Margaret and I took a drive into Gloucester last week and went into the splendid antiques warehouse in the docklands. Our excuse was looking for Poole pottery. But there wasn't any, not of the colour we were looking for. So we'll just have to keep going back.
What struck me this time was how places like this are full of stories – many of which begin, 'My Gran had one of these...' It's a great place for a storyteller to take a break from cyberskiving. Among the various things that took Margaret's eye (and my own) was an old table-top Singer sewing machine. 'My mother had one of these,' I began.
In fact, the Singer found its way into my novel Bunderlin. It wasn't amongst all the junk and treasures which Martin eventually found in his house. Bunderlin had given it away long before then. If only someone would just give me one, Margaret might have thought because the asking price was a little more than spur-of-the-moment-don't-really-need-one-of-these level.
She told the tale a couple of days later. And then the following day this one, the one in the photo, was sitting on her desk when she got into her office. A colleague, only hours later, had been to the churches' charity shop and there, sitting among a pile of junk waiting to go to the tip, was this beautiful thing. It's in full working order and easily restorable to showroom condition. And it was on its way to the tip!?