Archive for the 'Unusual shops' Category

Nik Nak Northern Ireland

I took a trip to Northern Ireland and stayed with R. and E. who are avid charity shop shoppers. They took me to a place called Nik Naks which is described as “The largest Pre-owned Goods Store in N. Ireland” and is a second-hand shop not a charity shop as the money goes to the owner. It’s one of the maddest places I have ever been.

It’s a huge warehouse sized space, and feels like 20 charity shops stuck together, with rows and rows of things. It’s dirty and dusty and some of the shelves aren’t lit at all so you wander through the aisles peering, or picking things up just to work out what they are, if you can.

Some of the areas have been sorted by category, but others are a mix of things with no order except the order you can put on it yourself. A pile of 1960s discarded plastic things here, over there some 1970s appliances, and next to them some bric-a-brac from several decades, entangled.

We browsed for ages, without seeing a member of staff. When we knew which knick-knacks we wanted to buy we had to hunt for someone to pay. We decided it was the man asleep on one of the couches in the furniture aisle and R. woke him up. He didn’t seem surprised, maybe he sleeps there regularly. It threw me a bit and put me off my haggling. I showed him my box of goods and said “4 pounds please”. He said nothing and I jumped in again with “No, 3 pounds!” He told me that I was going about bartering the wrong way, not letting him get a word in and I had to pay him my first offer of 4.

Nik Naks was a bit overwhelming, I don’t usually find second hand shops distressing but this made me think about all the possessions I’m going to leave behind me. There were so many things and no hint of the people who owned them.

It reminded me of the woman I met in St James’ hospital recently. She told me how she had almost died suddenly from an heart condition and all she could think about as she lay in her ward bed, were her kitchen appliances sitting at home, and how they’d go on working after she died.

It’s a must for prop hunters and anyone who loves to browse, especially in the dark! Have a look here Nik Nak Shop or in the blog Journey section.

posted by Priscilla in Charity Shops,Unusual shops and have Comments (5)

More items in shed

To recover from all the bagging, tagging, and saying goodbye to my things I took a trip to St. Keverne in Cornwall. I stayed in a cottage on Well Lane.

On the other side of the road there was a ‘shop’ where a man was selling off all kinds of junk (pottery beer tankards, ornamental garden frogs, a train station weighing scales) in his back garden.

It wasn’t your typical shop, things for sale seemed to be mixed up with his work tools and personal belongings. There were quirky hand-written labels, with descriptions of the objects : “Nice heavy claret jug”, and “Interesting station platform scales with nice brass face. Unusual.”

I followed a sign which said “More items in shed”. Inside he had a notice on the wall: “This shed warmth laughter light happiness sunshine open”. It felt like he was giving people a narrative for what they should be experiencing.

But then there were the things he didn’t tell.

Were the two ancient tubs of flea powder for sale or still in use? Who was the girl in the photograph? Which beer tankard should I buy?

I never got answers that day because I couldn’t find anyone to ask or give my money to. The owner didn’t favour the hard sell and it seemed like he wanted to keep some mystery. If you are ever in St. Keverne see if you can find him and ask him some questions for me… Click here to see the shop.

posted by Priscilla in Unusual shops and have Comments (2)

At last, an address!

The great news is we have found a venue for the shop! It will be in the former Smock Alley Café, on Smock Alley Court which is off Parliament Street and really in Dublin 8 although most people think of this area as Dublin 2… Hmm, I think I will add a map.

It’s a lovely space, and used to be a fantastic café. I’m very grateful to Lynsey Ní Rainaill and all in Temple Bar Cultural Trust for letting me use it.

Thanks too to Irene O’Mara from the Performance Corporation (who are producing Help Me! Help Me!) for trying to get hold of various landlords, and to everyone who suggested possible homes: Delwen, Ann- Marie and Tom to name but a few. I can only name a few because my short term memory is getting worse, and will be in shreds by the end of September, so please remind me who you are if you come into the shop and I look dazed and confused.

The Help Me! Help Me! shop will be next to another shop, which sells very attractive merchandise, some of which has been “upcycled”! I think my stuff is more in the “downcycled” category.

posted by Priscilla in The Shop,Unusual shops and have Comment (1)