Tag Archives: Ebay

Day 197

I switched on the computer after watching the World Athletics Championships. It brought back a lot of old coaching tips and I was brimming with good intentions and sports-based motivation. This survived until I went to look at my emails and found I had one from eBay. It was a reminder that I was watching something. I clicked on it and spent the next eight minutes glued to the screen, eventually adding another unusual brooch to my collection of sweethearts. Or another piece of junk that Julia will have to sort out when I die (according to her jaundiced view). Though the way she moans about my collections I might not be the first one to die. Just saying . . .

So, Computer 1 Good Intentions 0.

Cambridgeshire Regiment Sweetheart

Yorkshire Light Infantry Sweetheart

This was a pattern that continued as I stuck a couple more bids into my sniper programme and then browsed 300 more brooches. Most of them were common, over-priced, damaged, or a combination of those three. One is described by the vendor as “good condition” when it clearly isn’t, even from the (deliberately?) blurred photographs he has used. I’ve been caught that way once already in the last few weeks – it seems to be becoming a common sales technique. Not quite a lie but far from accurate.

Some are beautiful but outside my price range – these, when you read contemporary newspaper accounts were often wedding gifts of well-off grooms to their wives, and not necessarily hasty purchases before being sent overseas.

Scots Guards Sweetheart 1914-18

If I won the Lottery (which we all know I won’t, it’s just a convenient figure of speech) I would collect them. However, despite the cost and precious metals I wouldn’t necessarily value them more than the shilling and half-crown brooches that Private Smith bought for his girlfriend or his Mum before going overseas.

Apart from every story being unique, it’s a reminder that although rich people leave better stuff behind, and more written sources, theirs isn’t the real story of history.

Sweetheart Brooch – 10th Royal Hussars

Gold £2 Coin 1995 End of WW2 Reverse

Day 137

Arrived home at 4.30, crammed with good intentions. It is 8.44 now and the intentions, though still there, are starting to leak out slowly as I subside, like one of those faulty Christmas Santa decorations people have on their lawns at Christmas. All I’ve done is eat leftovers and buy something on eBay.  Eating leftovers is good, buying stuff on eBay is not quite so good. I am not short of stuff.

I was going to get some submissions sorted tonight and look up some recipes. So far I have watched several actors reciting poetry on You Tube. And this. OK, I’ve looked at a couple of on-line auction catalogues too. As I work in antiques and collectables this counts as Continuing Professional Development rather than wasting my life and filling the house with junk.

We had an interesting customer on eBay. He emailed us this morning. The gold medallion he ordered a couple of days ago ahs arrived and he is unhappy that it is so small. Our details included the information that it weighed half a gram, was 11mm in diameter and, as if that wasn’t enough, included a picture of it next to a ruler. There is a market for these tiny gold coins and medallions, though I’m puzzled why anyone would want one.

We don’t want him to be disappointed, so told him he was welcome to return it, though we did point out that we had been accurate in our listing.

So he decided to start an argument.

Time is money and we don’t get paid for spending time winning arguments, so we just ignored him. That seemed to annoy him even more so he launched another rant.

I really don’t know what makes some people tick.

Day 95

Blood test at 10.20. Think of me sitting there with my sleeve rolled up. I’m hoping then blood flows well, but after the last time I had a sample taken at the doctors I am not optimistic. I really should think about getting my own machine to do finger prick tests, but it goes against the grain to buy medical equipment on eBay.

I took delivery of some medallions from eBay this morning.  I spent £22 on four medallions and they all looked quite good when they arrived. So far I’ve only checked one of them out. A similar one is for sale on a dealer’s list (not eBay, which is not a good guide) for £38, so it looks like it was a successful buy. There are more important things than making money, but it’s always nice when you buy a bargain.

I’m sure I will never make a profit on my collection of 1919 Peace Medallions, because I often get locked in a bidding war when buying them, but with the others I try to be more sensible.

