Tuesday, August 17, 2010


always wear a seat belt

it has taken me several days to persuade herself to sit down and write this post. on this occasion this is not because she has been uber-busy. it is that she feels something of a twit. i don't see why this should prevent me from sharing what is, after all, a rather good story.

last week our car, together with its boot, was booked in for a service. it was not before time; the poor thing had developed an awful lot of squeaks and groans, what with bombing up and down to see the magnificent bonzo. hosses never live anywhere with a decent road. they prefer their digs to be situated at the end of a bumpy track like the surface of the moon, which, while it may suit a hoss, does not suit a car. our car is what is known as a 4 wheel drive, which in theory makes it more able to cope with the bumps. (i am not sure how you could drive a car with any less wheels. it would surely tip over? ) but in any event it needed a bit of tender loving care.

herself duly drove up to the garage where the work was to be done. as it was some way away, she had arranged to borrow a car from them for the day.

"you'll have to insure it yourself," said the car lady.

"that's fine, i'm covered in other people's cars," replied herself, confidently. the lady gave her the key to a little brand new red shiny car.

no sooner had herself turned the key in the ignition and let out the clutch than there was the sickening noise of scraping metal. herself applied the brakes. outside the driver's door was a cone. this in itself would have been innocent enough, but the cone hid a heavy metal post. i can only assume that the cone had been placed there to alert people to the existence of the post. how herself had managed to get into the car without falling over the cone is beyond me. the man from the garage said pretty much the same thing.

"you'll just have to claim on your insurance," said the man, "its going to need two new doors and quite a bit of other work."

herself gulped. when she said she was covered on other people's cars, what she meant was that she was covered if she bashed into other cars, not if she was stupid enough to bash into a stationary object. her insurance only allows her to bash into stationary objects if she is driving her own car.

"that's easy enough," said the man, "just ring your insurers and put temporary cover on our car, then later on ring them and tell them you have had a crash."

herself explained that in her line of work insurance fraud was frowned on. she also pondered on the irony of the situation. only the day before herself had spent some time telling my boy that under no circumstances was lying acceptable and that 'white lies' were still lies. this conversation had involved various examples of how to avoid being brutally truthful whilst not actually lying.

"if someone says 'does my bum look big in this?' you say something like 'that colour is lovely on you (if it is) rather than 'yes it looks huge!'" she explained.

"but you always say you want to know if your bum looks big!" protested my boy, truthfully.

"well, i do, but then you are my tame clothing adviser," said herself, "you have to be a bit more gentle with other people." i am not sure how much of the subtelty of all this sank in. my boy is not always terribly subtle.

herself did not trouble the garage man with discussions of morality. he did not seem to be that sort of man. the garage man showed her up some steps to a place where customers could sit and have a cup of coffee and read shiny magazines full of pictures of cars with no dents in them. eventually a more senior man came.

"its going to cost over a grand," he said. he showed herself a breakdown of the cost. even with them doing the work at cost price it was still £1,200. this is more than herself earns in a month. herself gulped again. the service would be another £500. there was no option but to take the little brand new red shiny car and drive around in it for the day. at least the door still opened and closed. herself took the precaution of ringing her insurers from the garage and putting the little brand new red shiny car on her insurance on the basis that just because she had stuffed one side of it in didn't mean that there wasn't another post out there waiting to stuff the other side in.

fortunately, himself is sitting on some money from a tax rebate. even more fortunately the money just covered the cost of the garage bill. less fortunately, himself does not like nasty surprises where money is concerned. or indeed at all. herself spent the whole day worrying about how he would react. as regular readers will know, himself is a man with something of a short fuse on certain occasions.

herself was a little wobbly when she got in. himself gave her a cuddle. herself mistook this for an ideal moment to drop her bombshell.

"you've what?" roared himself, backing away from her and standing behind the table, as though bashing into posts was a communicable disease.

