There are lots of people who think it must be wonderful to be a registered ‘Home Worker’, many of the comments that I have heard over the years appear to be of the opinion that I sit in the garden in my reclining sun chair, favourite chilled aperitif in hand and mobile phone at the ready just in case someone should disturb my afternoon nap ! Shock, horror, gasp ! I of course knew that the ‘firm’ had installed the alarm systems but they did not tell me anything about the ‘covert’ CCTV cameras !! The truth however is very different, and Yes of course I would say that wouldn’t I ? The reality of the situation is somewhat different to the perception. Whilst ‘home working’ certainly has some advantages it also comes with its own downsides, working in one’s home all day with no visual interaction with any other human beings may for some be idyllic, but for someone who enjoys a bit of interaction with real people now and again and not just Emails or telephone conversations, it can bring on periods of ‘Cabin Fever’. It was therefore quite nice at the beginning of the week to be ‘out on the road’ again and although that did mean spending 3 days and 2 nights away it did mean that ‘Jeeves’ got some time off from M’lady. It was a good job that I returned when I did though as she was on the verge of dying from dehydration ! I showed her where the kettle was situated and she looked at me with one of her surprised expressions stating that she often wondered what that big silver ornament ‘thing’ was doing in the kitchen !!
It was good to have my mind on something other than when the ‘exchange of Contracts’ would take place or when we could start to sell the large items of furniture. It was also good to be out with some of my work colleagues, this is not a regular occurrence as we tend to manage our own portfolios of work and there would be very few similar opportunities in the next 8 weeks. However, I have to admit that I was more than a little frustrated to find that when I did get home there was still no Letter, Email or Text from my Conveyancing Solicitor, neither was there any update on the website. I decided that if I had not heard anything by the end of the week I would need to start to try to make things happen.
Work were being very good to me, they of course knew of my intentions but I could not risk putting in my official retirement notice prior to getting the official ‘Exchange’ notification as if anything went wrong I would still need to pay the mortgage and therefore have a job to be able to do so. I could not sell the large items of furniture either because if the purchase did go wrong I wouldn’t want to have to refurnish. I was very aware that if my work chose to, they could make me work the full 11 weeks notice that I am obliged to give, as it is they are happy to accept one month’s notice, but we are rapidly approaching the time when that would have to happen or risk delaying completion on the house and that would have a ‘domino’ effect on lots of other arrangements that have been put into motion !
Friday arrived and still nothing, pointless ringing my Solicitor and I could not ring either the Buyer’s or their Solicitor’s, but I knew a man who could ? I explained the situation to our Estate Agent and was mightily impressed at their ‘can do’ approach. Within half an hour he had phoned me back, their Solicitor was just awaiting the results of local searches, “Were there any plans to build a theme park in our back garden” or would they sell the local Greenfield site to the ‘Naturist Society’, Mmmmm, may have stayed put if that was the case, I have always had an interest in ‘Blue Tits’ and ‘Great Chested Grebes’. Shazza pointed out that she thought I was thinking of the ‘Naturalist Society’ but I re-assured her that I knew exactly what I meant !! Our Estate Agent also informed us that the Solicitor had spoken to the ‘Purchasers’ and had been advised that their mortgage had been approved and that he was expecting the confirmation letter from the ‘lenders’ early next week, double bonus !! The Estate Agent was proving to be worth every penny of their fee, unlike some other so-called professional ‘services’ I could mention. Shazza on the other hand had told me that she had another plan to raise some much-needed additional ‘coffers’ for our ‘travel fund’. She informed me that her and Sonia, or as I refer to her ‘MIL’ (Mother-in-Law) were going to pay a visit to a place that gives cash for ‘Gold’ !! I knew she had a few bits and pieces of jewellery that she didn’t wear, 18ct and 9ct, and I threw in my old wedding ring (didn’t realise I still had it but at least I was going to get something back in reward for 26 years of hard labour !). I didn’t expect that it would produce very much but every penny counts. However, when she returned she bounded up the stairs to where I was working, Shazza only ever bounds up the stairs, think in a previous life she was a kangaroo ! Anyway she was wearing one of those “Look at me, haven’t I done well” sort of big cheesy grins. She thrust the ‘wad’ of notes into my hand for me to count and to be honest my first thought was to bolt all the doors in anticipation of the ‘armed police’ arriving very, very soon as her little clutch of jewellery cannot have been worth this amount of money !! Had Shazza and Sonia done a ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ on the Jewellers. I hadn’t checked to see if they were both wearing stockings or balaclavas over their heads when they had left the house. Sonia’s handbag always looked a bit bulky but I just put that down to the hip flask of whisky she always carried, purely for medicinal purposes you understand (appears to run in the family !).
