If your Christmas tree will be a living pine in a pot and you don’t already have one, get one soon: prices leap up as early as November but you still stand a chance of a bargain if you step out now. (My cousin Peter got an irresistible bargain one December by buying a potted palm to decorate but, if you want a conifer bargain, shop now.)
Here’s what I know about selling books at fetes: keen readers will sift through every book on the table but the reluctant readers won’t even look in your direction and you can’t change either of those groups, so you should concentrate on the middle group. They’ll browse if you make it easy and will buy if they find something that appeals to them so it’s worth sorting the books into categories to persuade sports fans to flip through the footy books and romance readers to rifle through the love stories.
Jill and I sorted all evening and the detective novels and the picture books were easy but we found a lot of doozies.
“Songs of a Sentimental Bloke: poetry or Australian classics?” I called out to Jill.
“Classics,” she replied. “Max Walker’s How to Hypnotise Chooks: sport or humour?”
“Hey, I’ve got Know Your Guinea Pig and The Home Farrier in non-fiction: maybe we could have an animal husbandry section!”
We also have a yeast cookery section, a collection of coffee-table books for astronomers, and a whole box of outdated technology manuals. (We’re not expecting to sell any of the latter but people collect the most surprising things.)
 My ex-neighbour Gustav collected barbed wire and, apparently, he’s not the only one.