The Sage was having a drink with a friend, a retired auctioneer from Diss. “Between a retired auctioneer and a non-retired auctioneer,” be said. I said, “you could say, between an auctioneer with sense and one without.” “Ah, but which is which?” asked Geoffrey. I gave him to understand that he was the one to be complimented. “Still,” I added, “I can’t see the Sage ever quitting.” We decided that the perfect place for him to peg out would be auctioneering – I said, however, that he would have to hold on to the end of a sale, it would be most unprofessional to keel over until the last lot was sold. “That’s okay,” said Geoffrey. “I’ll be his stand-in and finish off the sale.”
A new customer came over from Brussels specially for the sale. We had already spoken on the phone, so he introduced himself. He collects sparrowbeak jugs; not Lowestoft ones in particular, but from all over Europe. He spent several minutes telling me about his enthusiasm, he’s got around 450 sparrowbeaks (these are little cream jugs, so called because of the beaked shape of the pouring lip).
He bought several jugs and came to pay at the end. I passed him on to Susie, who is fluent in several languages and they chatted away for several minutes. He speaks excellent English, far better than my French, so I wouldn’t have ventured to inflict it on him.
The customer who bought the guglet and bowl left with it, without paying. That the Sage knows he is as trustworthy as that will mean more to him than his successful bid, I should think. He’ll send a cheque within a few days, once he’s transferred the money. Another customer accidentally came without cash or chequebook – I similarly let him have the piece, but it was more like £150 – still, he was also pleased to be trusted.
Rog asked, was there applause at the end? Indeed there was.
The photo doesn’t indicate the size of the jugs – about 3 inches tall.