As you must have guessed, we do a lot of deliveries. Like Postman Pat, John and the little Flower Shop van can regularly be seen zipping about, not just through the village, but across West Sussex.
I don’t usually venture out of the village, after leaving my jet-set life behind I now get excited at the mere thought of hitting the bright lights of Storrington!!
This week I was asked by a very special customer if I would make a delivery to a village called ‘Wilmington‘ I had absolutely no idea where it was, but as I liked this particular customer a lot and I fancied a road trip, I agreed.
I convinced John to do the driving, but I feel it’s sometimes necessary to have a florist on hand in case flowers fall over and need rearranging. In this case it was a potted array of hyacinths, so no actual floristry skill needed but I fancied a day out.
John also needed a navigator as ‘Bella‘ (the van) doesn’t have a sat-nav, so I thought we’d make a day of it, after-all it was a SUNDAY and I promised John a lovely Sunday roast in a quiet country pub.
As ‘Navigator- Extraordinaire’ I jumped in the van with just a few vague directions, scrawled on a crumpled piece of paper, which ultimately ended in us getting completely LOST!
It wasn’t long before we crossed the border and entered into…..EAST SUSSEX!!! It was then that all road signs disappeared and a thick mist fell over the dark landscape and I had no idea where on earth we were and no mobile phone reception to help me.
Finally, a sign, not a heavenly one, but a real wooden one poking out from a clump of brambles said Wilmington, 3 miles. HURRAH!
Twenty minutes later we were still driving around the small village, consisting of nothing more than a pub, a scattering of houses (none that seemed to match the description I’d been given) and a pond, so we decided to venture into the pub to ask if anyone knew where the green gated house, near a big copper beech, next to a thatched cottage with a black dog, might be?
As we entered the establishment, everyone put down their drinks and looked over to the door, silence fell, but I’m sure I heard someone mutter “STRANGERS”…”Not from round here, wonder what they want.”
We asked the young girl behind the bar if she could help us locate the address. She continued polishing the glass she had in her hand and simply looked over at the group of locals huddled at the end of the bar. A discussion ensued…” Left at the oak tree, NO, right at the pond, NO that Bob’s house, DOWN the lane that forks of to the farm, UP the hill, second on the right, you can’t miss it.” We left more confused than we were when we entered.
At last, we found the house and delivered the plant to the delighted and surprised recipient and headed home. On the way, we called into the pub again to inform the villagers of our success and felt compelled to buy a round of drinks as a way of thanks. John couldn’t drink as he was driving and unfortunately they didn’t do food, but wasn’t it FUN?
John didn’t think so.
We have had quite a few interesting and surprising encounters while delivering flowers. John and I may eventually have enough to write a book ‘The confessions of a village florist’ in which we could describe episodes such as the time when I had to pass a bunch of beautifully arranged sunflowers and eucalyptus through a side window because the occupant couldn’t open the door – apparently the inside of the house was flooded and my advice to put them in water asap didn’t go down too well. The time when we got stuck in traffic and had to literally chase a hearse down the road because it had left without the flowers and another incident where a lady came to the door at three in the afternoon wearing absolutely nothing from the waist up!!!
There was one time were we accidentally got the wife and the mistress addresses mixed up, but we won’t go into that, whatever is said to the florist, remains absolutely confidential, unless it involves a MURDER, then we might tell…that’s another story!
The next few weeks are our busiest time for deliveries, so book early to ensure we get there on time.