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No sign, no name, no phone: Take a look at this 'magical' shop in Devon; It is full of both cheap and expensive knick-knacks.

Byline: Liam Beard

An eccentric and "magical" shop in Devon with no name has been operating for 20 years.

The shop, without any sign or telephone or Internet connection, is hidden away from view and is home to owner Pat.

It looks like a shop from Diagon Alley with its unordered chaos and old-fashioned charm,reports Devon Live.

What's more, it is just how Pat would want it.

"Some things are expensive and some things are just tat - I think tat is a nice word. At the end of the day it's all just stuff."

But when I ask him to show me some of his most fascinating objects, he plucks out piece after piece on a magical mystery tour and every single thing has a great back story.

The shop opened in 1999: "It started because my partner was an antique dealer and she taught me and now she's not well and I run it on my own.

"There are no prices because things change. I might have things for 10 years - prices might go up or go down. Some days I take a lot and some days I take nothing.

"My girlfriend taught me that selling is interactive. People have to be enamoured with something and they have to like me."

Nothing has a set price and Pat makes up his mind about what to charge as he goes along.

One way he decides how much a customer is likely to pay is by looking at their shoes: "You can tell a lot about people from their shoes."

Pat comes from an unusual background - he's part gypsy and also has ancestors who were Spanish pirates from the island of La Linea.

Because of that he has had to face down a lifetime of 'nasty racists' and abuse.

Now he seems to be winning at life.

"I'm rich in my own way. I've got love. I've got a house which is quite minimalist. I've got my Daimler Benz vintage van. I've got the shop. I've got everything I could possibly want.

"The shop is south facing - that's why we chose it. I can sit outside on a sunny day.

"If I fancy a day at the beach I just close the door - I do it all the time. I can do exactly what I want.

"Basically I'm making a living by recycling and restoring things other people don't want any more."

"I buy everything for cash - generally I buy stuff from people who are clearing out so they don't need too much money for it and I can afford to buy at a price where it doesn't matter if it sits around in the shop for 10 years.

"Also I go regularly to car boot sales at six in the morning every weekend. I am always polite and I never dive in people's cars. I spent [pounds sterling]32 last Saturday and I will make [pounds sterling]300 from that over time, after a bit of restoration work.

"The dealers all know me - they don't like me and they don't speak to me.

"I restore anything that is broken and make sure everything is in good working order, with safe three amp plugs."

Pat has noticed a strange phenomena as he observes the way people shop: "People don't buy what they like. I see something and think 'Wow! I love it!' and I buy it.

"But most people don't shop that way. They shop by thinking what something is worth. It's sad really because it means people end up buying things they don't really like."

These are some of the amazing finds Pat showed me during our whirlwind tour:

Pat has some unusual items of clothing for sale - including furs and a real leopard skin coat which he paid [pounds sterling]10 for. He has also bought and sold firemen's jackets. He found a 'funky' pair of immaculate Dickies workwear overalls from the 70s - with original brass zips - but disappointingly they were a size too small for him to wear.

"I know that the furs are horrible because they are from a dead animal - but they were already dead," he said. "I wouldn't encourage killing anything at all."

In the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, swastika means "well-being". This Hindu symbol differs from the Nazi symbol whose top arm points upwards 'sun wise'.

Pat said: "We get a lot of people who come in looking for swastika and Nazi related memorabilia. I don't serve nasty facists.

"This is not a Swastika. It's one of the 13 runic symbols of the world."

The shop attracts all sorts of unusual characters. Pat knows Paignton's drunks, 'druggies' and even two or three local kleptomaniacs wander in and he has to keep a close eye on them: "Over the 20 years I have had some nasty, opinionated racist people. Certain people aren't going to like you.

"I'm a gypsy. I like gypsies. I sell lots of things to them and buy things from them.

"I have never been robbed by a gypsy although I have been robbed by an Irish tinker. They are very different.

"I have discovered that the people who are most likely to try and rob you will be wearing a suit."

The gun in this picture is a toy - it's a working, metal, 1960s cap rifle, loaded with caps.

But Pat also stocks vintage and historic real guns and knives - but he won't sell them to people under 40.

In fact if youths come in trying to sell him knives, he confiscates them and refuses to return them.

"The law says I can sell knives to people over 18 but I won't sell to youngsters.

"If they come in with a knife, I take it off them and I'm not giving it back.

"There are too many gangs of youths with drugs and knives around in Paignton.

"I have been a soldier - I was a Bombadier but I didn't want to fight and I paid to leave. I'm a white flag, conscientious objector person really."

This beautiful old instrument is another of Pat's bargain finds. The classic old squeeze-box looks like a miniature accordion and he bought it for [pounds sterling]30 in its original case - only to discover that new they are worth about [pounds sterling]1,300.

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The life-size Cigar Store Indian dates from Canada in the 1850s and is worth up to [pounds sterling]20,000 - the most valuable thing Pat shows me. These caricature wooden statues are obviously totally politically incorrect today, but they were once seen outside tobacconists shops all over North America to advertise a brand of cigars.

In the picture Pat is holding a large psychedelic 1960s lava pottery vase, part of his collection of local Dartmouth, Torquay and Watcombe pottery:"My taste is psychedelic and Paignton doesn't pay for that. But I don't care. I love it and I want to keep it in my shop for a long while."

Everything is for sale - except Pat's two favourite vinyl LPs: Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel's The Psychomodo and his Joan Armatrading album.

"Somebody offered me [pounds sterling]20 for The Psychomodo the other day. Everything in the shop is for sale, but the music isn't necessarily for sale if it's something I like to listen to and this is my favourite LP. I'm into psychedelic stuff.

"I buy records for myself and I love them. They help me create the ambiance I love."

CAPTION(S):

Credit: Colleen Smith/Devon Live

Pat with a real leopard fur coat in the vintage clothing section

Credit: Colleen Smith/Devon Live

Credit: Colleen Smith/Devon Live

Credit: Colleen Smith/Devon Live

Credit: Colleen Smith/Devon Live

Credit: Colleen Smith/Devon Live
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Publication:Macclesfield Express (Macclesfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 9, 2019
Words:1291
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