Our upstairs neighbour who is a respectable German lady of a certain age (of course Iâ€™m going on a certain age myself but sheâ€™s definitely been there for a while) appears to have a new man. He is in his 50s with distinguished greying hair and a solid, portly but not entirely unattractive person. We see his large Luxembourg registered BMW in the garage regularly. We run into him on the stairs. Mr. Waffle got chatting to him and he said that he was Canadian. I pointed out that he doesnâ€™t sound as though English is his first language. Mr. Waffle pointed out that this doesnâ€™t preclude him being Canadian. This is mere quibbling as he doesnâ€™t sound as though French is his first language either. I think he is pretending to be Canadian to besmirch the honour of a hardworking and virtuous nation.*
Saturday two weeks ago, Mr. Waffle had gone out with herself and I was home alone with the boys. The doorbell rang. It was the alledgedly Canadian man. He said â€œI left my wallet in the office early this morning and I have no money, could you lend me 20 euros?â€ â€œOf courseâ€ I said and handed it over. Then he said â€œActually could you make that 40?â€ â€œOf courseâ€ I said, slightly less readily, wondering why the hell he couldnâ€™t drive in to his office and pick up his wallet. Then he said â€œHow much have you got?â€ And even though I had in fact 200 euros in my purse, I paused, even though I suddenly realised his office was probably in Luxembourg and that was why he wasnâ€™t so keen to drive back, I paused. Didnâ€™t he have any other friends in Brussels, why was our upstairs neighbour not giving him money? Had he scammed his way to the BMW in the garage? â€œUm, no thatâ€™s it, Iâ€™m afraidâ€ I said untruthfully. And boy am I glad, because two and a bit weeks on, despite regular polite meetings on the stairs and in the garage, have I got my 40 euros back? Gentle reader, I have not and I am bitter; clearly I have supplied the start of a deposit on a rolls.
*Mr. Waffle, who, you will recall, holds a Canadian passport himself so is an expert on these things, tells me that they are clubbing cute baby seals at the moment, so maybe the tag virtuous is not appropriate, though I am sure it is very hard work.