Barbara could not resist “Motto” ware, so when she heard of a particularly good example appearing in the window of Isinglass and Snood’s Antiques she naturally hurried to gain the right of first refusal.
As she scudded along the high street pavement on her singular mission she managed to deliver the “cut direct” to the majority of her friends who were strolling down the high street in search of delicious viands for their Sunday luncheons.
The “Bonjours” of the charming Bellefleurs were unacknowledged, as was the robust “What ho!” of Colonel Crisp. Timid Nancy had barely time to start stuttering before she was shunned and the very correct Miss Fisk was left standing open mouthed at the lack of a genteel enquiry about her health, which had of late been publicly poor.
Barbara’s Motto Ware mania was well known by anyone who had ventured into her residence, and Naughty Alice had once said unkindly that if Barbara’s house burned down then Britain would undoubtedly lose the only collection of motto ware in the country.
Barbara was however convinced that everyone else shared her passion and that there would undoubtedly be stiff competition to snap up a “rare” piece.
She hurried even faster at the thought, almost kicking Unfortunate Agatha’s cat into the path of an oncoming bus filled with septuagenarians off to Brighton.
“Sorry pussy dear!” she mumbled, rushing on, for the window was in sight and there in the centre was the piece of her dreams.
Of astonishing size and matching ugliness was a puzzle jug covered in spurious spouts, holes and projections, splashed all over with lurid designs in colored slips and in the centre a panel on which was inscribed the intriguing phrase “Ticks and tocks of essential time, sink the spirits lower than wine.” Barbara’s heart leaped as she pushed open the door.
The jangle of the door-bell drew Mr Snood like Pavlov’s dog from some musty nook and he instantly sensed a sale was imminent.
“If that puzzle jug is undamaged I will buy it!” said Barbara throwing caution to the wind, as Mr Baldetti, who had been known to make eclectic purchases without hesitation and with no attempt at bargaining, had just entered.
“It is fifty pounds ma’am.” Said Mr Snood, deftly removing the twenty seven pound sticker from the jug as he handed it over.
Though it was her week’s budget she did not hesitate. After all, this was not some second rate tea kettle stand with “Bide a Wee” and a rooster.
“Don’t bother wrapping it Mr Snood, I will carry it home.” (Mr Snood could be so rough wrapping things sometimes)
Barbara rushed out of the shop in triumph, tripped on a cobble stone and fell flat on her face in the street. The puzzle jug did little to break her fall.
As she tried to get up from the collection of shattered pottery and regain some of her lost dignity she saw the largest shard of her treasure mocking her from the gutter,
“Ticks and tocks of essential time, sink the spirits lower than wine”
In response to RonovanWrites Friday Fiction
Just over 500 words with the prompt phrase being “Ticks and tocks of essential time, sink the spirits lower than wine.”