In the villages around us were many retired business men. John was one who though he was 70 odd years old was always to be found, weather permitting, in his workshop, a leanto shed on the back of his house, he had been a one man builder, painter and decorator. A good honest working man, he did a good job, he was always punctual on the job – 7.30 am start, 12 pm–1 pm lunch break and at 5 pm he packed up his tools and went off home. The salt of the earth, you could rely on him, he walked to his jobs, pushing his hand barrow, with his tools or materials on, he walked to and from work in all weathers long our road and along lanes and some just grass tracks.

But one job turned sour on him, and his wife never let him forget it. It was like this. A local pub needed a lot of work doing to it, owing to a book that was written by a native of the hamlet trade the amount of visitors who visited the pub was growing. They asked about a cottage and general information about the people and the families.

John put in a tender for the job, against three or four other firms, he was very pleased to land the contract. Proudly he put up his board for one and all to see, John Wright Builder, decorator etc. It was his first big job. He started in the spring it went on through a hot summer into September. The walls were thick and dusty, the ceilings inches thick in plaster, dust was everywhere, it meant knocking down and rebuilding, and replastering. The bottles and glasses, everything has a coating of dust, it penetrated everywhere, at last it was finished, the bar, cellar and living apartment, the whole lot decorated and spruced up. At last the great day was here, the big job finished, single handed John had done it all. The bill prepared, John with his truck walked the three miles to collect the tools, and bits of odds and ends which he cleared up and stacked on the handbarrow, John presented the bill, he had said to his wife before departing in the morning “a good job done if I say so myself and a good advert for our business.” John returned late that morning very quietly and busied himself putting his things away.

Meanwhile mother had cooked a special lunch to mark the special occasion. After an hour of waiting to dish up the lunch, “what ails the man?” she asked her sons “go and see what he’s doing.” And all that money in his pocket, “go and fetch him in, it’s past his lunch time. Everything will be spoilt.” John came in “well” said his wife “how did you get on?” poor John with a cough said “it’s like this here,” “what do you mean?” asked his wife. With a shuffling of feet and much throat clearing John said “thereby hangs a tale, it’s been a hot and dusty summer, and a very dusty job. when I gave the customer the bill, they presented me with one, owing to the dust and the approximate amount of the lubricant that I partook to keep the dust down to a reasonable level. I owe them a few pence” John still prefers years after to sit and look at his tools rather than face his woman she just wont let him forget not nohow.