Monday December 6, 2004
I went to Boston today to post the very last item of my initial batch of eBay stuff. That’s a good feeling. The whole lot is now out of my hands and either with the new owners or well on the way to them. The bank account I opened for PayPal purposes now has a pleasant balance, and there’s more waiting in the PayPal account itself to be transferred.
While I was waiting for the last item to go through cheque clearance I put a paperback book up, just to try the market. No joy there. Studying other books as they moved from day to day through the eBay auction process, without much interest and, in the main, without attracting bids, I’ve concluded that the UK branch of eBay is not a good place for used book sales, not even for rarer items like the spare first edition of Barbellion’s journal I have sitting on the shelf. There are other outlets, and I shall explore them. Not for the paperbacks, though. I shall bag them up and take them down to the local hospice charity shop, which is where I really wanted them to go in the first place.
We’ve decided that our Nikon and Pentax film cameras should go up for auction as soon as possible but apart from that I’m going to take an eBay break until the New Year so I can get all my domestic paperwork and filing clear and up to date. By then I’ll have a whole row of stuff waiting to go, and a clear desk for the paperwork.
I’m really happy to have discovered the eBay hobby, and plan to make much of it when I’m in London. I’ve always loved places like the Portobello Road market, filled with stall after stall of interesting stuff. There are street markets all over London, some great, some small, some well-known, some in the trade-secret category, almost. It’d be fun exploring them for photographic and writing purposes alone, without the added zest of finding pretty things to sell over the Internet. And, in Central London, you don’t have to scrounge around for packing material, you just have to pick it up from the stacks left on the pavement outside shops and small businesses in the back doubles, waiting for the thrice-daily trash collections.
The ‘if’ has slipped almost entirely from our London calculations, leaving the ‘when’ all by itself. Graham has done his sums and is confident he’ll be able to pay the rent on our first flat until I manage to get a housing association place we can handle together, or alone, if it came to that. I’ve done the sums on our housekeeping and they come out happily, too. And, last but perhaps most important of all, I’ve done the sums on our house equity, to be certain that we’ll not get ourselves into the position where we don’t have funds sufficient to get back into home ownership once more if we need or want to.
There is still an element of ‘if’ left of course, to cover sickness, accident or the failure of this place to sell when we put it on the market early next year. That’s fine. It’d be a dull and unstimulating life if there were no ‘if’ in it. Some people like it that way. Me, I rejoice at the prospect of change and of new challenges.
Now, then, where did I leave real life in all that speculation? Oh, yes, standing outside the Post Office, wondering if I should indulge myself in coffee or get all stern and business like and go straight off to pick up provisions before returning home.
Full of good intention, I made my way back to the car and jumped off into the Boston traffic stream, taking a new-to-me shortcut from the carpark on to the main road, avoiding three sets of traffic lights and a major roundabout. My discipline faded as I waited at the level crossing by the railway station, though, and instead of staying on the reliable path to the known quantity that is Tesco’s, I slipped into the filter lane for the brand new giant ASDA/Wallmart store that opened a few days back, occupying a huge brown-field site just past the station.
I’m quite good at new supermarkets but then I would be, really, having moved house so much in the past couple of years. This one really is a decent store, on first impressions. Well-stocked, easy to navigate, and with prices equal to or less than those I’ve been used to in Tesco’s. Once the flocks of dazed customers have either learned their way round or, more likely dissolved away back to more familiar haunts, it’ll be a fine, convenient place to do my routine shopping. Especially since, to my instant delight and approval, they have a set of computerized, self scan-pack-and-pay checkouts. I’ve missed them ever since we moved here from Wales. I like to do my own scanning. I can work at my own pace, keep track much easier, and, most important, feel that I’m in control. So I think it likely that I shall be switching supermarket completely once Christmas is out of the way.
The only question is whether to call it ASDA or Wallmart. Difficult, that. I may very well end up calling it ‘Azmart’. You have been warned. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.