I stopped at one stall, manned by an old boy on his own who must have been in his late 80s. He was holding up an umbrella to try and prevent himself cooking under the sun. Amongst his bits and pieces was a box with bits that "I won't be using any more." he told me. And I found this gem of a valve spring compressor - small, and with the perfect range for working on small motorcycle heads, which I seem to be doing often nowadays. I already have another, larger adjustable type, but it's a handful for smaller valves. "I made that when I was a teenager," he told me, "couldn't afford to buy tools after the war, so we had to make do. 50p to you, young man," he said (I love it when people say 'young man'..). "There's a pair of axle stands too you can have if you like. Strong and well-made. One pound the lot."
I happily paid him, and told him I'd need the compressor often. "Nice to see it'll be used." he said.
Once back in my workshop, I cleaned it up, and admired the precision and robustness with which it was made. The metallic green paint reminds me of industrial sized cast iron radiators we had in primary school painted in the same shade of hard-wearing council green.
I'll be using the compressor later this week. Old tools live again.