These two plaster statues take pride of place at the Natural Room Emporium and were bought at IACF’s first event since lockdown, Runway Monday, on June 29.

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The 20th century statue of St Antonius in the foreground is priced at £700 with a towering 19th century bust of Hercules at £1200.

Grahame Booth of the Natural Room Emporium in the small market town of Comber in Northern Ireland is dancing for joy.

He reopened his characterful antiques and vintage shop on Saturday, June 20, and reports that the day was the best ever for sales since its initial opening in October 2018, with queues to get in from the start.

Social awareness

Booth’s approach to the Covid-19 guidelines for reopening of non-essential businesses takes in social aspects post-lockdown.

He said: “Sometimes it’s good to get a break from the dangers of Covid-19 and just switch off a little. People need to be aware of the mental health implications of never being able to separate from the issues relating to the pandemic.

“Yes, we offer hand sanitiser, regularly clean handles and touch points and limit numbers, but we don’t plaster the place with social-distancing warnings, screens or one-way arrows. We feel people are more than aware already of the importance of these things without constant bombardment.”

Booth and his wife Jenny are regulars at IACF Newark and were at IACF’s first event since lockdown, Runway Monday, on June 29. He said: “It was great to see Runway up and running again. The opportunity to catch up with fellow dealers and friends was long overdue.

“Although initially gaining entry was slower than usual with parking a lot more haphazard, when we eventually got into the fair there was a great turnout of both sellers and buyers and plenty of room to browse comfortably and safely.”

IACF’s next antiques market is at the South of England Showground in West Sussex on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 21-22.