So I'm breaking a few rules straight away (was it meant to be September?) but count yourselves lucky because despite all my promises in previous years, this is the first time I've had the presence of mind to take some pictures - and there's a few VG+-friendly favourites so it's all good, I hope. For some reason, I'm too chicken to take photos inside the stores so you'll have to make do with street scenes.
Here is the story in picture and words of when I ventured to Huntingdon. Formerly in its own county of Huntingdonshire, now part of Cambridgeshire, the town's probably most noted for two of its past MPs : Oliver Cromwell, and John Major. More notable for us, there's also been a strong history of quality audio manufacturers in the area, with Quad, Mission and Wharfedale being made there (now all part of the same group, IAG). Oh, and there's always Huntingdon Life Sciences
So let's away!
Rules is rules, and this year we have been told to feature unusual aspects of the transportation. We arrived by car, so no trains or stations for you. But the approach to the parking (Anglian Water's offices, £1 all day on Saturday, very handy) definitely qualifies, as it's one of the few places in the UK where you drive on the right:
From there, cut through NatWest's car park and we find ourselves at our first digging ground - the relative new Oxfam Books & Music.
There's been a change of policy since I was last in here. It was previously a decent range but rather expensive. Now, the majority of the LPs are £1.99 and (have you ever known this happen in an Oxfam?) the guy at the till offered me a bulk-buy discount without me even asking! A nice haul from here (pics follow further down). Plenty of other interesting pieces - I suspect you lot will have it dug over by the end of the week!
Next door, we have the once green, now purple, Scope
Lots of 80s 7" vinyl, a few LPs, nothing that took my fancy (even though singles are my thing, I tend to have all the standard ones by now).
The sun now put in an appearance as we wandered through the centre, past some topical bunting
Niche joke time - the name of this shop is amusing if you're an avid reader of The Framley Examiner.
I did mention Oliver Cromwell, didn't I?
Once we've crossed the market square, we soon arrive at British Heart Foundation.
This branch follows the now bizarrely-typical BHF layout of being stupidly crammed full of clothes rails, with barely any room to move. Happily, it bucks the BHF trend of not having any vinyl, and there's a rack of LPs right at the back. Lots of Top Of The Pops and similar favourites here, but those have never been my cup of tea so I leave them behind.
Like any traditional English market town, Huntingdon has a 1960s bit that it would rather forget. This is where we find our last two charity shops. First up, the original branch of Oxfam.
The two Oxfams mustn't talk to each other, because there are also books and records in here. And unlike the other Oxfam, they're stupidly priced - £4.99 for Brothers In Arms and (my bete noir of charity-shop mispricings) ABBA's Greatest Hits. I leave well alone.
I do like the decorative detail on this building. The typeface for the shop number, and the intricate tiling.
Wouldn't be surprised if this is gone in a couple of years, though - the rest of the block isn't looking great and there's signs of redevelopment. Enjoy it while you can!
The tiles are the shop-front of our final charity shop, Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Sometimes there's no vinyl here. Other times there's an interesting box of LPs for £1 each. Today was one of those lucky days, and the spoils will be shown below.
There is one other charity shop in Huntingdon that I'm aware of, but it's hidden away slightly out-of-town and not open on a Saturday afternoon, so no pics here.
After a spot of lunch (or rather a most enjoyable cooked breakfast at Pop Bellies - recommended) and some non-record shopping (if you can believe such a thing exists), we headed back to the car. As we arrived, I heard the distant strains of a brass band, so wandered over to the park to look.
It's quite a nice park, actually. Giant snakes-and-ladders, anyone?
One final Huntingdon tip - the upmarket confectioner Hotel Chocolat has their factory in the area. And there's a factory shop...
Generally 30% off, also the short-sell-by stuff is up to 70% off. I spent more here than I did on records. Not a good sign...
Anyway, that's the trip - I'm paranoid about losing the post so I'm going to hit the button now and then follow up with pics of the booty in a minute.