Premature eviction

I had today planned extremely well. The whole thing should have proceeded from hour to hour with all the precision of a Swiss watchmaker’s cogs.

Bob was arriving this morning and I’d booked Taxi Carole to pick him up and drop him at the Bush. There was always an outside chance they’d have a room ready but if they didn’t, the plan was for him to come to me at Frensham. Having made him feel welcome and settled, I would then take Day-z for a lovely long walk, to give him some quiet, snooze time. The sort of thing you really need after a few days on a plane.

Returning from my walk, we would then settle down to a nice civilised lunch, before he could go to the hotel. Oh, Utopia, impossible Utopia.

I also had the rest of the day and most of tomorrow planned as well. Planning was definitely required, given we had to move houses, pack for and go to France, re-home poor Day-z, allow for Mirinda’s guitar lesson and sort out any last minute problems with the house. Interestingly, I was worried we’d be sailing quite close to the wind for a lot of it.

So, it’s fair to say that I was pretty bloody organised. Every five minute slot of time was more than adequately accounted for. I planned to rest on the ferry after this insane organisational nightmare. Stupid, stupid Gaz.

The day started deteriorating many miles away as poor Bob was delayed more and more, to the point where his delays were longer than his flights. Of course, I was unaware of this because my handy little Heathrow App told me he was, in fact, landing half an hour early.

Then, as Day-z and I walked to the village shop, I had a call from Taxi Carole to say she was stuck in traffic and could I let Bob know she’d be late. Naturally, I texted Bob. It didn’t bother me that he didn’t respond. He rarely does. What I didn’t know was that his mobile phone was turned off and packed in his luggage. I think he read the message at around 9pm.

Anyway, it wasn’t really a problem and, although Taxi Carole wasn’t a man and didn’t have a sign with Bob’s name on it, a fact he’s not going to let me forget, she recognised him and tapped him on the shoulder. She drove him to the Bush where he left his luggage then drove him over to Frensham. So far the plan was working perfectly to…plan.

Bob walked in saying he’d love a beer. I looked at my watch but he said he’d been awake for about three days and yardarms were irrelevant. He just needed a beer. I gave him one and he enjoyed it thoroughly.

We sat and had a chat about the football score last night, his horrendous flight, (exaggerated details of which I may add gradually over the next few weeks) and other bloke stuff before I announced that I was going to take Day-z for a walk.

This is where Bob reckons I went wrong. He thinks it would have been a different day had I stayed even another five minutes. I disagree. It was excellent for me. However, it was awful for him.

Now, I figured we’d have a long walk (two hours) so Bob could have a decent snooze and relax before the rigours of dinner. It would also give me a chance to check out the film set that’s presently on a ridge on Farnham Heath. And we did see things. We saw a group of guys who appeared to be cutting down trees, screwing big metal bases to them and standing them up somewhere else. We saw a stunt cyclist making a lot of noise and roaring up and down a dirt track. We saw, and I said hello to, some guy in a car who could have been an actor because I sort of recognised him. (It was probably a best boy bringing the lunches to the crew.)

My next hint of impending doom came as we were walking down one slope and up another. It was Dave the Builder calling to say that [GASP] stable doors only open inwards. (It’s to do with the joins and the way the rain hits them.) He said his chippie thought he’d only do a bodge job if he tried to fit them backwards. I said I’d call Mirinda and ring him straight back.

Surprisingly, she answered my call almost straight away. I asked her how committed she was to stable doors. She once more surprised me when she admitted she wasn’t, particularly. We decided to go with an ordinary door with a pane of glass in it. I rang Dave back to tell him the good news only to get a message from him saying it had all been a false alarm and the chippie had worked it out.

Satisfied that nothing had changed and we still had stable doors, I continued on down to the Farm Shop where I’d decided to buy some Rose Lemonade, a truly brilliant thirst quencher. When I looked at my watch I realised I’d been gone about 2.5 hours. I figured that would have given Bob a lovely rest. Oh, how wrong I was.

When I reached the cottage, Bob was sitting on the wooden bench outside. He invited me to sit beside me, filling me with dread as he tried to assuage my fears with pleasantries.

