I occasionally do car boots with my mum; by which I mean we sell things from our two car boots to other people (for charity) at car boot sales. ‘Doing’ a car boot can of course also mean that you buy things from people’s car boots at car boot sales. There doesn’t seem to be a distinction in the terminology of partaking. Which is appropriate, given that very often, when one ‘does’ a car boot, one also ‘does’ a car boot; the day always starts unfeasibly early, so, by 9am, having toiled for well over 3 hours, it’s time for a little wander to see what the field has to offer*. At my most recent sale, I needed only to stride 4 metres away from my car before I’d spotted some attractive wares. (Their owner was selling stuff out of a van, which does not technically have a boot, which, ironically, means he qualifies to do a car boot, but must pay a higher fee to enter). The man was selling all sorts of odd ephemera; door knobs, fishing tackle, unwanted Christmas cards and wool. He was also selling falcon ware (the really manky, hard-to-find kind that works well in the garden), huge china platters (that hold at least two large chickens for roasts), beautiful porcelain plates from Notre Dame Jerusalem (perfect for macarons, biscuits, pistachios) and cancel stick holders (for elegant dinners/Victorian dressing-up/discrete murders). He had just one sales strategy: put anything you want into a bag, and it’s yours for a pound. Moments like this rarely happen in life. They happen even more rarely outside of London. So with my head down and my eye in, I ‘did’ his van like a vulture, filled my bag, and, as it turns out, filled my boots.
*quite literally, as car boots are almost always in fields, unless in a car park – the worst kind of car boot experience