Do you think all cockerels must be under the impression that they are called “OH SHUT THE F**K UP!” ?

Have you ever wondered how often a cockerel crows?

Well I can reliably tell you….every sodding eight seconds from about five am until it just becomes bored of doing so, which is somewhere between several hours and NEVER!

Eventually, after well over two hours, I just stopped caring and finally got out of bed. To be fair, after the first half hour it had reduced it’s infuriating and utterly pointless outbursts to about every twelve to fifteen seconds but by then I was almost completely insane anyway. 

As it happens I’d already been fully awake since three-thirty am.

As if the thirty-three degrees heat of our bedroom wasn’t enough to contend with, which incidentally was why I had ended up opening the bedroom window at five-am only to then be persistently kept awake by that colossal gobshite of the cock variety, I was also robbed of sleep because my brain insisted on presenting me with more things that I needed to concern myself with in the coming hours.

You see, my husband has decided we are selling our beautiful Honda S2000.

I say ours, technically and legally it is mine, I already owned it before we were a couple, but since our coupling I’ve always considered it ‘ours’, a very joint item, though seemingly he is not quite so understanding, since he definitively decided that it was to be sold and proceeded to enlist it on Leboncoin, and then only after he had created the advert and actually made it live, did he think to mention it to me

“Oh, by the way, I’ve advertised the Honda for sale” was the casual way he dropped the news.

Genuinely, it was not a complete and utter bombshell to me since we had already had various discussions the previous year and uhhhmed and ahhed for some considerable time, over whether we should sell it or not. The difference being that I was under the impression that at this time, we had come to the conclusion, nay the agreement, that we were going to keep it just as our little fun-mobile, since we both have other cars for our daily use. Whilst I fully understand that it is somewhat of an indulgence because each year we (my husband) pays about €700 for the insurance and then there is the upkeep on top of that and all this for the privilege of owning something that in reality we probably use less than five times in the whole of summer….but that really is not the point. 

Not only that, but he had advertised it far too cheaply in my opinion (which, let’s be honest, is really the only one that counts) and like all of his other previous ‘admin attempts’, his advert contained both errors and omissions, namely a number of key details were missing, for instance, the fact that it is a right-hand drive car in a left-hand drive country.

The advert needed a complete rewrite, which annoyingly costs the same amount to modify as it does to list an item for sale in the first place, not a massive amount but still irksome and in hindsight, it probably would have been much easier if I’d binned the original and just started again from scratch, it was such a pain to change and also, eventually took longer for the modifications to be approved by the customer service team, than a brand new advert would have taken to go live. 

Basically, yet another rushed and half arsed job by my husband, which left me tutting and shaking my head in firm disapproval, as only an ex IT Helpdesk Manager can (the many years of dealing with ‘users’ has a tendency to leave one rather short on patience).  

Give my husband a tool kit and something to mend and he is an absolute wizard, not to mention, a veritable perfectionist but give him a keyboard and a blank document and, well let’s just say, there is a very good reason why I handle all the paperwork, communication and admin in our household. 

So, yes, in truth I was a bit miffed that it had been advertised without me even being consulted on the fact and then secondly to have to hastily rewrite the advert because he had made a rather poor job of it in the first place and now it was already live and then thirdly when after just a measly FOUR interested parties had made contact he effectively decided to hand over the ‘correspondence’ side of things to ‘his secretary’ aka me. 

Naturally, this was always going to be the case, since my husband can’t even make a simple dental appointment without my having to be involved. 

I’ll receive a WhatsApp message saying “All I keep getting is the answer phone, can you keep trying for me. Sorry, I’m a bit busy xx” which I will instinctively know that it means that he has tried precisely once to phone the dentist and having been connected to the answering service, it has given him all the excuses he needs to surrender the task to me, despite that I suggested he send an email the day before and if he had just done as I proposed, by now he would already have received a response with an allotted appointment, instead of actually having to SPEAK to someone!  I could even have sent the email for him but he insisted on phoning them.

