Margaret locks up her Aladdin’s Cave

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WHAT started as a passion for picking up bits and pieces at auction turned into a popular business for Margaret Wardlaw.

But last weekend Margaret put up the ‘closed’ sign on her shop door in Pittenweem High Street for the last time following an afternoon of laughter and tears as customers from far and near popped in to say farewell.

It’s Margaret’s second retiral, the first was seven years ago when she retired as a market research manager.

“I’d been going to auctions for years and doing car boot sales and always said that when I retired I would love to have a shop,” she said.

As it turned out, the shop premises came up the week after her retiral and before she had time to draw breath, The Rake Around was up and running.

Brought up on Gordonshall Farm at Carnbee and later living at Rennyhill at Kilrenny during her married life, Margaret inherited her love of auctions from her mother and grandmother.

Stocking the shop, even at the outset, was not a problem.

“My house and old caravan were full to the gunnels with things I’d bought at auction,” she said.

The shop grew to become an Aladdin’s Cave for people who loved to, as the name suggests, have a rake around and proved popular with locals and visitors alike.

From cut-glass crystal and fine china to ancient books and old hot water bottle stoppers, everything found a place in the shop.

Margaret had a magpie approach to auctions.

“If something catches my eye at auction then I know it will catch someone else’s eye in the shop,” she said.

And just as often the object of her desire would be accompanied by a whole box-load of other things, from the weird to the wonderful.

“The strangest thing I ever came across was a 1943 old bakelite tie press,” she said. “We didn’t have a clue what it was until a local minister recognised it when he came in and bought it to press his dog collar.

“I’ve sold an ornament for £2.75 that went on to fetch more than £400 and a watch that went for £5 going on to sell for over £100 but that’s just the way it goes.”

Dealers also made The Rake Around a regular stopping off point to see what Margaret had managed to pick up at her latest auction and she’s shipped out goods the world over after visitors to Pittenweem have popped in to look around.

However, with the shop at times more like a drop-in centre for a cuppa and a natter, it is her regular customers who she will miss most.

But with a young 14-month-old grandson, Margaret felt the time was right to shut up shop. “I’ve had a great time with the shop and would just like to say a big thank you to all my wonderful customers over the years,” Margaret said.