Sow’s ear to silk purse

…with a bit of elbow grease

Back in May I made the obligatory visit to the local annual Village Fair. I go every year and have done since I came to live here in 1999. It’s a good place to pick up plants and secondhand books and to watch junior football. Back in the heady days of 2004 the Fair reached it’s zenith as far as my family is concerned.

My niece, Laura, was the Fair Princess and got to circumnavigate the recreation ground waving from the Rotary Club trailer. My daughter, Nee, dressed as a Mexican ranch girl and looked fabulous – the theme that year was “Wild West”.

My son, Dan, with his team Braunton Wanderers U8s, played the final of the local football tournament and won! (medals for all). I had a stall selling homemade cakes which wasn’t a great success as the rain fell relentlessly all day, but the football players were pleased to get a steady supply of chocolate cake.

Since 2004 there have been few village fair highlights for me, though I do make a point of showing up each year and spending a pre-determined sum of money on whatever treasures I find, all to benefit local charities.

So, about three months ago, on a fine Bank Holiday Monday, I dragged myself out of bed and down to the rec. with a pocketful of tissues to staunch a heavy cold. On a little stall selling broken jewellery and porcelain nick nacks I found this grubby little brass box…

It was badly tarnished, but I thought it might clean up and make a nice little gift for my daughter who’s about to go off to university. As a bonus, I discovered it played a tune when I lifted the lid. The tune of an ice-cream van!

I paid the £3 asking price and stashed the box in a drawer away from prying eyes until yesterday when I decided to see if I could pull off a transformation. I’m pleased to say that with a bit of this…

three hours, and the strength in my right arm, this is the end result…Good as new! With a picture of the family on the underside of the lid, a square of red felt in the base and a pair of earrings inside for her newly pierced ears, Nee will have a nice little keepsake to remind her of home.

Think you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear? Think again.


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