The Wanderlust Lady and the Door to Door Salesman - 15
September 10, 2012
When I got home that evening, I decided that I must make a listing of the silver in the attic, and do the same sort of thing for that as I'd done for the sovereigns to see what value it might bring – and to know how to date it from the hallmark. But the trouble was it was too late to do it tonight – and I didn't dare have a light up in the attic. That certainly would arouse suspicion. I would delay going to the library the next day until I had my list for researching. I knew that the silver probably wouldn't be as valuable as the gold – but the pieces were larger - and some of them might have other value besides the fact they were silver to recommend them.
Now that it was gone, I wished I'd put more thought into how I spent the cash that I found the other night. I could've bought a radio. Sitting around this place at night gives me the heebie-jeebies. In the end, I decided that I'd go out to a local pub – but only drink a half – make it last an hour, and at least that would kill a bit of time.
Tuesday was not such a bright start as Monday had been, and by the time I woke and dressed, the morning was half over. I wished I'd done my washing the day before – as it certainly wouldn't dry on a day like this. There'd been some post come for Minnie yesterday, and rather than stacking it up, I decided I should open it and see if there was anything to worry about. Today's letter was her bank statement – and that was fine. The usual pension was paid in, and when the usual withdrawals were made for electricity, gas, water, and council tax, she had about £50 over what she spent each month, so the total was slowly accumulating. Probably that was the bit she'd have withdrawn to have petty cash on hand. And that reminded me, I still hadn't found things like her cheque book and bank card, a coin purse, a bus pass – the sorts of things that everyone carried with them when they went out. Of course, she had gone out – and logic would have it that she took that with her when she went. So that was why I was pretty sure that nothing bad had happened to her. If she'd fallen and had to go into the hospital, even if she was unconscious, they would've found out from those things who she was. But I thought that as I'd found the cash in the hollow book – it might well follow that she hid other things in the house as well. I still had several shelves of the bookcase to go through. And it wouldn't hurt to go through every book – she might put her £20 notes between pages.
I then remembered the note that had come through the door last week which had been addressed to her. I went to retrieve it from the table and quickly opened it.
But what a relief. Nothing to worry about here either. It was from the local councillor who was standing for re-election. He was just asking for her vote – but even though he had put her specific name on the front, the letter inside was a form letter. I wondered if Minnie voted. She must have her name on the voters' register or Mr. Wright wouldn't have had it to send this to her.
It seemed odd that there wasn't a pile of mail to be attended to somewhere. Maybe Minnie was the sort of person who dealt with each piece of mail immediately she had it – and then filed it or threw it. I must have a more thorough look through her filing cabinet too. There might be things there to which her absence would make a difference. I couldn't think of any at the moment – but it would give me something to do in the long evenings. I couldn't afford to go out to the pub every night. I'd picked the Navigation last night – which was a good choice because they had a music group in, so I was entertained and nobody minded if I sat there for hours nursing my drink. I made pleasant conversation to the locals, including a man and his wife who said the singer was their son-in-law. Nice man. Asked me if I wanted to learn to play bridge – apparently he teaches it in the pub on Monday afternoons.
Because it was such a dull day, my visit to the attic was not quite what I'd hoped for. It was too dull and smelly for me to want to stay up there for the hours that it would take to list everything. I opened the velux window just slightly to get some fresh air in – but it didn't do much to improve the daylight. So I decided to bring all the silver down to the living room. Nobody would be looking through the windows and seeing it there – and once I had it all listed, I could take it back up to the trunk. I found Minnie's laundry basket in the back hall, and used that as a means of conveying it – and even then, it took me five loads to get it all down. I would need to describe things accurately if I was selling them on E-bay. I hoped there would be similar things for sale already, and then I could just copy their descriptions. That reminded me that I'd need to provide a picture of each item I was selling. How was I going to do that? It probably would have to be a digital image in order to be accepted by the internet. The library computers didn't have scanners attached, or at least I didn't think they did. But I knew about the cut and paste feature on computers and how you could print the screen and then reuse it on another occasion, if you'd copied it into a picture programme that you could use in that way. I wondered if the library computers had that sort of thing. What I needed to do was get myself a gmail account. Then I could email pictures which were like what I was selling to myself. I thought that might work.
