Sunday, 13 July 2014

The right place at the right time

Today I fancied a bit of a run in Fiona, and decided to head for Bosham in the far west of Sussex. Bosham is a quayside village inside the very extensive Chichester Harbour. The tide-prediction app on my phone told me to expect a high tide there at noon, so I certainly didn't want to arrive much before 1.00pm. Those who know Bosham will understand why. At high tide, the harbour road there floods. For instance, this view from 2003 on the south side of the harbour:

Oops! No road! The car in the picture was the one I owned before buying Fiona in 2010, a Honda CR-V. In theory, you could be bold and drive a car like that through shallow water. In practice this messed up the disc brakes - and the water might prove too deep, forcing an embarrassing retreat. Fiona, my Volvo XC60, although not a traditional 4x4 shape, is considerably more capable than my Honda was. But even so, I wouldn't want to risk her in salty water unless it were absolutely necessary. Exemplary performance on wet grass, or in snow, is all I ask of her.

The tidal range inside Chichester Harbour is really quite impressive. Bosham goes from this at low tide (a shot from 2009):

To this at high tide (a shot from 2006):

Free parking on the shoreline is only possible once the tide has receded a bit. Today I got there a trifle too early, and had to use the regular car park - paying for the privilege. It was hard to find a space, and I wondered why. The answer was that the Church Fête was starting at 2.00pm, generating more visitors than usual. I decided to attend. I killed a few minutes licking a Cornish ice cream and chatting to a couple who, like me, were watching a canoeist launch himself into the water still lapping over what was ordinarily a pubic road. Then a jazz band struck up from somewhere nearby. Time to have a look at the Fête!

I arrived shortly after opening time. It was only £1.50 to get in.

Already there were lots of people milling around. It was clearly a popular event. Here are some pictures:

Stalls for all the traditional things. Chutneys, marmalades, honey. There was a queue for the tombola. I had a look at the local artists' work, then the china, and then gravitated to the second-hand clothing and accessories stall. It was crowded with people. Almost immediately I saw a very nice black leather handbag of obvious quality. It was an OSP Osprey. It had a lovely feel to the leather, which was very little worn. Inside the colourful lining was almost pristine. I asked the lady how much. Two pounds! I'll take it! Two pound coins lighter, but one decidedly nice bag heavier, I made my escape, though not before photographing the bag with the Fête as a background:

That shot was taken at 2.21pm. I had been at the right place at the right time. Surely it would have been snapped up by someone else by 2.30pm, especially at the ridiculously low asking price. I was very happy.

Back home again, I had a more careful examination. A bit of fluff to shake out. The leather was slightly faded here and there, suggesting the bag might be at least four or five years old. And it had clearly lain awkwardly in a cupboard, and needed to be leather-creamed, filled up and used in order to restore a proper shape to one corner. Otherwise it was perfect.

It wouldn't replace my favourite orange cross-body Italian bag for practical daytime use. But I'd been looking for a smart-looking black leather bag for the evening, a plainer but still impressive alternative to the glitzy Prada bag. Now I had it. A bag that might cost £190 new - picked up for just £2.

So here it is, before I shook it out or did anything to restore its shape:

Osprey don't make it any more. I'm guessing it was one of the first they designed for the OSP line that they introduced in 2006, although it doesn't seem to be as much as eight years old. The lining is too fresh and unmarked for that. I'm quite surprised it was discarded, but I'm grateful that its former owner decided to! My gain.

I've got a birthday meal to go to tomorrow, late afternoon in Rottingdean. This new bag will be just the job.

1 comment:

  1. Well done, Lucy. Next time we meet I must take you shopping. Your expertise will be invaluable as I wouldn't know a designer item from an un-designed one. Think of all the bargains I'm missing.

    For many years my normal route to work was via a road that flooded at high tide, so it was important to know the tide times. I got caught out a few times, which invariably made me late for work.


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