Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Wrong number

Wrong Number

I was cutting it fine as I pushed the trolley, chock full of beer, cider, wine and nappies out into the car park of ASDA. I had half an hour to get home, unpack the shopping, make something to eat, read through my notes, before interviewing Sarah Price, the garden designer and artist behind the planting plans for the Olympic Park 2012.

As I haphazardly fitted the bottles of beer, cans of cider and nappies around the push-chair in the boot of the car my phone pinged. A missed call. It would have to wait. I threw the trolley to one side and drove out of the car park. It was another beautiful day; the 18th dry day in a row. And to celebrate we were having a barbecue at the weekend – hence all the cans and bottles (well, that’s my excuse!)

Once home, to save time I left the cans and nappies in the boot and concentrated on putting away the fridge items. Half a sandwich later and it was 2:05pm and my allotted interview time. I’d rung Sarah earlier in the day but she’d been busy in her garden, so I’d offered a 2pm slot and she’d jumped at it. And now here I was five minutes late. I grabbed the laptop, assumed my ‘interviewing ‘pose (laid back on the sofa propped up with two pillows and phone propped under chin) and pressed redial on my phone.

‘Hello Vikki’ said a friendly voice at the end of the line
That wasn’t Sarah. This voice was male for a start. I decided to wing it
‘Hi!’ I said breezily and went with a ‘how are you’ when I should have asked ‘WHO are you?’
‘Fine thanks Vikki, how are you?’ His repetition of my forename seemed rather smug in my complete absence of knowledge of his own.
‘I’m fine (I paused in the vain hope that he’d help me out and insert his name) – well, actually that’s a lie, I’m struggling with hayfever – any suggested cures?’
‘Well, you could try the local honey’
Ah – a clue; he was local.
‘I was thinking of going to Lullingstone to get some...’ I stressed the word LULL-ING-STONE, perhaps I knew him through Tom Hart Dyke, my gardening friend who I’d worked with for five years.
‘You could’ he replied.
Damn – maybe not. I’d try again...
‘It’s funny though, after all those years of working on Tom’s garden and I’ve never had hayfever before’
‘Ummm’ he replied.

Nope. He didn’t know Tom then. Who was he? And why was he on redial?
I was struggling. I was on the brink of confessing that I didn’t have a clue who I was talking to when he threw in the curve ball
‘Well, when do you think this weather’s going to break then?’
‘my turn to ‘ummmm...?’
‘I have to say it’s good for business though’. Ah ha – another clue.
Perhaps he was a deck chair salesman? a beach volley player? a Mr Whippy????
‘So, I’ll try to get to you by Friday.’

And that’s when it clicked. It was the window cleaner. I’d left him a message earlier in the day and he must have been the missed call when I was struggling with the malevolent trolley in ASDA.

‘Glen! Ah – that would be great GLEN. Glen!!!!!!’ I virtually shouted his name; GLEN! Ofcourse – it’s GLEN!!!! And I said it again for good measure, just to make sure he knew I knew who he was.

I think I probably sounded a bit more enthusiastic about his visit than is probably appropriate.

‘Ok then Vikki – really looking forward to seeing you’ said Glen flirtily.
Blimey – I’d been after a window cleaner for months, and now I’d found an enthusiastic and friendly one. Why then, did this fill me with disquiet?

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