Family Business Part 13

Family Business Part 13

In Family Business part 13, Rosa enjoys a brief sojourn in Brittany but she’s still well placed to update her sister on Oak Farm’s new mystery neighbour in Family Business Part 13 …

Family Business Part 13

To: Laura
From: Rosa
Date: 4th January
Subject: A spy in the camp

Dear Laura

The weather’s been truly awful here, but no matter. It’s great to go for bracing walks along the coast before hunkering down with a good book. The wood burner keeps the place really toasty. Fortunately the local supermarkets sell seriously gourmet seafood because most of Brittany is really shut up until the tourist season. To be fair, even a Saga Cruise with mum and Pearl in tow would seem like a favourable option compared with Norfolk right now! I’m so glad I decided to get away from Cruella and Nick for a while. They can carry on making each other miserable in peace – it will be quite like the old days for them!

I had a lovely phone call from Daisy yesterday. (Now there’s a professional ex-domestic employee – she’s always kept up with the boys’ news ever since she stopped working as their nanny). Anyway, now that her own little one is due to start pre-school, she’s been looking for a job again. She rang partly to ask me to provide a Reference and you’ll never guess where she’s going to be working? Apparently a Croatian supermodel, Petra something, has taken Hollybush Cottage while the Parkers spend a year in New Zealand. She’s also a single mum – one with a very tiny (matter of weeks) baby, so Daisy’s been employed to help out. Great for her because she really does need the cash.

She (Daisy) had me in stitches describing the set up over there. Petra seems very nice if rather like a teenager. She seems to exist on some bonkers tea made from bison grass or something, and mountains of steak, morning, noon and night. Apparently she’s either out running or in bed on the phone, so most of the time Daisy’s answering the door to couriers bringing bouquets of flowers and fabulous packages of cosmetics and beauty products from hopeful companies after endorsements, as well as the inevitable stream of nosey neighours bringing bizarre house-warming gifts. They even had a Croatian TV crew covering the day they actually moved in. Must have been a slow news day in Croatia, that’s all I can think! The most endearing thing about her is she seems to walk around the house with very little on apart from a pair of pink fluffy bunny slippers and some really thick-lensed Harry Potter style glasses. She’s blind as a bat, apparently.

Anyway, Petra’s having a little time off from the modeling career so she’ll no doubt be out and about, adding a touch of glamour to the locality. She seems to be focused on developing the poor baby’s photographic career for the moment. Oh, and it’s called Leaf, if you please. Bet that will go down well with the other boys in the playground when he’s older!

I’d love to hear when you’ve met her,

Rose xx

Family Business Part 13

Dear: Rosa
From: Laura
Subject: Petra
Date: 6th January

Dear Rosie

What is it about a name that you’ve previously associated with an animal? Whenever I hear Petra, I think of Valerie Singleton’s Alsatian from ‘Blue Peter’. Decidedly not the name for a supermodel!! It’s like my friend’s son, Harvey – you remember that wonderful lab-setter cross of ours? He’ll be the one and only Harvey for me for evermore. Which is as it should be!

So glad you’ve got a spy at Hollybush Cottage because the folks here have all reacted in weird ways to our new neighbour. Trout was the first to tip us off because she reads all those trashy gossip magazines so you would expect her to know that sort of thing. Then Massimo engineered a chance meeting by suddenly remembering that he’d promised to help Daisy with something she couldn’t get her lap top to do. He offered to introduce Petra to the local scene – and for once he hasn’t been caught napping. So far he’s taken her to the Buck and Fart for a drink and the Country Club for dinner! He’s promised to introduce her to the golf club next. You’d laugh to see him doing the professional uncle job too. I don’t think he’s ever shown any interest in your boys, and I know he’s basically ignored Juno, but to hear him, you’d think he was desperate to be a father. How long’s that going to last?

Of course it was rather lazy of Massimo to take Petra to the local pub – Lucie was not best pleased and she can be very territorial. If I was Petra, I wouldn’t drink anything there that didn’t come straight out of a can. Lucie might well spit in her beer or worse!

Massimo has had this idea to capitalize on Petra’s modeling ambitions for Twig, or Seedling or whatever you said the baby was called. He thinks we should have pictures of the bambino with the garden furniture on the website. Sitting on rattan garden furniture or sprawled across a rattan 8-seater table. Honestly! He doesn’t seem to realize that a 3-month old baby is little more than a pupa. It’s not going to be sitting on any old table for a quite a while yet, regardless of how much the ‘camera loves him’. Let’s hope that idea fizzles out.

