I’ve been dung…

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That feeling when someone is at your front door – selling something. 
 
It happened last week to Nikki – and thinking quickly, she took immediate and decisive action.
 
“I’ll get my husband.”
 
You can imagine how I received this news? Disbelief is a polite way of putting it, but inaccurate.
 
Door to door sales ventures are in the main, a scourge. Too intrusive and too often with crap for sale and explains why some households resort to sticking curt notices to their doors. 
 
“WE DO NOT BUY ANYTHING AT THE DOOR”
 
But sellers who knock on doors are a determined bunch and are not usually dissuaded by a sticker. 
We don’t have such a sticker albeit we do have a similar policy and sentiment – or at least, I do. Nikki knows this but she is more compassionate than me and more likely to show  scintilla of interest on the doorstep and this is all they need. 
 
And even if she is not interested, she finds it difficult to say no and much easier to say…
 
I’ll get my husband (and he can explain that we don’t want any more bloody dish cloths)
 
I understand her kindness.  
 
Selling door to door is no one’s choice. No school kid sets out with door-to-door as a goal. It is more last resort than career path. A thankless task even in good times – so imagine how hard it is now, as we enter the greatest recession in our history, with millions of people frantic about their livelihoods. 
 
I am suspicious about lists of names that we hear about. Data on our habits and demographics. Lists of phone numbers that allow telephonists to target us for all sorts of scams. I wonder if we are not a door-to-door sales list. 
 
A ‘will buy’ house. (best get the wife to the front door) 
 
This explains why our house is already fully stocked with unwanted dish cloths and dubious cleaning gimmicks and contraptions. Our most recent purchase is a device to remove hair from sink wastes. How have we managed until now?
 
I usually make just make a donation. Got enough crap already, thank you. 
 
And this is the context with which Nikki comes to my office last week (a desk in our bedroom, actually) and looking apologetic. 
 
‘There’s someone at the front door selling something…’
 
‘We don’t need anything. Why didn’t you expla…’
 
‘I didn’t like to. It’s a lady. She seems nice. I’ve told her I’ll get you to take a look…’
 
I trudge down the stairs in disbelief, running through my possible excuses.
 
Odd then that I would give this lady ONE HUNDRED POUNDS for her wares, by some distance a record at-door purchase for me. I even visited the cash machine because this was illicit trading and definitely not declared. It might even have been stolen. I didn’t check. 
 
So what was it that she was selling?
 
Well, exactly what I alluded to earlier. 
 
Crap. Literally, a pile of old shite. 
 
Horse manure, to give it its official title.  
 
30 bags of the stuff to be precise. 
 
And heavy too, I quickly discovered  because I even lugged it through our house for her. She wanted her sacks back which suited me fine and together we tipped the dung over my various beds. The quickest way to cover weeds I can tell you.
 
Her colleague, (her mum, called Rose) was keen to impress on me just how good their manure is, which was unnecessary since I had already agreed to buy it. 
 
“Three years old. Been turned regularly. It’s black.” She kept assuring me. 
 
Like feeding the birds which I wrote about recently, I am a man of a certain age and I am partial to horticulture and especially so during lockdown. And so, why not reward my plant beds with a little love? And ever neighbourly, my main criterion before the deal was struck was that it didn’t stink.
 
It doesn’t, Rose assured me. After all, this is manure that hasn’t been inside a horse for over three years. It is very dark, almost black and this adds to its sense of richness and goodness. 
 
Rose kept gibbering on as I lugged the bags through our house. I had stopped listening in the main but then she said something that struck me…
 
“Once this gets wet and really beds in, your soil will thank you. And come the autumn, you will be rewarded with the most beautiful plants.”
 
Great, I thought. Something to look forward to and nowadays, I take gratitude wherever I can find it. 
 
I handed over the money – and we didn’t shake hands (social distancing)
 
A £100 lighter in these straitened times is significant and yet I have a good feeling. I've made Roses's day and I have my autumn get excited by when I am assured that my plants will look beautiful. 
 
But then I panic.
 
The autumn!
 
