I live in rural Wales and we barter a lot. Personally I have bartered a pencil sketch for a pair of goslings and every year I swap plants and seeds for others.
But it is my dad who is the king of the barter…
We were selling a hatchback car and dad was moving it so he popped the sign (handwritten on cardboard) on the landrover while he put the car into position at the front of the house. The sign was only there for seconds, in fact dad hadn’t even got into the hatchback when someone stopped.
“You selling that, mate?” a big guy said getting out of a modern 4×4 that was shaped a bit like a boot.
“No,” Dad says. “This one.” And he points at the small car.
This guy then looks around out old landrover. I ought to mention that dad had rebuilt this landrover and we called it Patches – for a good reason. It was a welded mis-mash of parts that made up out brush painted wreck. The engine though purred, she had a rotten body but had passed the MOT and was safe. Anyway this guy kicks a tire and then looks at dad.
Dad looked at his Chelsea tractor. “Really?”
The man sighed and shrugged. “She is no good for off-roading.”
Dad shook his head. Then what had followed is still talked about as if it were magic. You see this guy wanted our landrover with the manual switch between 4×4 or regular driving. He liked the fact that she was beat up. He loved the fact that she had only got her MOT a week earlier.
They stood and they talked and then he turns to dad. “Want to swap?”
Dad just stared.
“I’ll give you this car if you will give me yours.”
“Straight swap?” Dad squeaked.
And that was that. They shook hands and swapped paperwork and the bloke drove off in Patches and we had a Chelsea tractor. Immediately dad had it in the garage making sure it was road safe. It had its problems. Some trim was missing but the engine was good and the electrics worked. There was (and still is) no CD player but the radio worked. Yes, Patches had left with a CD player.
But whereas Patches had gone 27 miles to the gallon this car did 43 miles! 43! Out estate did 47 so this car became a second car and is now used every day. Patches had been reserved for farm work but this one could do both. just this morning we were talking and dad had told us how last autumn he’d gone to get the sheep. We were buying some barren ewes for the pot and dad had hooked up the animal trailer and gone to fetch them. He found the owner of the field in his new landrover, stuck. Dad shot straight into the field, past the landrover, loaded the sheep and then drove straight out onto the road. The Chelsea tractor hadn’t even murmured. Dad did pull out the other car as well.
So the best barter of the year has to be Patches for our rather newer, and a little battered 4×4.