Friday, 19 June 2015


Events of note at work so far this week:

  • Group of Japanese tourists arriving at 7am, buying fuel for their car, and then photographing each other outside the shop, collapsing in helpless, excited laughter at our coal bunkers.  
  • Man buying coffee from the coffee machine and then demanding I add more coffee, as it wasn't coffee-y enough.  I was tempted to chew up a mouthful of coffee beans and spit them into his drink, but I managed to refrain, and merely made him a fresh cup, which was apparently "fine."
  • Being handed a crumpled five pound note with wet cowshit on it.  This happens far more often than is acceptable.
  • Man buying a pasty, then remaining at the till to harangue me (and other customers) about the terrible recent case of a young girl who was found dead after a row with her family. He was bellowing "She was hanged!  There's more to that than we're being told!" at a polite man trying to pay for his diesel for quite a long time.  
  • Being asked many technical questions about putting oil in a car by someone who has no idea whether their car is a petrol or a diesel, and aren't even sure if it needs oil, but "a light has come on so it probably does."  All this while a long, impatient queue of people builds up behind them, while they ponder what they actually want at their leisure.
  • Woman wanting a gas canister, then wanting to do complicated stuff about changing from one canister size to another, which only our managers are allowed to authorise, and then getting hugely annoyed when told how much the canister she asked for in the first place costs.  There was a degree of huffing and flouncing, which made the man in the queue behind her roll his eyes expressively at me.
  • Woman running into the shop and asking me "Did I just put petrol in my car??" When I said no, she said "I've been swimming in the sea, it's messed with my head!"

Ah, people.

In other news, Mr WithaY and I (and the dog) went to visit some very dear friends down in deepest Sussex earlier this week.  They live in a cottage on a rather excellent country estate, so we went for several dog-walks through the meadows and woods.  Their dog is a charmer, and he and ours played together most endearingly.  Our dog retired to her basket when we got home, and slept for about 18 hours solidly.  She can't party like she used to.

I wanted to take photos of The Big House there, because it is a beautiful (possibly) Elizabethan manor house with a Horsham stone roof, but I felt that  might be a bit intrusive and gawky, so you will just have to imagine it.

We travelled down in Mr WithaY's new truck, which is far more comfortable than the LandRover was, and much more practical. It's a double-cab pick-up with a roof on the pick-up bit at the back, so there;s room for 5 people and tons of stuff too.  He's very pleased with it.

But what happened to the LandRover, I hear you ask?


Several months ago, Mr WithaY was off to the woods to work, where he planned to be for a long weekend.  He packed all his kit into his car, said a fond farewell to me and the dog, and headed off.  Some hours later, I was at work, and he came into the shop to ask if he could borrow my car.

"What happened to yours?" I enquired.

"Crashed it," he replied somewhat tersely.  I gave him my car keys, with a stern injunction not to crash mine too.  He disappeared again, returning several days later with a sad tale of bouncing off a woodland track at 10 miles an hour and hitting a tree.

Unfortunately, the age of the vehicle, and the substantial nature of the damage inflicted - lights smashed, bonnet crumpled, side panel dented, bumper broken - meant that the insurance company wrote it off, hence the need for a new truck.  The tree, you will be pleased to hear, was undamaged, not even getting a dent in the thick moss covering the trunk.

Oh, and Mr WithaY was fine too.

While Mr WithaY was away over that long weekend, we had a new fence put up.  It replaced the horrible tatty broken fence which ran along the side of the gardens, front and back.  A team of charming young landscape gardeners came to erect it* and worked like Trojans from morn** till night***, pausing only briefly for cups of tea.

On the eventful Friday afternoon when Mr WithaY had broken his car, I was in the house, having been at work all morning.  There was a knock on the front door.  One of the gardeners stood there, looking anxious.  If he'd had a flat cap on, he'd have been tugging nervously at the peak.

"Hello," I said.  Have you finished already?"

"No," he replied.  "We've dug a hole for the last fencepost, but it's full of water."

"Oh, never mind about that! Our water table round here is really high. I bet it'll be fine."

He agreed with me, and said they had some finishing off to do, and could sort out the last bit of fence in an hour or so, once the water level had dropped again.

An hour or so later, there was another knock on the door.  He looked positively anguished.  The flat cap would have been clutched in nerveless hands, wrung with despair.

"Come and look at this," he said.  That's never good.  I followed him around to the side of the house where the fencepost hole was brimming with water, and a stream had formed running down onto the back lawn.

"Fuck."  I said.

He nodded sadly.

To cut a (very) long story slightly shorter, it turned out that our water main runs down that side of the house, and in digging the hole, they had managed to somehow disturb the pipe and cause a massive leak.  Several hours of panicking, phoning plumbers, phoning Wessex Water and trying to build makeshift dams with breeze blocks followed.

Thankfully, Wessex Water were able to come out the following day and fix the problem, but they suggested that if we ever win the Lottery we might consider having all our external water pipes replaced.  Cheers for that.

It is traditional for some domestic disaster to occur when Mr WithaY is away, so I'm pretty used to it now.  I ought to make a Domestic Disaster Bingo Card, and keep myself amused guessing what will happen next.


**About 8am-ish
***About teatime