Friday 23 January 2015

Keep Calm & Op Shop

I can add some new jobs to my résumé, yesterday I was tour driver & parcel loader for Mum & five of her girlfriends (God help me!) Every month a group of ladies go ‘op shopping’, alternating between Napier & Hastings and they make a day of it. Some of the ladies, Mum included, have stalls at Napier’s Marine Parade Market every Sunday morning where they sell their crafts & wares. Op shopping gives them an opportunity of picking up reasonably priced material including beads, wool, old jewellery & clothing that they can then sell or use to make articles for their own stalls.

Some of the group come along just for the outing, picking up the odd bargain for themselves too. One lady has an obsession with jigsaws and yesterday managed to find about five or six brand new 1000 piece jigsaws still wrapped in cellophane. I guess you’d want brand new, imagine getting to the end of the puzzle and finding piece number 999 & 1000 missing!

Most of the op shops we visited yesterday had 1/2 price sales on and were very busy. Half price I ask you? Half price meant a lot of things were $1-$2. Just ridiculous I say, but what a bargain for those that frequent op shops. And I suppose every little bit adds up & helps the causes.

I had a laugh at the mannequin head, it reminds me of a couple Mum had in her craft shop which she used to have at Bay View. Although Mum is a much better artist than the person who drew the face on this one. I called to Mum “Look familiar?”. “Yes, except her shoe for a nose” she said. That had me giggling for awhile.

I was very surprised that the ladies didn’t spend too long in each shop, they were on a mission and the trip was run with military precision, nobody lingered. When the racks and shelves had been perused they were out the door and onto the next shop. It helped that a few of the shops were near each other. We managed to visit nine op shops plus another 3 stops along the way, travelling from Taradale to Havelock North, back to Hastings and home via Waiohiki.

The most important stop (for me) was lunch. Lunch and a cool drink at, wait for it, the Hastings RSA. These ladies know value for money. The meals were large, tasty and very reasonably priced.

Excuse the photo quality- it’s my camera phone and inside- I didn’t think I could haul my Nikon around all the op shops. That’s Mum (Veda) on the left, then Robyn, Yvonne, Jan & Judy. You will notice that being the tour driver I was the only one on the soft stuff.

The second to last stop has us salivating as soon as we stepped through the doors followed by lots of oohhs & aahhs. The Silky Oak Chocolate Company is located out in the countryside near Waiohiki and is a very well known tourist stop, some of the vineyard cycle trails pass by it too. There’s a cafe and chocolate museum along with the chocolate shop on site. 

After spending most of the day visiting op shops it seemed rather obscene to spend $4-5 on a small piece of fudge or a fancy truffle or $2-3 for a piece of chocolate but……just look at that display! How could I not buy a couple of treats to sample later? All in the name of research of course.

I really wanted to scoff the lot or at least sample one of each. There’s no way on earth that I could have a job here, the temptation would just be too much.

Last stop was just around the corner at the Waiohiki Arts & Craft shop located in an old dairy factory. This shop has an amazing array of arts and crafts, many based on Maori culture, both modern and traditional.

Then is was home to unload the passengers & the rear of the van, which was by then filled to the brim. A quick sort & de-brief and then it was inside for a welcome glass of wine and chat (as if they hadn’t already chatted enough) before they all headed off to their respective homes where, if our house was anything to go by, the men had a very light dinner!

Job done. Until next month when Mum will be back in the drivers seat. The plans are already underway with a few new stops on the itinerary.

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