Around the late 1980’s, a young guy from Cornwall came up to see me. He’d been out of work for some months but had signed up to a government-sponsored scheme that encouraged young out-of-work people to start up their own businesses. Kevin appeared to ‘tick all the requirement boxes’ on the forms presented to him by the local job centre and when they enquired as to the type of business he wished to venture into he simply replied –

‘I want to be a Koi dealer.’

(Kevin was not a guy who ever wasted his breath with mere ‘words.’)

I never found out who actually completed his application form with the ‘Accepted’ stamp upon it but someone did. I also have no doubt that the very same person would find him/herself also attending the same job centre a few months later. He then showed me his new business bank statement with the £15,000.00 start-up amount already in place. It was then that he showed me his list of questions to ask me. I glanced at it and then asked him if I was correct in my assumption that he had no idea at all about Koi, Koi ponds and Koi keeping. Kevin came back with his carefully thought out reply, which was – ‘Yes’. I then suggested it just may be of benefit to him if he worked with my guys for a month or so with no pay in order to pick just a few things up and mentioned he could sleep in a flat on the premises. He replied in his soft Cornish dialect by saying, with great enthusiasm, – ‘S’pose so’.

As expected, Kevin was the complete liability package. He once rushed into my office to tell me that my guys were killing some Koi, he said ‘They’ve got ‘em out on a wet towel and they can’t breathe!’

There must have been another 100 similar gems that came from Kevin over the next month; he was priceless! We all held him high on a pedestal and noted all his words of wisdom.

He returned to Cornwall to build his small, new Koi outlet that we had designed, to be placed in his back garden. Then followed his hourly calls and, irrespective of who answered the phone, it was always the short two words ‘Kev’n Here’. Who ever answered the calls knew they would be on the phone for a further three hours or so.

I think I had the last conversation with the man after picking up the phone to hear ‘Kev’n Here’ once more. I asked what I could do and he told me – ‘Filter’s c’lappsed’. I asked how this could be and he replied ‘Sunken Ground’; I then asked how it could sink with the four inch concrete base below it, to which Kevin came back with his final classic of –

‘Base?…….couldn’t be bother’d’

That was the last I heard, I never discovered what happened to Kevin the Koi dealer!

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