There has just been a most annoying episode: we are in dire need of a ride-on lawnmower. A used one turned up on Ebay, only about twenty miles away: I conferred with the Refugee Gardener, who said it looked okay and had the right sort of engine. It was on at a start price of £305, which is quite a lot of money but not for a ride on lawnmower. I refrained from bidding, hung over the computer in the last five minutes, and successfully sniped it for £410. I then rang the vendor, who had put his mobile number on (the Refugee Gardener had already rung him, in fact, with some technical queries). Vendor was in Tesco’s with his children, as I could hear for myself, but was perfectly civil and agreeable to the notion that I’d turn up, with cash and the Refugee Gardener so we could stick it in the van and take it away. ‘What did it go for?’ he asked, and I told him, upon which there was a certain cooling of the atmosphere. An hour or so later, a message turned up on Ebay: ‘Bad news im afraid, Unfortunately we can no longer supply this mower to you. We discovered that the engine is knackered earlier today and therefore we cannot sell it to you. We apologise for any inconvenience.’ I was disinclined on the whole to believe it, so I put the RG up to ringing them with the following proposition: we’re happy to take it, maybe it’s no’ as bad as it looks. Second line of attack: as it happens, we have a spare Briggs & Stratton engine I could put in it (true), so can we do a deal on buying the carcass? I gather the chap got quite shirty — it became obvious in the course of this battle of wits, of course, and he knew we knew, that he was lying through his teeth. I think quite simply, that having heard my voice, he decided on the basis of perceived poshness that we could bloody well buy a new lawnmower from his garden machinery outlet (the used machine in question was presumably a part exchange or some such thing). Which, as it happens, we aren’t going to do: how dumb does he think we are? We will never set foot in the place again. So the RG and I have had to admit defeat, but looking on the bright side, the whole saga has made him as mad as fire: he uttered the dread words, ‘’at’s no way to behave’, which is quite a strong statement hereabouts. So somehow, by hook or crook, he is going to find me a cheap lawnmower.