When I was younger I used to think that if I paid too much inflation would take care of the problem. Generally this is true as prices do tend to rise with most things. The only problem is that when you are thirty there is a lot of inflation in your future. These days it won’t be many years before downsizing or mortality makes a sale necessary so I have to be a bit more thoughtful. On the other hand, as with the Peace Medals, I tend to think that if I haven’t got it after thirty years of collecting, I shouldn’t let it go for the sake of a few pounds.

The header picture is the obverse of the 1919 Birmingham Peace Medal, one of the commoner town medals given out to school children. The initials MBL next to Victory’s feet, stands for Matthew Boulton Ltd, a factory, set up in 1775 by Matthew Boulton and James Watt to produce steam engines. They later specialised in minting, and ,made the famous cartwheel pennies.

Birmingham Peace Medal – reverse

Day 81

Today I sorted a collection of tickets. Some of them are bus tickets and some relate to things like toll bridges and ferries, but many of them are considerably less interesting than that. Fortunately I have the day off tomorrow and will do some exercises to raise my enthusiasm levels.

Some of them have adverts on the back, and at least one of the adverts refers to rationing, so I’m guessing they go back to the 1940s in some cases.

After looking at all the pictures from previous years, I am starting to feel restless and would like to get out more. All I need to do is find a place that is crammed with interest, devoid of people, and accessible to a man with bad knees and a stick. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

I’m hoping to get an early start tomorrow and get a parking space close to phlebotomy for my overdue blood tests. After that I have a couple of errands to do and plan on spending the rest of the day getting to grips with some writing.

It’s all about practice. The more you write, the better you get. When I decided to start writing poetry again, about the time I started writing this blog, it must have taken a good two years before I started writing to an acceptable level.

This time, six months after being ill, I am struggling again. The quality is OK now, but the quantity isn’t there yet and I’m looking at four deadlines at the end of the week and only enough material for one submission.

That’s why I need a major effort tomorrow – lots of editing to do.

Day 71

Another post which is decidedly late.

I started it while I was waiting for tea to cook. That makes it sound grander than it really was. All I did was measure out two portions of vegetable stew into a pan and heat it through. As the smell of thyme filled the air, I started to type. Ten minutes later I walked from my office/dining room and ladled the stew, complete with gorgeous golden gravy, into bowls. I don’t make dumplings when I do it, because I am not good at dumplings. Julia’s dumplings are much better.

Un fortunately, instead of starting a blog post I spent the ten minutes surfing eBay. If you like reading the ramblings of idiots, or buying junk, or simply wasting time, surfing eBay is probably the best way to do it. But if you want to write a blog post, eBay is a disaster. Hours pass, cliffs crumble and dynasties fall, and I don’t notice because I am searching for medallions and brooches and something for nothing.

The day, in contrast, was busy. We had three serious customers plus a couple of more casual customers, and several people selling. We also had a constant, though shallow, stream of customers on eBay and put plenty of stuff up for sale online too. I suppose I should be grateful to eBay for providing me with a job, even though I do waste so much time on it.

The journey home was remarkably quick, with only one set of traffic lights failing to turn green as I approached. This is so rare that I feel it is worth mentioning

 

Day 56

I miss out so much with these short excerpts of my day. It’s not usually deliberate, it’s just that when I sit down I find it hard to locate more than one or two ideas. This, I suppose, is lack of the lack of concentration I keep complaining about.

We have had two problems with Germany this week.  Two customers bought off eBay. They paid the tax to eBay. We did all the documentation and sent the stuff off. Both customers complained that they had to pay additional tax. We don’t know why, we can’t find any reason for it and we have no control over it. It’s just another racket designed to make life difficult for us all. As someone wrote on a website I used when searching for answers – thanks to everyone who voted for Brexit and welcome to the Brave New World.

It’s cost us several hours of admin time so far and will cost us actual money in a while as the second customer decided to send the goods back rather than accept them. He is currently spinning us a story about having covid and being unable to leave the house to collect the package.

