We had the probate valuation on Thursday … a couple of items of jewellery were rather less than I’d imagined and DH & I were discussing how accurate the valuations were when he remembered that AR was filming at the Britannia Naval College, Dartmouth, in July. I checked the website … wrong month, it was Friday, the next day!

Fortunately, Friday is DH’s day off in any case, so we set out as soon as we could after the girls left for school, all the time wondering if we were wasting our time. It was a lovely day, and it’s a beautiful drive from here. As we came into Dartmouth, a notice directed us to a ‘park and ride’ specifically for AR … we were really impressed with the efficiency of the system, not least that the necessary security searches were done at the car park itself, before even boarding the bus. With the marines directing traffic in the car park it all went very smoothly, and the bus dropped us right on the parade ground where the event was taking place :)

The AR system is that you first go to the Reception desk, where a cursory inspection of your items means you’re given a ticket for the relevant expert (and particularly interesting items are taken aside for filming valuations). So if you take a variety of items you may end up with several tickets, each to a different area.

That first queue was, however, the longest. And while we were still waiting, one of the AR staff came along the queue asking if anyone had jewellery, as the queue there was short – so I was able to step out of the queue and go straight to her table, leaving DH in the queue with everything else :rolleyes:

I saw my expert (who’s valuations were similar to probate, which was reassuring) and went back to DH still in the queue, just before he reached the Reception desk. The initial valuation really was cursory, the person looking at our things was more interested in some items belonging to the person next to us :angry: However, we were given our tickets and went our separate ways. The longest queues are always for miscellaneous and ceramics/glass, so I took the china pot and joined the queue, while DH took the books (very short queue) and joined me later. He went off again to another area while I was still waiting …

But I was delighted that the expert I saw was Lars Tharp (heart stopping :blush:). He too, was rather distracted, but I think he realised because after he’d examined and valued the pot, he stopped me as I left the table to talk about the potter’s history, which was all very interesting. (I knew the potter, but had little idea of the value, which he gave as more than twice the probate valuation :533: )

By this time, DH was in the queue with a couple of fob watches, but that queue seemed to be going nowhere, and since we have a fair idea of their value (not very much!) we didn’t bother to wait and went off to have our picnic.

The college is well known, the architecture is stunning and we were free to wander grounds and some of the buildings. I’m sure there were less people there than expected, however, as by the afternoon, the Reception queue was only a matter of minutes long, and they moved some areas into a smaller space, probably to create a background for some items they were filming. Although some items were selected at Reception, there were camera crews roaming about, filming valuations as they happened, including DH and his books! :D I don’t suppose it will be shown, but if it is … he has a blob of suncream on both ears – we didn’t realise until afterwards! :doh: