Local sleep-challenged writer, Walter Dample, reports on the recent Antiques Roadshow at Crunge Hall.
I confess that due to a fitful night’s sleep my rememberings of this glorious day are a little muddled, but never have I seen so much mahogany in both the offerings brought, in hopefulness of an heirloom that would make fortunes, or indeed the presenters.
The beautiful Crunge Hall – so scenic – was the venue for the BBC’s burgeoning celebration of old stuff, be that the visitors, viewers or indeed the presenters.
One of the first surprises of the day was local post-mistress Bufty Von-Giro, who brought in a tiny exploding universe packed carefully inside a turbot. Expert Robert Tilney, resplendent in a moustache made for twirling, advised Bufty that it was from the glory days of Woolworths, when tiny universes were obtainable with Green Shield Stamps. But more surprises were in store as Robert, shrugging off a tweed jacket of pure chips and a yoghurt waistcoat, transformed into a steam-powered automaton and levitated above the table. He spoke of wars, love and tragedy to a rapt Bufty who cried tears of multicoloured lamps and accelerated back in time.
I confess that I appear to have blacked out at that moment, only to be brought around by some kind TV producers. By this time, Mr Tilney had reverted to his human form and moved to the next hopeful in line who had a small porcelain cat.
Feeling a little wobbly, I moved towards a gasping crowd who had gathered around a wonderful silver snuff box that was being examined by expert Bunny Campione. The owner, Frant Shandybass from Great Panhold, explained that her grandfather had brought it back from his time in Kettering and it had been in the family ever since. Bunny explained that the maker had hidden a little surprise inside each of his snuff boxes and proceeded to pull out a giant broadsword that glowed in a colour that no one had ever seen before. And not a moment too soon as a wolf-shaped creature of purest black had swaggered into the hall challenging Bunny to a fight to the death. Bunny, who had in a split-second miraculously changed into a four-story high Japanese Gundam, speared the beast and held him aloft before bellowing “Is no one going to fetch me a bloody sherry then?”
Once again, the shock of this resulted in me blacking out again and I came around in a darkened side-room of the hall sprawled on a small camp bed. After a while, I began to feel better and ventured forth once again into the vintage throng of the hall.
My last and most memorable visit was to the station of ceramics expert David Battie, who was examining a fine Carltonware teapot in the shape of an abstract goose. David explained to its owner, Tring Pushkin, that these were fired in a facility on the star Wolf 359 by floating beings that fed on pure helium. It was at this moment that the hall dissolved into a dense jungle populated by fairy folk with a sharp look in their eyes. I cried out to expert John Sandon for help but he just started laughing and repeating the words “Frazzles are the jauntiest of snacks young chap!”
As a result of this, I ran, but the syrupy jungle floor hindered my progress and the fairies were encircling me. I realised that I was naked in assembly in front of my younger self. It was at that point that my teeth fell out.
For the third time that day, I lost consciousness and was brought back around by a kindly BBC floor runner who I presume had pulled me out of my predicament and returned me to Crunge Hall. I thanked him for rescuing me and fixing my teeth, for which he seemed a little taken aback. Truly a silent hero.
I left, somewhat befuddled by the day’s events, but I commend the BBC for the seemingly inexhaustible array of special effects they have for spicing up a posh jumble sale. It almost felt like a dream…
Right… we’re not sure how accurate that report is, but be assured dear reader that we’ll be ensuring Walter has a good night’s sleep before he’s back out in the community.