But plants don’t ever look beautiful in the autumn. The autumn is when the plant show is over and they pack it in for the year. A plants work is done. It’s called THE FALL because most plants fall apart at this time of the year.
 
And, Rose has done me for a hundred quid. 
 
The manure has been down a week now and already, it is looking a lot less wholesome. It’s even lost its blackness which Rose specifically made mention of. It’s more brown now – which feels less rich – which appropriate I guess because I feel less rich, too. 
 
And I think of those marketing lists again and the new one that the Holland household has most recently been added to…
 
“Likes his gardening, but typical urbanite, hasn’t got a clue. Good for £100. Even went and got cash. Total mug. Best to get the wife to the door…”
 

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22 Comments

  1. Vatika July 19, 2020
    Reply

    Oh no this is unfortunate but at least there was a story to come out of this, a fun blog post! The world is also aware of how kind the Holland’s are, more than we already thought.
    Is this very common in the UK? Door-to-door sales are scarce in Canada now a days, more so door-to-door deliveries now!

  2. Huraima July 19, 2020
    Reply

    Its fascinating how you notice the simple and common things, when others won’t think about it twice, how you comprehend it and put it into words.

  3. Kit July 19, 2020
    Reply

    Had a good chuckle reading this Dom! I’ve been trying to convince myself to buy a couple of your books today, (because i’m honestly very intrigued and hooked on what i’ve heard) but I was just wondering if you know how long the shipping will take to Australia? I don’t think the long distance and Covid will aid it in anyway… But I would preferably like to time it well, especially with final exams and work! I hope you have a lovely day!

  4. Simran July 19, 2020
    Reply

    I never dreamt to be as wrecked as I’m now but life had its plans…

  5. Anindita roy July 19, 2020
    Reply

    It was very amazing to read I really like this story
    When I read this story I think i fully gone into the story it is really inspired to me. Thankyou please make this type of blog thankyou sir.

  6. Márcia Malaquias July 19, 2020
    Reply

    The best purchase you made, your garden will look beautiful and you will have fresh air in your home! (I particularly love plants and flowers) The manure here for my garden I take in a field where farmers sometimes leave their horses and cows a little free. Here in Brazil it is common for door and door sales, the best purchases my mother made 30 years ago were 2 cake forms that we cooked on the top of the stove, we still use them (it’s a rarity to find them today) So Nikki can’t say (“no”) I believe that a certain young man (the eldest son) inherited this from her Mrs Nikki took you to say No and You said Yes! The plants thanks you for your kindness and compassion and a family in some house in London was blessed with your good purchase

    ❤️️

  7. hannah croshaw July 19, 2020
    Reply

    Well I definitely wasn’t prepared to read about crap today defentiley not somehting I read about daily and I won’t be able to deny that I read about crap all day because well I have now. Thoguh I can definitely understand Nikki, I have been banned from talking to any sales person really because of the eact same reason that I feel to bad for them. My dad always jokes that I won’t have any money left soon because I will give it to everyone else, so fingers crossed for my dad that Rose won’t turn up st our door anytime soon otherwise we might have some new features in our gradren. I can’t wait for your book to come I’ve just ordered more colour overlays so I can actually read it without throwing it across the room (bad dyslexia not your writing)

  8. Lorraine July 19, 2020
    Reply

    Great Blog Dom. You’re more wiley than given credit for. I saw this and thought of you.
    Horse manure can help fight against Covid 19. Here’s how:-
    Rub it on your hands, you won’t touch your face. People will stay 2 metres away. No-one will want to shake your hand and you will definitely wash your hand before meals.
    Just received my copy of the Fruit Bowl, Thank you, loving it so far can’t wait to really get into the story. Have a good week.

