Sunday, 29 October 2006

Friday the Twenty-Seventh, Part Two

Things could only get better? Still riding the clichés.

I was running late. I had spent some time playing with Squiffany, to give Dilly time to catch up with chores. I hurried out to buy supplies of food. Sale days are the rare times when I unashamedly buy quantities of junk food. We are busy all afternoon and evening, handling items of fragile antique china and we need to keep up our energy levels, with only a few snatched minutes to eat. So I fill rolls with meat, cheese and salad and buy cakes, chocolate biscuits, crisps and sweet drinks - as well as bottles of water which I don't normally buy. I think the use of food miles and plastic bottles to transport fancy water, when every drop that comes out of our taps has been purified to drinking quality is one of the dafter examples of modern life.

We were ready to leave by one o'clock, which was all right. Half an hour to reach the saleroom, an hour to set up, half an hour in hand for unexpected problems plus, hopefully, a cup of tea and a brief break. Two miles down the road, the Sage said "You did put in the *star item*, didn't you?" "I thought you did. I put it in its box and waved it at you and put it down again." Ah. We turned the car around and headed home.

We left again at one-fifteen. And the Sage, most uncharacteristically, drove, if not recklessly, without his usual reck. We sat in silence for most of the way, each of us (Ro had taken the day off work and was with us) calming down in our own way. We unpacked the car and I headed for the car park, anticipating some difficulty in finding a space.

And this is where the day changed. As I approached the furthest corner, a car backed out of a space. I drove in and, as I put money in the ticket machine, three cars went past, drivers peering to see if someone was about to leave. More cars were driving in as I walked out. I said 'thank you' to my vastly appreciated guardian angel. No, really, it isn't superstition, I have a personal other-worldly assistant, he's fabulous and saves me from myself and from disaster. And, just occasionally, he finds me a parking space, when it really matters.

We were all ready by quarter to three, but people were already hopefully hovering. At five to, I started giving out the china to the ten or so people sitting at the tables and then, just as I was about to go round registering them with booking numbers, in streamed a dozen more.

How we arrange the sale is to have three tables, covered with blankets and then white tablecloths, down the middle of the room. Around them, with space in between for us to walk about, are more tables at which the viewers sit. There's probably room for about 30 people at a time. The rest of the room has rows of chairs for them to sit at during the sale. They ask for the china they wish to look at and we hand it to them. They are welcome to handle it - some people like to see it all, others only ask for a few selected lots. The viewing goes on for four hours and is constantly busy.

Our various helpers came and went during the afternoon, putting in a couple of hours each. Ro helped and also dealt with the registration. Al, Dilly and Pugsley arrived at about 6.15, after Al had shut up shop and done his Friday deliveries and El hurried in, having come on the 6.30 train. The saleroom was full, nearly every seat taken with a dozen or so standing. Many of the buyers have known us for many years and are friends, but there are new ones every time. On man said "this is very civilised and friendly, I've never known a sale quite like it."

At six-forty, I phoned the one person who had asked to make a telephone bid. I confirmed the lot numbers he was interested in. At six-fifty, the Sage reminded everyone to register and a couple more hopeful bidders-to-be came to the desk. There was an expectant feeling in the air. I wished I'd got around to visiting the loo at some time during the day, but decided I could hang on for another couple of hours.

The Sage taped his gavel on the table, welcomed everyone to the sale and announced the first lot.

8 comments:

Dandelion said...

And then what happened?

BTW, I don't think it is fancy water, I think it's just ordinary water in bottles. That's the beauty of the scam. Also, apparently, not every drop that comes from taps is drinkable. Eg in train loos and many restaurants, the water is apparently not drinkable, thus necessitating a thirsty person to spend money on water in a bottle.

Z said...

Later, sweetie, I'm off to the pub.

*Fancy* was used ironically.

Wendz said...

I can't wait for part 3..it's like a mystery novel..the suspense keeps building.

And Dandelion..who would DREAM of drinking the water in a train or even an aeroplane loo? Yuk. I feel quite weak. But yeah - one big scam, that bottled water story.

I do buy 2 six-packs of 500ml bottles every month...the cheapest of cheapest no-name brands...but I do it so that we have a supply of bottles. We drink it up and then reuse the bottles, filling them from the tap.

I always take 3 bottles of water with me in the morning and the boys each take one to bed at night. So the bottles get all squishy and soft and dented, and need replacing regularly.

Z - I don't think rolls filled with meat and cheese is junk..ahem..that forms a large part of my diet, such as it is.

Hope you went to a good pub for lunch..pub food is gross.

Oh I could waffle here for hours but I won't...toodles.

jen said...

without his usual reck...divine.

am now curious about a) the one particular item that turned the car round and b) how it all wound up at the end.

Z said...

I wasn't meaning the rolls as junk, but the rest of it certainly was.

I don't really drink a lot of water. In whisky, once in a while, but just a splash.

How do we know said...

Hi.. just finished reading everything I'd missed.. :-)

Hows Dilly now.. am sorry about Goosey and about the washing machine.. mine is also already 5 years old and god knows she is a loyal bird!

And how did the auction go?

Things appear fine at the moment Zoe.. Thank you for asking!

phol gobi aur aloo ki bhaaji!!!! wow!! you have me totally floored. Where did you pick up that good Hindi??

Z said...

Good Hindi? If only. It is a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's book 'Indian Cooking' and she kindly gives the proper name. I only know a few words and they are all to do with food. Her memoir, Climbing the Mango Trees, is a lovely book and I'd highly recommend it.

Dilly has ordered the new washing machine - £400, about Rs25,000. It will be delivered on Wednesday and in the meantime I'm doing their washing. She's fine though they are both a bit subdued and they miss Goosey. They hope to get a couple of goslings in the spring.

Chairwoman of the bored said...

Goslings!