Treasures of British life

There are unofficial dress codes to certain places in British life, although they’re less Downton Abbey and more middle England-type of wear. If one goes to the RGS Chelsea Flower Show, which is on this week at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, London, most of the women will be wearing long, flowery dresses. If one heads to the football match, it’s all about team scarves, football strips and bobble hats in team colours for mostly everyone.

Then, one goes to that BBC standard, Antiques Roadshow, complete with television newsreader and presenter, Fiona Bruce. There, it is all about the straw hats (very similar to Wimbledon unless it’s raining in that respect). I wore a baseball cap instead, but still managed to get a couple of items valued despite my breaking with the unofficial dress code.

We also discovered there is a trick to this event, too. It’s about bringing items that not many people have interest in, or no longer have a lot of lying about. For me, it was about my books and a little clock my mother gave me. Any other items (jewellery, china) had long queues, and the one called “miscellaneous” had the longest of all.

My husband was happy to hear that a book gift he gave me a couple of decades ago is now worth somewhat more, and the novelty clock will continue to grace my bookshelf. The experts also cheerfully gave you advice on what it’s about and the time period, which is interesting. It’s also fascinating to see how the show operates and the staff are always scurrying about. The magic of television.

Afterwards, we skipped having the one silver item valued and went for an ice cream instead, at the Fluffy Puffin cart. There is always room for ice cream. And no dress code for that.

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