Just popping out for a few things


I went to number eighteen by myself for the first time. Inevitably excitement was mixed with trepidation – how would I manage without the rest of the family? The new decking at the rear of the chalet was finished and it was time to get the furniture to go on it. “I’ll just pop into Tesco first,” I thought, “and then I’ll go to B&Q. Shouldn’t be long.”

I arrived at B&Q and went to collect the garden furniture I had seen on line. It wasn’t there! I asked at the desk, was told I could order it for collection later and was referred to Kristie. Kristie deserves a special mention. She went way beyond the call of duty in getting me sorted out.

What I thought I wanted was either out of stock or discontinued. We discussed looking round other stores to see if Kristie could assemble the six chairs and table I wanted. We quickly realised it was a lost cause. Kristie helped me choose another range. The chairs were cheaper but the table was bigger and more expensive, a lot more expensive.

The table and three of the chairs were in stock. Then it was a question of locating the other three chairs. Kristie found them in Ashford and asked them to put the chairs aside for me to collect later in the day.

A trolley was loaded with the remaining chairs and the table. To my surprise, it was really heavy. I hadn’t appreciated that the top was tempered glass. We loaded the table into the car but there was no room for the chairs. I had been a bit optimistic about what would fit in my car. So the chairs went back to the warehouse while I drove the table back to number eighteen. Trip one completed.

After a cup of tea, I made my second trip, back to the warehouse to collect the first three chairs. I contemplated going on to Ashford for the other three chairs, but was not sure they would all fit in. So back to number eighteen with the first three chairs.

After supper, I set out on trip three to collect the other three chairs from Ashford. I got to where I thought the warehouse was. I couldn’t see it. I drove further down the road. I asked at a garage, but the instructions weren’t very clear, although it was definitely near where I thought it should be. So I drove back up the road the other way, still couldn’t see it and turned round again. You’d think I’d find a big orange warehouse, wouldn’t you?

Eventually I found it, where it should be, but on the other side of the road and set back a bit. I walked in; and there were the chairs waiting for me! I paid for the chairs, loaded then into the car and set off again. I got back before bedtime, some five hours after I first set out.

The neighbours next door had watched the saga unfold. I was very glad they were there and slept soundly that night, comforted by the knowledge of their presence.

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