Oh no! Santa selling second-hand cars?

The face is round, the belly rounder – and the beard is white. He’s jolly – and he’s selling used Toyotas.

If that sounds like a sad come down for a genial giant, think again. This man is happy. Well, not as happy as he would be if he were selling motorbikes, but – shhh – don’t tell anyone.

Simon’s not stopped talking for hours – or that’s what it feels like. His voice is beginning to crackle with over use.

‘Me mum says I could talk a glass eye to sleep,’ he chuckles.

The accent’s not very used-car salesman. He’s a Lancashire man with a heavy Bury bur. (That’s ‘Bury’ as in ‘buh-ry’ not ‘berry’ by the way.)

Genial he may be, but he’s still a salesman, so the long spoon of devil-supping’s in order. Just a precautionary measure, you understand. Because he’s affable and funny and – never stops talking.

One creature, though, can best him.

His dog.

A little Jack Russell.

A girl.

Simon’s own car has a grill in the back to stop her joining him on the front seat.

How can he? Poor girl, that’s where Jack Russells belong. Paws on the dashboard keeping an eye on naughty sheep out on the road.

Simon reckons she’s mentally disturbed. Has episodes of bad behaviour.

But, Simon, of course she has! Being kept off the dashboard – it’s Jack Russell cruelty.

It doesn’t end there, this Jack Russell tussle for mastery (or misstery). She always, Simon says,  has to have the last word.

‘I’ll tell her off,’ he says, ‘go to your bed!’ (ooh, he does sound stern). ‘And she does. Then I turn around and she goes, “grrr”. Allus has to have the last word.’

He doesn’t say it, the – ‘women, eh?’ thing. A salesman, knows he can’t annoy half the couple. But then, he mightn’t have, anyway.

Being around cars and discussing parking, there’s been talk, inevitably, of women drivers. Who, of course are better …

At which, Simon twinkles, giggles, then launches into – another story.

‘Only had two crashes on test drives – and both of ’em were with men. This chap, buying a car for his wife, says he’d better drive. Implying he were better than her. Drove smack into the back of a Ford transit.’

Shakes his head. Giggles again. Yes, he may be a salesman but he’s really, really cheery.

And he talks a blue streak.

Is this his winning tactic? Wearing his clients into submission?

Perhaps.

And perhaps he does.

Two days later, deposit paid, test drive accomplished without prangs, the water dripping on pebble approach has paid him – and the environment – dividends.

A hybrid, with an un-looked for sunroof and a leather trimmed dashboard.

Tha’s done well, Simon, me lad.

Grrr.

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