I had no idea whose car it was.
I’m sure it wasn’t there when we looked at the house and there was no mention of it in any of the correspondence with the solicitors. True, we had agreed to buy some of the furniture, carpets, curtains and so on with the house and we’d paid for that separately, but nothing was said about a car. And yet it was there when we arrived.
It looked to be in running order, and the keys were in the ignition. We even started it up. It fired up first try. I did notice the mileometer was showing a fair bit more than two hundred thousand miles which is rather a lot, and since we had our own car anyway, we didn’t want this one.
Funnily enough, when I came back from my first overseas tour, I bought my boss’s house from him. He and his wife were planning to retire to New Zealand and had no need of a house in England. So I bought it from him and paid him cash for all the furniture, even the low-mileage car in his garage. But not this time. Couldn’t have anyway. The garages on these houses aren’t big enough to put a modern car in! They’re really more like store-rooms. The best thing to do is to wire and plumb them and put things like washing machines and tumble-driers in them – use them as a utility room or shed. The alternative was to buy a car small enough to be able to drive in them and still open a door, which cuts the choice down a lot.
But this car was there when we arrived to take possession of the house. Not on the driveway, you understand, but on the road in front of the house. For a while, we thought it may have been someone visiting one of our new neighbours, though we didn’t feel that we knew them well enough to ask. We thought it was likely to be gone in a few days so said nothing. It was only when our neighbours described it as an eyesore and asked us if we were planning to keep it that we gave any real thought to where it had come from and what we could do about it.
The local police didn’t help, either. They told us that if it is ours and kept on the road it should be taxed and insured. They were also rather unhappy about the fact that it had no number plates, so couldn’t easily check to see if it was street legal. We looked under the bonnet for the other identification plates, but they had all been removed and the serial number on the engine had been filed down.
The only advice they could give us was to scrap it, so we talked to the local scrapping firm. They said they’d need the registration number or at least the VIN to be able to scrap it legally. Obviously, we didn’t have either. They said that they’d have given us a hundred or so for it as scrap if we had the right documents, but because they have to submit paperwork to the government for every vehicle they take in, they couldn’t do that.
After some negotiation, they did agree to take it away and deal with it, but that it would cost us five hundred quid to cover their costs. Five hundred quid to get rid of a vehicle that we found on our doorstep! That’s scandalous. But there was no choice. The police and everyone had recorded us as owning the damned thing, so the cost of disposing of it was down to us.
Can you imagine how devastating that could be?
…if it were true.
Good job it’s all made up then, isn’t it?
This was written in response to Kreative Kue 237 published on this site.
I’ve always been a mad-keen fisherman. Not just me either. If anything, my boy was even worse. Used to drive the missus mad, it did. We’d be out every day we could, sometimes starting as early as three in the morning, sometimes not getting back much before daylight. Night fishing was a thing for us. Joe, my son, reckoned the fish bit better when they were half-asleep. Don’t know that there was any science to back that up, but the trend these days seems anyway to be to ignore or even ridicule science if it doesn’t say what you want to hear. But Joe loved to be out there at night and I loved Joe, so who was I to argue?
After a while, my wife, Joan, seemed to get used to what we were doing and stopped complaining or tutting every time fishing was mentioned. From that day on, if anyone ever deserved the title longsuffering it was her. Flipping saint, if you ask me. Never once complained; always happy to make sandwiches and flasks for us. The only thing she asked is that we stuck to what we said. If we said we’d be back at daybreak, she didn’t want to see us if it was still dark. If we said we were going to be out all day, woe betide us if we got back before she expected us. We had to leave when we said we would, as well. At one time I even thought she was glad to see the back of us, but she explained that it was just a case of keeping us honest to our word – and that was an important life lesson for Joe. I couldn’t argue against that, could I? The house was always spotless when we got back and dinners were somehow nicer after our trips, especially the long ones – one time we were away for three days straight and Joan was ever-so attentive and loving after we’d got back. I could tell she’d really missed us.
Joan was, I always thought, a lot more tolerant of our fishing trips than most of our neighbours and friends. Seemed to me any time I saw any of them in the street they wouldn’t look me in the eye – and I’m sure they were saying all sorts of things behind our backs when Joe and I set off for any of our trips. But maybe I’m being silly.
Joe’s all grown up and left home now. Got a family of his own, he has, and made me a granddad three times over. I’m so proud. Joan insisted I carry on fishing, with or without him. She thinks I still enjoy it, though it’s not the same on my own as it was with Joe. I think she just wants me out of the way so she can get on with her housework in peace. I can tell she appreciates it, though.
You know; the more I think about it the more I’m convinced that there couldn’t be a more loving wife than Joan when I get back. Not loving like – you-know – we haven’t done that for years, but caring and attentive. Sometimes I wonder what I’ve done to deserve such a wonderful wife.
I just wish I knew why all the neighbours look at me so strangely…
This was written in response to Kreative Kue 236 published on this site.
“Can’t this thing go any faster, Dick?”
“I wish. I’m at full throttle, but this headwind is slowing us down.”
“Isn’t it affecting them, too?”
“You’d think, wouldn’t you?”
“Yes, I would. That’s why I suggested it. Duh!”
“Don’t pick on me. Look. I’m no expert, but I believe—”
“And how is religion going to help?”
“If you’d let me finish… I believe they can modify the profile of their wings; move the feathers or something; so they can take advantage of the changing conditions.”
“And we can’t? What’s that stick you’re holding for?”
“That changes our attitude. Would that I had one to change yours.”
“Ahaha, ahaha, ahaha. Just get a shift on, can you?”
“I am pushing her as hard as I can. Just give me a break. What’s the hurry, anyway?”
“The light’s starting to fail. From what I’ve read, these blighters are likely to land for the night when we still think it’s daylight.”
“That’s true. But what’s the problem with that?”
“Won’t they land on water?”
“Maybe. Maybe they’ll land on wetlands but not on water. Or they might put down on dry land.”
“And the likelihood is?”
“Water or wetlands.”
“And can we put this thing down on water or wetlands?”
“Duh. Obviously not – we don’t have skids.”
“So what will we do if they land somewhere we can’t?”
“We’ll land close by and take off as soon as they do in the morning.”
“But what if we’re too late?”
“If we’re too late they’ll migrate without us. What’s the problem, anyway? Why are you so keen to catch up with them?”
“See that one third from the left?”
“The one that looks like one wing’s smaller than the other one?”
“That’s the one.”
“What about it?”
“That’s my wife. I want to catch her up and get her back home so my mother can turn her back into a human being again.”
This was written in response to Kreative Kue 235 published on this site.