16th January 2007While I was out walking yesterday a van passed me. It was white, my least favourite colour of van. Written on the side of it were the words â€˜Sidâ€™s Removals. Anytime, Anywhereâ€™. It had disappeared into the distance before I could get Sidâ€™s telephone number but fortunately it was in the local telephone directory. I phone this morning.
SID: Hello.ME: Sidâ€™s Removals?
SID: Yes.ME: Anytime, Anywhere?
SID: Yes.ME: I want you to take an elephant to the Isle of Man for me.
Silence for several seconds.ME: Hello?
SID: Did you say elephant?ME: Yes. To the Isle of Man. You see I have two private zoos, one here and one in Douglas, and I want to transfer the elephant from one zoo to the other. And thereâ€™ll be a sabre-toothed tiger to bring back. So I was wondering if youâ€™d be interested? Only Pickfords wonâ€™t do it.
More silence.ME: Hello?
SID: You see I only usually do small house removals and stuff.ME: Well an elephant is nowhere near as big as a small house so there shouldnâ€™t be a problem. Even so Psycho is â€“ donâ€™t worry about his name by the way, I think thatâ€™s what put Pickfords off, but heâ€™s nowhere near as violent as he was when we christened him â€“ even so Psycho is a pretty large elephant.
More silence.ME: Hello?
SID: I donâ€™t think I can help you.ME: What?
SID: In this instance.ME: In which instance can you help me get my elephant to the Isle of Man then?
SID: Well not in any instance I suppose.ME: You realise youâ€™re in breach of the Trade Descriptions Act, Section 2, subsection 3B do you?
SID: What?ME: â€˜Anytime, Anywhereâ€™. Thatâ€™s what it says on you van.
SID: Yeh butâ€¦â€¦ME: And you can save the Vicky Pollard impression. I expect you to accept this commission; failing that the next time I see your van I will expect you to have either painted out the false claimÂ â€˜Anytime, Anywhereâ€™ or added to it the words â€˜Except Elephants To The Isle of Manâ€™. Is that understood?
SID: Silence.ME: I said is that understood?
SID: This is a wind up, isnâ€™t it?Â ME: Fail to do as I have just instructed you and you will find out if itâ€™s a wind up or not my good man! I put the phone down. In the meantime The Trouble had come in from the kitchen and had been eavesdropping. THE TROUBLE: Itâ€™s a pity youâ€™ve nothing better to do.ME: I have. Iâ€™ve got two zoos to run, but these people must be put in their place.
Have you seen the stiff brush anywhere, I need it to muck out the llamas?
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Terry Ravenscroft, 19 Ventura Court, Ollersett Avenue, New Mills, High Peak, SK22 4LL