Friday, 13 April 2018


Good morning from Arundel Eccentrics

Bit of a change from light-hearted chit-chat this morning.

I went to visit someone close to me yesterday.

The path of her life
 changed forever
 at 22 years old.

She was one week away from completing her nurse training.

A beautiful, vivacious, funny, gregarious young
 woman who dressed stylishly
 and always wore at least a dab of makeup.
Dated footballers.
 Went clubbing.
 Had a circle of friends who adored her.

In short, led a normal life.

But...she felt something wasn't right.
 Didn't know what it was. 

Went into doctors surgeries and
A and E departments begging for help.

 Was found in the middle of Brighton
 wearing pyjamas on a bitter winters day.

Then she stole something from a large department store.
 The police officer who arrested her recognised the cry for help.

 The young constable had been called
 to the cliffs of Beachy Head the day before.
 A Sussex beauty spot renowned for suicides.

"I wasn't going to let that happen on my watch again," she said.

After weeks of psychiatric appointments came the diagnosis.


Her widowed mother tried to keep her at home but
 it was just too much for the old lady to cope with.

The voices dictated her daughters every move.

They told her to walk into the sea in Brighton and just keep walking.
How she didnt drown we just dont know
It happened twice.

Her mother knew she couldn't keep her safe.

Then came a succession of psychiatric wards.
And the people you met therein.

She became involved with an alcoholic schizophrenic.

Luckily she had her wits about her the day
 he tried to coerce her into going with him.

To rob the local Building Society.
Holding them up with a cricket bat.

He wound up at Her Majestys Pleasure on the Isle of Wight.
The one good thing to come out of the day.

Chunks of family history were erased
 from her brain after ECT treatment.

Family events were lost too as people became
 unsure of how she would be at weddings, parties, funerals, dinners.

Nervous their event would be spoiled they stopped asking her.

Visitors slowly stopped visiting.
Her mother passed away.

Thirty years on her face has aged well beyond its 55 years.
 Home, a hostel, for the past 22 years.

Visitors are rare.
People are nervous of psychiatric illness.

Sometimes I go and am turned away from her bedroom door.
 Her pale face contorted in mental anguish. 
The voicing driving her under the duvet for days on end. 

She doesn't leave the safety of her room and the staff knock
 at meal and drug rounds, but she stays hidden, living on hoarded tins of food.

Yesterday, was a better day than most
 and we went out for coffee.

I took her gifts of toiletries that a friend
 who works for a high-end company gets cheaper.

 Bath gels and creams that she glanced at
 and said her voices wouldn't let her have.

They seem to prefer her to go to Wilkinsons, the cheap shop on the corner.

For the first time in years, we were able to discuss her illness.

" How would life have been without it?"

She thought for a moment. 

" I think I would have had a job and a car. 
A flat or house and a boyfriend or husband.
 Maybe children. I wanted children. 
Friends to go out with."

She was quiet for a moment and sighed,
" It changed my whole life."

Instead, she lives in a hostel with staff who clearly
care, but who go home every night. 

Her family the other residents
 who also are in their own private world.

The only high spots are the cigarettes
 she constantly smokes and the
 scratch cards she's become addicted to.

I told her she needs to get them both under control.

"What else have I got?" She said.

And I thought, but didn't say,
" Yes, you're right. F all."

She has few visitors.

Maybe one every few months. 

That seems to be the way with mental illness.
No flowers or cards or visits.

After 30 years of it....people just forget.

On the way home I
pulled in and cried.

And gave thanks for my
 life with all its ups and downs.

And it's normality.

Friday, 30 March 2018


Transforming old and battered pieces for your
 home can be rewarding, in more ways than one.

 Saving on the pennies, to begin with.
But the feeling of satisfaction you get
can outweigh even that.

We often have customers who have an old
 and on their own admission, 
shabby, looking item of furniture.

"What on earth can I do with it?" they ask.

I always tell them that
even the simplest coat of paint will transform
 and lighten that heavy old 1930's sideboard.

If you've never had a go before, here are a few sites that may help.

Car boots are a good source of  treasures
that others might consider junk.

 Ford car boot near Arundel is on Thursdays and Saturdays.
It's grown huge over the years.

Antique fairs such as Ardingly are really worth a look.
The next Ardingly is 17th/18th April

Our Upcycling

I started playing about with upcycling about 20 years ago.

Here are a couple of our 
English Victorian Bamboo Tables 
Homes and Gardens Magazine. did they come to be in such a prestigious interiors magazine?

When this is how we found them............. may think, it's just a tatty 
old table, or bookcase
 lying there in grannies shed
or down at the car boot sale.

You may think it is from China, and it's new.
Or maybe, that its old, and from thOrient.

Its a fascinating story and that table has 
been around a lot longer than you have.