Personally I believe that ‘talking’ is very much overrated when there are other more efficient options. One’s and zero’s, one’s and zero’s.

Anyway, where were we?

Ah yes, the maddening cockerel, the ridiculously stifling heat and the fact that I’d been up most of the night researching bankers drafts, how to spot if it is genuine or fake (apparently fake bankers drafts are more common than you would perhaps think) and trying to determine the doubtless incredibly complicated procedure for selling a car in France since it was by now Friday morning, albeit very, very early and someone intended to drive three and a half hours to come and look at the Honda that weekend and if they liked it, to drive away in it, leaving us with just a piece of paper that could be worth several thousand euros or could be entirely worthless!

All the while my husband was almost certainly sound asleep elsewhere, since  he was working away from home again and as such, meant that he was able to avail himself of sleep in a quiet, cool, air conditioned hotel room, free of any of these concerns since he had now expertly handed it all over to me.

Also, I know I’ll get absolutely nowhere mentioning to my husband the negatives of going off half-cocked where the sale of the Honda is concerned because he will automatically pull out his golden trump card….the  ‘I work full time’ routine ‘and I mean proper hard work, not just sitting at a desk fannying about!’.  This is effectively the trump card to win all arguments in our household, either that or he’ll employ the snarky, belittling arrogance of Jordan Belfort from the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ (one of my favourite films, I might add):

Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio): Oh my God! You had to deal with the Golf Course people too! What a Greek tragedy! Honey oh my God!, you probably had to pay them in cash with your hands! What a f***ing burden, you actually had to do some work besides swiping my f***ing credit card all day! 

Leonardo DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street

So instead I have to have imaginary discussions with my husband to test the theories and their veritable merits where I might say something like….

Sell MY car without even discussing it with me first? How would you feel if you came home and I simply announced to you that I’d put the house on the market?” And then I will laugh to myself at my imaginary role play because I realise that this is exactly the sort of thing I would probably do except it would be along the lines of

Babeeeeeee I’ve found our absolute dream home” I would announce excitedly, as I waft details of house particulars under his nose the minute he walks through the door “it’s everything we’ve been looking for and it’s an absolute bargain, which means that it will probably get snapped up and we won’t even get a look in” sad face “but to make sure that we have the slightest chance possible I thought I’d be really organised and get onto it tout-suite, so I’ve emailed the agent requesting a viewing at the earliest opportunity, oh and I’ve also had our house valued and it’s going on the market next week”.

Yes, admittedly that’s absolutely the sort of thing I would do, but never sneakily or for any underhand reasons, just genuinely if I thought it was what was absolutely best for us both and for our future and being the terribly organised, efficient and proactive busy-bee that I am, why wait?

I guess one of the sub-conscious reasons that I didn’t really want to sell the Honda S2000, other than the fact that it is a beautiful car that we both love and we are not particularly desperate for the money, is that with the selling of anything of any value, it is a bloody hassle and also ultimately results in the undesirable situation of attracting potentially shady characters into your life. People who might want to rip you off, people with a scam up their sleeve.

We received various communications proclaiming interest in the Honda. Mostly, the initial contacts were asking if it was a right-hand-drive or a left-hand-drive car, since as previously mentioned, my husband had omitted to mention this rather important fact on the original advert and there was a bit of a delay until such time that the modified advert with all the correct and pertinent information went live.  

So, once various people had discovered it was a right-hand-drive vehicle and we never heard from them again, there were still several interested parties vying for the first opportunity to view it, especially as it was considerably cheaper than every other advertised Honda S2000 with a comparable low mileage and in similar excellent condition.

