JAMES BRAXTON As seen on BBC's Bargain Hunt and Flog It

Saturday, April 10, 2004
Its all in the units

I read with interest a diary entry of last year, where I considered that in 17 years of marriage, my wife has put on 4 lbs, and I have added 4 stone. There is something spooky about the same numbers, but something rather depressing about the differant units.This disparity is now in hand, as yesterday I bought a new pair of Salomon cross trainers. A very necessary catalyst to the start of my journey to becoming a 13 stone racing snake.

Newark, the largest antiques fair in Europe, should hold some bargains. As it's the experts job to guide their contestants towards these in one hour, after the fair has been picked over for the last 12 hours. Here lies the root of the expression, " Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder."As hundreds pass and reject goods, they are followed by whose who fall upon these rejects, and prize them as treasures.

Nothing could quite prepare me for my first contestants. We shopped with Penny, in the pram, £200 and 3 very differant opinions on what might make a profit. DD was the best Charlie Chaplin impersonata I have seen, here she is with the accordian and Tim.

Newark took us through the full range of weathers; rain, hale, biting wind and glorious sunshine, and as I sat at dinner I couldn't workout whether I was weather beaten or sunburnt. The best item I bought at the fair was a silver collared green and blue onyx ball shaped match strike. I would have passed it, had it had that 1970's combo of green and brown veining as used on ghastly telephones and lampstands that are the stable of general auctions up and down the country. At approximately £55 I believe it was cheap. The stars of the fair were Serina and Charlotte, Serina was a passionate bargain hunter and a keen auction goer. I really hope that they get a grand slam gavel, and with the shooting stick, smokers cabinet and silver coffee spoons, they stand a good chance. I leave you with Thomas, Tim and I.

Friday, April 09, 2004
25TH March 2004
I'm writing this diary in room 217, Hotel Barcelona, Exeter, it's a fabulous room with a fireplace opposing my bed, to my right a study, and to my left a bathroom.

Lovely supper sat next to Kate and Judy, my duck was offered as either bloody, pink or cooked through, for a man who normally has aromatic Peking duck with plum sauce, the bloody would be too extreme, and the cooked through underdone. It was very good. A good bloody Mary, with both the addition of port and sherry, was good, but just too spicy. Am writing this diary with a still Exeter below viewed from my eerie with Pavarotti on the CD player.

I look forward, with a tinge of anticipation, to tomorrow's events, profit or loss. My weakness, being the swap item, a budgerigar egg cup at £75, a bargain, not!

Back to the day job, sale week started with a drinks party in Royal Tunbridge Wells. You can divide friends into joiners and friends. The joiners are the reliable stalwarts, who bring a smile and a supportive word. In the future, I will try to fulfill this roll, for it's always the dreaded party that's the best. Regrettably, as with all evolving mailing lists, I have managed to gather the bizarre as well as the good. As I greeted one such person, he replied "What are you doing here?" Modesty didn't allow me to say I had owned Bracketts for 7 years. He was immediatly recognizableable as the man who had sat infront of the rostrum for the last BBC Children In Need auction, it goes without saying that he didn't raise a finger to bid, but only to offer up an empty glass, for another refill!

Thursday, April 08, 2004
I am back, with much to report
The live Bargain Hunt week was pressured with expectation, I shouldn't have been surprised how competitive professional sportsman are after the were 20 yards in front on our shopping trip to Shepton Mallet. My 2 celebrity Bargain Hunters were the BBC rugby commentators Jonathan Davies and Jeremy Guscott. They were both keen not only to make profits but also to win. We achieved the profits, but not the win, that was whipped by Kate Alcock, but the boys were pleased with their Grand Slam Gavels. Here they are with the Six Nations cup, modelled with 15 sides to represent the number of players on each team. There was lots of teasing between the 4, and whilst Tim Wonnacott was interviewing Jill Douglas and Craig Doyle, Jonathan and Jeremy were asking, what team had Craig played for? The budgie egg cup made a profit! More later.