Well, Christmas is over and we are heading towards the New Year of 2018 with great haste.
The lead up to Christmas for Michoumakes and her hubby proved, as ever, extremely hectic and fraught with issues. You see we sell trophies over the internet and we have some lovely customers but one ‘group’ of customers places their orders anywhere between Dec 6th to the 19th and each one of them separately bombards us with a request for hundreds of trophies. Great news you might say. Well it is, except that they all generally place their order say on a Monday and require them to be with delivered to them on the Friday of the same week! For that amount of trophies, the whole process would normally take up the best part of two weeks. Take into consideration that it’s the last 2 weeks before Christmas and the couriers are bogged down with deliveries. So, trying to send 11 enormous boxes to the venues in the middle of London that aren’t always manned throughout the day then it’s a miracle if they all arrive on time, intact and altogether.
And so it is that every Saturday morning we receive panic calls from them telling us that they are missing 20 or so trophies, which upon further investigation appear to have fallen by the wayside in a depot somewhere between them and us. And there isn’t a thing we can do about it because the couriers close at 1pm on the Saturday!
So, finally we closed down for the Christmas holidays on the 22nd, all orders had been despatched and should have arrived at their required destinations by the 21st.
Then on the evening of the 22nd we receive a frantic call from one of the customers, a third of the order hadn’t arrived and what could we do! It turns out they had emailed a second order 2 days earlier and we never received it so no trophies were processed!
And so, after a calming down conversation where my husband informs her that all the suppliers were now closed so there was no way we could do anything until the New Year we were then able to settle down and prepare our own Christmas festivities.
And so Christmas passed smoothly without anything worthy of a mention. And for New Year we normally went with another couple in our car down to Northern France to stay with yet another friend and celebrate the New Year in French fashion. However, this year there was a change of plans. For the past 3 years our stay in France usually ended up with all of us coughing and spluttering, being full of cold and generally feeling miserable. Whether that was because the house was not the warmest or we had picked the bugs up from the family gathering the previous few days or simply that once we were able to fully rest our bodies simply let us all know just how ‘whacked’ we all were.
Anyway after the last New Year of illness which seemed to carry on into February and March the decision was made “Right, next year we go to hotter climes!”
And so the plan ended up that we were going to go to Tenereife for the New year in 2017.
Well, that was the plan but it soon changed! Lack of planning, time and funds meant that we all decided we should look for somewhere closer to home. And so we managed to find a very nice ‘last minute’ house in Devon that was available.
The usual practice is that, as I mentioned previously, we all travel down together but circumstances on our part (picking up son from girlfriends and taking him back home) took much longer than planned and so our friends set off on their own in their car. As they had booked the place they had all the necessary instructions on where to find the cottage. We, on the other hand only had the information that had been on the website.
The journey was going to take 5 and a half hours and we eventually set off at 1pm. So by the time we reached Birmingham the darkness was setting in.
Our text messaging between us and John and Barbara was ongoing and they told us they were approximately 60 to 90 minutes ahead of us.
In one of the messages they said: “Do you know where we are going?”
“Yes,” I replied,
“The last 2 lines of the instruction are the important ones” came back their reply.
So I looked at the website instructions and responded by saying.
“Do you mean the part that says they have a washing machine and a tumble drier?”
No response came back
They would arrive at 7.30 and we should arrive around 8.30pm. Our phone sat nav was remarkably good at getting us to our destination despite the fact that in the last mile the phone reception disappeared.
So, in total darkness, we pulled up to some houses in a small hamlet, stopped outside what we thought was the correct cottage stepped out into the pouring rain and walked up to the house.
“Brian, this isn’t the cottage! It’s not a white one like the picture and look at the name on the wall, that’s not the one we are looking for!”
We wander around in the darkness walking as close as possible to each house to see what they name is and check to see if the walls are white. After minutes of frustration and searching for John and Barbara’s car we try to ring them. No signal. So then we text them. No signal. In the end, after no success in finding the said house, we get back into the car and drive around looking for it. By this time it’s 9.15pm and having knocked on several doors to see if they knew where the cottage was, without a successful response, we realised we were totally lost. My husband was completely frustrated and I have to admit was getting a tad irate and threatening to go back home.
“It’s all good fun!” I tell him. We’ll laugh at this in the future.
“All good fun! And where do you think we are bloody well going to sleep tonight if we can’t find it? Because I’m not bloody sleeping in the car!” he shouted.
By 10.15pm we had driven through the said hamlet at least 4 times and taken ourselves down every possible side road that we could see only to find no white house!
At last the phone rang, it was John.
“Where are you?”
“We haven’t got a bloody clue!” hubby says.
So after some discussion, we were guided back to the hamlet and told to turn up a road we had never seen on any of our previous forays and at last we found the cottage.
Soaked, starving and dying for the loo we were guided into a lovely welcoming warm kitchen where a meal was waiting for us.
The house was right next to the first one we looked at but when I shone my phone torch at the wall it was yellow. And the next morning when we emerged from the cottage to go for a trip around Plymouth there we could see it was not a white house but a yellow one.
It had recently been painted that colour and the image on the website hadn’t been updated yet!!!