Flog It! with Paul Martin. The BBC TV show came to Blackburn today

Adrienne and I were up at sparrow-fart and with our fold-up stools and flasks of coffee we headed off to King George’s Hall in preparation for a long wait. In fact the queue wasn’t bad and the time flew as we chatted away to our ardent collector/seller neighbours. One of them, who had been at a boot-sale at 5am, cast her dubious eye over a metal bowl I was carrying and had no hesitation in telling me how to clean it!

The dashing Paul Martin appeared early and did several reconnaissance trips along the queue. Some considerable time later, the camera crew and ‘experts’ joined him. They then made many more trips along the line whilst he rehearsed his lines and a couple of trips over the fortuitously placed Zebra crossing in true Abbey Road fashion. One of the experts informed us that they usually only look at around three pieces, but nowhere on the advertising had it told us this and we were rather hoping there would be someone there to advise us on which would be the more interesting pieces to show to the expert. Now the big decision – what to show and what to leave in the cases?

Eventually we made our way into the hall and as we were carrying a heavy (and now obviously, superfluous) suitcase each, we decided to use the lift. Big mistake! It took forever to arrive and by the time we reached the first floor we were well and truly twice as far back in the queue.

We soon made friends with our new neighbours, some of whom were very experienced in the game. Yes, we should travel light! They then proceeded to tell us the awful tale of them getting mugged at gun point in Barcelona. Oh no! I’ve just been invited to a wedding in Barcelona! Their tale of woe was horrendous.

Moving on – Paul Martin and the camera team came along the line and stopped to look at the sketchbook I was holding belonging to the little know artist, George Drummond-Fish. A late Victorian, the book is full of  lovely drawings and Paul asked how I had acquired it and if I wanted to sell it. I felt I would rather it go to the family of Drummond-Fish as it would mean more to them than whatever it was worth in monetary value. He agreed and said they would come back to me later.

When finally I was called to see the valuer he was most underwhelmed by the sketchbook and suggested I try and contact the family via one of the geneology websites. Oh yes, like I can afford to use those sites, purely with intention of giving the book away! Just what planet was the man on? My faience bowl would have been worth hundreds if it wasn’t damaged. My signed book would be worth £100 – £200, so that was good – if rather a wide estimate.

We spotted a friend of ours across the room and whatever she had brought was creating the greatest interest. The camera team were going to town and the rest of the team were getting really excited. Then she brought out more stuff to equal delight. We did intended waiting for her, but hours later she was still being filmed and we decided to call it a day. Time to go home and make rather a late lunch for mother.


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Born in Liverpool at the end of WW2, but raised in Skelmersdale. I first studied art in Southport from 1960-63 and worked in graphic design till I married. In December 1969 I moved to Zambia with my husband and two young children. There I taught art in the local girls school, illustrated for the National Correspondence College and did all sorts of other artwork, paid and unpaid. In 1978 I divorced and remarried in the summer of 1980. In 1985 I became ill and the following year cancer was diagnosed. There was no treatment available in Zambia and so I had to go to the UK. After recovering from a radium needle implant I went back to Zambia, but 18 months later the cancer recurred and it was off to the UK again for radical surgery. This time I realised I must stay in the UK where treatment was available, so I never returned to Zambia nor my husband. A few months later I applied for a degree course, but two years later the disease metastasised and I spent most of my final year in and out of hospital. It’s been a long hard road, but I’m still plodding on and it is now 24 years since my last cancer treatment. Because of my experience of cancer and surviving against the odds, I try and help others cope with their devastating diagnosis and prognosis.

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