  9. Sydnee Coleman July 19, 2020
    Reply

    Lovely blog Mr. H, as always. We don’t get many door to door sales people here, and without a husband and a problem with saying no (like your wife), sometimes I just won’t answer the door which sounds bad but it is affective. But if the chance I do answer and they are selling something, it usually school kids, which I explain that I (and my dad), already brought some through my siblings and they leave happy that at least someone got me, even if it was not them. Also, you may have over “ Fertilized“ your plants, I love planting but not much of a green thumb here, I had a window plant and because it was out of sight, it was out of mind, I killed it. I had a couple window plants, that I killed. Now my sister could grow flower in the sink if she wanted to and has on accident but that’s a story for another time. I can understand why you would be upset about spending 100 quid on plain shi…poop, lol.

  10. Regina July 19, 2020
    Reply

    I just finished reading an autobiography that included several pages of comparing different types of manure. (The author is an avid gardener) According to them, Alpaca manure is the best but somehow I doubt anyone will show up selling Alpaca manure door to door. Some showed up at my door yesterday but they were merely handing out flyers. For some sort of big church concert/festival/gathering. I thought, “in the middle of a spike in cases??” and threw the flyers away.

  11. Lorraine July 19, 2020
    Reply

    Great blog Dom. You’re more wiley than given credit for. I saw this and thought of you.
    Horse manure can help fight against Covid 19! Take fresh horse manure and rub it in your hands:-
    It prevents you from touching your face. People will stay 2 metres away. No-one will want to shake your hand, and you will definitely wash your hands before you eat!
    Just got home to my copy of The Fruit Bowl, Thank you. Loving it so far. Have a great week.☺️

  12. Miria❥❥ July 19, 2020
    Reply

    Very funny story, It made me laugh so hard
    Have a great day y’all♥︎♥︎

  13. Eduarda July 19, 2020
    Reply

    Door to door sales are not common in Portugal anymore, and that’s a relief for me because I also can’t say no and living alone in lisbon would only make it worst. When I was younger I remember they would even do demonstrations at your house and ask you for friends houses that would be interested. A nightmare for introverts I would say!
    Anyways, lovely blog as always and didn’t fail to make me laugh, thank you for that.

  14. Carla July 19, 2020
    Reply

    Nikki is so sweet haha ❤️
    This is not cool at all, especially when you spend money on something that wasn’t worth it!
    Have a good day!

  15. M. July 19, 2020
    Reply

    Clearly you made their day! You put smiles on their faces! and isn’t that what you wanted to do

  16. Mya July 19, 2020
    Reply

    I always love reading your blogs and stories! My family and I just recently learned about dung. When I saw dung in the title I got excited my family has a inside joke about it . You’re family is so sweet and kind. I have a hard time saying no to people too. I love you’re blog it was funny and very sad insightful. I learned something new about planting

  17. Faaiz July 19, 2020
    Reply

    These are beautiful looking. My parents own 2 small trees, 2 plants and 2 flowers. They’re placed at their frontward. They’re also thinking of building a bird house. I’ve noticed that much of the wild life in Canada has come out in the past 2 months. Just recently we saw a rabbit at my parents’ backyard. And another one near the shopping mall. And then I saw a coyote at a park while I was riding my bike, it rushed just moments before me.

  18. Beth July 19, 2020
    Reply

    Oh no! Scammers I tell you- they really know how to manipulate people.
    Because I live in a very small town, we don’t get many door sales, but about 6 years ago I had go door to door selling flower seeds for my brother’s kindergarten. One of the most embarrassing thing I ever had to do.

  19. Morghan July 20, 2020
    Reply

    I really like to read your blogs they get me through my week especially since I am depressed. I am super happy for you I am sorry that you got ripped off. Hope you stay safe and healthy during this time. Once again I really like your blogs. Thank you for making us laugh.

  20. Mia July 20, 2020
    Reply

    oh no dom!! that’s unfortunate to hear but at least you get a good story out of it, at least now you know better for next time? this was a good read and quite amusing (i’m sure that wasn’t the same for you).
    did you get any beautiful plants that you were promised?
    stay safe and all the best, Mia

  21. Liberty July 20, 2020
    Reply

    Your blogs never fail to give me a laugh. I’m always invested after the first sentence, or even the title before that. Not to mention your sense of humor is extremely similar to that of my dads and therefore mine, so I know what I read will make me smile. I truly hope you and your family are well. All the best- Liberty from NC

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