OK, this is my attempt at trying to live up to Claire’s wonderful weekly blog … I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
This week I joined the team at the Flower Shop- Pulborough! I live in the village and pass several times a day and always pop my head in, mainly because Claire is my bonkers sister-in-law, but also because no matter how fed up you feel going in, you will always come out with a smile on your face. I’ve heard some people say you have to be crazy to work there, I don’t agree, but it certainly helps and if you aren’t slightly nuts to begin with, you soon will be.
I’m surprised I passed the selection process to be honest, as Claire’s interview process involves, singing, dancing and storytelling. It must have been my storytelling that got me the job, given that I’m the world’s worst singer and I’m an enthusiastic but largely untalented dancer.
I’m also a creative but largely talentless florist, so don’t worry no one is going to get a random selection of flowers and green stuff, bunched together with a bit of ribbon. I’ll be leaving all floristry to the experts but I get the wonderful job of delivering bouquets and taking all the credit!
“Yes, yes, that’s one of mine” I lie “I’m so glad you like it”
One thing I learnt on my first day however, was that not everyone is delighted when you appear at their door holding a beautiful bouquet.
My first three deliveries to private addresses were greeted with squeals of joy and surprise. One lovely lady gave me a huge hug almost losing the head of a peony in the process and I decided that being a florist’s delivery diver was a pretty good job (I now see why John was so keen to do it).
I zipped back to the shop to see if there’d been anymore orders and was delighted to be sent straight out again with another gorgeous bunch.
I pulled up outside the recipients house. Ran round the back, flung open the van doors, checked the house name and skipped up the drive to an impressive front door carrying a beautiful arranged bouquet and rang the bell. I stood there smiling for what felt like an age, before an elderly lady answered and looked at me as if I was going to try and sell her double glazing. I checked her name, she nodded and I carefully handed over the aquapack, ensuring she had careful hold of the box. She didn’t crack even the slightest smile as she gently closed the door.
I returned to the shop feeling a bit deflated and confused, mentioning that the recipient didn’t seem that pleased. Claire checked the order and then simply read out the message “I’m so sorry for your loss”.
Mind you, some people can just be miserable. I was delivering a bouquet to a lady called Sharon (not her real name) at her work address, I parked up outside the posh entrance and was watched by a smartly dressed salesman as I struggled through the heavy double doors with both my hands full. When I eventually made it through the doors I jokingly asked the dower looking chap in a suit whether he was Sharon. No, came his reply, without the slightest hint at being amused by my little joke… and no I wasn’t at the funeral parlour!
On my second day, John accompanied me to Amberley Castle so that he could show me the routine, where to park, where to take the flowers and what to bring back etc. Well, I don’t think he’ll be coming with me again! Apparently, he doesn’t like listening to the pop channel on the radio, he’s not one of those people like me that drives with the ‘lights-on‘ during the day and apparently my super-careful driving adds quite a bit of time to each delivery. He’s lucky I didn’t start singing, which I do when I’m on my own.
Other lessons I’ve learnt include how slow you really have to go around corners and how soon you need to start braking if you don’t want a water bucket landing on the back of your head. Oh and not to assume you’ll find a house with just a few vague directions and a house name that isn’t in view from the road.
A warning and apologies to anyone driving behind the Flower Shop van on a Weds, Thurs or Friday mornings: I am very likely to stop suddenly with very little notice once I spot that house I’ve been looking for, for ages or turn at the very last minute with only one click of an indicator. I’m also likely to be driving at under 20mph, just in case a pheasant runs into the road or I miss that turn which should be coming up sometime soon.