Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Not Quite Mr Prendergast's Fantastic Find

If you haven't read my new novel yet (that's it over there on the right - cheap as chips), it tells the story of a man called Dave Prendergast who makes and amazing find on eBay. We often see people on Antiques Roadshow who have made great finds at car boot sales and in charity shops but rarely on eBay. But it is possible. If you read this blog from time to time you'll know that I sometimes try my hand at spotting "sleepers".

Here's one I found last week.

I paid my £23 and awaited the arrival of my fabulous Dudson cheese dish similar to this one that recently sold.

But luck was not one my side. The parcel arrived on Saturday. It was very very well packed. But it still didn't survive a trip across the country with Yodel.

So my hopes of a decent profit were, like the cheese dish, shattered. This was one of the reasons that I gave up dabbling on eBay a couple of years ago after the profit on a similar "bargain" failed to realise. I had another Yodel delivery today. The young man said "I've delivered here five times recently and this the first time you've been in.Did you get the parcel I left over the gate on Saturday." That gate is almost 6' high. He didn't open it but dropped it over the top. I told him it was smashed and he departed very sheepishly.

My last "bargain" cheese dish.

I'll keep trying for a while though as recent tax changes mean that the first £1,000 from trading like this is not taxable. Maybe one day, like Mr Pendergast, I'll make a fantastic find that comes good.

This was my best deal this month.

We're home from Scotland now after spending a week or so in the caravan with my Mum who is doing very well for 91. She looks great and dresses well but we wish that she would eat a bit more. The week we've been catching up on the garden and I've managed to scrub the entire decking on my hands and knees. The job took me hours but I'm happy with the result . While I was scrubbing Marion was even busier digging. When she got ready for bed she realised that she was missing a precious white gold and diamond earring.

Having a detectorist husband has its occasional benefits for Marion. I got up at seven on Sunday morning and thanks to the new detector I was back in bed again twenty minutes later for a well earned lie in.

I know everybody is sick of politics at the moment and I've managed to keep them out of the blog (mostly). I've written a fair few long rants but deleted them before publishing. It was nice, however, to see the Suffolk EU Alliance, (people from all parties who are pro the EU) holding a meeting at St Michael's in Framlingham on Saturday. And it was even nicer to go inside and find the place completely full.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

A Welcome Visitor (91)

We're back in Scotland for Easter. We wanted to spend some time with my mum but she's not as agile as she used to be and, as we worried about her managing the stairs in Framlingham, the stair-free caravan in St Andrews was a better option. We drove up on Sunday after a visit to the excellent Framlingham Show on Saturday.

The grandchildren love the story of Plop the little barn owl in The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark so we took this photo to show them what she might look like.

The fair was blessed with perfect conditions.  

It was good to see the Morris Men continuing the ancient tradition but judging by the average age of the dancers it's a tradition that's unlikely to see this century out. 

It really must be one of the most idyllic country fair settings in the country.

Here's another lovely setting. Kellie Castle in Fife was the site for one of the Cadbury Egg hunts that ran at National Trust and National Trust for Scotland properties over the Easter break. (Note: National Trust members can get into National Trust For Scotland properties and vice versa so if you're thinking of joining one join the Scottish one as it's about £16 cheaper for a joint senior annual membership)

Rose and Melody enjoyed searching the wonderful castle gardens for a dozen or so Humpty Dumpties holding letters that made up the solution to the hunt. I was impressed with the clues that were not too simple and challenged the children to think. Some of the Humpties were easy to find but others needed careful searching to spot them. Well done Cadburys and Kellie Castle. 

Mum joined the family in the hunt and it was great for Sarah to see her nana and Rose and Melody their great nana.

Yesterday Mum took us all for fish and chips at the excellent Tail End here in St Andrews. After lunch we came back to the caravan where Marion conducted complex experiments involving pine cones, grass and cornflour with the girls.

Mum is enjoying her break. She's 91 now but still keeps herself busy on her iPad. She's not getting as much use of it here as we're limited to linking it to 3g on the iPhone and it's not very fast. She's a bit worried that her memory is not what it was but my memory is not what it was and I'm only sixty-three. 

To try and show her that she's not as bad as she thinks she is we gave her the Times Jumbo Crossword from last week.

And with a bit of help she managed to get it finished. The Alzheimer's isn't around the corner just yet. 

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Two Five Star Reviews So Far

Ask any self published author what spurs them on and I'm sure that they will tell you that a positive response to their work is high on the list. So I am delighted to say that, after a couple of weeks since its release, Mr Pendergast's Fantastic Find now appears with a couple of five star reviews. It's early days but it is encouraging that two readers (both of whom read my first novel) have taken the time to review Mr P. 

I'm also enrolled in the scheme whereby Kindle readers can borrow my books. I can see when somebody borrows one and it is really encouraging when you see that they read the entire book in just a couple of days or, in one case above, in just one day.

I hope to start publicising the book with a vengeance over the next couple of weeks starting with a 25 book giveaway currently running on Goodreads. If you would like the chance to win a signed copy just click here and click the "enter giveaway" button.

The novel tells the story of Dave Pendergast who tries to make his fortune by finding hidden bargains on eBay. It's not a fantasy. Here are a couple of finds that I've made recently. They aren't going to make my fortune but are certainly much better than the description that the seller gave them.

This lovely Victorian majolica water lily plate circa 1890 was described as an "Unmarked Novelty Flower Plate".

And this fine Fukagawa Koransha Japanese vase from around 1900 was listed as "Pretty Ceramic Vase" which is true but unlikely to reach collectors of Japanese porcelain.

eBay and writing apart, I've been enjoying competing with my old work colleagues at Instanta in the TalkSport football predictor league. I'm top of their league at the moment with eight rounds of matches to go but, more pleasingly, I am in 260th place out of 175,000.

We've been doing a lot of gardening but had a break from that at the weekend when we headed to Rochester to visit our son Paul and our grandchildren Catherine and Teddy.

How time disappears! I can remember the days when I was the one doing the pushing and Paul was the one in the swing. 

Rochester's medieval castle and cathedral looked glorious framed by the blue sky and this magnificent magnolia tree.

Our granddaughter Catherine, like her daddy before her, loves Ghostbusters. So we went into the garage and dug out Paul's old Ghostbusters' Fire Station to pass down to her. It's nice to see our children's old toys being recycled.  

Paul looked after his toys well and everything was in good working order.

There was even the added benefit of finding Paul's own Ghostbusters' poster that he made when he was five.

My favourite field has been drilled with a crop now so I can't go detecting there at the moment. As my current detector is a fair few years old I've treated myself to a shiny new one. I've got a few friends here in Framlingham who want to give the hobby a try so now they can use my old machine before deciding if they want to take it up. It will be good to have a bit of company on my days searching (as long as they don't find better stuff than me that is).