Last Monday, I started task no.9 on my list of forty charity challenges—that of losing a stone in weight.
By Saturday morning, I was nine pounds lighter, surprised, and delighted that a few days on what was admittedly a pretty extreme diet plan had worked—at least according to the scales.
The intention is to carry on for a further week; hope like mad that I can somehow get rid of five more pounds, take a picture of the scales as proof... then eat cake like it was going out of fashion!
On Saturday however, it was time to head down the A19 (and a bit of the A59) to pay a visit to Wombell’s Auctioneers, and complete task no.8 by bidding at an auction.
We’d never been to an auction before, but I’ve been with Elaine long enough now to have watched just about every bloody reality television programme out there, including everything with the word “money”, “cash”, and “antique” in the title, and far too many featuring David Dickinson. And by the way, chips aren’t actually cheap anymore... well not round here they’re not.
As an aside, why do all these “experts” have some sort of nickname? David Dickinson is known as “the Duke”, there’s Eric “Knocker” Knowles, John “the Hammer” Cameron, James “the Lionheart” Lewis, James “Bingo” Braxton and perhaps worst of all, Jonty “the Hitman” Hearnden. They’re just antique dealers for God’s sake, not professional boxers.
However: “if you can’t beat ‘em...” said Richard “the Gavelmeister” Kirby.
Anyway, we arrived at the auction house, which is in Poppleton, just outside York, registered and got our bidding number (456), then proceeded to have a look round some of the five hundred or so lots—remembering to look at each other and nod knowingly every time we “examined” one of the items. Maybe we should have scribbled a few random words or numbers on a piece of paper to further enhance the illusion of expertise?
But “the Gavelmeister” doesn’t operate like that...
Anyway, armed with our number, catalogue, a few quid, and an idea of the lots we were going to bid for, we found a couple of seats and waited for the action to get underway.
I have to say, the lots went pretty quickly. I reckon it worked out at one every thirty or forty seconds in the time we were there. The first intended lot was a collection of cigarette cards, but the gavel had come down before I’d been able to wave anything in the air. I was marginally more successful with lot 14; my bid was actually noticed, but swiftly trumped (that’s a technical term). Anyway, the lot passed our self-imposed limit of £30, so I swiftly put down my card and made sure I didn’t wink, sneeze or indulge in any bodily movement that could have been misconstrued as a bid.
During our persusal, Elaine had spotted six framed pictures of what turned out to be sheet music, but to my untrained eye looked like small, but undeniably appealing 1930s film posters. We decided to have another go at bidding and things looked promising at £5.
Sadly that agreeable purchase price quickly disappeared because someone else thought it would be a really good idea to bid against me. Had the bidding war not ended when the other person backed out (bottled out) at £30, I might just have carried on, such was my sudden determination not to be “beaten”.
“Sold to the fool in the purple jumper for £200!”
A lucky escape then!
I held up my card... 456... sat back and relaxed: challenge completed...
And there ends the story of challenge no.8. We paid for, and collected lot 46 later in the afternoon, after spending a few hours with my parents, as well as my sister and her family. All in all, an interesting and enjoyable experience, but possibly more importantly, there are only eleven tasks remaining...
Now to lose those five pounds.