The Market Cross Antiques Centre in Somerton is a veritable treasure trove of things beautiful, things interesting and things quirky; an Aladdin’s den in which it is possible to pass time without noticing the clock has crept around and there are other things that need to be done.
Strange and unlikely things sometimes appear for sale, among the unlikely things is an antique domestic water tank at £33. Its presence in the shop prompted laughter and thoughts of Denzil Penberthy.
Denzil Penberthy is a character in tales told by the Cornish comedian Jethro, one of which concerns the BBC proagramme the Antiques Roadshow:
Jethro’s friend Denzil Penberthy comes to him one day and ‘e says, “Jethro.” “Jethro,” ‘e says, “Wha’s this I hear about an Antiques Roadshow? Wha’s Antiques Roadshow?”
So Jethro turns to Denzil and ‘e says’, “It’s like this, Denzil. It’s like this, Denzil,” ‘e says, “what you do is this. What you do is that you take along to the Antiques Roadshow something from your house tha’s old and what you do is you say to them,’What I want to know is: what it is and how much it’s worth.'”
Denzil Penberthy knew that the Antiques Roadshow was coming to Truro, so Denzil gets ready for the visit. Denzil goes to Truro and ‘e lines up with everybody else, except Denzil has the biggest ruddy package that anyone on the Antiques Roadshow has ever seen.
Denzil pushes and pants and ‘e gets this ruddy great parcel up on the table and e’ looks at the man from the Antiques Roadshow and ‘e says to him, “You see this thing ‘ere. You see this thing ‘ere. This thing ‘ere has been in my family for generations and for as long as I can remember it’s been up in the attic. What I wants to know is what it is an’ ‘ow much it’s worth.”
The man from the Antiques Roadshow looks at the table and ‘e looks at Denzil Penberthy and ‘e says, “I’ll tell ‘e what it is. I’ll tell ‘e what it is. It’s the ruddy hot water tank.”
Denzil Penberthy would have been pleased at the presence of the water tank in the shop. He might have turned to Jethro and said, “I told ‘e so. I told ‘e I was right to take tha’ water tank to Truro. I told ‘e tha’ it was an antique.”