Now had that been all that had happened on this wonderful ‘end of yet another week’ Friday, I would have been more than happy. However, it just got better and better. At the end of May we had decided to put ‘Plan A’ into operation, this was to apply to both the UK National Caravan Clubs (Caravan Club and the Camping & Caravanning Club) for seasonal employment as Assistant Site Wardens (CC) or Holiday Assistants (C&CC), both the same thing just different titles ! More about Plans ‘A’ and ‘B’ in a future post (If I remember ?). Anyway, back to the plot………. our initial applications to both clubs had been accepted but we now had to wait for a letter advising us when we had to attend both a formal interview and an Assessment Centre, they need to make sure that you know how to wield a ‘bog brush’, mow grass in straight lines and ensure that campers pitch their vans as
ordered informed, and other such highly specialised tasks. Anyway we had waited and waited, although to be fair whilst the C&CC were noticeable by their silence the CC at least had advised us that we were ‘not’ on the next Assessment Centre scheduled for October and the next one wasn’t until January, but they couldn’t guarantee we would be on that one either !! So another ‘make it happen’ moment, under the guise of providing them with an updated contact address, new mobile phone number and Email address I rang the HR department and spoke to a lovely lady called ‘Dee’. I had spoken to ‘Dee’ on previous occasions and although very formal she was always very pleasant. I advised ‘Dee’ of the new details and just happened to mention that we would be taking an extended ‘retirement’ break to Spain in October with plans not to return until ‘April 2014’. I explained that she had previously informed me that although there was an Assessment Centre in January there was no guarantee that we would be on it. The ploy worked and ‘Dee’ checked the details and put us on the January event. Now I know that means that we will ‘Only’ have a short 13 week break touring Spain and Portugal in warmer climes whilst you poor readers will probably be enduring a ‘dark’, ‘windy’, ‘cold’, ‘wet’, ‘icy’, ‘windscreen frosted’ winter but don’t you feel sorry for us, we will put up with having to cut short our ‘retirement’ break and No ! that most certainly wasn’t stifled laughter, as if !!
There was just one thing that took the
smug satisfied smile off my face on what had been a very productive Friday. I received an unexpected phone call from our ‘Purchasers’ asking if they could come around to take another look at the house ? They also wanted to discuss the date of completion ? They didn’t want to discuss it over the phone ? All of a sudden that knot in my stomach started to grow again……………..
I had a restless night and couldn’t sleep, it had nothing to do with the heat of the night, because there wasn’t any ! neither was it the ‘clip clop’ of heels on the pavement, or cats, pheasants, dogs or any other external sound, only the noise of the cogs spinning around inside my head at a great rate of knots. We had been told that their mortgage had been approved so it couldn’t be bad news on the house sale front. What if they wanted to ‘complete’ early !! I still hadn’t handed in my notice ! I still had to work right up until the end of September and still needed my car for work ! I still had quite a few ‘on the road’ trips still to undertake ! I hadn’t even started to advertise any ‘large’ furniture items yet ! we were just not in a position to move yet !! After a very good day, it ended up not being a very good night …………………………………..
