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    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


    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.


    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.


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


    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.


    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 – 31st July 2016

In his recent posts, Ted has commented rather unkindly on overweight members of the public who he has seen at the car boot sale which he occasionally visits. He now regrets this. After all, it’s not very nice to comment on people’s afflictions even if they are caused by overstuffing their face.

So he is not going to mention the huge man who sat on a plastic chair (the ones where the chair is a single piece of moulded plastic, and the cross-section of a leg is a right-angle). As soon as he sat down his flabberjubber undulated up and down his body, and then the whole chair started to distort, twist and then rock from side to side. First it would sway to one side, with Ted waiting for the ‘CRACK!’, and then it would sway the other way. It was better than watching a suspense movie. Amazingly, though, it didn’t collapse. Ted now has great respect for plastic-chair designers (the hyphen is there so that it’s the chair that’s plastic, not the designer).

Picture Cubes:  £2

Ted remembers these from his childhood, and they are very difficult to find nowadays. There is one from time to time on eBay, but they cost at least £6 plus postage.

What a bargain! The seller said that they belonged to her son who is now 42!

Ammeter:  £3

Yes – this superb antique (actually, June 1960) was sitting on what looked like an antique stall, and so Ted walked straight on because the chance was that the man would be asking around £30 for it.

But wait! Why not ask? And so Ted did.

“What are you asking for this?” said Ted disinterestedly. Note that he didn’t ask how much the ammeter was – that would indicate to the seller that Ted knew what it was. Neither did he ask what it cost – that would indicate that it actually had a price. No, Ted worded his question so that there was room to haggle for a strange item that he didn’t really appear to want.

“£5,” said the man, “but I’m open to offers.”

That was as good as saying that £5 was too much to ask for it, and Ted took full advantage.

“Have you tested it?” asked Ted. “No,” said the seller, putting himself in an even weaker position.

“Hmmm…,” said Ted with a doubtful look on his face, “Take three?”

“Yes,” the seller said, but if he’d said £4 Ted would have paid it!

It’s a lovely old thing, and when Ted got it home he found that it only worked when it was lying on its back.

No problem! Ted operated on its tummy and it is now in good working order.

He will be able to use it to see how much current is being passed into his indispensable sunlight counter.

Wooden box:  £1

Ted likes colourful wooden boxes, and when he saw this he asked the seller what she was asking for it.

“Two pounds,” the middle aged woman said.

Ted gave his well-practised look of horror.

“TWO POUNDS!” he said, aghast.

“Well, I’ll take one,” she said. Just like that.

So Ted has a very useful box which will, no doubt, be used to hold emptiness.

Box of Rawlplugs:  20p

This is the real McCoy – a box of 1970s Rawlplugs. Why do they make them of brittle plastic nowadays?

The box was lying amongst a mass of miscellaneous items which the seller was trying to sell as a job lot, but Ted knew that if he bought it all it would just sit for years in his cellar, and Ted only buys things which are going to be really useful.


Car Boot Sale – 13th April 2014

Wooden Box: 50p

Wooden Box (Open)Wooden Box (Closed)“What’s your best price for this?” asked Ted, seeing the £1 label on the box and displaying a pitiful look.

“Oh… 50p,” said the seller, and Ted parted with his hard-earned cash.

Ted finds these boxes very useful – he has two already, bought a couple of years ago. At the moment they are storing air molecules, but a use should be found for them in the near future.


Car Boot Sale – 1st September 2013

Dangerous Book for Idiots:  50p

Dangerous Book for IdiotsThis was a fair price, so decent Ted didn’t haggle.

This book is everything that The Dangerous Book for Boys should have been (this misleadingly-titled book includes things like The Kings and Queens of England, Insects and Spiders, Sampling Shakespeare and other boring, boring, boring topics).

Chaz Nuffington-Twattt’s [sic] Dangerous Book for Idiots includes things like Walking on Red-Hot Coals, Lighting your Farts, Make a Dry-Ice Bomb, Fighting a Crocodile and Pulling Your Own Teeth.

Horrible Science Kits:  £2

Horrible Science KitsActually, the boy wanted 50p each for these, but kind-hearted Ted explained to him that the price was too low because they were high-quality items.

Ted also explained that he should try to actively sell his items instead of sitting and hoping – and do you know, the boy started to bring out other stuff and sell that too!

Ted made sure that the moolah ended up in the boy’s money box rather than his mother’s.