Well....unless you happen to be about 150 years old, that is. 

The furniture was made circa 1860,
many of the factories were in London and Birmingham.

There were around 250 factories producing the pieces.

Its a great story and there are a few sites on line you can check it all out.

Gary Sharpe  now lives in 
Edmonton Canada,
though, for 20 years,
 was an antique dealer in the UK.

His site is full of interesting, interiors information,
and his knowledge on 
English Victorian Bamboo
Worth checking out.

Victorian Bamboo Table...with lions and leopards
this featured in Homes and Gardens magazine

Victorian Bamboo table....with chickens decoupage

As a Brighton gal at heart, I always found it interesting
 how the Brighton Pavilion was
 such an important part of bamboo furniture's popularity.

When I was at school in Brighton
(The Blessed Sacrament Convent,  
we had prize giving in the beautiful music room at the Pavilion.)

Here's some of what they say on the link,

"Undoubtably the best known Chinese bamboo furniture in England is at Brighton. Although Chinoiserie had faded in popularity during the 1780s and 90s it was suddenly brought back into the fore of public taste at the turn of the century by George, Prince of Wales, with the creation of the Royal Pavilion. The building that began its life as a `gentlemanly' farmhouse was to be transformed over a period of forty years into the most resplendent and bizarre royal fantasy. During its history designs were contributed by such accomplished architects as Henry Holland, his assistant P. F. Robinson, William Porden, Humphrey Repton and John Nash. The gardens were laid out by two pupils of Capability Brown, Lapidge and Hooper. From the beginning, the interior of the Pavilion was in the hands of the firm of John Crace & Sons, the principal designer being John's son, Frederick, admirably assisted by two remarkable designers, Robert Jones and Lambelet. Between them they created a new form of Chinoiserie with brilliant colours and exuberant decoration far removed from the earlier more restrained and delicate style."

Image result

a bamboo cabinet decorated for House and Garden magazine shoot

We track down these
 battered bamboo pieces
 and bring them back to our Arundel studio.

They would probably have rattan on
 the table surface, or lacquer, sometimes leather..

We clean them up, restore and sturdy them.

Sometimes it's possible to retain the rattan.
But more often its beyond repair.

we paint and decorate them

if they are in good shape we like to keep them as original as possible.
It's very rare though, and we usually restore &  decorate them.

This table has botanical decoupage.
The images 19th century.

They take a long time to cut out, but I think it's worth it.

 It was sold online and now resides in Paris, France.

we send them on their way....for another 100 years or more.........

some have been sold through our space in Liberty London

many items go off to America
appearing in some extremely upmarket stores.

Victorian Bamboo Table with chinoiserie ...we had my clever, artist,
 Aunty paint this, and it sits very well with original painted pieces. 
This had lovely lacquer.
We just cleaned it up

Victorian Bamboo table....with butterflies decoupage

We were lucky to find a  bedroom set of almost perfect bamboo.

We just decorated the top ...the rest we left original

Victorian bamboo bookcase with fish decoupage.

 This is unusual...we don't often find such large bookcases.
English Victorian Bamboo Bookcase

This also was quite a treat to find.
After a 100 years the flaps on tables that are meant to have flaps...have long since disappeared.

one of our botanical bamboo tables in an old House and Garden magazine

Victorian Bamboo Cabinet with gilt and dragonflies

This is one of our cabinets in a magazine.
It went to a home via Liberty in London.
The home was featured in a magazine.
I spotted this quite by chance

We don't stop our upcycling with bamboo.

We work on boxes, bowls, chests....I revamped this for the Handel Society in London.
It's covered in...well, you get the picture.

We find old enamel wash bowls such as this

and with paint, gilt, decoupage, varnish and a shed load of patience....................

We turn them into this.....

below are some I am working on at present...about halfway through

We also take chests of drawers and give them the upcycling treatment

and something that started 20 years ago has somehow taken off.

 and gets us into magazines...

which all helps as we are ever so slightly off the beaten track.

Our warehouse is hidden behind the Co-op in Arundel.

We don't only upcycle.... we also have a large collection of English and French decorative antiques

So, where are we?

From Arundel High Street and the prestigious
 Spencer Swaffer shop, you walk down to the river. 
Come over the bridge and keeping to the right you will find a small alley next to William Hill.
Yes you are in the salubrious part of town now.

Go to the end, turn left and sharp left.
Dont be put off by lorries and Co-op vans, you've come this far.

You will find 3 large warehouses in a row. 
First French Loft, the Harmony Antiques then us Arundel Eccentrics.
We are all in the last remaining buildings of the 19th century Swallow Brewery.

We are last in the row.
Last but by no means, least.

More of what we do on The Hoarde

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More about us in this little video

phone for trade appointment...+44 (0) 7973968446
or email