Antiques Road Show
When I went round to George last week he wasn’t there. His neighbour Annette was waiting at the door. George is in hospital, he broke down at the doctor ‘s surgery and asked me to ell you.
He had told me the day before he was particularly breathless, and at 93 one knows that one day the phone will ring and no one will answer.
But two days later he was home. This week he went through the detail, how his heart stopped. I said that means you have been to the other side. He laughed. Its nothing, when its over , its over there is nothing else. He said with his typical lack of nonsense and sentiment. He after all fought in the war and has no time for Churchill. His beliefs do not stop him going every week to his wife’s grave and talking to her.
This week he asked me if there was anything of his I wanted. I blethered about happy memories being enough. Then I suggested a china model of Laurel and Hardy he has on his mantelpiece. When I arrive he invariably is listening to big band swing and watching a dated black and white comedy,sometimes Laurel and Hardy. George may not have much time for modern technology but a master of the DVD and the record button he certainly is.
I noticed a large carriage clock that has pride of place in the sideboard had been moved to a shelf and was not working. He told that it had been given to him by the Gas Board in 1969 after 23 years just before he went to become maintenance manager at Wandsworth Town Hall. So a family heirloom. Certainly. I offered to take it to take to the Clock Clinic, a wonderful specialist shop near my home. He had used it before. He wanted it mended, as he wanted to pas sit on.
We talked about the clock, he thought it might be worth £1500 and he was happy to pay £100 to get it working. The Clock Clinic is an absolutely charming shop but it aint cheap. They played around with it. And gave me their view on what is essentially a bit of outdated, brown, unfashionable furniture.
I phoned George. There is bad news and very bad news. OK give me the bad news. The clock is worth £100. The very bad news ? It will cost £500 to over haul. So George now knows there is nothing on the other side and his family heirloom has a negative value. But George is old school, as a WW1 Bruce Bairnsfather cartoon would have it as the whizz bang explodes over the trench “ Downhearted? Not us, we’re having steak pie for lunch”