"how much?!!" he continued, at a slightly higher volume. herself went off to have a bath. sometimes you are so much on the back foot that you are better off lying down...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

the old boot

herself is in bed having a cup of tea before starting on her day so i have pressed her into typing for me so my readers don't get the idea that i have deserted them. it is getting harder and harder to find a moment when she is not tearing around doing things. a chap just has to pick his moment i suppose. (even then, while i was yawning, she was dashing off into cyberspace to check on some new webby thing she has been playing about with! the woman has the attention span of a gnat!)

anyway, back to the point of this post. last week, herself and mr next door decided to go to a car boot sale. i was mightily alarmed at this. the car boot is where young dave and i travel. was she planning on putting us on the roof if she sold the car boot? whilst i am sure young dave would look on roof travel as an adventure, for a chap of my age it would be torture. my old bones are not so good in a draught.

however it transpired that the car boot was not going to be sold. it seems that a car boot sale is some new-fangled idea where you fill up your car boot with all the things that clutter up your house, drive them to a field and sit there all morning hoping someone else will come along who would like to use them to clutter up their house instead. as mad schemes go, this was not one of herself's most extreme, and it had the advantage of getting her out of the house for a while, so himself and my boy were relatively positive about it. that is, until they realised that in order to fill up your car boot with things that clutter up your house, you have to first retrieve them from the various dusty corners where they are located and pack them into boxes.

the whole operation of packing the clutter up was made rather less relaxing by the fact that herself had not grasped this basic point about car boot sales until the night before. or if she had, it had slipped her grasshopper-like mind. and to complicate matters further, the night before the peeps were over at her maamship's having a delicious meal. girl in a trench had concocted a mouthwatering fish pie which was followed by lots of chocolate. by the time the peeps returned home it was nearly 10pm.

himself settled down for a little spell on his laptop and my boy contented himself with wandering in and out making pithy remarks, while herself hauled books, cds and other associated clutter onto the floor. within minutes the living room looked as though we had been burgled. young dave and i resolutely held our nerve and lay pretending to be asleep on the sofa. i know from bitter experience that moving from one's warm spot at moments like these is a mistake. before you know it there will be a pile of junk in your place.

eventually the clutter was bagged up and placed in the hall and something resembling calm returned. the car boot sale started very early on sunday morning so herself retired to bed, to dream of becoming a millionaire from the sale of dog-eared novels and promotional cds.

sunday dawned sunny, as one would be entitled to expect, given its name. herself and mr next door loaded up the car and roared off to the appointed field. mr next door has been under the weather for quite a while and had not been to a car boot sale for some time, but luckily had not lost the knack. herself has only been to one in the distant past, so it was just as well she went with someone who knew what to do. people landed on the car like locusts as they pulled up. unfortunately they were more interested in mr next door's interesting bric a brac than our clutter. this was the theme of the morning, although herself did manage to offload the saddle that came with the magnificent bonzo and which no longer fits him, quite a few of the cds and books, and a jigsaw puzzle.

when herself returned home, himself and my boy gathered eagerly round to find out how much money she had made. it was at this point that a flaw in her marketing strategy became apparent. she tipped out a vast pile of coins and quite a few notes from her purse. himself and my boy counted it all.

"how much did you have as a float?" asked himself.

"i didn't have a float as such..." said herself, sheepishly.

it transpired that herself had no idea how much money had been in there before she went. normally this would not be a problem as herself rarely carries cash, rather like the queen. (although something tells me that if the queen went to a car boot sale she would have a butler handy to count the float.) but on this occasion herself had some money given to her by my boy from when she ordered a game for him on the internet, and more money given to her by girl in a trench when they went shopping at asda. so her moment of triumph was somewhat marred by lengthy calculations and loud laughter.

eventually it was agreed that she had made somewhere between £30 and £50, which was not bad for a morning's work. especially as the work involved sitting chatting, drinking tea and eating chocolate, activities which herself is well-versed in.

the plan is to repeat the experience next week. i feel a headache coming on...