This is a weird one.
Out of the blue our Lisa called me to ask a favour. She’d seen the best ever antique chest of drawers for sale on some Facebook sales thing. And it was only a tenner!
The trouble was it was at Buxton (and she’s not confident to drive on motorways) would I drive her there?
Off the top of my head I immediately thought of rush hour traffic around the M60 (Manchester ring road), the queues from Stockport on to the A6, the roadworks on the A6, the crawling traffic unable to overtake the slow lorry or tractor…
Oh dear. But, it’s my sister. And it was something she really wanted. And it was cheap and she’s not got much money.
There was no point in driving her there, I’m the named driver on Wendy’s policy, which I’ve recently found out, means I’m not able to drive other people’s cars third party. So I couldn’t drive Lisa’s car, and if I was going in Wendy’s I might as well go straight there.
I googled it, an hour and five minutes. Ah well, get it done.
Then Lisa text me the postcode. Actually further away, and a longer drive (1.30) but google said I could go M6 south and cut across country at junction 18. Splendid! Heading away from Manc and completely avoiding the A6.
To be fair Lisa did read out the dimensions, which I roughed from metric into English, as about 3’ x 4’ x 2’.
The first night I was supposed to be collecting it I was waiting around for hours, the woman selling it had given out Lisa her landline number, then gone out to Stoke for a few hours, so when I tried calling her she didn’t answer as she was out. In Stoke.
That was a bust.
The second night, she was going to be in. I set off. Nice nip down the M6, always a joy, then off at junction 18. I’ve never driven far across country from that junction. It is rally country. Small country lanes, single lanes at some points, blind bends and summits, in the rain. It was a nightmare.
On the bright side, tired as I was, I was pretty damn alert.
I finally got to this huge mansion in the country and rang the number. The woman answered and said to drive in and park in the West Wing, (!) she’d wave to show me where to go.
I parked and went to the house. She answered in her dressing gown and let me in. She said there was no way I was going to get it in to a Mini but she’s show me what she meant. I followed her upstairs. She explained I wouldn’t be able to lift it as she’d done her back and her fellah wasn’t here.
This was feeling a bit weird. Alone in a house with a woman I’d just met, in her dressing gown.
OK, fair enough.
She said I could take the drawers this time and come back for the rest. It was going to take me several long walks to the car, so while I was doing that she was going for a shower.
I’m not a rapist, murderer, burglar, but she didn’t know that. She’d let a random bloke into her house then left me with the run of the house while she went for a shower.
This was definitely weird. Still, crack on.
I was on my second or third trip, alone in this bedroom, when suddenly I heard a bloke come in downstairs, shouting the woman’s name. Presumably thinking I had raped and murdered his missus. She was a few door away from me, in the shower, so couldn’t hear him to reply.
Oh very dear. So not good.
What can you do in that situation except carry on as normal and wait for it all to resolve itself?
I managed to get all the drawers into the car, but that was it, it was totally full.
I was renting a van anyway on Friday to pick up my next project (more on that in another blog) so I asked if she would hang on to the rest of it and I’d have to do the trip again.
I got home and did the figures. Unfortunately the van place shuts at 16.00 so I was going to be up against the clock the whole day. The only way I could do it was to pick Lisa up (I needed a second man to help me carry the chest of drawers down the stairs, -and chaperone me from mad shower woman-) at 08.00, get there early for the van collection, actually be on the road for the booking time of 08.30, down to Wellingborough, 20 minutes bike collection time, up the M1, across the A50, then up a fairly decent road to this place near Buxton, fly back, drop Lisa and the furniture off, which left me with, at best 50 minutes to drive across town, unload the bike, fuel up and get back to the van place and be inspected by 16.00.
It was going to be tight. And stressful.
Then this evening (Thursday) I got a call off Lisa.
She’d stacked the drawers in the corner where she was planning to have the unit, and, without the frame, they were already too big for the room. And not very nice. And not in great condition. And not what she wanted.
In other news I’m interviewing for the position of ‘sister’, at the moment.
OK, that was a nightmare. A long, weird, pointless waste of time and effort. But on the bright side, tomorrow is now going to be a really relaxed affair. And I don’t have to see mad shower woman again. So, swings and roundabouts.