Talking Turkey

“You need to blog about it,” I said to my client.

“Don’t have time,” he said. “Besides, I can’t write very well.”

“OK, I’ll do it for you.”

“How much?”

I told him. “Too much,” he said.

I sighed. “I want your site to be as good as it can be. People would be really interested in this. You need to write about it.”

He shrugged. “Look,” I said, throwing the ‘how to negotiate’ book out of the window, “I’ll write it. And I’ll take one as payment…”

We shook hands. And so it was, gentle reader, that I came to be paid in turkeys.

I drove home with a smile on my face. True, I could live without the turkey becoming my official currency. But just once – just before Christmas. And how impressed would my wife be?

“You’re looking remarkably pleased with yourself,” she said.

“Yes, I am. I’ve just snared our Christmas dinner. Figuratively speaking.”

“You’ve what?”

“Snared our Christmas dinner. I was asked to write some copy about free-range turkeys. So they’re paying me with…” I paused dramatically, “…A turkey.”

“A turkey?” Jessica snorted. “You got paid with a turkey?”

My wife was rather more practical. “You do realise the corner shop doesn’t accept turkeys as legal tender? Barter’s just ever-so-slightly out of date.”

“Come on. This is serious hunter-gatherer stuff. I’m dragging food back to our cave.”

“Dad, you’re not ‘dragging food back to our cave.’ You’re writing a blog. Besides,” my beloved daughter added, “We did it in the sixth form. In hunter-gatherer societies women gathered 90% of the food. Men did something spectacular once a year. Then they sat around talking about it. Or grunting.”

“Well thank goodness our family’s different,” I said.

My wife made no comment. She just raised her eyebrows. “Will it be plucked?” she asked.

“Ah,” I said. “We didn’t discuss that. I assume so…”

“Good. Because if it isn’t that’s your Christmas Eve taken care of.”

Memo to self. Don’t throw the ‘how to negotiate’ book out of the window.

“Look,” I said. “This turkey is going to be spectacular. It’s not one from the supermarket. It’s a free range turkey. A turkey that’s spent its summer grazing happily on thistles and nettles – not being stuffed full of antibiotics and growth hormones. A turkey that’s grown naturally: that’s seen the outdoors, that’s – ”

“I’d rather have duck,” Ben said.

“Yeah, me too.”

“Christmas is about tradition,” I patiently explained. “We have smoked salmon for breakfast; we write clues on our presents – ”

“You fall asleep.”

“The dog eats the sprouts and we have to evacuate the house.”

I’m ashamed to confess that the conversation disintegrated from that point. Two at university, one doing A-levels and they debate, ‘Sprouts or chilli? Which is the dog’s most dangerous weapon?’

What happened to my fantasy about discussing world events over the dinner table?

I eventually dragged everyone’s attention back to Christmas. A compromise was reached. Duck. And my spectacular free-range turkey.

“How many will it feed, Dad?”

“Six to eight.”

“You should have finished it by New Year then…”

“Anyway,” I said, desperately trying to restore some dignity. “I’m going to be late home tomorrow. Off to see a new client.”

“Oh great stuff, Dad. What are they going to pay you in? Chickens? Cabbages? Sausages? ’Ey oop, Mother, ’Appen I’ve ’undred quid’s worth of sausages in t’ car.”

“Thank you, Ben, I’m the only one allowed to do ‘thick Yorkshireman’ in this house.”

“So come on, Dad,” Jessica demanded. “Are we in for more cutting-edge barter? What does this new client do?”

“If you must know,” I said, “They’re funeral directors…”

Thanks for reading this post – and for reading the blog throughout the year. Have a lovely Christmas – and I hope the New Year brings everything you would wish for.

If you’re a new visitor and you enjoyed this post – and you’d like something light and moderately humorous to read over Christmas – you can buy the ‘Best Dad I Can Be’ sample book with 27 of my favourite posts covering all the years I’ve been writing: it’s all of 99p on your Kindle. 


  1. I’d better brush up on my negotiation skills! Have a great Christmas, Mark.

  2. Well at least that would be more valuable than a turkey…
    Got to love teenage banter. It never gets boring!
    Merry Christmas to you all.

    • Well, yes – but if you don’t mind I hope there are a good few turkeys to come before I engage in barter with that particular client! And Merry Christmas to you too, Sarah: hope you and family have a lovely time

  3. As usual Mark – a barrel of laughs. Have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year too! By ‘eck ’twill!
    (p.s. I’m from Manchester. Do I get a pass?)

    • By gum, Lancashire. T’ dark side… *Sings Ilkley Moor Bar t’at for protection* You too – have a lovely Christmas and, as I’ve written elsewhere, thank you for all your comments through the year.

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