Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Loose Change Project

So here's how it works. Large Viking-like son has finally moved out of his student flat, having hung on for an extra eighteen months in Glasgow, paying extortionate amounts of council tax and working first as a kitchen porter (the Ibrox experience was, so he tells me, indescribable, but character building)and then as a Quality Assurance Technician for the video games industry, for a super company called Absolute Quality. After that, he had a three month contract with Rockstar North, in the same QA role, and is currently working on another short QA contract, somewhere in deepest, darkest Cheshire. All of it on minimum wage or thereabouts. I miss him. I spend quite a bit of time in Glasgow on various writing projects, and I am so used to meeting up with him for the occasional cup of coffee or bite of lunch that the city seems sad without him. I particularly hate passing the Starbucks at the Charing Cross end of Sauchiehall Street where we have drunk many a latte together, tried to set the world to rights - and tried to think of of ways of making money. I'm a writer. The Viking wants to work creatively in the video games industry. Between us we have a lot of talent, but almost no cash. The Viking runs his own 'magazine' blog all about the video games industry, at and has thoughts of turning it into a business. I soldier away on Blogger, writing about writing at - and also writing about textiles, interiors, Scottish History, here on the Scottish Home.

Anyway, when the Viking and his girlfriend finally emptied his room, in the latest flat, where he had been living for some two and a half years, and when we had found out just how many plastic boxes can be crammed into the back of a Honda Jazz (nine, plus assorted carriers and a large black adjustable office chair from PC World, if you want to know) we also found a big bag full of loose change. Whenever the Viking had found his pockets too heavy, he had emptied them. The weight of it all suggested that he had been doing this for the two and a half years he had spent in this flat, plus the year he had spent in the previous flat as well. In the event, when counted and recounted, it amounted to £26.00. And when much of it is in pennies, that's a lot of loose change.

I took it to the bank in a heap of little plastic coin bags and got it changed into notes. And I had a moment of inspiration.

As a full time writer, frankly, times are hard. It is increasingly difficult to earn anything like a living from the creative written word. So over the past few years, I have built a small online business, buying and selling antiques, mostly textiles: the Scottish and Irish textiles of all kinds that are my passion. It makes no fortunes either, but at least I have a certain amount of control over it. If I list items on eBay, they usually sell. And I know what I'm looking for, and what people love to collect.

And so, with the Viking's loose change in my pocket, I set out to find something which I could buy for £26.00 - but which I thought might make a decent profit. It's a bit like our own personal Bargain Hunt (a popular UK television programme!) The aim is going to be to buy and sell for a whole year - and to see exactly what sum of money we can turn our 'loose change' into. Meanwhile, I plan to write about it here, on the Scottish Home. I'll write about the hunt for bargains, the research, the objects we find along the way, their history and provenance - and the profits or losses we might make. It promises to be a bumpy ride. But I suspect it might also be absolutely fascinating! Stick with us, and see!


Scottish Nanna said...

It all sounds good to me I will be watching you.
Hugs Mary.

Jan said...

I have found you through Marys blog ,and will certainly be eager to see what happens to the £26 so have ,clicked to follow you ,I have a blog too click on my picture to seread it if you would like Iam off to see what you have for sale on ebay Jan xx

Catherine Czerkawska said...

Thanks, Jan, I'll keep posting when anything happens. Nice blog - and some really fine work, too, as well as lovely pictures.