One chap, in a particular frenzy of excitement, sent about nine separate messages in the space of twenty minutes, requesting more pictures, more details, asking various questions. I was in the process of putting together a response to answer all of his questions and messages and stating that we would take some additional pictures at the weekend of the engine bay, chassis, service book etc. and also to provide him the mobile number of my husband, when before I had even had a chance to press send, he sent yet another message saying he wanted to go to the bank the following morning (Friday) in order to request a bank cheque, so could we send him our details and also would this Saturday be okay to come to buy the car? He went on to explain that he lives 3.5 hours away from the advertised position of the car so he would want the transaction to be completed in a single visit blah blah blah. All this despite that he had not yet received any of the details he had previously requested and it was already late Thursday evening, so arranging all of the ‘necessaries’ for the coming weekend would be incredibly tight!

I personally thought it was a bit odd that he would be racing ahead with arranging a bankers draft and a visit when he had asked for so many other details and pictures and it was just enough to make me a bit suspicious and raise an amber warning light to blink repeatedly on the dashboard in my mind.

You see, with my wild imagination and hours of time to indulge it, I am a very suspecting and questioning person. I could certainly give Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury….Murder She Wrote)  a run for her money.

It is wholly pointless my husband trying to have any genuine secrets from me. I would sniff them out in a heartbeat and what’s more….he absolutely knows it.

Obviously, this contact regarding the car may be perfectly genuine. In France it is pretty standard to buy a car with a bankers draft and as with all things French there are various procedures in place that are necessary in order to be able to obtain a bankers draft and then verify this ahead of the transaction, but one thing I know about conmen is that they are consummate professionals. Criminals are always two steps ahead of the game. They hone their skills, they send just the right amount of information to make you feel that they are genuine, they perhaps are also vague enough in some of their contact, hoping that you will offer up more information than is absolutely necessary but ultimately to their advantage, also they never come across as too slick or too knowledgeable, they will apologise for not being very computer savvy, especially if it can be used as an excuse not to provide relevant documents, or they will make mistakes in emails to look like they have never done this before.

“Oooooh I’m such a virgin!”

I sent the response I had originally drafted, with the addition that yes he could come and ‘view’ the vehicle this weekend and then went to bed.

But of course I couldn’t sleep, not in thirty-three degrees of heat and not with the amber light flashing in my mind. The more I lay awake thinking about it, the more I convinced myself that tiny little details in his messages were a definite give away of him being untrustworthy or that he was deliberately trying to rush this transaction through at the weekend, when the banks would not be open because it was possibly a scam. Maybe he was part of a large network of criminals that routinely concluded transactions of high end, sought after vehicles, using fake ID and bogus bankers drafts, leaving the unsuspecting seller, both without the vehicle and without any genuine funds as compensation.

I ended up practically running through memory, another of Leonardo DiCaprio’s films, Catch me if you Can, based on the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr, I say based on, because in actual fact, Frank Abagnale Jr’s exploits in real life were actually more fantastical than the film ever fully depicted.

In reality, the potential Honda buyer was being 100% genuine but

ITS HARD TO BE RATIONAL AT FOUR AM!

and by the time I’d finished FBI’ing his arse and sending another response, he was probably terrified that he, himself, was potentially the target of some kind of a scam.

I’d messaged saying that since we were so tight for time, if he wanted the transaction to go ahead for this weekend, that I would need the following documents by Friday afternoon: a picture of a piece of personal ID, an attestation de domicile (basically a proof of where he lived) a PDF of the ‘cheque de banque’ and details of the issuing bank for verification purposes, as the banks would naturally be closed for the weekend by the time he would be here and therefore I would need to verify the validity of the cheque in advance. I’d asked for all of this and all I had provided him so far was a mobile number and a message that said due to road works in our town where they have closed the main road and also that we live in a small hamlet on a street with no name it would be easier for him to meet us in the local supermarket car park where he could follow us back to our address to view the car.

All completely and utterly genuine I might add; they really are doing road works and have indeed shut the main road during prime holiday season, with a piss-poor diversion in place that you would need a degree in astrophysics to fathom, what’s more we truly do live in a tiny hamlet, in a street with no name but realistically …..who sounded the more dodgy?  

