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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Back in November last year, in the midst of a long day's flat-hunting, I snuck off to a charity shop and bought a painting. Not that I wasn't committed to finding a flat, but I'm probably more committed to buying junk from charity shops. And it's always good to turn up to a meeting with the Halifax mortgage advisor with a bin bag tucked under your arm.

Changing Rooms with Paul CollicuttAnyhoo, seeing as I thought I'd found the flat for me (needless to say I hadn't), and would be moving to Brighton within a couple of months (needless to say I didn't), I put the painting away, to save it for my new flat. And a mere eight months later, it's finally up in my living room, above the other most important possession in my life - the TV. What's spooky however, is that having taken that painting back to Shotley Gate for six months, then to my parents' house in Chelmsford for a few weeks, and finally back down to Brighton, I've ended up living less than a hundred yards from the charity shop where I bought it.

Most exciting though, is that as of yesterday afternoon I've finally deciphered the signature of the artist, and looked him up on the internet. It turns out it's an original watercolour by Paul Collicutt, a Brighton-based illustrator, and author of numerous reference works about trains, planes and automobiles. So having paid a fiver for this painting, it's clearly a collector's item and worth a small fortune. At least that's what I'll be telling that camp bloke with the scarf when the team from Flog It hits town.

In other news, I've bought a second wardrobe. Officially it's to house Lisa's clothes when she stays for the weekend. Unofficially it's so I can buy more stuff from charity shops. I got it from the young Christians at the Portslade YMCA shop, where, having stood there measuring it for half an hour on Tuesday, I finally accepted that it wouldn't fit in my car, and agreed to pay £10 for delivery.

So imagine my delight at 10am this morning when it arrived, accompanied by two of the God-fearing youngsters, who brought it inside the exterior door of the flats and immediately said "Can we leave it here mate, coz we're parked in the bus stop". I replied with a highly dubious "Um...", allowing the men just enough time to add "It's as light as a feather", and walk off. Leaving me standing alone in the entrance hall with a five foot wardrobe. I must admit, at that point I didn't feel I'd quite got full value for money out of my £10. I'd have waited for Lisa to come home and help me, but unfortunately that would have depended on none of my neighbours wanting to get in or out of their flats for the rest of the day.

So I've just spent an enjoyable half hour manoeuvering a solid wooden wardrobe through my two-foot-wide front door, down my hallway, through my living room, around a tight corner, and across to the far side of my bedroom. Alone, and without the aid of Christianity. And they say charity begins at home.