A job well done

Thursday November 16, 2006

“We’re too early,” I said as I eased the van into the space in front of the barred gates to the IKEA underground carpark.

“Not very much,” Graham said. “And we’ll be in plenty of time for breakfast.”

“Ah. Breakfast! I’m really, really ready for my breakfast.”

“Won’t be long now.”


“We’re too early.”


And in a very short time I was stomping along at the head of the small crowd of early shoppers, heading straight for the servery and my much-anticipated breakfast, the first since my cholesterol warning a little while back.


Stomping off to breakfast


“That went down without touching the sides,” I said as I pushed my empty and polished plate back. “I’m seriously considering seconds.”

“Well, you’ve earned them,” Graham said. “Ploughing through all that traffic in a big white van is adequate justification. I’m not sure you ought, though.”

“No. You’re right. What now, then?”

“Let’s go shopping!”

I was swept along in the wake of a determined buyer of IKEA goodies, picking up storage units and accessories like a little whirlwind, making me dizzy trying to keep up.

“What’s the rush?” I asked. “We’ve plenty of time.”

“I want to be sure to get all the bits we need before some other blighter picks them up.”

“Oh. Fair enough.”

In less than two hours we had two flat-bed trolleys and one basket trolley, all fully laden, checked through the till and out into the open space by the coffee bar.

“Tell you what,” Graham said. “You go and get an ice-cream to help cool me down and I’ll consolidate this lot on to the flat beds.”

I got one for myself, too. Not that I needed cooling down so much, you understand, more because if there’s any ice-cream to be scoffed I insist on my share. It took a fair while for me to finish mine—eating an ice-cream without your front teeth requires much care and attention—so Graham used the time to go through his shopping list one last time.

“How’d we do?” I asked, wiping the last of the ice-cream from my moustache.

“Apart from a last minute change to the drawer-fronts we’ve got everything we wanted. And I think the substitute drawer-fronts will work better anyway.”

“Oh, well done, chooky-boots.”

So, off we went, down in the lift and across to the van, where Graham managed the loading with considerable skill but with a modicum of huffing.

“Well done again,” I said. “I suspect you could do with a coffee after that lot. And possibly lunch?”

“I could do with a coffee. Not so sure about lunch, though.”

“No. I’m not hungry either. I have some nice spiced buns waiting for us at home.”

It was worth pausing for a while for coffee, though, to gather breath before the long drive home. The big white van behaved perfectly again, even with a load of flat-pack furniture, and I was beaming happily when I took it back to the depot later in the afternoon.

“Thank you for supplying a nice, clean and well-maintained vehicle,” I said to the manager and her two assistants. “I shall come again, and I shall tell all my friends.”

Smiles all round, I set off on the long plod home, my stick making a cheery plonk-pluck on the pavement as I went. It’s a slight but steady upward incline all the way and I was puffing merrily when I walked through the door, having had a jolly good thirty minute cardiac work-out.

Just then it started to rain. Fortune had seen me alright once more.

As soon as I got my breath back I heated four spicy buns and buttered them, very lightly, while Graham brewed tea and coffee.

“What now?” Graham asked as I wet-fingered the last crumbs from my plate.

“Well, I know it’s a little late but I could do with a bit of a siesta.”

“Me too. Then I’ll get stuck into the job of sorting all this lot out.”

Which, without more ado, is exactly what we did. There’s nothing quite so happy-making as the way you feel at the end of a long day and a job well done.


Today’s OMPOWRIMO poem feels rather fragmented to me; I have a feeling it’ll grow somewhat and become more refined when I get to the revision stage early in the New Year.


Forgotten ways
From the higher seat of the big white van
I see an open aspect and the river’s wider span,
stretching around the bend at Huntspill and
over to Glastonbury, winding through
marshy ways to the secret, hidden isles
where black holly guarded the way to
the inner oaks and dark paths, branch-laid
over sword-wished watery earth, led pilgrims
safely from dark place to darker sanctum.
The motorway skirts the near-forgotten ways,
bird-height, sightless, across an earth-henged land.
John Bailey
Somerset, November 2006


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