The potential Honda buyer or the person asking to meet a stranger in a car park and then follow them into the back of beyond like a scene from Wolf Creek.

Basically, my address:
Little Miss Skeptical
No name street
Somewhere in France.
EARTH
THE UNIVERSE

(Do you remember writing EARTH, THE UNIVERSE after every address you ever wrote as a kid?  Does that make me a total nerd?)

Alternatively, I suggested we could arrange the transaction for the following weekend to allow us all more time to prepare for it and also threw in for good measure that we would send him and all the other currently interested parties additional photos during the course of this weekend.  I fully expected not to hear from him again, so convinced was I, that he was a scammer and that my request for his ID and a copy of the cheque for validation would signal to him that we were not to be an easy target.

It’s not that I was deliberately trying to sabotage any potential sale, not at all but it doesn’t hurt to be cautious, if people are genuine they will understand.

It certainly had nothing to do with me not being 100% on board with the sale of the Honda in the first place.

Realistically we never use the car. It has become more of a concern than anything. We might go for a little drive in it on a perfect weather day, but in recent years my husband has become all too fixated about details such as, where to park it, have the roads got any loose gravel on them, will someone park next to it and open their door onto it, will a freak hailstorm occur again and put another zillion dents all over the bodywork so that it needs to spend six weeks in the body shop. I think since he quietly made the decision to sell it, which in reality was probably a long, long time ago, and has subsequently ensured that it is in pristine condition both inside and out, he doesn’t want to tempt fate by taking it out and it possibly meeting with a scratch or a prang. So it remains under it’s silver cover, unused in our barn and therefore when you think about it, it really is quite pointless to continue to own it and I can genuinely see the sense in selling it in that case, but I can’t help but wonder when it suddenly became so precious and so much a point of concern rather than just something to be used and enjoyed?

When I lived in the UK this used to be my daily car, I would drive it to work and back and park it in the busy staff car park. I would park it in Sainsbury’s car park and do a weeks shopping, I would leave it in any number of places and just assume that when I returned to it, it would be entirely as I had left it. It has been hit by a tractor and repaired back to brand new, it has had countless boy racers try to burn it up at the traffic lights, it was used every day, it was fun….but it was still only ever a car, an eye-catching, gleaming, head-turning car but a car all the same.

I mean, it’s not as if it is a rare classic that is worth a small fortune.

I guess what my husband was really telling me is that when ‘WE’ decided to keep it after our discussion last year, this was clearly not the outcome he had hoped for.

A year later, he’s decided to make his wishes formally known.

Thankfully, the buyer turned out to be utterly genuine, the purchase was delayed for a further week as it actually took him until Wednesday to have the bankers draft raised and he will be arriving this weekend to make the final sale transaction, complete with a pre-verified cheque and all of his ID, which he has already provided to me.  Trust is so important don’t you think? 

So the end of an era is nigh.

It will be quite sad seeing it drive off. I know it is mostly out of sight and out of mind in it’s cavernous stone tomb but it still marks the closing of a chapter for us.
For me, it seems somewhat to indicate that our younger, sexier days are now over. We are definitely full swing into our middle-aged phase and as such, perhaps there is no room for such a racy little beast as a Honda S2000 in our lives anymore.

Our beautiful, sexy, sleek S2000.

It is as though our sub-conscience is telling us that our lives need to be a lot more practical and conservative……far more grown up and sensible.
I hope to goodness that doesn’t mean that we need to buy something really dull and boring instead.  My husband was talking rather appreciatively about Dacia Dusters the other day!  I shall have to keep a close eye on him, lest he start buying his clothes from those awful magazine supplements, full of polyester stay-press trousers and shapeless fleece-lined windcheaters.

A brown Dacia Duster!


Ha Ha Ha… now there’s a thought!
Have a great weekend everyone!

The Virtual Recluse