of Wight (it means spirits, which accounts for the amount of spiritualist churches (3) and mediums (many… I don’t feel strange living here despite the usual comments such as ‘anyone tell you there’s something wrong with you? This from a man who had just told me he was aware of an unseen presence alongside him in his house…)
Another millennia later and a lot of history (some missing – there’s 100 years adrift in the chronicles of the ownership of Carisbrooke Castle among other things), a lot of unnecessary deaths (in the 15thc Sir Edward Woodville encouraged 440 men to leave the island, to travel with him to fight the French in Brittany. They lost. 439 are buried over there…one boy came back with the sad tale) quite a few invasions (called tourists and scooterists these days) the island is well settled down, if we exclude disputes over the floating bridge and other major disasters, like ferry mishaps, and it can be surveyed as a whole.
It’s sort of diamond shaped, very photogenic, firmly rooted in the past in many ways (like the council), short on railways, big on not-very-well-maintained roads, rough round the edges, quieter in the middle (like true islanders. Incomers are called overners) and one hospital which will, in a real emergency, fly you over to the North Island where the care might be fractionally better. Best not to bank on that fact, though…
In the 19th c Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert decided to have a holiday home here. Albert got busy and designed what we now know as Osborne House, all beautiful architecture and Victorian goodies. The island is a living Queen Victoria museum because she was often here and she died here. It feels like every other road is named for her and the family, Adelaide Grove, Victoria this that and everything else, York Avenue, Osborne Road, Albert Cottage, Clarence Road…
Use Google Earth technology and zoom in on the river Medina. It’s bound on one side by West Cowes, the yachties’ haven, home to Cowes Week and Round the Island Yacht Race and East Cowes on the other side, home to Red Funnel’s terminal, GKN’s massive works and a huge sprawling amount of houses which goes on for what feels like miles. A vast new estate is being built by Barratts at this time. (‘Little boxes’ springs to mind…) The shops cluster around the centre, the new Waitrose off to one side. (Waitrose, a bit of posh long overdue in arriving.) Elegant expensive apartments are now being built not far from the supermarket. The game is, find a tiny square of land and build a house on it…
And then there’s the floating bridge linking the two towns. This ongoing saga is actually too long and involved to be included in the book; suffice to say there is a 1901 photograph in the shop window of an early floating bridge with the caption ‘this one worked.’ It’s been there for months and still people stop and laugh at it…
Clarence Road is long, straight, terraced houses on one side, industrial buildings on the other, a haven for the seagulls who think they have total right to walk across the main road as and when they wish. At the ‘town’ end of Clarence Road is a parade of shops, both sides. Some have been converted to flats, but there’s enough of interest left: East Cowes Heritage Centre for a start, us for a second… boasting, I know but we do attract attention.
So there we are, a relatively small shop in a listed terrace, flats overhead, lovely wide pavement, useful when we need to photograph a big dining table and six chairs or a gazebo or garden parasol… or just wax and polish a church pew cut into two which we were about to sell to an East Cowes pub…


First the place, then the people…

That’s the history, that’s the ephemeral bit taken care of, that’s a hint of where we are, now to the main people involved in this story of determination, hard work, faith in each other and, most of all, laughter.
First is Terry Wakelin. If you’ve not read the dedication, go do it now and get some idea of the overwhelming personality of this man and how sad we are he’s no longer with us.
When he stopped being a full on member of the shop, the crazy man bought a mobility scooter to get around, to stop running the battery down on the Jaguar he drove the rest of the time… many times we’d see him take off, almost literally, from outside the shop. I bought Betsy (his name for the scooter) Jaguar decals… just don’t ask me about the day I walked into his house and found him dead in his bed. You could, just about, ask how I called Shaun and shouted down the phone at him, how he arrived in record time and told me to go open the shop, as life and shop had to go on. So I did, leaving him to deal with everything, from getting other family members in to help to getting the doctor and undertakers to the house. I remember standing in the shop, looking round and thinking ‘Thanks, Terry, for all of this.’ (Actually, I say it several times a week every week…)
Now, when people ask about his photograph (more on that later in the book) and we are once again talking of him, we are aware as never before that all we do and all we are is down to his influence, his example and his spirit pushing us where we need to go. It hasn’t let us down yet.
Second is Shaun, a man capable of turning his hand to just about anything and who is living his childhood dream of running a second hand shop, with all that entails. It means research, travelling around buying stock, acquiring knowledge all the time, being able to see the good from the rubbish and bring it back to the shop to (hopefully) sell. He’s not failed often. His maxim is ‘every item has another owner. We just need to wait for that owner to arrive.’ He has a history of studying fine metals; he loves diamonds and can talk about them with authority. He spends hours researching items in the shop, learning to read hallmarks and look for the clues on a piece someone is offering us. Not all gold and silver is hallmarked, gold from India and other places isn’t. Then it comes down to experience and gut instinct to know whether a piece is genuine gold or not.
I spend time writing humorous comments for the items listed on Wightbay and Marketplace, the County Press website, in the hope it gets people reading the ads and remembering us. I love writing nonsense; the ads do seem to work when they’re nonsensical. A customer recently commented that she loved to read the ads, but thought they were written by someone younger. I’ve decided that means I simply haven’t grown up… That’s my contribution, along with some window dressing and fancy ideas for the shop floor which entail a load of work… mostly for others…
Apart from that, little old me comes with a background of legal work, writing, (novels, short stories, articles) editing, photography and mediumship. I’ve been a working medium (as in taking part in services in spiritualist churches and giving readings) for over twenty years.
Then there’s Asha, a snow white German Shepherd/Samoyed cross who was introduced to me in July 2017 as the third member of staff. She’s a rescue dog, utterly devoted to those she takes a liking to, shameless in cadging fuss and compliments from customers who aren’t afraid of her (some are) and brilliant at leaving a carpet of white hair on the dark grey carpet even when she’s not moulting… she’s very vocal in her protests if the person giving her fuss and attention dares walk away or, even worse, not come and talk to her in the first place. Quite a few people and children come in ‘to see the nice dog.’
There’s a lot of other people associated with the shop in different ways, friends of Terry and Shaun.

We’re not alone in this mad world.
We’re at the heart of it.
We’re different.
We’re not your usual second hand shop.
We are
The Old Curiosity Shop of East Cowes
and proud of it.

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