Monday, 1 April 2013

tiny signs of life

The trouble with working on Easter Monday when the clocks have just changed is that you have to get up at what your body is telling you is five o'clock in the morning.  I had remembered to reset the time on my bedside clock yesterday, and the kitchen clock switches to the new time automatically, so I knew what the time now theoretically was, it just didn't feel like that.

I was expecting another depressingly quiet day at work, since it was still cold, but as the sun came out so did the customers.  They were wearing scarves, woolly hats and thermal gloves, and some vowed to return to buy more plants when it was warmer, but they did come, and they bought things. We had some big trolleys go through, and it was nice to see some familiar faces of regular customers, returning like swallows.

I thought on Tuesday that I saw one of them at the RHS show in Vincent Square, so as he was paying for his plants I ventured to ask whether he had a doppelganger or whether I had indeed seen him at the show.  It turned out that I had.  He divided his time between London and Suffolk and often went to the shows, though the RHS didn't run so many as they used to.  I said that I didn't often get to them, but it had so happened that I'd had a ticket for a lunchtime concert on Tuesday and went to see the flowers afterwards.  He turned out to be familiar with the London lunchtime concert scene as well as the flower show scene, and remarked that next time we should go for a drink.  This week was the first time in a decade I've seen him without his regular male companion, so we are on very safe ground with a shared enthusiasm for plants and classical music.

It was a pity that the electric bar heater in the staff room broke.  The manager came to tell me not to switch it on any more, since a shower of sparks had suddenly poured out of it while he was sitting drinking his mid-morning mug of tea.  You will be able to form an impression of the approximate age of the heater when I tell you that it has a fabric covered flex.  I hope the owners will get us a new one, hard times and terrible cash flow notwithstanding.  Otherwise we will have to do what we usually do, and fall back on whatever domestic appliance a member of staff is turfing out of their house to make room for something newer and shinier.  We have kept ourselves in kettles for years by that method.

Now that it is April our official working hours are eight until six, but at half past five the manager suggested that as it was so quiet we could all bunk off early, and while we were tilling up the owner came over the radio telling us not to hang around if there were no more customers, as it was so cold.  The last feature on the R4 PM programme before the weather forecast was about the travails of the garden centre industry and their suppliers.  I'm glad somebody's noticed.

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