My Sister Sarah!
Some people have described me as being larger than life, but they haven’t met my sister Sarah! In comparison I’m shy and retiring and this weekend Sarah came to stay. She arrived from Cornwall on Friday evening just as I was shutting up the shop. The shop was still as manic as it has been all week, I’ve been shoe-horning Christmas in on top of a diary full of weddings and funerals and the shop was amass with wreaths, holly, mistletoe, willow reindeer, elves, fairies, ribbon and people, as Sarah fell through the door.
My eighteen year old niece had driven Sarah from Cornwall to Portsmouth, where she had dumped her at the train station and went off to meet her latest beau. Despite Sarah’s usual ditziness she had prepared well for a short train journey on Southern rail. She had packed an array of travel-sized wines and spirits into an oversized handbag, so when she stuck her head around the shop door I thought it was someone staggering home from a party for the cast of Poldark.
YOO-HOO! Je suis arrivee!!!!!
We tried to keep Friday night low key, as I had so much to do in the shop on Saturday, so it was a few drinks at home and yet another viewing of Mama Mia Here we go again and again and again. On Saturday I had almost a full team of florists in, plus deliveries, delivery drivers and lots of lovely customers, so finding a quiet corner to seat my not so little, not so quiet, little sister and finding something not to testing for her to do was quite tricky. Like me, her favourite role is customer service and PR!
Sarah loves to answer the phone and talk (extensively) to whoever is on the other end, as if she’s known them for years. A few times I caught sound of her on the phone …
Oh who are they for? Ooooh, that’s a big baby, that must have been painful, how many stitches did she need, she’ll be needing a rubber ring…
Will those be for your wife, sir? Oh, your girlfriend, how long have you been going out? Oh have you never thought of proposing?
So to get her away from the phone and her prying but well meant conversations, I took her delivering as my wing man in the van. First stop Amberley, then on to Arundel – if you read last week’s blog you’ll understand when I say I wasn’t looking forward to revisiting the ancient town. Like last week, my task was to drop off all the flowers for a wedding in the centre of Arundel. Again, I had to park on the steep hill but this time I parked with the back of the van facing up the hill and I had Sarah with me so there was no chance of getting stuck in the van.
We unloaded the flowers and then went in to meet the bride. We made a start on the table arrangements and soon all that was left was the big display to go on the entrance table. “Where’s the vase?” I asked the bride, who was bringing her own vase for the display. “Oh err umm, I forgot”
No, I never panic (well not in front of customers, I tend to hide somewhere, wave my arms around pull faces and then return fully composed). We can sort something out I said, not having a clue what we were going to do. I grabbed Sarah and pulled her outside.
There was a roll of cellophane in the van, I unrolled and cut off a metre or so, then started arranging the stems which were laid out in the back of the van. Sarah was playing the florist’s assistant, handing me each stem as I busily built the biggest hand-tie ever. The only thing we needed now was some water. I was looking around to see if I’d unwittingly brought along a watering can, when Sarah said…
“I could always wee in a bucket for you.” NOOOOOOOO! I shouted, knowing that she was probably serious.
I had buckets full of water, but the tricky bit was scrunching up the cellophane and filling it with water without getting completely soaked. We both got soaked, but the flower display was just perfect.
I was just about to pick up the giant bouquet and take it into the venue when Sarah tapped my shoulder and pointed to the cafe we’d parked outside. There were rows of people stood and sat in the window, watching!
I picked up the bouquet, turned to face my audience and bobbed a small curtsy.