About 5 years ago, we had the house done. 

Walls knocked down. Extreme stuff. Everything was bashed, moved about, re-skimmed and made right again.

We spent a lot of money.


Towards the end, we had this new space above the cooker. I wanted a very precisely made rail that could be screwed to the wall in 6 places. So it was held firmly. And it had to have 20 S-shaped cast iron hooks too, to hold many pans.

Google helped me to find a small cast iron forger chap. He quoted £150. Away we went.


The house refurbishment took longer. Cost more. Stressed us more. They always do.

We had to cut back on a few things. But with something like this, once you’re in – you’re in!

Anyhow, pretty much on time and looking pretty good, the pan rail thing arrived. It was wrapped in old newspapers covered in big, back, carbon fingerprints. It was a charming thing. A hand written invoice for £150 clung around the ironwork too.

There was a wooden plinth waiting for it and it fitted.

The Test.

Two days later, I received a text message. It was the iron chap. He asked, in a short and misspelled text message, if we had received the ironwork. And when he’d be paid.

“Two days.” I thought. “It’s only been two fucking days.”

I was being asked similar questions by plasterers, joiners, plumbers, painters and decorators.

I was looking for ways to save money not spend money.

Too busy to send a text back, I hit ‘call’.

A quietly spoken man answered and I thanked him for the rail. He didn’t mention the request for payment but did apologise for the noise in the background.

Cows mooing.

He explained that he was a farmer and that he did a bit of what he had loved to do years before every now and then. Metal forging. To make a bit of extra money for the family.

He then said, unprompted, that if £150 was too much, I could pay him less if I wanted. And he suggested (I think) “something like £100”.

Excellent! I’d been trying to save money right left and centre.

So I thought about this guy, miles away, that I didn’t even know, that I’d never even meet, that had just given me the opportunity to save money. And I had a really excellent rail that was hand made, worked perfectly and was worth £200 at least!

This guy really didn’t understand business. Underpricing product, exposing his vulnerability as a businessman and as a family also.

I seized the opportunity to do what was best for me as a man and my family.

And sent him £200.


  1. Did he get back in touch to say thank you?

    If a kindness is reciprocated by acknowledgement it means even more. I think so anyway.

    • He didn’t respond, no.

      I agree with you.

      However this was more about how I’d feel about myself if I’d chosen a different response, I think.

      I am not sure if I passed The Test.

      But I think I did :o)

  2. First I thought brilliant Michael well done – I would have done the same. Then I thought – is he just brilliant at marketing??? (I don’t think so but it is a thought!!)

Write A Comment