Buying presents is always tricky, particularly when the person you have to buy for seems to have exquisite taste in antique items and you feel you have neither the judgment nor the bank balance to buy them something they will love. I have always had this problem with my father, whose house is full of tasteful and valuable antiques. I did, however find the perfect gift totally by accident when clearing out the attic of my new house a couple of years ago.
The previous owners had left a few boxes in the attic, we thought by accident. We contacted them to let them know their mistake but they said they didnt want the contents and we should throw it away. Rather grumpily I set to removing and disposing of the items, after all we had enough of our own junk to sort out without having to deal with someone elses.
Having dragged the boxes into the kitchen I thought I would take a little look through them before chucking them out. Fortunately my father arrived to help out with furniture arranging, just as I had decided there was nothing of value in there.
He immediately seized on an odd piece of small machinery that I had left sitting on the counter. When I...