Sunday, 20 September 2015

May Contain Nuts

Tom has been up to his old tricks again this week. I may have mentioned that he has a nose for a bargain and will often turn up in the street with a ‘buy one get one free’ offer that he has found in the supermarket. He could not be classed as stingy with his finds, the only problem is that he will proffer the free part of the deal at a price that is only slightly reduced from the original. Luckily most people see through this strategy, although both Mand and Catherine have been caught a few times. Mand does not have an issue with this, in fact she thinks that Tom is doing her a service.
‘I don’t like want two of anything, so if he is charging me less than I would pay for one, then that’s like, good.’
A few of us have tried to point out to her that the fairest thing would be for her to pay half, but she always fights Tom’s corner stating that he has to take his time into consideration and the cost of petrol. I get too frustrated with her to remind her that Tom neither drives or has to pay for the bus but if she can’t see his faults than that’s her problem.

He did go through quite a vindictive phase after Roger told him off for leaning against his wall and smoking, he would regularly turn up at the house when Suzy was on her own, forcing livers and kidneys onto her. She was quite vulnerable at the time and would pay the pound that he requested for the items, never daring to tell him that she was a vegetarian and Roger detested offal. Tom knew all along that their culinary taste didn’t extend to these foods but he was determined to get revenge for the reprimand.
This week Jacinta had given a bag of cobnuts to Garth, her sister had five cobnut trees in her garden and couldn’t get rid of the nuts for love nor money. She had collected several bags and had hung them on her fence with a notice stating, ‘Free to anyone that wants them’.
Nuts that you self crack are an annoying reminder of Christmas for me and the cobnut influx at the start of Autumn is too much to bear, so I wasn’t interested in this freebie. Garth passed on the news of his gift to Ken who in turn told Tom, who had an unusual level of interest for a man whose teeth look like they couldn’t chew their way through a blancmange, let alone a nut.
The next day I heard Jacinta telling Ken that all of the nuts hanging outside her sister’s house had gone overnight, she was delighted because there were several more bags to be gathered and up until now the take up had been slim. The following few days the nuts disappeared overnight and they were beginning to think that they were in the clasp of an overzealous squirrel.
It’s market day on Tuesday in the town and I was woken up early that morning by the sound of wheels being dragged up the path, on closer inspection I could see Tom wrestling with a shopping trolley which was bulging with its contents and had a box balanced precariously on top. He was wearing thick clothing, fingerless gloves and there was a money belt tied around his waist, I thought nothing more of it and returned to my bed.
Later that day I could hear the outrage in Jacinta’s voice as she complained to Ken about the sight she had seen in the market. ‘Local cob nuts, he was shouting, local cob nuts at knockdown prices. He was charging two pound for a bag. He even tried to sell some to my sister, the cheek of the man.’
Ken as usual had a very laid back attitude to the news, ‘you can’t blame the man for making the best of an opportunity, I think you should stop worrying.’
‘But he’s leading people astray, part of his sales pitch is the tale he tells about risking his life climbing the tree to gather the nuts.’

Ken’s howls of laughter could be heard clearly in my house at this news and finally Jacinta saw the funny side of it. That evening when Tom arrived home there was a notice pinned to his front door, he didn't know who had put it there but the message was clear, ‘May contain nuts!’


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