Flushed with my success at the auction, I have gotten myself an eBay account. Here is the tale of my first sortie into that particular breach.
For a long time, I have wanted a tweed hat something like the one Robert Hardy wore in All Creatures Great and Small. Actually, I want one exactly like that worn by an old neighbour who lived across the road from us when I was growing up. It was a Harris Tweed of mottled browns. It had a wider brim that was usual for the style and had a buckled belt of the same material round it which was held in place by, I think, six loops. It was dented and creased at the crown, and would lie flat on its side when placed upon the hall table. Leaving aside the lack of crest, it was not unlike a tweed version of the helmets worn by those unfortunate Spaniards who seemed to patrol corridors waiting to be surprised and run through by Errol Flynn.
Well, I looked on eBay and there wasn’t one like it. However, there was a nice looking Harris Tweed Trilby made by Herbert Johnson: a London hat-maker of great repute, a number of whose royal patrons, alas, came to rather awkward ends on or about November 1918. Working on the premise that a lightly used good one is better than a new it-looks-great-till-the-first-time-you-wear-it-in-the-rain box store effort, I followed the bids.
It was buy now for $x or best offer at the end of the sale. X was fair enough, but it’s about bargains. In fact, I thought that the hat was worth what was being asked for postage; and I wanted to pay for the hat what I thought the postage should be. So, I waited. And didn’t someone up and pay $x for it with less than half a day to go?
While keeping an eye on proceedings re the hat, I wondered what a used Barbour jacket went for; so, I wandered off to see. In my travels, I came across a child sized Beaufort and thought, ‘That is the very thing for the Boy.’
Now there were two auctions on my watch list. This one plodded along not doing much until the last day when two people got at it and the price went from about $30 to $130. That is still less than half of a new one, but it was too rich for my blood.
Nevertheless, I could still see the Boy in a Barbour. So, I did another, more specific, search. There was another one for sale. It wasn’t quite as nice; but then, who wants to be seen in a pristine Barbour? No one had made a bid on it. I expected the disappointed from the first sale to descend like locusts moving to the next field. They didn’t come. Right up to the line, there was no bid.
I had been told to wait until the last minute, type in what you are willing to pay for the item, then click ‘bid’ at 30 seconds from the deadline . I assumed that there were a myriad of screen watchers doing the same. Well, I typed in the numbers and got ready to click. Then a wee voice said to me, ‘The jacket will be useful; it will last him a few years (visualize: depreciation chart, one, Wife appeasing for the use of); it will be fun to have all of us in Barbours; but, he won’t go wet and cold this winter without it.’ I changed my bid to the starting bid and clicked at ‘D’ minus 30 seconds.
We now have another Barbour in the family.