At one of the PH’s soiree’s a couple of years ago now, while sitting in their large kitchen, I suggested that the church pew that occupied far too much of my rented house, would look good alongside their dining table. After some discussion they agreed that it was worth looking at. I agreed to send them some details, and then forgot. The bench remained taking up space in the back room of my house, bruising my knees as I made to squeeze past it.
A few weeks ago, late on a Friday night at the start of the Buxton Festival, Lilly the Collie and I were lurking in the Tap House bar, drinking beer, and discussing the merits of Border Collies with a couple of farmers. Ian PH sauntered in, attired in shorts and a flowery shirt. We exchanged pleasantries and the topic of conversation turned to the bench. Yes I still had it, yes it was a nuisance and yes the PHs were welcome to it.
We agreed a time for a viewing. We confirmed the day and the time via messenger, and in anticipation, I even hoovered and dusted a little, to ensure that the impression given was of a bench that had been looked after, cared for even.
The appointed time came and went. I got on with my day. Later a message apologising, blaming a senior moment, arrived and we rearranged a visit for the following week.
This time the appointment was kept. Ian had brought along the boss, the brains of the partnership to help with the decision.
We talked about the bench, it was measured, and its impact on the kitchen speculated on. It was even sat on. My impression was that the ‘boss’ was less enthusiastic about the whole enterprise, but it was agreed that they would reach a decision and let me know.
In due course I receive a text to say that the bench was welcome to find a home in their kitchen and after a little negotiation it was agreed that it would be collected the following Thursday.
Thursday duly arrived. In a moment of nostalgia I take a couple of photos of the bench, just for old time’s sake. After all I have had it for over twenty years. It has been a great place to put things on, but (and don’t tell the PHs, a pain to sit on). The appointed time comes and goes, the dog barks at imagined visitors. An hour or so after the agreed time I send a text. Is there a problem, is the jist? The reply comes quickly, ‘No problem will see you on Thursday like we agreed.’
I hesitate. I check that it is Thursday. The wireless confirms that it is. Then I point this out. The reply takes longer. ‘I thought it was Wednesday today?’
We agree to reschedule. For the following Thursday.
Ian arrives at the appointed time, alone and without a leader. The plan, if you can call it that is to fit the bench into their car, which is actually a large SUV. After a lot of huffing and puffing and scratching of heads we agree that the bench won’t fit. Ian will need a man. Preferably with a van.
The bench is still in my back room. I am growing fonder of it. Perhaps it is meant to stay with me? We shall see. Next Thursday probably.