I went to bed, coughing well, and if there had been an All England Coughing Stakes I might have been in with a chance. After a few hours I knew I would never get any sleep, and in my sorting out of household possessions I had spotted an old bottle of Night Nurse. So popped on a coat and boots - it was still raining heavily - and with my newly acquired extra strong head torch went off to seek it out. I found it easily, though it had lost its measuring cap. I was too ill to bother with niceties but did just glance at the instructions where the torch beam picked out the best before date of 2009. What the heck! I took a reasonable sized gulg straight out of the bottle and stumbled back to bed. It must have worked pretty well though, because although the alarm was set for 4.50 in the spirit of my new good intentions for early rising, I didn't actually get up till nearly nine, and even then only because I needed to phone the estate agents to cancel the appointment for the prospective purchasers visit this morning.
One thing I didn't mention was that yesterday, to top everything off the mi-fi packed up, or rather refused to give more than a couple of kilobytes which isn’t enough for a connection. Up until yesterday it had been pretty reliable and was connecting well. Now, I am not a technical whiz but I thought the help desk at Orange might have at least understood the difference between a kb and mb. After lengthy discussions, and taking the sim card out and putting in in again several times (obviously the equivalent of the electrical engineers favoured fix of switching it off and switching it on again) nothing improved and I was promised a series of texts....... What did I get....... a customer satisfaction survey. I will need to build up my strength before another battle with them in a while.
So with the internet connection not working and all my notes on the sale stored online I couldn't access the purchasers phone number – the only number stored in my mobile was that of the estate agent. He did actually pick up, probably because I haven't phoned him from my mobile before so he didn't know it was me calling. Anyway he said he would phone the office and get them to send a message through to say that I “had been hung up somewhere” Now I would have thought in the circumstances the honest truth would have been enough, but perhaps its just an estate agent thing.
I suggested he just told them I was ill, as to me “hung up somewhere” implies that you will be a little late, and if I were the purchasers I would have wanted to reschedule for an hour or so later, or maybe even the afternoon. And I seriously didn't think I would be making that speedy a recovery.
I got no call back from his office so had no idea whether contact had been made or whether any minute now there would be a knock at the door and I would be expected to show them round in my pyjamas and slippers. I tried his mobile again, but this time he had me firmly pegged and I went straight to ansaphone. With no way of finding their phone number (well there were probably letters from them which I could have located, but I was feeling too ill to even remember that let alone find them) I had to resort to 118 118. See advertising does pay!! And it jolly well must do because the call was about £4! and then I just got through to the estate agents centralized answering centre who could neither give me any information, nor transfer the call, and I had to be satisfied with a promise for them to get someone to phone me back urgently.
About fifteen minutes or so later they came through, though were apparently only just letting the purchasers know, who were probably very cross and rightly so as I expect were just leaving the house for their appointment. I did ask for their number to apologize personally, but they said I would be better to leave it for a while....... so I think my assumption on the crossness stakes was probably correct!
Shortly the hired van arrived to take the “few” bits I have kept ie bed, kitchen table, desk and oddments, plus my whole library of books which are to go into the storage container. So I had to get going to help pack things. Darren, who has helped me round the place for a few years is bringing his relation Chris to help. They collected the hired luton van from Malvern, and I asked them drop by the doctors for the antibiotics, of which I am in dire need. Instead they arrrived with an Epipen. Its a long story and one I won't bore you with just now.
The skip for the rubbish also came today – one of the joys of living in a smallish community is that you get to know folks well and if you are in a fix they will normally do their best to help. I had thought that the oddments not going into store would have fitted into Darren's pick-up to be dropped at the tip, even if it involved a couple of trips. But of course his pick-up was now in Malvern – at the van hire depot, and all of a sudden the place seemed awash with detritus. It was getting difficult to know what was for store, what was to stay and what was to be thrown away. So at 2pm I made a desperate phone call to the skip hire place. Could they bring me a good big skip and as soon as ever they liked. I was told that “the boy” had just gone to have a bite of lunch, but they would see what could be done when he got back, otherwise it would have to be tomorrow. Good old Bill – and I know he won't mind me calling him old as he is in his ninties and still driving the huge skip lorry and reversing into position as neatly as ever – anyway he and “the boy” trundled up the drive just gone three.
I have known them for years. I think Bill was one of the first callers when I moved in twenty five years or more ago. Bill and “the boy” - his son who is about my age - were most impressed with Thebus, who is the same width across as the big skip lorry and a bit longer. Bill was amazed that I am to be the driver, but as with everyone else gave me lots of encouragement and said I will soon get into it.
They were also delighted to see the first of my snowdrops in bloom, harbingers of the spring, and said how beautifully I kept the gardens here, and I must admit it has been a labour of love for me these last twenty-five or so years, from the day I moved in when I had to borrow a chainsaw to get the luton van up the drive to the picture of elegance it presents today. I hope that the new chatelaines will grow to love it as much as I have, and if it gives them just half the pleasure it has given me over the years they will count themselves blest.
Bill had bought me a calendar, but I was disappointed it only had pictures of wildlife on it - If it had been photos of Bill I would have kept it and hung it up in Thebus. As it was I left it on the wall for the newcomers who might be in need of his services sometime.
I shall be glad to be in bed tonight, especially as the next few days are shaping up to be almost as hectic. Surely it will be calmer to be travelling – time will tell!!!!
Snowdrops in the Hazelnut Walk at The Grange