I was sitting in bed doing a Tough Puzzle* at half past seven this morning when the Sage called upstairs "Hello?"
"Hello," I replied.
"Do you want something?" I added after a while.
Politeness is excellent, but sometimes you need to come straight out with it. Al had just had a phone call to say his assistant had hurt her wrist and couldn't come in to work, and was wondering if I might be free for the morning?
A slight rearrangement of jobs and the abandonment of Tough Puzzles and I was free. I went and picked tomatoes and courgettes to take in with me and spent an enjoyable morning in the shop.
I'm not sure I'd like the sort of emporium where you have to do the hard sell, but a shop where people go because they want what you've got is very enjoyable. A particular pleasure at this time of the year because all the produce is so good. Local strawberries, currants of various colours, raspberries, cherries, gooseberries, and all the summer vegetables too, such a pleasure.
One customer has asked for a seasonal fruit box each Monday. Al is sometimes asked if he does fruit and veg boxes, and of course he is willing to, but he really prefers people to say what they want. As he says, if it's a family of 4 or 5, they will want plenty of each item, but a single person or a couple probably wants a little of many things. And he would want to cater for personal preferences too. However, Dilly has said she is willing to make up this box, so Al just asked a few pertinent questions regarding number of people and any particular dislikes, and the chap paid for next Monday's box.
*that the name of the magazine, not my judgement. Have you come across it? It was started up back in September 1983 (I have a random memory, erratic but specific) as a subscription only magazine. The various Logic Problem and other mags were offshoots or derivatives from it. A couple of years ago it went from monthly to quarterly - same price, same total number of puzzles, but presumably cheaper to produce, it must have a very small circulation.
We are keen enough in this family for me to have, for years, paid for three subscriptions, for me and each of my sons. Last year they offered to let you download it instead of having it posted. I opted for this - it's over 50 pages so I'm not sure it saves me a great deal, but you are allowed to print off four copies, and since Dilly likes it too, this seemed a good idea.
I'm not sure that I'll do it again. I've felt guilty all year at having denied them the extra subscriptions - even though it's now owned by WH Smith, who can well afford it. And Al thinks I shouldn't have done it. Even though it's allowed (my original justification), he still says it's not right. But, in practice, if I pay for three or four subs, I'll still only download from one log-in. Of course, the simplest thing to do is for each of us to buy our own, but it's been my little pleasure, to give a gift of something I like too. My father enjoyed crosswords and other puzzles and got me hooked from an early age, and I like the family link.
This is the Puzzler link. If you click on one of the Top 5 magazines, it takes you to the offer of a sample, if you might like that kind of thing.