HOPEFULLY, we only have another week before we return to work on June 15 with our first sale on June 23 – it will be our first auction in three months, a hiatus we have never seen before.

To accommodate the new trading environment, there are going to have to be changes, come of which could be with us for a long time. How would we survive without our modern-day communications!

Looking around our saleroom, it feels like someone pressed the pause button. The grandfather clocks, the collectables, the (dare I say) brown furniture is all sitting there as if nothing had happened. It’s just waiting for the play button to be pressed.

The Northern Echo:

In there is a modest but nevertheless very attractive “Mouseman” coffee table. It’s a really good example with a nicely adzed top and that slightly aged warm colour, not to mention the little signature mouse making its way up one of the octagonal baluster legs.

The Northern Echo:

“Mouseman” furniture was originally made by Robert “Mousey” Thompson who set up his workshop in Kilburn. In 1919, he complained he was “as poor as a church mouse” and carved a mouse onto a screen he was making, and his trademark was accidentally born.

In my 45 years on the rostrum I have seen many pieces of “Mouseman”, from a humble napkin ring to panelling from a church in Middlesbrough.

The Northern Echo:

I have also seen the interest grow from Yorkshire to the UK to the US to worldwide. It is no surprise anymore to get a telephone or online bidder from New York for a piece of “Mouseman”.

But you need deep pockets to bid for early “Mouseman” - that’s the pieces from the era of Robert Thompson, who died in-1955. Later pieces, though, are full of charm just waiting, like an oak tree itself, to age slowly and gracefully and to become an investment likely to be handed down.

Our table is perhaps 30 years old and will be in the auction on June 23 with an estimate of £200-£400.

Peter Robinson, Thomas Watson Auctioneers, Northumberland Street, Darlington