I’m giving him a day to stew and then I’m going to write expressing my sympathy about his illness. I will then explain that although he may be friendless he can always email to ask for delivery, and even if he can’t do that, letters are not returned immediately so he will have plenty of time to be ill and still be allowed out in time to pick up his package.

Let’s see what he says then.

In the end, with all the hassle we are now getting from the post or customs services of various countries, it’s going to be cheaper and easier to stop sending stuff abroad.  So, increased costs and lower turnover – tell me again about how we will benefit from leaving Europe.

 

Day 28

I realised today that my 250-350 words a day are only skimming the surface. It was meant to be a minimum number but seems to have become the norm.

It would probably be possible to write a dozen 250 word posts during the day and give a better picture of my life. However, I have other things to do and if you think my life is dull now, just wait until I give you 3,000 words of it. It would be like having a sack of wet cement dropped on your head – grey, mind-numbing and burdensome. So I will stick to short sketches of the futility of my existence.

This morning was grey, but traffic was light. We had a few parcels to pack at work and a few auctions finished. We have ben listing things from the junk box this week. Just over half the lots sold, and though some of them made the minimum bid several made good money. This just goes to prove that the difference between junk and a desirable collectable is in the ye of the beholder.

We only have a couple of people who look in the junk box in the shop, but via eBay we have showed it to dozens, and several of them are now happy.

I spoke to a few customers, added more stuff to eBay and came home, where I had pasty and beans for tea (we didn’t feel like cooking much). They were ASDA pasties and not as good as Ginster’s. I knew this would be the case, but they were cheaper and I thought I’d give it a go. It wasn’t a pleasurable experience and I now feel a little bilious.

Then it was TV, snooze, waste time on eBay, blog and , now, make a drink before going to bed.

And that is my day summed up in 300 words. It isn’t much of a life, but it’s better than the alternative. Maybe it will get better. The picture is from a picture library and serves to remind me of mortality and greyness. It’s been that sort of day.

 

Day 18

Day 18 passed in much the same way as Day 17, but without the element of anticipation that you get after a Sunday off. In that respect it was very much like Day 11. I expect that Day 25 will be similar.

It was also like Day 17, in that I have a few ideas for writing, but didn’t do much about it. The trouble with giving days numbers is that the passing of time is much more noticeable and there is nowhere to hide. “Next Wednesday” is quite a friendly place, in a soft and woolly future. “Day 26” is much sharper, and leaves you in no doubt that you have seven days to do something, and that when it arrives the deadlines are only five days away (the days leading up to Day 31 are going to be interesting.)

I bought 500 items on eBay last night. They were very cheap, just pennies each and will, eventually, help finance my collecting habit. Julia will be delighted when she finds out and will no doubt be keen to congratulate me on my financial acumen and the purchase of more clutter. That’s why I’m letting her know via the blog. I don’t want to be in the room when she finds out. I could, I suppose, conceal this from her, but she will eventually notice a big box of plastic tokens no matter what I do.

When I have  a few minutes I will prepare more posts on collectables to leaven the musings on mortality, boredom and the passage of time. However, despite all my attempts to put it off, I need to go for a blood test now. It’s not procrastination if you put it off because you have to do something important.

I had some haiku turned down yesterday, which means I am currently running with one acceptance and one rejection so far this year. The editor sent a longish email and included a useful link to help me do better. The problem I find with haiku is that although they are small poems they come with a lot of conventions attached (some call them rules, though this isn’t quite accurate) and I never quite manage to remember them all at the same time. It’s a bit like that hypothetical over-filled bookshelf – you put a book on one end and one falls off the other. That’s my brain . . .

The picture is a small Royal Artillery sweetheart brooch carved from mother of pearl. They are generally from the First World War usually, I’m told,  made in Palestine. I include it as it’s a new picture and illustrates my inability to stop collecting things.

Closing Down for Christmas

I’ve just done 450 words on the evils of modern Christmas, but I thought I’d leave it until later. Christmas Eve (or Christmas Morning by the time you read this) needs a lighter touch and I don’t want to sound like a modern incarnation of Scrooge.

