This month marks a rather special event. Regular visitors to my admittedly shoddy, genuinely unkempt little corner of your favourite non-partisan newspaper will recall that I commute from my home in south-east London to our glittering edifice in ever-so snooty Kensington not by means of a helicopter laid on by our generous benefactor, but by means of a Honda scooter, which I purchased when the horrors of Tube travel started to give me a troubling buzzing in my head and a sore soul.
Well, after two years of dodging traffic, rain, Plod, pain-in-the-bum cyclists and hordes of tourists who treat the capital city as their own pedestrianised theme-park, this month sees the final payment for my scooter leaving my bank account: my lovely silver dream racer is all mine. Not that it has ever felt other than mine, but there is a real sense of peace to be had when one has finally reached the border checkpoint in Never-Never Land.
Nothing can beat instant ownership, of course. Four years ago I came into a bit of money and decided to get myself a new TV and home cinema system. The telly is a whopper, measuring a spectacular 50 inches. And the home cinema system (a collection of speakers including four which sit like Easter Island statues in the four corners of my living room) is a spine-judderer.
I think the total cost of the whole thing was about £1,200 (it would probably cost half that now) and I paid for it with my debit card, in one go. This was an almost physical thrill and, at the same time, utterly terrifying. I normally use my debit card to pay for sandwiches or the weekly shop at Tesco. To see £1,200 on the computer readout, then see it change to "Approved… Please remove card" is an experience worth recalling.
Of course, I could have paid for the telly and speakers on hire purchase. Probably at zero per cent interest. It would still have felt like mine, as I reclined on the couch and watched the football, but I wouldn't have had that feeling of walking out of Comet, having dropped more than a grand without my heart missing a beat. I'm certainly no big spender, but I don't half enjoy it now and again…