Well, the allure of the Sage's favourite china has had an effect that all my persuasiveness has not had for several years. There is a sale (from lot 314) coming up in London in early October and he really wants to go. He really wants to view it too...
I looked up train times for the Sunday, but there is a long bus ride because of work on the line (they always do work on the line on Sundays, it's a real nuisance if you want a weekend break). So I suggested he go up on the Tuesday and come back, after the sale, on Wednesday. He agreed with astonishing alacrity.
This is the man who has never, in eight years, spent a night at his daughter's flat. The one who bemoans the fact that our 93-year-old friend in Dorset doesn't visit any more but won't consider visiting her. The one who missed his son's graduation ceremony (which he had booked in for, so I sat with an empty place beside me) because it involved an overnight stay.
Three years ago, I went to fetch my visa for my last trip to India and it happened (I'd already booked the ticket, may the Lord be praised, it was a complete coincidence) to be the days of a view and sale of a fine collection of an American lady, who loved 18th Century English china. I fell for a particular coffee cup and, being a Perfect Darling, bought it for the Sage's Christmas present. A slight guilt factor, in that I was leaving two days after Christmas (and to Madras, just after the tsunami hit, as it happened - but that is another story), might have contributed...but no. My priorities are sound.
Anyway, at the time, the Sage had decided not to come with me. He realises his mistake now, I think. After all, I spent my own money on that occasion...but I can become alarmingly enthusiastic with a credit card.* & **
He would like me to go with him, and I'd love to go, but I've got a meeting I can't get out of, so it probably won't be possible. I'm still thinking about it, though.
*No, I don't pay my own credit card bills. That is not my rôle in the fair division of responsibilities.
**I was right though. It was the perfect present. He now believes (well, believed, until I reminded him) that he sent me to London specifically to buy the cup.