Pitched as we were at the fringes of the ghastly marketplace, a haven for scum and villainy if ever there was one this side of the unmentionable space port in those children’s films that no sensible telehistorian worth his moustache would be seen dead studying the production documentation for. A man with a sports manufacturer’s logo on his shirt came over and picked up a mug.

“What’s this?” he asked.

“That is the most advanced laboratory ever constructed. It has a cyclotron amongst many other pieces of equipment so sophisticated they could repair a time and space machine” I said wittily. For this was the mug from Story E and I wanted him to appreciate its value.

“You what?” he replied.

“This is the most advanced laboratory ever constructed. It has a cyclotron…” I repeated, fogged at how he’d managed to miss my entire witticism but keen he shouldn’t miss out as I wanted his cash.

“It looks like a mug to me. Bit chipped but it’ll do for paintbrushes. I’ll give you 50p for it.”

“Fifty pence?” I cried. “Fifty pence? That mug is damn near priceless owing to having been handled by Hartnell and having been a vital plot twist – though we don’t care about plot and story obviously and I hope you feel the same even though you are not one of us and never will be, I’ll see to that with my black ball even if no one else will – and you want to put paint brushes in it? For fifty pence? If I sell you that telehistorical artefact you will need to sign a contract saying you’ll keep it in a sealed container at a constant temperature until you die, that you will only show it to people with appropriate membership documentation and that you’ll give me a cheque for at least £450 and I’ll send it recorded delivery once your cheque has cleared. Wait – no time - £450 in cash, although I’ll accept £445 as a special discount for cash plus a £5 cash handling fee for my increased insurance risk.”

“You what?” he said again. I shuddered at the idea of having to live and converse with so limited an intellect.

“That mug is damn near priceless owing to having been handled by Hart…” I repeated but before I could reach the bit about the £5 cash handling fee – necessary to insure me against losses arising from mugging, strong winds, my trousers being set on fire or Francois Devine mistaking a bundle of cash for a bar of nougat and eating it while picking my pockets. I should never have taken him to see Oliver! at the Hippodrome for a birthday treat and then denied him popcorn at the interval. It only focused his flabby mind on the link between hunger and petty theft.

“…off” the man swore before I could repeat the bit about the generous cash discount. He pushed the mug back into my hands with such vigour that I fell backwards into the boot of the man cruiser.

“…you” he swore again and stumped off. I shook my head once I was sure he’d gone.

“And stay out” I said quietly but firmly.

A few more proles wandered over to examine my extremely collectable wares. I beamed at them to help loosen their purses but they were let down by their poor working class attention spans and were distracted, some quite urgently, by events elsewhere in the car boot jungle. Coincidentally, it was only once I was fed up of beaming – my facial muscles not being as young as they used to be – that I started to get a few proles who could remember where they were and stick to the matter in hand like proper people.

“How much is the flags?” asked one, handling my bunting with hands that screamed manual labour.

“Firstly, it should be how much are the flags, secondly, they aren’t flags they are bunting and, thirdly, that is not merely bunting – that is three yards of bunting from Story 6F and was used to signify that several of the characters, I can’t be more specific as I’ve never followed the plot, had mistakenly visited 1977 instead of 1983. I remember 1977 the first time round and have no wish to return there.”

He didn’t laugh at my joke.

“So how much are the buntings?”

“How much IS the bunting” I corrected.

“I dunno – I’m askin’ you.”

“The highly collectable bunting you are currently enjoying me talking about and which would brighten your little display case up no end, if that is the cabinet in which they will be put, is a snip at only £275 per yard.”

“£275 for that?” he scoffed.

“No – listen carefully - £275 per yard. That is three yards therefore it is £825. I’m prepared to round to £850 if it is more convenient for you. It’s signed by Strickson on one of the white flags.”

“What’s a Strickson?” he asked.

“Shall I wrap it or would you like me to post it to you second class?”

“…off, you weirdo” he swore. He too pushed me into the boot of the man cruiser. I waited for him to be out of range and called him a hooligan. Those around me nodded in agreement at his pathetically stupid behaviour and repeated his vulgar outburst to me as a way of mocking him. They used their own voices too which made him sound even more of an idiot.

I was feeling pretty cheesed off by this point. I’ve been to conventions – there is no limit to the rubbish people will buy, even at elaborate prices. I decided to be more direct.

“Hello” I shouted at a passing customer. He was rather startled by how close I got before he noticed me (years of practice sneaking around archive vaults that have lost my clearance paperwork) and he fell into a Skoda, demolishing a display of cigarette cards and getting roundly told off for his efforts. Most of the vitriol was aimed at me – presumably they saw the friendly way I greeted him and assumed we knew each other. While he was removing cigarette cards from his person, I was thought a safe pair of ears to take messages for him for later relay. I jotted them on a piece of paper, stuffed it into the pocket of his coat and went back to my boot (or rather Francois Devine’s boot) and found I had hooked a customer in my absence.

“How much for this remote, mate?”

“I’m not your m… I see you’re interested in Timmin’s control device” I replied, making myself even more pleasant in a cynical attempt to separate him from his money.

“Whatever – how much is it? I reckon it’ll work with our little un’s bedroom telly.”

“This excellent example of mid-1980s telehistorical ephemera is sadly only the backup prop as the original resides on a pompous cushion in the negligible archive and display wing of a grossly overweight telehistorian that I wouldn’t dream of naming. It is however in much better condition than the original having not been sweated on under the studio lights for the duration of the recording. It is seen on screen in one close-up shot when the original was unavailable for reasons not recorded in the paperwork but the certificate of authenticity errs on the side of caution and doesn’t mention this appearance. This valuable and extremely collectable curio is a mere £900 and that includes two AA batteries which have long since gone flat but which are almost certainly the ones in it when it was pressed into service shortly before the recording began. I am only parting with it for charity and hope it goes to a good home.”

Who could possibly fail to be moved by that heart-warming and technically detailed speech? This prole for one. He swore at me and wobbled off to find something he could either eat, play with or stick up his rear, the weirdo.

“Heathen” I shouted when he was out of sight. I’d had enough of these dismal people. I locked the boot of the man cruiser and went for a walk as far away as possible from these horrible wretches as possible. What made me think this could possibly work? I must’ve been sub-par owing to yet another night with no sleep. I drank in a full portion of cool morning air and let myself calm down. Then – and this was where the peaceful mood went awry – I opened my eyes and realised I’d strayed onto the rugby pitch. A pack of brutes was charging towards me and would surely smash me to atoms.