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Bon Journal

Asset swap

During the three weeks that I was away in January, my neighbour's cat came through my cat flap in search of his best friend, my ginger tom cat whom I had given away in December.

I had accidentally changed my cat flap setting to easy in but no way out. So the poor grey cat was trapped inside for 36 hours. In that time, he peed and pooed on my green futon couch. My neighbours were fortunately smart enough to guess that the missing cat was probably trapped.

Needless to say, I had cat pee to deal with when I returned. On the advice of my pharmacist friend, I dowsed an entire bottle of lemongrass aromatherapy oil on the three big stains to get rid of the smell. Then I tried two different kinds of stain removers. Until today,I lived with the smell by lighting incense and aromatherapy oil. But the psychological effects were even more disturbing.

Finally I decided that I must replace the futon. I found one just like mine in the ARGOS catalog. But they would only sell the futon and the frame together. So I decided that I would simply throw the smelly futon out for the Monday garbage man to collect and put my duvet there for the time being.

My investment banker friend came to my rescue. She needed to remove her cream settee (which converts to a single bed). So I called a second-hand furniture dealer about buying my couch. The amount it would fetch was roughly how much I would pay to hire a van.

We did an asset swap. The furniture dealer's movers picked up my friend's settee and brought it to my house. I gave up my 3 year old, stained futon couch. Thankfully, the body odours of the two men hid the smells of the lemongrass and cat pee.

Why was my friend so willing to give me the Japanese designer settee that she had purchased for 350 pounds? Because the cream settee had a stain on it. But at least, it didn't smell!

9 March 2002 Saturday

This story reminds me of another occasion. On holiday in Cyprus years ago, I was irritated that my swatch wasn't reliable. It slowed down by the day. What use is an unreliable watch?
On the beach, people were selling fake designer watches. One of them was interested in my swatch. I told him that it was real and not for sale. So he showed me his collection of fake Rolexes. Reluctantly I showed interest in one watch. So we swapped his fake Rolex for my swatch. He didn't know it was unreliable. But at least I knew I had a fake Rolex that worked!