Today I had the pleasure of attending the World’s Biggest Car Boot Sale at Energy Australia Stadium. It will come as a surprise to some readers that out of the entire world, the biggest car boot sale occurs down under and right here in Newcastle, AU… In fact, according to a quick internet search, the only other Biggest Car Boot Sale was in 1996 somewhere in the UK.
My first time attending the World’s Biggest Car Boot Sale was in November 2011 and since then I have marked the next date in my calendar as soon as it’s announced. For those who haven’t had the enjoyment of sifting through someone else’s junk while raising money for Hunter Life Education, let me walk you through a typical journey.
Hang on… For those who don’t know Hunter Life Education and therefore probably haven’t grown up in the Hunter, let me quickly fill you in. As a basic right of passage in the Hunter (yes, 30,000 students every year) you attend an education program relevant to your age group addressing key health issues, co-run by a giraffe, Healthy Harold. I remember being stunned in primary school when I found out about all the body parts that are squished into my stomach as a light-up torso had intestines removed and we passed them around. I also remember being a bit older and learning about the negative effects of smoking and drinking and that darn peer pressure. Anyway, click on the link above to check out his website and learn a whole lot more about being healthy.
So, you have just arrived at the World’s Biggest Car Boot Sale. Its early. You need a coffee. To get there you have to pass half the stands – you are torn between stopping to check out a pile of LPs or getting your caffeine hit. You line up behind about twenty-five other shoppers at Perky Cups Coffee, smack bang in the centre of carpark. You stand there for nearly half an hour, but it passes quickly as you perve on early purchases that pass by in people’s hands.
Caffeine (or HoCho) in hand, you venture towards an aisle. You are instantly caught up in various antique-y stores, some literally just a shed spilled out from the back of the ute and others bearing the mark of a professional; two Sun Beam mixmasters, hundreds of rusty tools and a giant brass bell.
After wading back from the 1950s, you pass seemingly stolen street signs (yes, for sale), stacks of DVDs (some pirated, some dirty and some plain bargains) and more clothes than a celebrity walk-in robe. Your competitors, the other shoppers, are made up of every kind of person; there are young and old, pierced and mohawked, conservative coveralls and tons of teens.
Books, mixed in cardboard boxes with VHS, adorn tables covered with tiny kids’ clothes and quirky button up shirts and crockery to put every op shop in Newcastle to shame. The Gourmet Dog Biscuits attract every dog and his woman, with Pooch Pops, Doggy Donuts and treats masquerading as art (must see! check it out online).
You are inspired by a wig display to change your look and, suddenly, every fur coat you’ve seen becomes an opportunity, every pair of leather boots the foundation. Once equipped with a sausage sizzle, sauced yourself, you push past the crowd to check out some fishing gear… and realise you have run out of cash.
You swish through hanging homemade decorations (that would be right at home in any home, anywhere) and walk, hands heavy with things you never knew you needed, towards the car parked further away then you would walk to any supermarket, with the biggest smile on your face. You are the person people are perving on. You have what they want. And so the journey begins again.
Join me May 2014 for the World’s Biggest Car Boot Sale. Donate to Hunter Life Education today.