Monthly Archives: February 2012

2nd Hand Car Dealers & Persian Rugs

Greetings. Two extraordinary tricks happened right under my very nose this week and I have no idea how they are done. In my last blog I mentioned how I had bought a (new for me) old Rover 75 over the phone. I thought the company was called “” which I have seen advertised on TV. It turns out the firm I bought this car from is called “” and they are a set up in Peterborough. The man on the phone was silver tongued and charming. He was concerned that I was concerned that it might sell and that the easiest thing was to put a deposit down with a credit card. He assured me that they would give me something for my Berlingo and so the deed was done. 5 days later I chugged up to Peterborough in the Citroen Berlingo. It has done 157k – the boot doesn’t open – the temperature gauge has broken – the interior has been fowled by kids, chickens, coffee and screen wash and the right front suspension does rattle – apart from that it’s a lovely car.

I arrive at a non descript Industrial Estate positively packed with cars and made my way into the office. The charming man with the silver tongue was nowhere to be seen and instead there was a rather gruff replacement. He played the part to perfection. On hearing that I thought £400 would be a suitable price for the Berlingo he looked startled and then almost offended. Deep breathing followed after which he told me that he could see oil pouring out of the engine and that he could even smell it from the office right here.  He said that The mileage was so high that there was nowhere to go except the scrapyard. And then he began a conversation with an imaginary man across the office “How much would we get for scrap for that citroen?”

The imaginary man replied “100 quid”

“we’d be lucky to get a 100 quid for scrap” countered the gruff man and  I am sure the imaginary man was nodding. So I too began to nod and duly accepted the £100 before purring down the M11 in my Rover 75.

Now you know how much I love magic tricks and being fooled and surprised at the same time. Well imagine my surprise when yesterday I randomly googled citroen on a website called “” to see a vision of what looked like my old car. The number plate was the same but it looked shinier and sparklier than I have seen any car look. I found out things I never knew. It has one previous owner and has only done 147k and it’s price is £1295. How do they do it? And I am sure there is a silver tongued man on the phone right now saying that he is concerned that his caller is concerned that it might sell quickly so the easiest thing to do is put down a deposit with a credit card.

Well. Trick No.2 is of a completely different nature. A new activity has gripped my mother and her tennis friends. They have discovered a new technique for cleaning their persian rugs. This technique is used extensively in Afghanistan as they have been told – although I can’t imagine there’s been too much rug cleaning going on in Afghanistan at this time. You take your rug outside and place it face down on a blanket of snow and it cleans over night. Pure magic! One of my mother’s friends took the trick further by making the rug disappear. It snowed over night and she couldn’t remember where she’d put the rug.

So after Sunday lunch we heaved a large rug outside and laid it out on the snow-covered lawn. The neighbours got twitchy and thought we were having an eccentric party. They didn’t seem that assured when we told them the real reason – and there the rug lies – cleaning itself by magic – while I write this. I can’t wait to see the result.

Back to conventional magic tricks. Enjoyed a lovely show in Potten End for the “Sin’Assle” theatre club. It was great to see so many children with their grandparents and the children on stage were brilliant.

This week sees me in Cookham Dean and Gillingham. The latter putting me in a perfect location for more Dickens research. More anon.

More Winter news from Bertie

Greetings! As I write this by the open fire the temperature outside is -3 and there is frozen snow all around. The chickens are seriously unhappy and  today only managed one small egg between all of them. Since my last blog things have been ticking along quite happily. A Nadfas lecture up in Chester – lovely city – but this was actually at the zoo. Not for the animals. Chester Nadfas use the very practical lecture theatre. So up I traipsed up  with my props including the ironing board. Meanwhile at church we were visited by the wonderful speaker Mr Rico Tice on January 21st for a lunch event which went down very well. Then on the 25th I went up to UCLH hospital on the Euston Road. On the 11th floor of the tower is the children’s unit and there is a play room where the charity ‘A Spoonful of Sugar ‘ put on Art and Magic for the ill children and their siblings. It is a very simple concept but works very well and the play specialists are delightful and I always enjoy my visits there. Meanwhile at All Saints Church Crowborough we are looking at the exciting idea of Church Planting – it is a subject of which I know very little but I am finding out more and the concept is very interesting not least because it promotes growth.

On the 1st of February I took the train up to Royal Leamington Spa for another Nadfas Lecture at the Spa Centre. This was where I got my first acting job as Simple Simon 14 years ago and it was strange coming back. The lovely technician Chris remember immediately as she gave me the microphone and I was very impressed. It’s funny how important names are. You an do the most amazing card tricks and yet people are far more impressed if an hour later you still remember their name.

Tomorrow I hit the road to Peterborough to buy a new (old) car from – I’ve seen the adverts but was very impressed with them on the phone. I’m  the new owner of a navy blue Rover 75 estate. On Saturday I’m on in Potten End. A lady called Liz Wood runs a theatre group called Sin’Assle and she’s gathered a huge crowd which is magic in itself. We just need to make sure that the snow is kept at bay. More anon.