About twenty years ago, one morning the front door bell rang. At the time I was living in a Brunswick Road, barrel fronted, Regency terrace just off the sea front in Hove. It was a blustery day and as I opened the door I was confronted by a slightly scruffy individual wearing an old raincoat and plimsoles.
“Hello I’m David, Jill recommended you, she said you sell Persian rugs”
“Er Jill?” I said
“Yes Jill Palmer in The Lanes (Brighton), the antique dealer ”
“Oh you had better come in”
That was how I met David Watkin. He proceeded to come in, go through my stock and select the better items. Not necessarily those in the best condition but certainly the best aesthetically – completely untutored in rugs, he certainly had an eye. Thus I was taken rather aback, as people are usually fased when presented with an array of obscure Oriental carpets. Just a tinge worried that this likeable but completely unknown guy wanted to cream off my better items I suggested we immediately adjourn for a ‘fitting session’ to his place, to which he happily agreed.
At the back of my mind I wanted some re-assurance of exactly who I was dealing with. On arrival at his Kemptown place I was astonished to find his remarkable book collection and felt quite ashamed at how I could ever have had harboured any doubts about this treasure of a customer. He paid immediately without fuss and sadly I never saw him again.