Posted: 19/09/18 (11:49am)
I'm back! I got home last night after 4 days and nearly 1000 miles on the road. I had a very enjoyable and successful trip. I bought eleven swords in total, my favourite being an English 17th Century small sword with a Solingen blade. I will add it to the website in the next week or so.
I also collected an 18th Century, George III naval fighting sword which I have been asked to do some restoration work on.
I managed to combine the working road trip with catching up with family and friends which was a real pleasure. I really could not have hoped for a better trip.
Now I have my work cut out for me! Having just had two weeks of holiday, followed by 4 days on the road, I need to get back into the workshop and begin/complete the various projects and restorations that I have taken on. I also have two full size naval cannon trucks to build to accommodate a pair of cannons that I bought at the start of the year. I have had the oak sitting in the work shop for the last six or seven months but have not yet had the time to begin work on the trucks. It will take me about a week to hand build the trucks. I'll post some photos of them once completed, but first, I have to do all the customer commissions, and that will keep me busy for the next couple of weeks.
Posted: 13/09/18 (12:53pm)
I'm back. We got home early yesterday morning and both had to hit the ground running. After just 4 hours of restless sleep we were both up and working, Sue off to meetings and me off to the workshop.
I spent a few hours at the workshop putting the finishing touches to a restoration project and the rest of yesterday was spent packaging and arranging the delivery of the items that sold while I was away. It is surprising how long it takes to properly package, book delivery, print off labels and complete customs forms in triplicate before finally delivering the packages to the depot for collection by the courier. It was after 5pm when I finally finished and (as everyone who has had to work after returning from holiday in the small hours will know), by then I was stumbling around like the Walking Dead with about the same conversational ability.
I have just added a lovely little George III blue and gilt Royal Navy dirk to the website and already it is reserved. That was quick! And that was also the last piece of new stock that I have. I am awaiting the arrival of two swords from Canada and also an auction delivery from here in the UK but I will have to get out and about to source more items. To that end, I am off on a road trip tomorrow and will be away for at least the next 3-4 days. My first stop will be about 300 miles down south in Northampton, where I will view and may buy what remains of the sword collection that I mentioned in an earlier blog. Whether or not that sale goes ahead I will be attending an auction on Saturday in the Cambridge area and may stay down south for another auction on Monday - it really all depends on how well I do on Friday and Saturday.
Finding new and interesting stock for the website is time consuming and can be expensive too. Fuel alone for this 700-800 mile round trip will be over £100 and so will a few nights B&B accommodation. Not to mention the hours on the road and spent sitting in auction rooms. Even calculated at minimum wage, the hours will add up to a few hundred pounds.
Basically this stock buying road trip will cost me about £500-£600 all in, not including the cost of any items I buy. As long as I come home with good stock items it will all be worth it...
Posted: 11/09/18 (7:42am)
We're flying home tonight. One final day of sunshine and all inclusive pampering before our lovely holiday is over. From what I've seen of the news, we're heading home to chilly, rainy weather with a chance of snow in October. That's early even for Scotland. This morning I also saw photos of a recent and rare snow fall in South Africa. It was bizarre seeing elephants and giraffes plodding through snow. Seems winter is in a hurry this year.
I'm going to have to hit the ground running when we get back. I'll have a day to package and despatch recent sales, then on Thursday I'm leaving on a 4 day, 700 mile round trip. Hopefully to buy stock. I also have several deliveries in progress, some of which I hope will have arrived already and one from Canada that has been in transit for a month already. If those swords don't arrive soon I'll have to chase them up, especially as the tracking information has not been updated since the 21st August. I'm assuming they're on a cargo vessel so I'm not unduly concerned yet.
Ok, that's enough from me. I'm off to join Sue et al by the pool☺
Posted: 06/09/18 (8:23am)
I haven't much to report. Our holiday is wonderful, we're eating too much, drinking too much, sunbathing, swimming, laughing and relaxing. We've visited a couple of excellent fortresses, both over 1000 years old.
It's all a holiday should be. Every day is sunny and in the low 30's with just a slight breeze to rustle the palms. Need I say more?
I have uploaded a couple of pre-prepared stock listings, written this blog and a few admin emails and that's as close as I've come to anything even remotely work related😊
Posted: 30/08/18 (9:31am)
How frustrating! Only a matter of hours before boarding a plane I got a call offering me a collection of swords. The caller emailed me photos and I agreed to buy the collection on my return.
Shortly after, I found out that despite our agreement, the seller is advertising the collection in a number of places and is selling them one by one.
What was the point of contacting me, much less agreeing to sell them to me if they were going to do this? There were 3 swords in particular that I wanted and the rest are all commonly encountered military patterns from the late 19th Century. I was willing to make a 680 mile round trip to buy the collection, but if the 3 main swords have been sold by the time I return from holiday, I probably won't bother making the journey. The remaining swords can be found at auctions much closer to home on a regular basis.
On a brighter note, Sue and I are having a great time. The weather couldn't be better. It's currently 29 degrees with a cloudless blue sky and gentle breeze. Sue is sunbathing while I add stock, reply to messages and write this blog. I'll be joining her for a dip in the pool shortly.
Before that, I am meeting a guy to arrange a day on the sea, game fishing for me and sunbathing on deck for Sue.
Before I go, a quick update. I have just listed the 18th Century Cavalry Sabre I mentioned in a previous blog. The engraving on the blade is the Spanish motto, that translates, as I thought, to read,
"Don't draw me without reason. Don't sheath me without honour."
Posted: 27/08/18 (19:24pm)
Another week has flown by and Sue and I are about to fly off. We're heading to the sun for a relaxing all inclusive holiday. Sue has loaded her tablet up with quizzes, cross words and other fun games, I've loaded mine with articles on swords, photos and stock descriptions (so that I can list new items while abroad) and a few books I've been wanting to read for some time. I'm half-way through Mary Beard's History of Rome and am looking forward to finishing it while lazing on the beach or by the pool with a gin and tonic in hand.
This last week has been quite hectic, finishing customer restorations and of course sourcing new stock. I drove to Blackpool last Monday and came home with a couple of nice swords and three sword canes. I have just listed one of them and will be adding the others over the next week or two (they're on my tablet).
The weekend was spent working but we did find time to attend a local horticultural show on Saturday afternoon as Sue had a couple of entries in the curiously named "Industrial" class. Sue won first prize for her felt flower and I am very proud of her.
We were both amazed at the flowers and vegetable classes. The vegetables were huge and perfect in every way (I bet they'll taste great too) and I must confess to feeling a little onion envy. Whenever I grow some they struggle to get as big as a tennis ball and I have yet to grow a decent carrot.
The flowers were incredible. They looked so perfect that they didn't look real and the colours were jaw dropping.
On Sunday morning I helped run a car boot for the "Friends of Mangu" charity (of which I am a trustee). The charity has built and equipped a secondary school for the Mangu community in the north of Ghana, West Africa, and have also provided bore holes and pumps to bring water to the neediest areas.
It was a successful morning and the funds raised will go towards sinking another bore hole and buying a pump.
All in all, it has been a busy and satisfying week.