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MY OTHER LIFE; Trainer Lydia Richards on antiques.

Byline: NEIL CLARK

When did you first develop an interest in your hobby?

As a very small child I used to stay with my grandparents quite a bit during the school holidays. My grandfather was a lovely old boy who could never pass a flea market or junk shop without stopping to look and pass the time of day. I liked to go with him and I suppose my interest started then.

How much time do you devote to your hobby?

I don't have much free time but I try to get to the local auction house previews and for a special treat I'll go up to London with Mum to spend an afternoon in an art gallery - either modern or traditional. I also love house sales.

What, for you, is the appeal of your hobby?

I very much enjoy living with old things (men excepted!). I love buying at auctions. It's the thrill of a bargain - when I've spotted something others have missed it gives me a real buzz. Everything I have in the house I've bought at auctions - the only thing that's new is the kitchen.

What is the greatest single moment of pleasure your hobby has bought you?

A few years ago while at a house clearing sale I spotted a very dirty rolled-up canvas on the floor. I bought it for pounds 50, had it cleaned and stretched and found it was the most wonderfully painted 18th century portrait. It gives me great pleasure to look at it every day in my dining room.

Do you have any ambitions pertaining to your hobby?

I would hate to have my own antiques shop. I'd get irritated with people touching my stock, and I'd be unable to part with much. I wish I had the time to paint - especially portraits. I did A-Level art and was going to go to art college until talked out of it. But when I get too old to have fun, I'll start painting.

Do you have any other hobbies?

I took up pottery about a year ago which is a hoot! My clay is usually uncontrollable! I also love shopping and drinking champagne, planting things in my garden and watching late-night poker on television. I like playing cards, too.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Aug 26, 2004
Words:377
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