The Bigger Picture
“Why do you keep all that bloody junk?”
He’s in a mood again. I can tell.
“It only collects dust,” he snaps.
I carry on dusting. Better to let him have his say when he’s in a mood.
“Why don’t you chuck it out? Save yourself all that effort.”
He’s had his say. Now he’s sprawled on the sofa, frowning at ‘The Racing Post’. So that’s it. He’s lost. Again.
I’ve finished dusting the china and now I’m standing, looking at my favourite little treasure. It’s not much to look at, just a small oil painting in an old, fussy frame. It didn’t cost me much, just a
few pounds at a car boot sale. He laughed when he saw it and said I’d been had.
“They should have paid you to take it away!” he’d laughed loudly. “Our dog could do better than that.” I laughed with him. And at him, not that he’d notice the difference. This little picture is special. I tingle at my secret.
He’s snoring now, mouth open, eyes shut, probably hoping to dream up a great big win. He says I’ve got my head in the clouds - what about him? He spends our money on the horses or whatever takes his fancy. I only buy a few little knick-knacks. He’s right. Most of it is junk but I like it. Where’s the harm? At least I have something to show for my money.
The point is this: he usually loses and mostly I win. If only he knew that most of these bits-of-junk are worth a few bob. I’ve got an eye, apparently. It’s all been valued so I know what I’ve got. My
evenings spent watching Antiques Roadshow have paid off. The really good bits are tucked away safely in plain sight. He gets a bit clumsy sometimes. Clumsy on purpose I think, so I don’t take
any chances. They’re my nest-egg. I smile at the thought.
But the painting is the real jewel of my collection. A real fluke. The bloke was closing for the day and I was just staring at the painting, thinking.
“Yours for a fiver,” he suggested.
“Take four?” I asked. He nodded. We had a deal. I gave him four pound coins from my pocket and left feeling pleased with myself. I really thought the little teapot I’d bought would be my prize of the day. I really had no idea.
The frame cleaned up nicely and I did my best with the picture. It didn’t look too bad when my friend at the auctioneers made a surprising suggestion. And I thought he was joking! Now I see a very rosy future. The lump on the sofa is right: I should get rid of this lot. And I will one day soon. It’s all arranged. The china will be sold locally by my auctioneer friend but this little painting will be sold quietly in London. I’m told to expect a five figure sum. Then I’m gone too.