What could be more British than a bric-a-brac sale in a local church hall? At one English village this traditional pastime has been brought into the spotlight, raising questions about the safety of such events.
Organiser Ethel Mayliss of St. Luke’s Church in Hackthorne, Somerset, claims that Environmental Health Officers from her local council have slapped a ban on next Saturday’s sale, citing possible contamination caused by other people’s poor domestic hygiene. “They say that unless we can prove that every single item for sale has been rigorously steam-cleaned to remove traces of all the gross crud that accumulates in other people’s homes, we must cancel the sale. It’s utterly ridiculous. I myself have a number of ropey old bits of tat I wish to sell, and I can guarantee that they were dusted in 1998.”
Alan Skinner of the Hackthorne Environmental Health Office explains that nobody ever believes their own junk harbours any bacteria. “But it does. I’ve seen it in the lab, on pieces we bought undercover at a previous sale. We swabbed one china plate decorated with dolphins and the words ‘Greetings from Malta 1972’ and it contained dozens of different types of bacteria, 2 of which were previously unknown to science. I nearly puked when I saw the Petri dish.”
Disappointed sellers are being advised to cut their losses and chuck their shitty souvenirs in the bin instead.