“So what are you going to do with my car?” she demands.
The LTLP’s car has been surplus to requirements since I bought my massive old gas-guzzling 4×4. In fact it has not just been surplus. It has been an active annoyance, taking up space in the drive and meaning that the simplest trip to the shops has necessitated a Red Arrows-style formation car swapping-round routine, only – in the case of my massive old gas-guzzling 4×4 – with more smoke.
It is a dilemma. Her old car is not worth much, even though it has had only one careful lady owner, except for the unfortunate time when she ran over the elderly German tourist. I would put an advert in the paper, except then you get, like, people, coming round to your house and bothering you etc. And I cannot be doing with the ‘we buy any car’ people, especially the shame when they turn me away and have to change their entire advertising, slogan and company mission statement having taken one look at mine.
“Did I hear that you are looking to get rid of a car?” asks Len the Fish’s son.
I am in the Village Pub, talking loudly about the fact that I am looking to get rid of a car, to Len the Fish’s son. I look at him, startled. He cannot possibly want it.
It transpires that Len the Fish’s son has returned home from fighting in Afghanistan (nb on our side, not Taliban). He will need a car. This is brilliant. I cannot think of a better home for the car.
“How much do you want for it?” he asks.
I protest that I do not want anything for the car. He is a friend, and Len the Fish has done me loads of favours in the past, building chicken coops etc. I would be embarrassed to take anything for it, and would rather he had it for nothing. Plus, as many people know, I am a bit of an Americanophile, and buying a massive old gas-guzzling 4×4 then giving my old car away to a returning war hero will practically make me an honorary American.
He protests that he cannot take the car as a gift. I do understand this. We negotiate for a while before reaching agreement. I return to the LTLP to explain the news.
“You have exchanged my car,” she repeats. “For some meat.”
Len the Fish’s son pops round later with some nice beef that has been freshly-butchered by Len. I give him the keys. It is a win-win situation. I get some nice meat and the feeling that I have done somebody a proper favour; he gets a cheap and reliable car that will last him for many years to come.
Sometimes the simple things in life are the best.