But on the other hand, I'd have so much extra money from selling the sovereigns that I could easily afford to buy a digital camera myself. But then again, I should have a picture of the sovereigns for Ebay too. Maybe I should sell the first coin to a gold dealer – knowing that I wouldn't get as much – but then I could afford to get the camera and get the extra money from the Ebay sales.
It was lunchtime before I'd completed my list. I also needed some groceries, so I could do that at the same time. I'd better stick with the simple stuff – eggs, bread, milk, cheese. I'd love to splash out on a steak – but I'll have to go easy until the money is coming in a bit more regularly.
My afternoon at the library using the computer again was both helpful and frustrating. The pictures of the items on sale at Ebay at the moment were quite similar to my items – but not exact – so I couldn’t copy descriptions or anything like that. But I got a rough idea of the sorts of prices I could expect. The tableware was roughly £10 per item. The salts, peppers and mustard pots were roughly £50 each. The christening mugs and other cups were probably about £125 each, and the egg cups were £90 each. The bon bon dishes and the ink pots were about £50 each. The trays might be anything from £50 to £300 depending on how heavy they were. I decided that just looking at pictures on the internet was not good enough. I'd take a few items at a time into the various antique shops and ask the dealers for a rough idea of what they were, and what they were worth. Surely they'd tell me that. They might underestimate the price – hoping I'd sell it to them, but really it was the description and the ball park figure for the item that I needed to find out. I hadn't seen any antique shops in Marple when I had my walkabout the other day – but I was sure there would be some nearby. Again something I could look up on the internet.
But for a rough estimate – the silver cutlery of 40 pieces should be worth about £400, and the 25 other items, if I reckoned they were worth at least £50 each, would make another £1300.
I got my bits of shopping and came home and made myself cheese on toast, and tea. I'd bought a packet of chocolate digestives, for a treat, so I had two of those with my tea.
I really liked the little painting that I'd brought downstairs. But I didn't dare put it up on the wall in place of the boring things that Minnie had up. When I looked really closely, I could see something in the corner that might be initials – sort of JW intertwined. I'd take it along to the antiques dealer too, to see if he knew the artist. They looked old and quite professional – so on second thoughts I didn't think that Minnie or her parents had done them, unless they were good but unsuccessful artists.
Having nothing better to do, and telling myself that a trip to the pub was not in order, I settled down to look through the rest of the bookcase. In fact I started again from the top and took each book out, and shook it, but it was all for nothing, and I'd reached the place where I'd before found the empty book which contained the money I'd spent on Sunday night. The book right next to it was also empty – and inside that I found the missing cheque book and card along with her library card and bus pass. Not that I intended to use her bank card at all – but it was good to know where it was. Various other identity cards were also in the box, but nothing that I could think of any use for – and worst of all, no more cash.
Knowing how I would do it if it were me, I suspected that Minnie had written down her bank card pin number some place because she'd need it to withdraw money, and probably would forget it, as she didn't use it all that frequently, according to her bank statements. But I couldn't see any numbers jotted inside the cheque book back cover, and there was nothing else in the drawer that looked like it would contain a pin number. There was an old diary – with bits of writing and numbers here and there – and telephone numbers. Ah, that struck a note. She doesn't have a telephone so what does she need telephone numbers for. I found three phone numbers – 427 (which I knew was the most common Marple exchange) followed by 5142. I bet that was her pin number. I also bet that her date of birth was the 5th of January, 1942. Probably when I went through her filing cabinet, I'd find out if that was the case or not – but it would be worth trying out her pin at the money machine some day. That £100 extra she had there wasn't doing her any good – and the bank would expect small amounts of money to come out as had happened in other months.