•             Welcome

    This is the personal site of Ted the serendipitist, who has interpreted the Wikipedia definition of 'Hunter-Gatherer' (see that page) as meaning someone who visits junk shops, charity shops, antique shops and hebdomadal matutinal car boot sales in order to acquire low-value objects, which no-one in their right minds would want, at low cost (well, apart from antique shops, that is).

    Deluded Ted believes that at some time in the future, some of his acquisitions will be highly desirable and worth a small fortune.

  •       Car Boot Sales

    TYPES OF SELLERS

    There are two types of sellers at car boot sales, viz traders and ordinary people. Ted tends to avoid traders owing to the high chance of inadvertently purchasing inferior goods at high prices. However, Ted did recently manage to acquire a large number of pairs of everlasting socks at only 50p per pair.

    THE LANGUAGE

    Buyers need to understand traders' language; on asked how much the French carriage clock is, the response might be "toonarf." This would be interpreted as £250. There is no first aid on site for buyers who faint.

    WHAT ON EARTH IS THAT?

    Ted has discovered that, 99% of the time, a strange-looking object is either a massager, a fitness device or a CD rack.

    WIVES

    When a husband and wife team are selling their unwanted items at a car boot stall, it is an interesting fact that, whatever position the husband holds at work, be it dogsbody, manager or chief executive, it is the wife who wears the trousers. If someone asks the wife how much the pretty mug is, she'll say, for example, "50p." However, if the husband were asked, he would turn to his wife and say, "Er... how much for this, dear?" - even if it belongs to him.

    At other times the wife can be heard saying, "No, not there - put it on the ground here...", "You need to turn those round", "You can empty this box now..." or "You can pour me a cup of tea now - you did pack the flask as I asked, didn't you?"

    The simple fact is that women are more suited to this activity than the average man is, and so they naturally take control.

    HAGGLING

    In the early days, Ted's wife would suddenly say, "Ooh, look! They've GOT one!!!" This somewhat weakened Ted's position when he started to haggle. A more appropriate method for achieving a minimal sale price is to pick up the piece unenthusiastically and give a look of horror on hearing the price.

    Some sellers dither when asked the price of an item. At the first sign of this, the buyer should offer a very low price; there is a high chance that it will be accepted, especially if a wife is not in sight.

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Car Boot Sale – 5th May 2013


Helios Reflector Telescope:  £40

Helios Refractor TelescopeA few weeks ago, Ted bought for his wife a telescope for birdwatching. He thought it would be a good idea to try to see Saturn’s rings with it and so, using his iPad’s Star Walk app – a truly marvellous piece of software – he discovered that 3:30 the following morning would be an ideal time to do it if the sky was clear.

Ted tumbled blearily-eyed out of bed at 3:20, discovered that the sky was clear, and went to the adjacent bedroom where he had set up the telescope.  He knew it was pointing in the right direction because he had used the position of the day’s moon to calibrate it; all he had to do was tilt the telescope up a degree or two, and there Saturn would be!

He did, and it wasn’t. He turned and tilted, tilted and turned, but no Saturn. He crawled back into bed at 3:50, realising that the telescope would be fine for birdwatching but not for stargazing.

On arriving at the car boot sale a few days later, Ted noticed a large reflector telescope (what synchronicity!), but he knew that this type of telescope was relatively fragile and that the mirror would need cleaning every now and then, and so he passed it by; passed it by a few times, actually. However, he finally succumbed and approached the seller (a pleasant young chap by the name of Paul, who explained that the telescope wasn’t easily usable by someone who lived in a basement flat).

“I’ll think about it,” said Ted. “That’s what everyone’s said so far,” responded Paul, and for some reason that made Ted commit himself to its purchase.

On establishing that he would be prepared to deliver it – Ted’s wife was the only driver in the family, and she was away that day – he offered to pay the full £40 and hope that it was in working order. Decent Ted realised that it wasn’t appropriate to haggle, because a) it was the right price, and b) Paul was going to deliver it.

Just before Ted paid for the item, a man asked how much it was. “Too late,” said Paul, “This chap here has bought it,” or words along those lines. “I’m not surprised!” he said, and walked off downheartedly.

Paul delivered it the next day as promised. The mirror was filthy, but that was soon rectified with some soapy detergent and a good wash, and there was a missing screw, but that was soon replaced. It came with three lenses and has a magnification of 50x, 100x or 200x. Its object mirror has a focal length of one metre and a diameter of 200mm.

Ted’s next viewing attempt will be on 20th May.

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