Vast quantities of vintage garments, dishevelled, abandoned sewing machines and garishly printed cotton. The only problem, it was all mens wear. Sigh.
I managed to bag a few small sized shirts which I will alter to fit my frame with the help of Mum’s old Singer sewing machine. A remnant of vivid seersucker also came home with me to be transformed into a nice frock.
The fittings and fixtures are straight from the 1950’s, and provided endless fascination to my creative eye. The building has been sold, I don’t know what will become of this treasure trove of fashion and nostalgia, her heady days as a doyen of the rag trade clearly behind her!
Budapest is a city of contrast. Divided by the Danube River,Buda is the West Bank and Pest, the East. Originally begun as a Celtic Settlement, it has endured many historical, cultural,ethnic and religious upheavals to become one of Eastern Europe’s most beautiful and enduring cities, and certainly one of its most interesting.
Where else can you buy $2.50 tickets to the Ballet Giselle at the Budapest Opera House? of course the 22 year old daughter and I had to enter via the back stairs, so the patrons in expensive seats could be seen making a grand entrance, via the front stairs! A night time ghost walk around the cobbled streets, revealed a bloody and gory past, buried beneath the grandeur and opulence, of old Budapest.
Taking a commuter ferry ride down the mighty Danube, revealed the olympic training school of the Hungarian rowing team, a mix of old and new high rise housing, and ended at a defunct shipbuilding yard, and abandoned, industrial estate.
A favourite memory was shopping at the local flea markets. Most had good quality goods, and were keenly priced. One, in a far flung suburb, revealed old folk art pattern rubber rollers, genuine nazi war badges, vintage tin toys, and a jumble of retro clothing. It was cheap, musty, and housed some dilapidated merchandise, but was worth the complex trip out of town to get to it.
Other memories include, walking across the Liberty Bridge spanning the mighty Danube, using the funicular ( cliff railway) running up to Buda Castle, visiting the Budapest Art Museum, and feeling chagrin when the student daughter was invited to a private viewing of Warhol pieces. Watching the same daughter get her hair cut for her 22nd birthday. Me agreeing to a haircut by a non english speaking hairdresser, at the same salon. Drinking vast quantities of home made limonetta ( lemonade) for $3 a litre in local restaurants, and visiting Margaret island, to ride bikes, and eat ice cream and fairyfloss, as part of the birthday celebrations. Friday night saw us floating around the Rudas Baths, a thermal hot springs with magical restorative powers, needed for two world weary travellers, and trying to avoid gazing at the plump male, tattooed, ponytailed, patrons.
School holidays and I’m running on empty , food wise that is . A quick trip to the local food dispensary is required . Hmm , I only want a few things why not do self serve , it’ll be quicker , I think . Balancing my overloaded basket of goodies requires the juggling skills of a Circus OZ acrobat . The ability to slot them into the minuscule space provided in the self serve checkout requires even more dexterity . I deftly negotiate scanning the barcodes and continue packing the item snugly into the plastic supermarket issue bags .
Quite a manoeuvre above the cacophony of non soothing music , binging sounds and moronic intotonations of the Self Serve robot . I move a bulging bag from the tiny packing area . Apocalyptic lights start flashing , and the robot goes into loud accusatory mode , as I am told not to remove a bag . The self serve screen shuts down and refuses to continue until I press the appropriate button . Hard to do whilst balancing the 12 pack of dunny roll on top of the raisin loaf , which is balanced on top of the plain flour , which is balanced on top of … etc etc . Feeling like a recalcitrant schoolgirl caught shoplifting I reluctantly continue . Having stowed the many purchases in 3 supermarket bags , alright I forgot the recycle bags , I stagger away from the checkout having paid a sum of money equal to the deposit on a small flat . Disaster quickly ensues as with a sickening thud the groceries tumble out of the inferior bags , burst and ricochet across the supermarket floor. The tiny efficient supermarket worker darts form her post with a dire admonishment ” you must not pack too much stuff in the bags “. Again I feel great inadequacy as I furtively retrieve my items .
Escaping into the crisp , early morning air I feel only a sense of crushing relief . I am shell shocked but alive to tell the tale . the tale . Ah consumerism , at its finest !