Brief Encounters of the odd kind

Brief Encounter of the odd kind


We have a gentleman who sits on a chair on the pavement (sidewalk) with a little sign next to him, he is what we call in the UK a Rag and Bone man, but he has no horse and cart, or also known as a second hand merchant, he kinda disposes of things people no longer need, like furniture, fridges etc. a little like a recycling expert. Anyway, I went out the other day on my own and I was about to walk down the street away from him when he came up and took hold of my arm and gestured to go with him, mmm I thought, a little odd, but never mind, so I went with him a few yards back down the road where he took me to this other guy sitting in a little alley with a cardboard box, they opened it and revealed, a vacuum cleaner!


So I did my usual and said “Sorry, I have no money on me”. That’s my usual response in Chinese to sellers. But that was obviously not what he wanted as he then thrust the users manual of the item in my hand which I looked at to see if I could find some sort of clue as to the meaning of all this, the cleaner was called a TRISTAR, it had English instructions in it but unfortunately, I still didn’t know what the heck he wanted, he was talking to me, but I don’t know enough Chinese as yet to carry on any sort of intelligent conversation, so he tried another tack, he started to write on the box to illustrate what he wanted, but unfortunately again, it was all in Chinese!. He kept writing in Bigger symbols, (that always works, like shouting to a foreigner!)


 By this time a small group of about 5 other men had gathered round, all of them trying to get me to understand what he wanted, as each failed, another took over and all wrote on the box, different things to try to get me on line. All of this effort failed, in the end I gestured that I would come back in an hour or so with Rose to find out what this was all about as by this time I was very curious myself!.


I returned later with interpreter Rose in tow and it turned out that all he wanted to know was “what does TRISTAR mean!!!” At least it makes me smile each time I see him now.

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