I’m not going to beat around the bush. The basics facts were, we’d only booked up till today and should have left the cottage this morning. Effectively, we’d had the bailiffs in and we’d been evicted.

According to Bob, Carol was like a whirlwind. She charged in, threw everything into whatever container she could and threw that into the garden. With her other hand, she cleaned up the place. The problem was that a new set of guests were arriving soon and would need the place. Therefore, all trace of us had to removed.

Bob, naturally, was a little concerned with the legality of someone just grabbing your stuff and removing it – Mirinda reckons it could be an issue if anything is damaged.

In an effort to locate me, Bob started searching for my phone number. Suddenly, the fact that he’d left his mobile in his hand luggage back at the Bush, became really, really annoying. He tried my laptop which was on (and which he shut down before Carol could just yank the power cord and leave to slowly die – thank you Bob), my tablet which he couldn’t turn on (it not being an Apple device) and a netbook which turned out to be a Bluetooth keyboard.

He also tried walking up to the Common to see if he could find us. He did this a couple of times. This was on Carol’s advice. The fact that I’d gone in the completely opposite direction didn’t help.

And all of that happened five minutes after I left.

I sat, a bit shell shocked, wondering what to do. It was clear I’d need to find beds for Mirinda, Day-z and me pretty quickly. My first call was to the Bush but they were full…or at least that’s what I think the person on the phone said. Is it really that difficult to speak clearly and with a neutral accent? Anyway, next was Frensham Ponds Hotel. Yes, they had a room and yes I wanted to book it. That left me and Day-z.

I figured, if worse came to worse (and worse it certainly would be) we could sleep in the back garden, in my tent. Of course, there’s be no water but I figured I could live with it for one night. Fortunately, Bob had an idea that saved a most uncomfortable night for me. He suggested ringing Sue (who’s taking Day-z while we’re away) and asking if she could have Day-z for one extra day. She could and it was organised. This just shows you what you can do if you keep your phone charged and in your pocket.

Having sorted everything, Bob and I sat and discussed the possible ramifications of telling Mirinda. She was due back at 3:20 and, we guessed, would not be best pleased. She had a couple of work calls to make, but I figured she could do that from her mobile. I told Bob she might be okay if I told her I’d sorted the problems before I actually told her there was a problem.

Anyway, with the kind of look you’d give someone as they prepared to head off over the top of the trench, Bob hopped into a taxi back to the Bush. I waited.

I waited an hour and a half, mostly in the sun, Day-z asleep beneath the bench in the little bit of shade. I had my hat, which helped, and my sunglasses but really, all I wanted to do was lie down and really rest my feet. That wasn’t going to happen for about nine hours.

So, Mirinda turned up and I immediately disarmed her with the news that I’d solved all problems and I just had to pack everything we owned into Sidney for immediate transportation to the house while she sat and made her phone call. Of course, Mirinda’s phone was flat so she sat and read, instead. She didn’t seem too bothered and took the news remarkably well. Not that I had a lot of time for idle chit chat about reading documents properly when it comes to check out times. I started to pack the car.

Years of packing trucks with sets, lights, luggage and actors means I can sometimes achieve what at first appears impossible. And so it was with our possessions. Bob and Mirinda both thought it impossible, even Carol was sceptical. But some skills never leave us and packing the big into the small is one of them. It did take quite a few trips back and forth but I managed it and we set off for home.

I unpacked Sidney and rearranged everything for France, the rest to remain in my office. We took Day-z round to Sue, who happily took her off our hands. We drove to the Frensham Ponds Hotel to check in, shower and change. We went back to Farnham, met Bob and went to dinner at Cote. (Bob told us that Costa Rica had beaten Italy 1-0 which means the English team will be coming home much sooner than they thought.) We drove back to the hotel and fell into bed, finally, at about midnight.

My feet sighed a grateful thank you.

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One Response to Premature eviction

  1. hat says:

    My goodness I hope this house is worth all the problems you have had since you started it seems like one after the other. me and dad were breathless by the time I had finished reading it to him, you will need the holiday to get over the last day.
    love mum and dad xx

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