Graham's True Stories
Number 4, The True Collector
He arrived at the shop looking like a street bum. He'd obviously not washed or shaved for days and the rucksack over his shoulders probably contained everything he owned in the world. He opened the conversation by revealing that he was from Holland and that he had arrived especially to buy antique sewing machines.
Did we mind if he ate his meal as we talked? What can you say? From the rucksack came a wedge of curled sandwiches which he munched between asking the prices of the most expensive machines on offer. All the time he was making notes on the sandwich wrapping. After around 10 minutes of this I began to make hurry up noises. He then declared that he would buy five of the most expensive machines on offer and, again delved into the rucksack to bring out a fat wad of bills.
He paid up and we carefully packed the machines into the rucksack and the two bags that had been inside it.
He announced that he was now going straight back to Holland. We asked if we could we take him to the airport or rail station. No. He was going to hitch-hike back home and hoped to do it quicker than the three days it had taken to get to us.
I had to ask. "Why, friend, do you travel thus when you can clearly afford to journey a little more comfortably".
He looked amazed. "It's simple," he replied, "every guilder I save like this I can spend on sewing machines".
Maggie and I call him The True Collector.