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March 2024: "From A New Forest Inclosure” by Ian Thew

Just last November I related how the Doting Owner of the Spoilt Ponies was disappointed when she found her pony with a loose shoe and, consequently, lost a day following the South Downs Bloodhounds.  Two weeks on, with the shoe safely secured and the nag back in four-wheel drive, she set off to Corehampton just North of Bishops Waltham where she parked the Land Rover and trailer beside the main road, along with twenty or so other like-minded people, before galloping off across the neighbouring countryside to follow the slobbering hounds that, heads down, were pursuing their human “quarry” with great enthusiasm. 

She had a wonderful day until, on returning to her vehicle, she discovered a smashed rear passenger window and her coat and handbag, which had been carefully hidden behind tinted glass, gone.  I won’t go into the rigmarole of what followed but I managed to arrange the window repair on-line and paid the insurance excess of £50.00 at the same time.

The very next day a nice young man came and fitted a temporary Perspex window, informing me at the same time that I owed his company £50.00.  I advised him I’d already paid this and with a shrug of his shoulders he left.  A few days later another fellow came and fitted the permanent window and he too pointed out that I still owed his company £50.00.  I gave him my assurances that this was not so and mumbling something about office workers he departed.

After he had gone I checked my computer and sure enough £50.00 had left my account and gone to the glass company and that should have been the end of it, but it wasn’t.  On Sunday afternoon I received a telephone call from a lady with an Asian accent who, claiming to represent the glass company, asked why I had not paid my outstanding account.  I told her in no uncertain terms that it had been paid.  She then said the problem could easily be resolved if I would give her my Visa number and address.  I immediately smelt something fishy and suspected a scam. I’m sure, looking back, that my reply wasn’t polite as I declined her request. To allay my suspicions, she offered a telephone number for me to ring. I told her I wasn’t stupid and knew just what she was playing at. She then said that if I didn’t pay the money I would continue to receive calls and letters from her company.

By now I’d had enough and I blew my top telling her to carry on and waste as much time and money as she wanted but I wasn’t going to pay again. She sighed and asked why I was so reluctant to give her my Visa number and address.  Now, bearing in mind the line was fuzzy, I am deaf and she was speaking with a foreign accent, something in her last statement didn’t ring true so after giving some thought to what she had just said I questioned whether she was saying Visa number or vehicle number.

She laughed, saying she would never ask for the former – she was asking for my vehicle number.  I apologised profusely for my mistake and my attitude, blaming my aged ears as the cause and within minutes the matter was, thank goodness, soon resolved.

I’m so pleased I didn’t give her both barrels, as I so easily could have done, but I’m sure she would still be dining out on our conversation for some time to come.

Ian Thew




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