Tuesday 12 January 2016

By working as a team

I was sitting in my non-functioning geriatric’s reclining chair by the gurgling log-burner in our kitchen early yesterday evening, a Bloody Mary by my side and The Times on my lap, when my elder son and heir unexpectedly appeared in the chair beside me.

Now 6½, The Boy looked both intensely earnest and slightly odd. Though any concerns about the latter were swiftly dismissed when I remembered that he had recently lost both his upper front teeth, happily in the natural course of events rather than in a playground scrap.

“Daddy,” he began, as he usually does. “Jamie wants to have 101 Dalmatians …”

I was about to point out that we had already bought him the DVD, but was afforded no chance.

“… and that means we’ll have 103 dogs with the two we’ve already got, so we need to buy a really big house and garden.”

“OK, and how are we going to be able to afford that?”

“By working as a team,” he responded, nodding earnestly, for all the world as though he had progressed overnight from primary school to a full-time career as a motivational speaker.

“Do you have a great money-making idea, then?”

“Yes, we can do it easily by working as a team. I’ve got £25.19 in my money box, Mummy’s got £30 and Jamie’s got £6.21. How many pounds have you got, Daddy?”

“More than Mummy.”

“How much more?”

“Lots more.”

“So can we buy a bigger house, then?”

“How much do you think a bigger house would cost?”

“Ooh, maybe two thousand pounds?”

“Charlie, do you know how much this house cost?”


“Three hundred and sixty-five thousand pounds.”


“So a big house somewhere round here would cost getting on for a million pounds. Do you think we could raise a million pounds?”



“By working as a team.”

Clearly I should have asked: "Why does he want Dalmatians when the Border terriers are so perfectly colour-coordinated with the furniture?"

Shortly afterwards I heard him talking to his younger brother and Mummy upstairs, and got out of my chair and wandered up to eavesdrop and then intervene.

“Jamie, Daddy says he’s got LOTS of pounds, so maybe we can buy a bigger house and you can have your Dalmatians.”

“No, I said I had lots more pounds than Mummy. More than £30, that is.” (Quietly amazed that Mummy has any pounds at all, since she is even more famed for not carrying cash than Her Majesty The Queen.) “So I really don’t see how we can afford to move. We’ve got two houses as it is and we can’t really afford to keep those.”

“Yes, we can.”


“By working as a team.”

 I’ve always been a solitary writer and sole trader myself, but I look forward to this exciting new experience. Though at the risk of sounding cynical, I’ve bought a Euromillions ticket for tonight and suspect that there is slightly more chance of it yielding the price of a mansion than Hann teamwork.