The Aged Parents have been very odd about Petra’s arrival. Perhaps it is their age, but I don’t remember them ever bothering too much in the past about who might move in next door. Mum is in a sulk because she thinks the Parkers didn’t handle it too well and that they should have allowed her to ‘interview’ any prospective tenants. She seems to forget that she wouldn’t have got a say-so, if they had put the house on the market. And dad – well he was really peculiar. First off, he went mental. Really mad and quite Daily Mail about having ‘one of them’ (an immigrant? an unmarried mother? a supermodel?) moving in next door. Then, when he’d calmed down a bit, he insisted on going round to introduce himself which is very out of character. He went on his own when mum was playing golf, so she missed the opportunity for a snoop (another reason for her to be grumpy).

Then there’s Carla-Trout who has been chewing off her bloated blubbery lips in anxiety. She hasn’t yet managed to get an audience with Petra but she’s worried that Herb might ditch her now that there’s someone so young and glamorous on the block. It seems that Herb and Petra were both in the same Big Brother style telly programme in Croatia. (He’s big in Croatia: who knew?). Naturally, since he’s the only thing approaching a friend she’s got in the county, Petra’s wasted no time in getting Herb round. Trout can’t appear jealous so she’s decided to play the over-friendly big-sister act. It’s quite funny to watch. Trout keeps making overtures and offering invitations but she hasn’t figured on Petra’s radar, so she keeps being ignored. The poor old Trout got so desperate; I even heard her suggesting to Herb that perhaps they should reshoot the rattan garden furniture commercial with Petra in it too!

Anyway curiosity got the better of her and she snuck over there yesterday afternoon to snoop through the patio doors. I know all this because Ant and Maria were in the office doing some random work experience thing for sixth form. It seems all was going fine until Daisy decided to open the patio doors to let some fresh air in (personally, I’m pretty sure Daisy knew Trout was there and she wanted to embarrass her). Trout had to take immediate evasive action. She took refuge under the cover of the swing seat on the terrace and hunkered down, figuring that with it being January and all that, the doors would soon be closed again. She hadn’t reckoned on Petra being such a smoker – she kept nipping outside for a quick fag so Trout was well and truly stuck. Then, no sooner had she decided that it really was time to shut the doors and get back into the warm, than Old Parsley who does the Parkers’ garden, turned up for his coffee break and plonked down on a chair nearby. At this point, Carla’s been keeping in touch by text with the kids, so we’ve had a blow by blow account. The Old Trout kept asking the kids to rescue her by calling round to get Petra to the front door somehow, but those mischievous twins kept playing her along, sharing the action with the entire office. Anyhow, Old Parsley had been on the beers the night before, as per usual and his digestive system makes an elderly Labrador’s emissions seem like a Jo Malone candle. Carla was stuck there under the canvas with him cheerfully farting away for the time it took him to read the Daily Express. When he finally wandered off to the potting shed, she made a quick getaway. Don’t think she’s got the stomach to try that again soon!!!

I can’t wait to tell Daisy about it. I’ll have to get her round for a dog walk now that Pip has started pre-school. How time flies! I remember her telling us she was pregnant as if it was only yesterday. How the village tongues wagged but she has shown them all. She’s brought that child up perfectly well, all on her own and he’s a credit to her. Bouncy, but very obedient.

Sounds as if Brittany is doing you good, but can we have a catch up lunch before too long?

X Laura

Family Business Part 13

To: Laura
From: Rosa
Subject: Outside Edge
Date: 8th January

Dear Laura

Quick email because I’m travelling this afternoon – I need to get back to see the boys before Nick takes them off to school tomorrow. I understand that Cruella’s got bored and has gone to stay with friends in London, so the coast is clear. I just hope that few days with his foul ex-wife will make Nick appreciate me all the more! Conversely, I’m a bit worried that a few days in Alex’s company will do the opposite for me – and make me find Nick really unbearable.

But, to business. I wanted to warn you about what’s on dad’s mind. He rang yesterday to keep me up-to-date with his plans for the firm. You need to prepare yourself for a quite a shock, I’m afraid. From what he was saying, there really isn’t very much in the coffers at all. We know about the gambling debt but it seems that he’s been siphoning off funds for years (to what end, he wouldn’t say, but I suspect more gambling). The way he was talking, the firm will go belly-up unless there are some serious changes. I suspect this was the real reason he came back from Croatia. Not worrying about us, but worrying about the money!

He clearly doesn’t like the top heavy structure that mum’s put in place and wants to down-size the management team. He wouldn’t be drawn on what exactly he had in mind but I suspect he’s got his sights on Carla and Massimo this time. He didn’t mention you. I think Charlie’s safe. He referred to him as the future of the firm – but what does that mean for Lorenzo? And would he stay, if dad sacked Carla? There’s bound to be a big show-down, so please be my eyes and ears.

Yes, Brittany’s been so fabulous and rattan garden furniture is so trendy there– I’ll tell you all about it when I see you.

With love from Rose x

Family Business Part 13 and all other episodes.