Japanese Callipers:  £5

Japanese CallipersTed saw these beautifully-made callipers and on asking the price was told £5. They were dirty and needed adjusting, and so Ted said, “WIll you take four?”

“No – they’re worth more that that,” responded the grumpy seller.

And they were, so Ted parted company with a £5 note.

When he got home, Ted Googled “Mototoyo”, the manufacturer, and found that this was indeed an expensive and high-quality item.

Mah Jong Set:  £3

Mah Jong Set“How much is the Mah Jong Set?” asked Ted, immediately realising that he had given away the fact that he knew what it was.

Simultaneously, the mother said “£5” and the daughter said “£3”. They looked at one another. The daughter said, “but…” as the mother shrugged her shoulders.

“£3 then,” said Ted, and the deal was done.

The mother explained that it had only been used once, and indeed it was complete and in top condition.

On walking away with this bargain, Ted realised that he had already got an antique set at home which has lain unused for 36 years…

Wooden Box:  £3

Wooden Box (Outside)Wooden Box (Inside)The guy wanted £3 for this and wouldn’t take less, and so Ted agreed because it was well-made.

It’s a pity about the Penfolds logo, motto and label on the front, but the box will prove as useful as Ted’s many other yet-to-be-used ones…

Wooden Letter Cubes:  50p

Wooden Letter CubesTed bought these from the same boy who had the Horrible Science kits.

They will come in really useful for… something…

Isn’t the hunter-gatherer instinct strong?

Car Boot Sale – 7th July 2013

15 Dinosaurs:  £2

15 DinosaursWhat a bargain! Ted’s 7-year-old dinosaur-mad grandson was in mind here.

When asked how much the large dinosaur was, the seller said “£1, but you can have them all for £2.”

Ted had only noticed a few others when he handed over the money, but the lady seller gathered up fifteen of the fearsome beasts!

Wooden Box:  £1

Wooden BoxTed is always on the look-out for wooden boxes, and since he has one of these already it seemed only right to acquire its brother.

Like the other box, it will contain the yet-to-be-ascertained useful things that should be kept in a wooden box like this.

Sponge Dice:  20p

Sponge DiceAlways on the look-out for unusual, interesting or valuable items, Ted spotted (forgive the pun) this very useful 5″-sided sponge dice.

Whilst not being permitted for use in a gaming establishment owing to the fact that it is not a perfect cube, it is at least valid, in that the number of spots on opposite sides add up to 7.

Some people will be wondering why on earth someone would want a sponge dice, but then again there are people who do not appreciate the usefulness of clip-on-the-car reindeer antlers.

2 Boxes of K’Nex:  £5

Small Yellow Box of K'NexSmall Black Box of K'NexYes – just a fiver for these two full boxes of K’Nex. Decent Ted didn’t haggle, of course; if the price is right then he’s happy to pay it.

Last week, Ted came across two sellers each of whom were attempting to charge £10 for their almost-empty box of K’Nex! Ted exhibited his well-practised look of astonishment and horror and walked on – and when Ted was ready to go home, they were still unsold.

In case you’re wondering why Ted is buying yet more K’Nex, it’s because he is thinking about making a smaller version of his K’Nex fruit machine:

K'Nex Fruit Machine

Car Boot Sale – 15th July 2012

Wooden Box:  50p

Wooden Box (Outside)Wooden Box (Inside)Yes – after many weeks of rained-off car boot sales, Ted has purchased a beautiful wooden box for just 50p. He had decided that £1 would be the maximum price he’d pay, but when he asked the seller how much he wanted for it, he and his wife both said, “50p – we want to get rid of everything.”

It was, in fact, a box for slides and had plastic guides in it, but Ted soon ripped those out to expose the lovely box that it is.

What a bargain!

Les Dawson Book:  10p

Les Dawson BookCharging 10p for a book at a car boot sale is bonkers – surely anybody would be happy to pay 20p if they wanted it?

Anyway, Ted picked up this humorous tome for 20p (he couldn’t be bothered to wait for the change) and cackled while he waited for the bus back home.

Les Dawson was one of the few comedians who was able to refrain from coming out with a barrage of smutty jokes.

Tornado Annual:  £1

Tornado AnnualTornado Annual (Inside)Yes – just £1 for this huge dose of nostalgia. Books like this usually sell for £££, but clearly the seller didn’t know!

Always on the lookout for a bargain, Ted snapped this up in an instant.

It’s full of stories and comic strips from TV programmes, like Bonanza and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.