Magpie Monday – start of the 2014 car boot season

Great excitement here yesterday as Sunday the 6th April seemed to mean the start of the local car boot season. Now I have to say that I am yet to find a really good car boot sale anywhere near St Albans. Ten years of trying and there's still nothing on a par with car boot sales of my youth up in Yorkshire. I keep trying though – determined to discover where Hertfordshire is hiding the good ones!

The biggest local one has to be at the Hertfordshire showground and there's generally one there every Sunday throughout the season. Now the first thing I find a bit strange about this car boot is that it's an afternoon sale – 12 until 4 – yet there's loads of stuff online about the entry costs if you go before 12noon. So is it an afternoon sale or not??? Back in my Yorkshire days part of the thrill of a good car boot was making yourself get up early to get a bargain. It just doesn't feel the same when you go there at lunchtime.

Sunday's weather wasn't exactly great – a warm temperature, but strong winds making it feel cooler than it was – but the turn out of sellers was disappointing. Only two rows and one of them on one side only. Very poor. Even with the kids it didn't take us at all long to get round and many of them just had piles of dirty looking kids clothes – not my kind of thing.

You don't need many sellers though to find some treasure and there it was about 6 stalls before the end – some of those familiar Ladybird spines spotted in a box of random kids books.


I was super excited to find these, especially since the guy selling them only wanted £1 for all four! Bargain. The Flight Three USA book is from a series that I've been looking out for for ages – so expect to see it on Ladybird Tuesday very soon.

It was mainly children's books and toys that I was looking out for today and I also managed to spot the huge chemistry set that I had as a child. Unfortunately when you looked inside it was a bit of a mess, but it was still a lovely reminder of my own childhood.

Little Miss C is going through a bit of a Thomas obsession at the moment so when she saw some Thomas books it was hard to say no to her, especially when they were only 20p each. 


Thomas to the Rescue was one she was keen to have – mainly as they apparently have it in the library at her school – but it was the old James The Red Engine one that I was after. I'm pretty sure my sister had some from this set when she was younger. It's a much longer book that the modern day Thomas ones, but the illustrations in it are gorgeous. I may have to add the rest of the series to my list of vintage books to look out for. Only 28 in the series!

Looking inside it seems that this story was first published in 1948 with this third impression of the paperback published in 1985. What interests me most though is the note from the author:

Dear Friends of Edward, Gordon, Henry and Thomas,

Thank you for your kind letters; here is the new book for which you asked.

James, who crashed into the story of Thomas, the Tank Engine, settles down and becomes a useful engine.

We are nationalised now, but the same engines still work the Region. I am glad, too, to tell you that the Fat Director, who understands our friends' ways, is still in charge, but is now the Fat Controller.

I hope you will enjoy this book too.

The Author

And now I find myself with a million and one questions about the history of Thomas the Tank Engine and "The Railway". Another subject to add to my list of things to research I think!


And my final car boot find was also for LMC – another pack of Hama beads. She's been obsessed with these for ages, but recently she's actually started wanting me to fuse her designs together and she's started showing much more of an interest in what she's actually making, rather than just playing with the beads. I've therefore just bought her a load of different board designs online and am for just 50p I couldn't really turn down the opportunity of more beads and another board for them.

So, not a busy car boot, but some good finds all the same. Has the local car boot season started where you are yet? If so please share your finds! 


  1. says

    Great finds! I had that Ladybird Book of Nursery Rhymes. I really must go to a car book sale one of the days. The most recent one near me started at 8am the Sunday after the clocks went forward, and I couldn’t quite drag myself out of bed…

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