a man of property /dickson

I’d bought some tickets on a dog, I thought, and here was this guy on the phone telling me I’d won a bog. I thought I’d misheard him but he repeated it and I hadn’t and, afterwards, when I dug up my ticket stubs, sure enough, they clearly read ‘bog’, not ‘dog’.


I should have been looking less closely at the vendor and more closely at the tickets, but a pretty young woman at the door, mid-evening, can play havoc with an old guy's attention span. It had with mine, anyway, and here I was, now, signing deeds and things and being photographed for a local paper. For the first time in my life, I was a landowner—me of all people!—a landowner with full title to 10 acres of bog just south of Bala.


I was surprised how good it felt to be a man of property, but what on earth was I going to do with a 10-acre bog?


A friend loaned me his car and his rubber boots and I drove up there a couple of times, waded around for a bit, hoping to experience, first hand, the pride of ownership. But it wasn’t happening. Mostly, I just felt cold and damp.


To avoid acting rashly, I gave it a month or so before driving up there a couple more times and wading around for a bit. But still nothing. No pride of ownership. No feeling of oneness with Nature. Nothing. I was an old city boy in rubber boots standing in a swamp. So I decided to put the whole works up for sale, to which end I placed some ads in local papers and erected signs along the highway.


After two weeks without a single enquiry, I lowered it’s price and, every couple of weeks for the next few months, lowered it again, but, in all this time, there wasn’t so much as a nibble. So, to speed things up, I began lowering its price weekly and, eventually, daily, till finally it was free and, still, no one wanted it, so I took it off the market, which, in the end, proved to be the right move—water levels rose high enough that, a couple of years later, I was able to unload it for a pretty penny as lakefront property.


I haven’t been anywhere near the place in quite some time, now, but a friend happened by it the other day and says it’s all lake, now, no front, and that, with water levels still rising as they are, he’s glad he lives in a high-rise. I told him he hadn’t thought it through.