We're talking about 100 quid here. Not a vast amount of money, that is true, but enough to get excited about. And it was there lying in a curled up bundle at my feet. So I did what anyone else would have done; I picked it up.
In the normal course of events a new jacket and some shoes, or perhaps the latest fishing accessory would have made an appearance and that would have been the end of it, but this is my life we are taking about, every element of it throws up a new challenge.
For example whenever I find 100 quid rolled up in a bundle at my feet an annoying old woman has to see me pick it up, so that she can follow me around telling me that I must hand it in to the police station, that it probably belongs to an OAP, or in other words another old lady just like this one, and she'll need it to survive through the week, and how even when she's not leaving it lying on the street it's hard enough to make ends meet, and how she wants to accompany me to the police station, not because she doesn't trust me, although you never can tell, but just to make sure I find it OK.
In the midsts of the growing crowd I turned my full attention to my assailant. I said:
'Old woman: go away. Leave me alone. You have spent the last 20 minutes of your life annoying me. Now go away and annoy someone else. I will take this money to the police station where it belongs. It has always been my intention to do so, because as a rule, I like old women and wouldn't want to spend their pension money on a new flyreel. Not when there is food and electricity to be bought. So leave me in peace and I'll go and visit the police station right away.'
Pause. She said:
'Do you know where it is? I'll show you; we'll go together'.
I'm ashamed to tell you at this point I lost all reason: I gave the woman the money, told her to do with it whatever the hell she wanted with it; I couldn't care less, it just wasn't worth it, and informed her in no uncertain terms that I hoped never to see her, or anyone remotely like her, ever again.
Now to be honest I was somewhat shaken by this. I had always considered myself to be a 'fairly honest fellow' and here I was taken to pieces by some little old lady who, no doubt, was rather sweet when not battling for justice and cheaper bus fares. Of course I would have kept the money, I found it, it was mine, but I was saved this bit of conscience battling by Old Lady Righteous.
But then I began to have doubts. What person in their right mind would even bother ringing the police station after loosing money in the street? Of course no-one would hand it in. And this old lady would get the money three months later when no-one had claimed for it. Or a reward if they did and possibly a medal from the local paper. And purely because she enjoyed harassing people.
The old bitch. So that was her game.
So I decided that I would seize the initiative and ask my sister to call the police and report the loss. We would split the money and have a rare old time. Unfortunately, however, upon ringing the police station it was discovered that no money had been handed over. The old lady had nabbed it. Obviously the temptation had been too much for her. Ironically this actually made me feel rather good about myself, and has taught me the important lesson: never to trust old ladies.
This was seven years ago.
So when I received an order for ten leatherman tools to Hungary last March one would have expected me to be suspicious. Indeed I was, and I made doubly certain that the credit card cleared before the order was sent.
Let me tell you something interesting which I had failed to fully appreciate at the time: credit card companies protect the holder; in this case a bewildered American. What had happened is that this Hungarian fellow had got hold of a legitimate number and expiry date of a US Visa card, and when the genuine owner questioned the order (six weeks later), the money was refunded (and debited from my account, of course). Apparently there is no protection from mail order fraud; if he (the trickster) had come and visited personally and signed similarly to the card signature then all would have been fine; the credit card companies (i.e. banks) would have taken the fall and that's just splendid of course.
Here's the point: I get 2 to 3 attempted frauds per week. Some are from Hungary, most are from Indonesia, a few from US, none have the subtlety of the old lady and there is no insurance cover available.
I've been to a few outdoor raves this month, as you do, where I dance at twice the speed of everyone else, as I do, and for that matter, a couple of indoor ones, at one of which I had my camera confiscated for taking a photo of Carl Cox - I mean what is this guy, a god? - obviously, but I also got the camera back again, but whether the spool has been exposed or photo's of someone's bum (Carl Cox's?) have been added; I can't say as yet, however I think the time is right to invent Fire Casting.
I'm currently with a girl who fire-chains, of all things, and as dramatic as that is (3 miniature bush fires and one scalded dog in an exciting five minute blast), it has nothing to the destructive potential of Fire Casting.
I am thinking shooting head here; heat proof nail-knot, long belly, tapered, burning flyline, and a scene from hell. I'll let you know...
Finally I have a sexyloops hat. They have been around before; there are now known to be three in existence. The first two have a rather interesting story attached to them.
My accountant in a fit of enthusiasm, with the aid of a particularly advanced fax machine, of the sort which enables one to send faxes to 30 companies simultaneously, sent faxes to 30 companies simultaneously, asking for quotes on a sexyloops hat manufacture.
Chaos ensued. 30 different companies telephoned (yes it was headed paper) asking 30 different questions (such as how many? what material? how big would you like the logo? would it be supplied on disk?). Fantastic! Wish I'd been there to watch! And this is in a bank!!
So anyway, two hats were produced. But neither of which I have seen. So when I came across a small business offering to stitch your logo to a hat for an all-inclusive price of 38 AUD (about £15), and that includes the hat, I jumped at it.
However what I needed was a catchy statement. Some text to go under the logo. So I had a beach run and mulled over it. This is what I came up with:
Sexyloops... beyond flycasting.
I'm currently sorting out the subscription list, working out how to use Post Office and writing the next issue. So I am working. Honest.
And if anyone has some particularly fearsome Hungarian friends who fancy a bit of a wild goose chase then I'd love to hear from you.
I've just been told that I look like a 'dork' in my hat...