Donald MacInnes: Myrtle made me a barterer but I'd have done it for nothing
In the Red
Donald MacInnes writes Tales from the Water Cooler, which can be found every Saturday on page 2 of i. And, although a financial near-imbecile, he writes a weekly column in The Independent’s Money section, also on Saturdays. He writes regularly on a broad range of subjects in i’s Freeview section and occasionally fills in on Simon Kelner’s daily column when emotionally up to it. @DonaldAMacInnes
Saturday 07 July 2012
I have been called a lot of bad names (a good proportion being the result of columns I have written in this newspaper). But while you could call me a lot of things, "barterer" is not usually a word which is thrown my way too often.
I've certainly been described as something which sounds like this, but leaving aside questions of my parentage, my acceptance of alternative methods of payment for my endeavours has, thus far in my life, been limited.
If I had to place a value on a week of my time, using goods and services rather than actual fiscal remuneration, I would probably struggle. I'm used to getting paid in cash money, not a hundredweight of pork scratchings or a new set of tyres. However, this was not the case last week, when my girlfriend and I agreed to dog-sit for a friend while she was on holiday.
In exchange for spending a week picking up dog poo and being forced to stride through fields of cow pats and sheep splats in order to throw balls around for it to chase, we got the keys to our friend's lovely cottage in the Cotswolds. Open fire, lovely garden, rolling vista; bliss.
However, please don't tell anyone, but it was all a cunning ruse. I would have done it for nothing.
As I spend much of my life wishing forlornly that I could have a dog, I don't regard the aforementioned picking up of freshly laid pooch doo-doo as being a downside. I mean, I use a plastic bag, of course… I'm not crazy, but if that means I get to run around a field with a panting Irish terrier called Myrtle, I'm a happy man.
Truth be told, if we had been forced to live in a caravan in the back garden for the whole week, you would have heard few complaints from us. And I include my girlfriend in that, purely because she underwent a spectacular transformation during the week. Having arrived in the Cotswolds a reasonably dog-averse cat-person, such was the impact of the lovely Myrtle, that at the end of the week, she was more than a little tearful to say goodbye to our waggy, ginger pal.
Sitting in front of a roaring log fire with a warm body on your lap is medicine of the finest kind. It can make you feel good in the hardest circumstances. And what's more, it's totally untaxed. No national insurance to pay, either. You get 100 per cent of the good feeling. All you need to do is make sure you've always got some treats in your pocket and a ball for her to chase.
The dog, that is, not my girlfriend…
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
- 2 Ebola virus: It's ripped through towns – now the deadliest ever outbreak of the virus is heading for Africa's teeming cities
- 3 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
£28 - 32k + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Business Development Manager ...
£40000 - £70000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C# .NET ...
Day In a Page
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony