Okay, he was an impulse purchase.
See, I'd never been to an auction before, the idea of sitting bidding against a room full of strangers, never held that much of an appeal to me.
However, this was different, as I'd known and become very familiar with the place where this auction was to be held.
It hired furniture and stage props out to various theatre and film production companies. Not only did I pass this building daily, I also often supplied temporary staff there, and had been a regular visitor to them for years.
No, I am not making an excuse, I'm just saying, is all..
Sadly, they were shutting up shop now to relocate their premises to the other side of London, but before doing so, they planned a massive, great clearance to auction off all the stock surplus to requirement.
I ask you, who wouldn't be intrigued?
Imagine if you will, tiers upon tiers of floors, all of them stuffed full to bursting, and resembling nothing short of one huge, alluring Aladdin's cave; mock King Louie IV matching sideboards, stacked next to a twelve-foot metallic space rocket, it leaning up against a Victorian grandfather clock, which is in itself is wedged in between a giant dismantled flower-swing and an elaborately painted, four-foot long wooden ladle. Then glimpse further, discover the Gondolier boat pinned behind there, or that box filled with duelling pistols standing next to it, and all the other yet endless arrays of useless, must-have objects, ever stretching back into the furthest bowels of the darkest corners.
Dusty rows upon rows of the mundane and the impossible, be it either practical or outrageous, bizarre, modern or period, there lay in there a whole cornucopia of undiscovered delight, each impatiently calling out for me to burst them free from hiding.
Yeah alright, so sue me if I'm prone to getting a wee bit carried away, but I ask you, who wouldn't want a frolicking rummage about around in the likes of there?
Maybe I ought to digress here for a minute to explain it wasn't all (entirely) my fault. Nettie led me on. I should never have taken her with me.
I ran a fairly casual ship at work, my main office lay only a convenient block away from home, mainly so's I could walk little Bessie-Boot's, my darling Border Collie, there with me each day. Nettie, my long suffering
Not that I spent a whole lot of my time there, aside from other offices to oversee, I spent most of my time
My Putney office was my baby, with it being the first Agency I'd ever opened, and I found myself blessed with an intact, close knit team of staff who bullied, nagged, protected and shamelessly blackmailed me, all in equal measures. Little Nettie first joined our group just after her 17th birthday, and settled in to stay for over seven years (only leaving to give birth to my God Daughter).
Her job-spec often extended way over and above the call of duty. Any sane woman would have long before quit, aww, but you see, that's what we all loved about her, she was easily equally as demented as all the rest of us there.
Some of the things I had that poor lass do, shameful so it is!
Like carting up to 2K in cash wage-packets over in person to the building site every Friday, for us to pay the contract workers there. We'd help her stuff the envelopes of money down her boots, up her bra, and about her person, to lessen the chances of her being mugged along the way, only for her to then unload it all again inside the cover of the on-site, smelly port-a-loo's, to innocently exit and dispense the workers wages .
I had several specialist Agencies: Legal, Medical, Architectural, Accountancy and a couple Secretarial, but the Building off-shoot, though rather less up-market, proved a profitable enterprise, and Nettie, bless her heart, encountered the weekly wolf-whistles and thinly veiled sexual harassment in stride, eventually marrying one of the worst of the offender's, two years later (tho'I never did like him, and told her as much, but only after the divorce).
Oh, and I had her shadow me a couple of times when I went through my advertising in Lonely Hearts columns phase, too. Well, some of them might have been a bit dodgy, I dragged her along for insurance giving her strict instructions not to be spotted. Usually I remembered to give her the thumbs up if the evening took off, so's she could nip off home again, but I have to confess there were some times I got so engrossed and caught up in my new date, I clean forgot all about her.
My, that girl had a temper on her! At least she always had the good grace to save it 'til the next day.
So, when I announced to the office about this up-coming auction, the girls decided I might need saving from myself, and volunteered Netty out as my minder. They often did this. Usually when I had to drive somewhere new for the first time. I don't map-read, and am a crap driver. It rarely actually helped having her along, since she tended to ride with her hands over her face anyway, but she often came in handy as a solid, biased witness to the accidents.
Frankly, I felt glad on the day of auction for her company. We'd turfed up a few hours early clutching a catalogue, hoping to find something worthy to bid on. I had my eye out for a dining room table and chairs, but was open to anything else that might catch my fancy. We trolled along the musky warehouse digging for any hidden nuggets of treasure, stopping off to inspect the odd curiosity, and checking out what ever table we might trip across.
Then, hold up..
Waaaay back in the farthermost reaches, I spotted what looked to be a potential flasher suspiciously lurking about in the corner. Well, there were the two of us, weren't there? And I wasn't having none of that. Shoving Nettie (way) ahead, I assured her I was right behind her, as we marched on up to investigate..
Turned out Peter (as I later christened him) was no stalker at all. True, he smelled a bit unsavoury, had lost a bit of his stuffing, and had sure seen far better days - but for me it was nothing short of love at first sight.
I had to have him. Nettie recklessly agreed.
Oh, imagine the adventures we'd have!
My mind was set.
('Sides, how the hell was I to know these places don't deliver?)
..to be continued.