Seeing old or shabby chic signs up outside country stores or garden centres reminds me very much of a trip I made to the US. I was on holiday and visiting family and as they were fitting me in around their normal day jobs etc. I had plenty of time to explore around and about. One of the best places I touched on was the heritage museum – best meaning in terms of there not being a great deal of heritage from an Englishman’s point of view but 1823 was of very great age to the average family over there. The museum was selling copies of their wares – especially the trail blazer family histories and miniature versions of the very basic furniture and home making equipment. It was really facinating to watch the pride with which students displayed their knowledge of the part of history they were custodian of that day and were truly pleased to demonstrate how various artefacts worked. This was indeed an improvement on some of our museums and heritage houses where you can only file around each room keeping well behind the rope separating you from the interesting stuff. My trip did remind me of the wonderful antiques we have back here and the fantastic online outlets for sourcing them.