I’m not very good at watching TV. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I was, my general knowledge might not be quite so woeful and I might be able to join in conversations about Peter Andre and, errrm, Oojimeflop without being three partners behind. My problem is that my mind wanders unless a programme is totally enthralling: I am sitting down, the voices in my head point out, and yet I haven’t put the washing on; the ironing basket is exploding and that chapter won’t write itself. Your choice, the voices shout, but every night you don’t write, is a night further away from publication.
Before I leave you in total awe of my unfailing dedication to duty and domesticity, I should point out that there are many distractions I manage very well without a single thought for the dishes in the sink. Just not TV.
Unless it’s Hustle.
Hustle is the one programme which entertains me like a book. It requires single-minded concentration - drift away from that world for a moment and you’ve lost the plot. The characters are so quirkily intelligent and far-fetched yet strangely down to earth and likeable, their scams are so obvious when revealed, yet so baffling before.
What I never imagined, was that I would have the starring role in an episode of Hustle.
Alas, I haven’t had any contact with the rather gorgeous, Adrian Lester but I have been scammed. I haven’t lost any money, as I’ve had my £300 returned, but I am a little red-faced. And my children have delighted in reminding me what I have tried to teach them about who to trust on the net.
I’ve started renting out a property in Slovakia. I’m a rookie to the business but the hope is that it will eventually increase my current paltry addition to the household income. In short, a company persuaded me to advertise with them. I paid my £149 for the year and four weeks later, they took another £149 from my credit card. I noticed, the bank investigated and retrieved it. I was lucky.
Had I heard of the company? No I hadn’t. Was I taken in by the fancy headed paper of the contract, the spurious webpage they made for me, their spiel? Oh yes, yes, yes. What was I thinking? This particular company are a private holiday letting company, run as a perk for service men, including the police, their particularly slick agent informed me. So, pleasant, reliable people, they know I’ll be thinking. Just the kind of people I’d like to stay in the house – not that I deal in stereotypes, of course.
Did I google the company? Yes I did. Did I research under their correct name or the name they’d invented a few days earlier? Ah! Oh.
I didn’t even follow my gut instincts. I just wasn’t sure initially, I didn’t like being called out of the blue. But the lack of push from the salesman, and the guarantee that I’d have a second year’s free membership if I didn’t manage a rental in the whole twelve months, persuaded me that it didn’t matter, I had nothing to lose.
I can feel my twelve year old tutting over my shoulder as I write. Haven’t I learnt anything in my 42 years? Little of use, would be my answer. I can’t even think who Peter Andre’s going out with. I’ve just tried to google it, but will admit to being none the wiser.
Have you been hustled? Tell me! I won't laugh...