Monday, January 25, 2010

Conmen and unsolicited callers

I have a shameful secret. Months and months ago, we were given a new fridge. The old one was moved into the back garden, and for a while was used for storing various things. My daughter drew over it in indelible pen, her trademark footballers and young men.

After a few weeks, we agreed we should get the council to come and take it away. The fridge migrated to the front garden and my son tried to sign up for collection through the council website... but their form was broken. Time passed.

As long as I don't actually have to scale a mountain of discarded fridges to get to my computer, I don't much notice stuff. The fridge was hidden behind our people carrier, and it was only occasionally that I thought, gosh, must phone the council. The trouble is, it would go right out of my mind as soon as I crossed the threshold, or it would be out of hours or whatever. There's no real excuse, it was lazy and unnecessary - although if the online form had been working, we would hae done it straight away.

It wasn't until I heard someone say, in a stand up act, last weekend "you don't want to be sent to live in the sort of council estate where the neighbours have a fridge in the garden" that I realised that what I had done or not done might be annoying the neighours. Despite this, I still didn't call the council, because I forgot again, after the weekend, being focussed on all the stuff I have to do, and my tax return.

Then, there was a knock at the door. It was a charming young man with an Irish accent, who asked if I wanted the fridge disposed of. I said no, the council would come and get it, I'd just not contacted them. He said that for £20 he would take it away to the dump, and it would be gone, no need to wait. I hesitated, because nowadays £20 is not a small amount of money, and I knew I could get it done for nothing by the council. Bu I was feeling so guilty for not having done anything about it before... I said yes, they shifted it into their van, and I handed over the £20.

Last night, my husband came home from the pub with the news that the flats down the road had suddenly acquired a new decoration. A rather recognisable fridge, with very recognisable decoration had appeared in the car park. All the neighbours are wondering if we had moved our fridge from our garden to theirs, to get rid of it. The nice Irish boys had moved it 50 yards down the road before dumping it out again.

What with that, and the fact that a new large dog somewhere in the road is barking incessantly at night, which I am sure our neighbours will think is our dog, as I have more than once mistaken the other dog's bark for Toby... we're beginning to look like the problem family of the neighbourhood. They already think we're nuts for home educating.

The moral of this story, is not to procrastinate and not to accept kind offers from charming callers at the door. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.

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