The things we fear the most

So, imagine you are under ten and your parents tell you that Saturday is to be spent at an auction house sitting through the apparent selling of numbers to a crowd of bored looking people. Seeing a Modern Design auction day on the calendar of a local auction house promising stack of mid-century bargains got my pulse racing, however the children (aged seven and nine) decided otherwise. Reluctantly, with large helpings of moaning, bickering and general pissedoffedness, we drag them along early to trawl the piles of gorgeous ceramics, furniture and retro junk with which we love to fill our house.

Displeasure abounds, until my daughter spots a lovely little ceramic sausage dog (early 1970's made by Bitossi) and we agree it would be a welcome addition to the family. Dubiously I point out to her that this lot is a long way off, but no, she insists it must be hers. And wait she does. For two hours. Through endless teapots, german lamps, leather swivel chairs, barkcloth curtains, teak sideboards, midwinter crockery. Finally the dog's number is up and hurrah, for twelve British pounds he is ours.

Combined with a great bacon sandwich and some bright spring sunshine this day of dread turned into a winner all round. Trundling home with a sofa on the roof and the dog in careful clutch we all agree that against our better belief, shopping really can be a great leisure option. Which goes to prove, sometimes the things we fear the most often turn out to be really rather wonderful.

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