We closed the shop at 1.00 today, and queues at the shops were already backing up as people tried to get into the car park. One pm on Christmas Eve and you are doing your shopping? What sort of person are you? What sort of Christmas Dinner are you going to have. I missed a few items when doing my lists, but I’ll work round it rather than engage in a scrummage with a group of disease-riddled people who can’t plan.

Our day finished on a high note. I put a cheap medallion on eBay and the boss told me I was wasting my time as it was cheap, dull and wouldn’t sell. Twenty minutes later, it sold. I always like it when that happens. I have just checked, and find that two of the other items I put on have also sold – just goes to show the magic of new stock.

Meanwhile, I had a blood test yesterday. My INR ration should be 2.5. It was 1.5 at the last test. It had gone down to 1.2 by the time of this test. To compare – a normal person has a ratio of 1 to 1.1. I(n other words, the pills were doing no good at all.

I had the usual questions, but I hadn’t missed a dose or changed medication. Then she said, “It’s Christmas, the brussels sprout time of year.”. “Yes,” I replied,”and I have been eating more greens.”

I knew that green veg could counter-act the medication. I had no idea that they could wipe out the whole,benefit of it. I call it “medication”. It’s actually rat poison, but “medication” sounds better.

For blog post on the opposite problem, try this. It only seems like a few months ago that I had the opposite problem. Oh, it was only a few months ago. Warfarin is a very imprecise drug. Next blood test?  Wednesday 29th December. Bang goes my ambition of wearing my new pyjamas and slipper socks and not getting dressed for a week.

Happy Christmas everyone, and many more of them. Or Happy Holiday, or just Best Wishes for the next few days, depending on what you celebrate.

Notable Events of the Week

Notable things that have happened this week include two appointments being made for me by the Anti-coagulant service without consulting me. They arrived via a text message and included me having to sign into a website I’ve never seen before. It’s bright green and it’s called DrDoctor, which didn’t fill me with confidence. However, it didn’t ask for sensitive information so I entered it and found it seems to  be OK, though I’m not sure what the appointments are all about. I have emailed to check.

I checked the website online and it seems it is a “Patient Engagement Platform” used by 30 NHS Trusts covering 10 million patients. (I will let you use your imagination on my views about jargon and patient engagement platforms.)

I think it’s a new toy and they are just getting used to it. If it is a serious attempt to make an appointment they are out of luck because I already have a blood test on Wednesday and that is more than enough time given over the the NHS. They will also be unlucky on Friday – I’m driving and won’t be answering the phone.

Then Julia’s trains were delayed. One had trouble because the lines were “slippery” and the other because a passenger, despite feeling unwell and being advised to leave the train, vomited copiously all over a carriage and it was easier to change trains than mop it up. That must have been a sight to see. Fortunately Julia was in another carriage, so was spared the sight.

I’m sure there must have been other things, but I can’t remember them. I should make notes.

Not being one to repeat scare stories about vaccination, I am not sure whether to tell you this, but my arm ached so much this morning that I wasn’t able to use it for anything strenuous. This includes using a stick or levering myself out of a chair.

The vaccination site is still sore even though everything else has worn off. This is the worst reaction I’ve had to a vaccination since some of the ones I had for foreign travel thirty years ago, so it’s not a reaction unique to covid vaccinations and it’s not a reason to go unvaccinated. In fact, if I had to do it all again tomorrow, I would. That’s how confident I am that vaccination is a good thing.

Darmstadt Friendship Medallion – twinned with Chesterfield, Derbyshire

Same Medal, different side. Real size about 39mm.

The top photo shows a Robert Burns commemoration medal, part of the collection of low grade medallions we bought last week. I’ve been putting them on steadily and sold plenty already. The Burns one, though deride by my colleagues, sold after just two days. The Darmstadt/Chesterfield medallion was one of several that sold in their first day.

The current record though, is 28 minutes. Yes, 28 minutes. I doubt if I will ever sell anything quicker than that on eBay.