I needed to keep myself busy on Saturday morning. Shazza had decided to keep herself busy by taking her mother to Bath for a bit of retail therapy !! I needed to yet again sort the
tat ‘cherished items’ ready for our regular Sunday morning appointment with our ‘select’ clientele ! As well as the tat ‘cherished items’ that our unfortunate customers had failed to avail themselves of at the previous six car boot sales we had attended ! which they would of course have another attempt to purchase this week, I also liked to take a few new items, but even I was beginning to wonder where the heck all this ‘stuff’ was coming from !! Mary Poppins carpet-bag may have seemed endless but it couldn’t shine a light on our bottomless pit ! I could understand it if we lived in a row of terraced houses, we would probably have been selling off all our neighbours ‘ tat‘ ‘hidden treasures’ from their lofts as well, but we were a detached house !! Anyway, I needed a new sales strategy, I had to devise a new crowd puller, the usual “Roll Up, Roll Up and bag yourself a bargain” routine was getting boring. So after giving the matter a lot of detailed thought, two minutes, I have decided to sing to attract my customers. Now as I have not yet learnt how to attach a video clip so that you can see and hear me singing it, you will just have to sing it to yourselves. I am sure that most of you will have seen that very well-known musical film classic ‘Oliver’ ? Remember the scene where ‘Fagan’ is introducing ‘Oliver’ to the art of stealing silk handkerchiefs to the song ‘Pick a Pocket’, well my rendition is to that very tune and it goes something like this………
In this world, one thing counts
In the Bank, Large amounts,
Products like these are sure to please,
you’ve got to do a car boot or two boys,
You’ve got to do a car boot or two.
So ? what do you think, catchy eh ! Sure to have them flocking around my stall !!
Our ‘Purchasers’ arrived and we went through the pleasantries, I offered them a ‘cuppa’ which they both declined !! not a good start I thought. We sat down and after a bit of small talk we got down to business. First they wanted to measure the ‘master’ bedroom to see if they could fit a ‘Giant’ sized bed into it ? No problems I said, but thinking that surely isn’t all they had come around for ? “So, how is it all going” I said and that got the real subject of the visit going. Apparently, they had sold their ‘apartment’ (Flat) just 2 weeks after making the offer on our house and although the ‘apartment’ sale had no relevance to their purchase of our house it had sold a tad faster than they had anticipated. Their purchaser needed to be in at the end of September because the lease on their current accommodation would have expired. Still with me ? They were not wanting us to complete any sooner but merely requested whether they could store their furniture in our garage so that their purchaser could move their furniture into the ‘apartment’. Well at that point, internally, I was sighing massively with relief, externally I was portraying my usual calm, collected demeanour with a smile. “Of Course, no problems” I stated, “We are here to make the move as easy as possible, in fact the garage is almost empty now except for a few bits and pieces” which roughly translated means that it will be in a few weeks once I have cleared out all our
tat ‘cherished possessions’ and ‘hidden treasures’ !! At that point ‘Sam’, Oh yes we are on first name terms now ! asked if the offer of a ‘cuppa’ was still available, Yee Hah !! now this deal is moving in the right direction at the right pace and everyone is happy, primarily me !! My welcomed guests, purchasers of our house and new best buddies stayed for around ninety minutes, they did their measuring and we talked even more small talk. Eventually, they left and I got on with the task of sorting and loading the ‘ tat‘ into the car. The knot in my stomach had disappeared and I found myself singing my new ‘sales strategy song’ over and over again !! I returned to the garage and commenced loading the car ready for tomorrows game of “Collect and stash the Cash”. I had quite literally just finished doing the jigsaw puzzle that saw everything fit in to every nook and cranny when not only did the heavens open, and did they open or what !! and as it did so ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ returned from their retail therapy treatment.
Sunday morning arrived far too soon for my liking, I forced myself out of bed and wandered over to the window, praying that it would be wet, damp and miserable outside, no-one would surely venture out in those conditions. As I peered outside Shazza asked what the weather was like and I eagerly informed her that there had been three inches of snow overnight………we got up, got washed and dressed and by 06:45am were heading for our appointment with our customers.
Having sold the majority of our larger ‘money’ items over recent weeks, I anticipated that the next few weeks were going to reap less and less so was again very pleased to come away with much less
tat ‘cherished items’ than we had arrived with and made over one hundred pounds into the bargain yet again. So another week over and as we move ever closer to the start of our ‘Big Adventure’ I wonder what the coming week will bring ? ………………………….