Brush Strokes

Ben 1

When Ben was little, he was the most alert and observant person I had ever met. Fantastic. Proud of him. Way to go Ben.

However, this superhero like awareness, could be somewhat of a burden at times.

Allow me to demonstrate . . .

I was in a local DIY store with Ben, exchanging a 2.5 litre tin of varnish, as I wanted a much darker colour. I approached the customer service counter, Ben by my side. He was around 4 or 5 at the time and his honesty, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, was admirable.

Hi, can I exchange this for a darker one please, the lady said when I bought it I could if needed.”

“Yep, that’s ok, have you used any of it?”

“A little patch just to try it and see if . . .”

The voice came from the left of me and down a fair bit, exactly where Ben was standing.

“No you didn’t. It wasn’t a little patch. You painted the big bit near the fireplace with it.”

The look on his face was priceless. Complete and utter confusion.

When I turned back round, the same look was on the lady’s face.

I swiftly explained . . .

“No, it wasn’t that big a patch Ben, it was only a couple of brush fulls, it goes a long way son. We’re allowed to try it, I asked when I bought it.”

When I looked back up, the lady’s demeanour had changed somewhat.

“Let me check the tin.” And with that she opened it to check the level.

Luckily, I really had only used a couple of brush fulls, so I was in the clear. The lady ushered us on our way, wearing something I could legally say was a scowl. I hurried Ben to the varnish aisle and crouched down to talk to him man to man.

But he beat me to it . . .

“Why did you lie to that lady Dad?”

I actually felt guilty because I’d made him think I had lied. That was against Dad Law and Ben was an upstanding citizen.

”I didn’t son. Listen . . .”

I tried to explain that although the ‘patch’ looked big to him, it didn’t matter as the important thing was how much I used. They need to be able to put it back out on sale, so it’s not fair to test any more than a couple of brush fulls.

He got it in the end, so we swapped the varnish and toddled off home.

Looking back, he really did amaze me with his honesty.

I remember a commercial for Shredded Wheat I believe, with Ian Botham and his two kids or nephews and they run and jump off the end of a boat dock into the water. Ben was horrified.

“Are they allowed to do that Dad?” He looked shall we say, startled and eagerly awaited my legal eagle reply.

I told him that it depends where they are. It’s not advised to run onto someones land and avail yourself of their water facilities, but if it’s a public place and there’s no signs prohibiting it, then I suppose they’re fine. Enjoy.

And litter. He hated to see people throw litter.

“You’re not supposed to do that, are you Dad?”

“No son, that’s right. Someone else will have to clear it up. It’s not fair, is it?”

“No Dad it’s not fair.”

Proud of the lad.

Lesson learned: If you need to go to B&Q Coleman, do it your ****ing self.