Ball Park

June 14th 2006

There is no doubt that the older you get the more awkward and intolerant you become. I don’t know whether or not it’s  because once you get past the age of sixty people expect you to be awkward and intolerant, and because you’re aware this is you take advantage of it, but it is a definite fact, and I am living proof of it. An example –

I went shopping for a new up and over garage door this morning as the other one has never been quite the same since The Trouble backed into it when she was going through the menopause (neither has The Trouble been quite the same for that matter, but whether it’s because of the menopause or backing into the garage door is not clear).

After taking the particulars of my garage door the salesman worked out a price and announced: “The ball park price is £210.”

If there’s anything that’s guaranteed to get my goat it’s the Americanisation of the English language. I treated him to a withering look, then in my best clipped Captain Mainwaring tone said: “What did you say?”

“It’ll be £200. Ball park.”

“Which ball park would that be then?”


“Yankee Stadium? Shea Stadium? Candlestick Park?”

“I’m sorry?”

“They’re ball parks. Or perhaps it’s some other ball park to which you refer?”

  A shake of the head. “I’m not with you.”

“When you said the ball park price was £210?”

“…….It’s just a ball park price.”

“So it’s any ball park?”

“…….Well yes. I suppose. Any ball park.”

“So what’s the normal price then?”

“The normal price?”

“The price that isn’t the ball park price?”

“….Well it’s the same.”

“The same?”

“The same price. As the ball park price.”

“Then why call it the ball park price?”

“……Well…. well it’s just an expression.”

“Well here’s another expression. Stick your ball park price up your arse along with your up and over garage door.”

After shopping round all morning the best price I’ve been able to get for a new garage door is £230 so it looks like my awkwardness and intolerance will be costing me £20. But as this isn’t a ball park price it will cheap at the price.