Donald MacInnes: When they said they knew who I was, my wife hardly recognised me


A very happy New Year to you all. And may your finances give you nothing but delight for the next 12 months. Again this week, in the continuing spirit of utter laziness, I turn to the old year, with a selection box of some of the highlights. Well, I say "highlights"…

There was our summer trip to Germany, which ended in Berlin and saw me finally use an albeit watered-down form of the phrase "Do you know who I am?"…

My wife and I had planned to eat in the revolving restaurant at the top of the city's iconic TV tower, the perfect venue for a sunset dinner. On our penultimate day, I tried to book a table for the following evening. They were booked solid. My wife was pretty disappointed and sported that expression which always makes me want to go and put up a shelf to make things better. Surely our German trip wasn't going to end on such a low? I called the tower again and asked to get put through to their media department. Thankfully, the press officer had heard of The Independent. Did I want to have dinner in the tower? she asked. "Tomorrow night?" I asked gingerly. "Of course!" she said. "Eight-ish?" I agreed and hung up, amazed. My wife gazed at me in abject wonder, for perhaps the first time in our relationship. I pretended it was nothing.

Then there was the endless football transfer talk during the summer, most of it surrounding Wayne Rooney, who had instigated the same will he, won't he? debate a couple of years previously, when he first told Manchester United that the club didn't match his ambition… Aghast, the club reacted to that dagger in its back by acquiescing with quite mystifying largesse, making Rooney reputedly one of the highest-paid players in the country, on £250,000 a week. That's speedboat money.

While United fans may have been outwardly and collectively infuriated with Rooney's brinkmanship, any boos they directed his way in the next game evaporated as soon as he scored a goal. His "disloyalty" meant nothing, as long as he kept banging them in. Football fans are such tarts for a goal. And it was ever thus.

The search by my wife and I for a home to buy in London made some aspects of life in Glasgow very appealing…

For the price of a two-bedroom flat in London, we could afford a three-bedroom detached villa in my home town – the kind of house I used to drive past and wonder who could afford to live there. The answer, I suppose, is me. But this regional disparity is nothing new. I heard the nicest story from my oldest friend back home. He told me that his mother- and father-in-law bought a couple of return bus tickets from Glasgow to Aberdeen for 50p each. And that included a cup of tea or coffee. And a scone! If house prices don't make me pine for the financial common sense of the Old Country, this definitely does…

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