Can you remember when having an insurance policy was like a tap-in at an open goal?

Premiums were a pittance and claims were paid with nary a backward glance. Changed days.

When I bought my first property, back in the years when a flat cost what a car does today, I discovered that I had insured the building twice – through the mortgage and again via the factor. Badoom tish - an apologetic letter arrived from the mortgage people with a healthy refund cheque.

Imagine that today? ‘Sorry guv. You snooze, you lose.’

Long before I became an adopted son of Millig, and already well set against the notion of a dog as a family pet because the constraints far outweighed the benefits, I was the proud petdad of a goldfish.

Actually we had two, Cheesy and Beano, but the morning after they came home, one had nocturnally worried the other to death in a scenario similar to the Lecter/Miggs imbroglio.

Beano was buried with full military honours in the garden. I even made a speech, because children’s beady eyes prevented the traditional lavatorial despatch. Cheesy lived for nearly a decade.

He and I became big buddies and I enjoyed his company immensely.

Get unlimited access to the Helensburgh Advertiser's online content:

He used to do a wee dance whenever I passed and always looked please to see me. This was probably because I was the only one who bothered to feed him or clean his tank.

And it was about one of these cleaning days that I come to my point. As his was being scrubbed, I put him in one of Her Ladyship’s flower bowls. I dropped in his model sunken battleship and a stone or two so he would feel at home and zipped out to get the messages.

I returned to calamity. The vase had shattered and poor Cheesy lay dead on a sodden, stained carpet.

Overcome with grief, I prepared a margarine tub bier where he could lie in state prior to his funeral.

As I lifted him, amazingly he twitched. He was alive! Which is more than could be said for the Axminster.

Save to say I subsequently made a very sheepish phone call to the insurance company, told the truth and within a fortnight, bingo! We had a new carpet.

Now, rewind to that flat, which I still own, and that same factor informed me recently of vandalism to a back court wall I didn’t know existed.

I blithely phoned the insurance company about the repairs, to be told that my premiums would increase next year to the precise cost of the claim.

The policy, I was told with nary a hint of irony, was for big things like earthquakes.

One of the reasons a goldfish is as far as I’ll stretch in the pet stakes is the larcenous cost of insuring a dog.

At least Cheesy was covered, although none of us knew it at the time.