Z appreciates a Man who Barks

You see? The title is so much more interesting than the post will ever be.

It was really foggy this morning, and very cold. I was struck by the beauty of the frozen cobwebs draped on the bushes and car mirrors. Al tried to start his van, but the battery became less and less willing to respond and eventually, with an apologetic cough, it expired.

He had to go to Norwich this morning. He wondered, hopefully, if he’s insured to drive my car? Unfortunately not. I used to have fully comprehensive insurance, but now only three named drivers are permitted, which is inconvenient when I’ve got six people I’d like to insure. So I offered to drive him. We don’t spend much time together, it’d be a pleasure.

The reason for the trip is the new bank charges he was going to have to pay. With his tiny shop, he’d be paying £800 in a year for nothing much. He’s always in credit, and the bulk of it is to pay over cash, which he has counted already. So he rang his wholesalers and asked if it would be all right to pay his monthly bills in cash. They didn’t mind. So, clutching two bags of money, he enjoyed the luxury of my nice car instead of his Postman Pat van and I took him over. After a while, he got out his phone and worked a few figures out. “You know, I’m saving £45 in bank charges today” he remarked. I was astonished. The last month has been one of the least busy of the year (this is normal for January, February and November) and it seemed a lot of money.

The fog lasted for the first five miles, and then the sun started to break through. We went to deliver the two lots of cash, and then picked up a new bed for Pugsley – yes, he’s going to leave his cot and have a big boy’s bed. He’s not 18 months old yet, he is so little…

The sun was shining so brightly that I was dazzled and had to put on sunglasses. But then, in the space of about 50 yards, it all changed. We were back into thick fog. I took off my glasses and turned on the car’s headlights. Thia change happened several times more in the next half hour and we arrived home in fog again, after 12.30 pm.

The Sage was interested in something on eBay, but he’s a little excitable on the computer, so I tap the keys for him. He’d already put on what I thought was a high price, and I had to leave before the sale would end. What would his final bid be? He hedged and didn’t say. Finally, I had to go. “Put on another £100” he said. “Another £100?” “Oh, I won’t have to pay it.” “You’re barking, darling,” I said, tapping at the keys. “Oh” he said, in a hurt voice. He had momentarily forgotten that, from me, that is by no means an insult.

He bought the item, but had to pay full whack. After returning from my appointment, I went to Harleston and bought three pairs of shoes. I spend almost exactly half the cost of his frippery. However, I wasn’t in competition. And I like a little exuberant extravagance in a chap, once in a while. Frivolity is what matters.

12 comments on “Z appreciates a Man who Barks

  1. Dandelion

    Excellent title, and the post did not disappoint.

    I do worry though. He would have got a way much better price on the item if he hadn’t leapt in and bidded early like that. You should never bid sooner than 5 mins before auction end. If that. I thought he was an auctioneer?

  2. Z

    Well, his earlier price was just to test the waters and wasn’t something he’d have expected to buy at. Normally, or last bid would have gone in during the last few moments, but I had to go out, so it was five minutes before the end. I rather wish I’d put the bid in earlier, to give the other fellow more time to outbid him.

    Thank you, dear Dharmabum

  3. Malc

    Don’t get me started on the subject of bank charges. Not with Lloyds is he?
    Can I recommend Halfords heavy duty jump leads? They’ll start anything.

  4. PI

    I really feel for Al.Running one’s own business sometimes it seems it’s one dam thing after another. I remember my outrage when we went decimal and the work involved. B——s!

  5. PI

    Z: I must tell you whilst it’s in my mind. I often try to picture you and when you seem to be cycling madly everywhere pictures of Margaret Rutherford pedalling madly, with her cloak flapping appeared BUT I know you are much prettier than that and it has finally come to me. You are Mrs Miniver.

  6. AFC 30K

    Yes, the old chestnut of bank charges – Wifey is now consistently in credit 2 1/2 years after starting the business and she is fortunate that she doesn’t pay many cheques in as most of her clients pay by bank transfer and she likewise. When she does get cheques they all seem to be in the same week and few in number but for larger amounts.

    So what did the Sage buy?

  7. Z

    Absolutely, Dave, especially if it was pink with a cherry on top.

    His personal bank account and business one are with different banks, so I’m not sure. He had one with Lloyds TSB as it’s next door to the shop and one with HSBC as that’s opposite, but they’re closing that branch so he’s closing that account anyway.

    The Sage went to the local garage, borrowed their heavy-duty jump leads, got the van started and took the van in. They had a suitable battery – not the brand one for the van which would have been vastly expensive – and he bought it, so that cost about what Al saved on bank charges. It’s an old Post Office van and the same battery that was on it when he bought it from a local farmer 4+ years ago, so hasn’t done badly.

    I thought you were going to say Joan Hickson as Miss Marple, Pat, I’m relieved!

    An extra £100 Honey, on top of the £185 he’d already bid! It was a 1908 vesta case.

    Yes, exactly. That was my reaction. But I was sweet and congratulated him afterwards…

    Jamie, you’re got more stresses on you than I’ve ever had, but you still manage to enjoy life wherever you can. You’re an inspiration to us all.


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