There is something vaguely exciting about receiving an e-mail that wasn't intended for you. It appeals to the voyeur in all of us: it is the Internet equivalent of having a good long look through the uncurtained windows of the people up the road. I know that most commercial e-mails always have a paragraph which says something like "This e-mail and its contents are only intended to be read by the person in the address. If you have been sent this e-mail by mistake, do not read it and return it immediately to ....", but seeing as this paragraph is always at the end of the e-mail, I have never been too sure about how to proceed.
Anyway, last night I received an e-mail inviting me to an Auction Sale of the equipment of a commercial bakers which is taking place in Inverurie, Scotland next Wednesday. Minutes later, I received a second e-mail from the same source, sending me a copy of the auction catalogue. As I have never, in my long and varied life, been a baker (although I have got something of a reputation for my Yorkshire Puddings), nor have I ever been known to collect second-hand catering equipment, I assumed that the e-mails had been sent in error. But I couldn't help myself, I just had to print that catalogue and pore over it with all the enthusiasm of a dozen bakers.
Let your imagination loose and join me as I wander through the lots. At the very head of the sale (Lot No. 1) is a boardroom table complete with ten meeting chairs. Is this where the flour-encrusted senior managers sat as they watched their firm descend towards illiquidity? Does Lot 66 (contents of female locker room) give us a clue as to the speed of the eventual collapse of the enterprise? Amy (my Wheaten Terrier) expressed a passing interest in Lot 119 (Rollover hot dog dispenser) whilst I must admit I was intrigued by Lot 124 (Champion Seven Potato Rumbler). Imagine how much your life would be enriched by the possession of Lot 167 (Deighton Spreadmatic Automatic Buttering Machine) whilst you ponder the astrophysical potential of Lot 238 (Hobart AE200 Bench Planetary Mixer). Everything must go in this sale, even Lot 337 (Quantity of fridge doors) and Lot 434 (Syspal four station boot washer). Tears came to my eyes when I read of the disposal of Lot 407 (Butcher Boy, floor standing) : will nobody give the poor lad a job? But the one thing that really caught my fancy, the one thing I am really tempted to head up the motorway to make a bid for, was Lot 293 - Crypto Peerless O'Matic Six Station Pie Moulder.
Oh how I long for one. I could find it space in my room. I could look at it, polish it, talk to it. People would say to me "what's that?" and I could reply with pride that it was a genuine Crypto Peerless O'Matic. Not the cheap - and I have always though somewhat flimsy - two station model but a genuine six station model. The Mona Lisa of the pie-making world.
As I drifted to sleep last night, my thoughts were torn between lusting after the sleek and shiny machine and the practicalities of how I could get it back from Inverurie.