Whenever Sue and I go on our travels we are always looking out for items that could feature in Tiggywinkles’ Museum of Hedgehogabilia.
Antique fairs and markets, car boot sales and, of course, the Internet where I can source those fascinating antiquities of prehistory Egypt and the Middle East. But I think our favourite hunting ground are the flea markets we seek out if we get to go to other European countries for breaks.
‘Puces de St-Ouen’, the flea market in Paris is perhaps the greatest of them all.
We were in Paris so, inevitably Sue and I headed off for Puces de St-Ouen.
It was enormous a maze of alley ways and boutiques with every kind of antique we could have imagined.
Sadly no hedgehogabilia. Until! There she was Mrs Tiggywinkle, fully 70cm tall, cast in bronze! She was majestic.
Lengthily haggling in schoolboy French it still seemed a lot of money. Should I? Could I? As it happened it was out of my hands. Mrs Tiggywinkle was bronze. I could hardly lift her.
And my stilted conversation with our French friends made it glaringly obvious that there was no way I could get her back to ‘Blighty’.
For years I thought of Mrs Tiggywinkle standing there alone in that foreign market.
But perhaps somebody else had fallen in love with her and rescued her.
However, just recently, there she was on ebay.
Or another Mrs Tiggywinkle the twin of her Paris counterpart.
I did not hesitate and made a bid for her.
And ‘wow’ I won the race and got her for a quarter of the price the Paris fleamarket wanted.
She was soon in my hands, albeit minus her trademark iron.
She stands proud in our reception.
Home at last.
I am so proud.
Mind you if I ever drive to Paris I will see if her twin still needs rescuing.