BBC Antiques Roadshow Specialist and Consultant for Hansons Auctioneers Marc Allum, talks about being busy and the Stress of Going on Holiday!

Tis the fruitful season – in more ways than one. The apples and pear trees in my garden are laden, my career has taken some interesting turns and despite the general despair about Brexit (well in the circles I generally move in) the start of September has got off to a very busy and optimistic start. The ‘trade’ has always been like this, albeit these days with slightly different concerns – traditionally, it’s quiet during the summer but becomes suffused with a keen energy - come the start of the new auction season. However, recent experience of the mood amongst my associates and fellow ‘antiques’ people - on return from their holidays – has found them moaning about the stress they have endured by not being able to check their emails, and – being self-employed – how they haven’t earnt anything during the month of August. It’s true, the markets and business are always up and down. Periods of famine are relieved by times of plenty, that’s the nature of the the art business for the average self-employed dealer or auction house owner. However, we are continually forced to look forward, ever mindful of the bottom line, but ruled by the fact that our entire livelihoods are rooted in the past. To be honest, I can’t criticise others, because I suffer from the same problems. I’m only really happy when I’m busy. I need the stress and relish the idea of the constant need to tell people that my diary is illegible. It’s a modern type of illness. And yes, I did go for seven days on my holiday without checking my emails – it was hell! It seems you can’t win these days – it’s stressful to relax and it’s stressful to work, yet the ‘stressful to work’ tag seems to be a completely necessary part of ones psyche! So what will the autumn season bring? 

I’m a pessimist by nature. I’m also happy to admit it. This way, I find that – on balance – a good event is much more rewarding because it is generally much less expected. It’s logical to me. So, the reasons for writing this piece are highly rewarding, as it heralds the start of a new association and the continuation of a good relationship with Countryside La Vie. That association is with Hansons Auctioneers of Etwall and under the dynamic leadership of Charles Hanson – a fellow television antiques person – I’m looking forward to working on a whole raft of interesting projects and filling a few more column inches for the magazine with tales of my adventures. Never one to look back, except in a historical context, the excitement lies in exploring new avenues, visiting interesting places, meeting more extraordinary people and hopefully unearthing previously undiscovered hidden gems. Already, I have banished that post-holiday blues feeling, as most of my colleagues have too, and am rising to a new set of challenges that will no doubt bring Christmas to my doorstep in a thrice, which coincidentally I was already writing about in August... here’s to a wonderfully fruitful association with Hansons - with a manageable amount of stress!