I’ve managed to finish the walnut dining table today. It was waxed and had some gold gilding to bling the carvings. It’s quite different to any other dining table that I’ve painted so far, but when I saw it at the auction it spoke to me. It must have spoken to my dad too because he mentioned a lovely table that was hidden in a corner and took me to see it (he was a bit miffed when I said it was already on my list). We’d split up at the auction house – the aisles are so narrow that it’s better to go it alone when viewing. And, I also get a bit arsey if truth be known. I have my own little routine when it comes to checking out furniture and don’t like being disturbed whilst doing my thing and jotting down notes.
There is something distinctly odd about the auction house. Well, there is about all of them, but this one is exceptional. There will be perhaps 700 or more lots going through, with say 20 or so people viewing at the same time that I’m there (the day before the sale), but you can guarantee that if I stop to look at an item, someone will come along and start looking at it too. This is in a narrow aisle about 3ft wide, with furniture piled up either side. So, I’m bending down doing the sniff test (it’s quite normal, honest (but maybe that’s why my dad dis-owns me:-)) and along comes Joe Blogs, who is now also bending down, just a few inches away, looking at what I’m looking at. The remaining 699 or so lots are of no interest to him, but the one I’m looking at is captivating. I’ve invented a deterrent – the well stuffed, over the shoulder bag. I swing up and around, then half-heartedly apologise for the thump my bag has given them.
Come sale day it gets worse. Like moths to a candle flame, the Joe Bloggs are drawn to my list. I get out my pad, it has all the lot numbers I’m interested in, along with little notes and the price I’m willing to go to. Joe Bloggs will go to great lengths to try to have a peek at my list. I’m a lone shark when it comes to bidding (most serious buyers are) – I like to find my own space and be undisturbed – 700 lots in 3 hours requires a lot of concentration, so I get very annoyed if someone wants to look at my list whilst I’m trying to keep track of my next lot. I’ve taken to holding the list to my chest in a very childish sort of way and staring Joe right in the eyes whilst pretending to be Ann Widdecombe. It seems to work.
It’s not quite so bad as a sale I went to last year. It wasn’t long after I’d started painting furniture. I had to put £250 deposit down for a bidding card, before I could go view the lots. The lots were all in cardboard boxes with just a little hole to peek through. Very odd. Even more bizarre was the auction itself. The auctioneer didn’t have a rostrum – he walked around the sale room pointing to the boxes with a baton, with a little gaggle of odd balls following him around. When he started to talk, I couldn’t understand a word. “Brrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeng a doodle doddle, a twenty elevenses brrrrrrrrrreeeng”. I stuck with it for a couple of hours, thinking that sooner or later I’d acquire ‘an ear’ for this peculiar language, but nope, it just got worse, to the point where I started to laugh. I went outside, where a couple of dealers from Yorkshire were wheeling and dealing on the phone. “Can you understand him?” one of them asked me. “Nope, not a word” said I. “Never known owt like it” said the dealer. We laughed and went to get our deposits back.
Anyway, here’s the walnut table.
If you want to know the price, it’s brrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeng a doodle doddle twenty elevenses brrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeng:-)