The royal wedding’s done and dusted off, everybody’s had their fill of dissecting the fashion of the new duchess and her guests, and life is back again to the realm of the normal. After a weekend of harried baking and then socialising in the cosy piano bars of New York City, I am back to picking up the thread where I had left off. Seattle and around.
Now there’s a medley of antique and home decor stores in the city of Bothell, about 22 miles and a half-an-hour drive from Seattle. The good thing about living with a local like your sister-in-law is that she will take you to places that only residents have the knowhow of. Intimate places where time goes slow, where the rustic cedar-shingled buildings huddle together and where you can land up time after time.
When we reached this charming cluster of buildings on the Bothell-Everett highway, it felt like we had fallen through a hole into an oasis of quiet. Inside the parking lot, we had to halt. Duck and duckling crossing time. I hopped off the car and crept after them. But you know how animals are bloody nimble. Fluffy little balls on the tiniest of feet sped into the stream trickling by. All along the vigilant senior sounded out a series of alarmed quacks.
There is that much quacking one can take, so I headed for the stores, only to be confronted this time by a mighty fine specimen of a rooster. This fellow gave me the once-over, turned his head away in condescension, and after a few minutes of ignoring me, did an about-turn showing me his feathery behind, and stomped off. The huff was inaudible but palpable.
With the aim of giving all rude fowl a wide berth — just not possible in Country Village — I walked past the duck pond. Plump ducks in pairs squatted and quacked, others waddled around a pond upon which dwarf trees with white blossoms leaned in, as if to skim its surface. The stores themselves gave me heartache because we had sworn off buying more junk than we can stow away. A paraphernalia of quaint objects confronted me. Pretty teapots, silverware and coffee grinders that must have been handed down generations till they landed in the store, books autographed by actresses from the ’20s, sepia-tinted photographs of families from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, glassware that had seen better days, and shabby dolls that stared back at me with vacant eyes, promising Chucky-style terror.
It is staggering to see the variety of things that line the shelves of these stores, things that you would never have known existed but in a few seconds you nod wisely about their practicality in the scheme of things, and things that could be yours. That day I looked temptation in the eye and the win was mine. The only thing I succumbed to from the till of a store — where little girls host their birthday parties with spa and beauty treatments — were chunky oat cranberry cookies that dissolved into my mouth, doubly laden with the pleasures of coconut and butter. The on-dit is that it has been sold to townhouse developers, so who knows if I shall see County Village again? So I leave you with a few images from this endearing place near Seattle and hope against hope that it shall not be a heap of stony rubbish some day.