It's strange how life can change and turn on its head in just seconds. That's what happened on Saturday morning. We were happily awaiting the arrival of Mark and Nita, some good friends from up north. I'd spent the previous day preparing Gordon Ramsay's Beef Wellington (the middle class equivalent of killing the fatted calf) and we popped into Framlingham briefly to stock up on some last minute goodies.
We picked up some fine cheeses from Leo's Deli, some great looking crab from Darren the market fishmonger and some flowers from Callender's Florists and were heading back home when the phone rang. It was not good news and we had to cancel all our plans. Mark and Nita arrived but didn't get time to unpack; within half an hour they were in their car and heading back on the long journey up the A14.
I can't go into details here out of respect for the privacy of others but in months to come I hope to be able to tell you more about what happened, how it will affect us in the years ahead and how we may be able to help others faced with the same situation.
It was a rotten end to what we anticipated would be a brilliant weekend but we're a resilient couple and we will get over what happened. Life will go on and things will definitely get better.
And we did have some good news later this afternoon when Bonhams in New Bond St held their sale of fine Japanese Art. I had a lovely collection of Japanese Satsuma wares that I built up over the last ten years but it wasn't right for the new house in Framlingham. We didn't have room for it all so I consigned it to Bonhams. It was described in their catalogue as "Property Of A Gentleman" - which I am sure some people would dispute. The catalogue was a spectacular affair and my collection, which took up over ten pages, looked stunning in it . I was busy this afternoon as the sale went ahead and when I started to look through the results my heart sank. Some items which had estimates of £1,000 - £1,500 had only sold for a few hundred pounds and some had failed to reach their (very low) reserves. But all was compensated for as we reached some of the the best pieces. They sold for spectacular prices with the vase on the right in the photo above reaching a hammer price of £15,999 against an estimate of £4,000- £5,000 and a box by the same artist producing a near identical result. Ten of the lots sold and, although five of those sold at a small loss, the five that sold at a profit did so well that we ended up with double what we hoped to achieve from the sale and will have five or six of the items back to save for another day.