Family Business Part 4

Family Business Part 4

In our latest visit to Family Business, Laura and Rosa trade amusing metal garden furniture anecdotes and Charlie exerts his influence on the firm, when he takes the family’s cushion stocks in hand.  As plans for Lorenzo’s 50th continue, Massimo finds himself in a tricky situation which should prove interesting on the night.

                                                                   Family Business Part 4

To: Laura

From: Rosa

Date: 31st Oct

Subject: funny thing happened to Nick today!

Dear Laura

I thought you’d enjoy this one (and yes, you can share with the rest of the family since I know how much you all like to hear about Nick’s furniture misfortunes).  I would have thought you’d all have got over the rivalry thing by now – it isn’t as if there are only 2 suppliers of metal garden furniture in the world, after all.   And it’s nearly 10 years ago since he started Sunshine Furniture.  I know, I know, it’s all Lorenzo.  The rest of you are actually ok about it now.

Anyhow, Nick was very much poaching on your territory.  He’s just come back from Harpenden – absolutely fuming.  He was rung up by a Lord something who wanted a couple of extending sets in a hurry.  I think he was having the local Conservative Branch fundraiser.  As you know, my dear husband is a whopping snob so he couldn’t resist a sniff at the gentry and offered to deliver the furniture himself.  So, off he sets nice and early and gets to Harpenden, which of course he knows quite well.  Could he find Lord Thingy’s house?  No way.  He finally gets him on the phone and discovers that the house is much, much closer to Luton airport runway than the select ‘burbs of Harpenden.

It really was slap bang in the middle of Luton – he clearly puts Harpenden when he gives out his address since it sounds better.  Nick went mental.  He’d wasted a couple of hours and then he decided his Lordship wasn’t all that posh after all so it really was a wasted trip.    I guess the local posties just know and ignore him, but think of all those irate delivery vans!

Serves N right for being so susceptible to a title.

Rosa xx

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To: Rosa

From: Laura

Date: 31st Oct

Subject: Ha Ha!

Rosie,

Just a quick one this cos I’m just going off to get Juno for to take her Trick or Treating.  Actually, we’re going round to a mate’s house where the kids can just run wild in the garden and spook each other senseless in the cellar.  I’m not dressing up this year.  It’s too mild!  The very idea of an itchy old witch’s wig has my scalp tingling already.

Love the idea of Nick 🙂 having to drive round Luton – my dear, the shock to his delicate system!  And 🙂 having his snobbish tendencies bite him on the bum.  Bet he was angling for an invite to the fundraiser – ghastly old Tory.  I know he’s rich and good looking but why on earth did you marry him, twin?  Don’t you realize it reflects badly on me as your twin?

Anyway, didn’t want you to think you had the monopoly on stupid customers.  We had one recently who’d bought a rattan patio set.   She phoned up asking for replacement chairs since she was getting an electric shock from the one she sat in.  Like we could unplug it from the mains or something?   What are people like?  She spoke to Lorenzo who was very calm but if I’d had her on the phone, I’d have told her to change her horrid nylon trousers before starting on the patio furniture!

Bats and ghouls to you,

Laura xx

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To: Rosa

From: Laura

Date: 3 Nov

Subject: Cushion wars

Hi Rosa

Hope you had a good weekend – certainly sounded like you were having a blast when I called on Saturday.  Those boys of yours (all 3) know how to whoop it up.

You wanted to know how things were settling down in the office now that Charlie’s ensconced.  The answer – they are not!  It’s like watching two rutting stags – bellowing and all.  Charlie’d got to the warehouse around 6am apparently!  Slight shock for Lorenzo who sauntered in about 10:45am as per usual.

While he was scouting out the warehouse, he’s come across our cushion mountain and declared our pads not fit for purpose.    We’ve got a warehouse stuffed up with all sorts of cushions that no one in their right mind would sit on.  Mum and Lorenzo always buy from Poppy’s dad and I know Lorenzo has a hard time steering the old lady away from those hideous bright florals from her heyday.  Lots of graphite grey stripe too –very, very 80s.  Practically the first thing Charlie did was to go through the whole place and calculate that we were actually losing money stocking this rubbish.  He’s found a contact in Africa, who will take the whole lot off our hands.

The interesting thing about this is that while mum adores Charlie, you know how she can’t bear to part with anything that she’s actually paid good money for.  I could see it was really bothering her.   She’s going along with him at the moment, and did take his side against Lorenzo, who (because he didn’t suggest it himself) dug his heels in and came up with masses of lame reasons why we couldn’t possibly get rid.    Charlie’s really charmed the warehouse staff.   Possibly arriving before they do, being polite and helpful and suggesting that we clear out all the junk, has something to do with it.  So that’s another clash with Lorenzo who treats them like his feudal serfs.  Big L was so riled; he’s only gone and invited all the warehouse guys to his 50th.  He clearly had no intention of having them on the guest list but wants to curry favour.  Carla will kill him – shouldn’t think any of them have ever been inside the Country Club and god knows what they’ll get up to when they know there’s a free bar.

After cushion-gate, Charlie took Massimo out to lunch at the ‘Buck and Fart’.  He doesn’t seem to have seen through our baby brother at all yet.  That’s the one thing that bothers me about him but I guess it isn’t surprising – they’re close in age, both young, free and single etc.   They came back very loved up.  Massimo was bouncing with enthusiasm and really showing off -babbling marketing speak and SEO nonsense for the rest of the afternoon.   I gather his (Massimo’s) latest conquest (Miss Czech Republic) works in the Bar. I guess that’s where she met him.  (Bet she chucked their pints at them with a scowl!)  I hope Poppy doesn’t go in there and catch them at it.  Do you think someone should warn the poor girl about his hound-like tendencies? Please don’t say I should.  She’s so sweet, I really couldn’t bear it.

Lol Laura xx

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To: Laura

From: Rosa

Date: 3 Nov

Subject: My hair

Well, Laurie

What do you think of my purple hair?  Do I look like an ancient lady novelist (or worse – children’s author)?  I felt the need to shake things up a bit and certainly think I’ve done it.  Nick hates it.   The boys are quite impressed – although they’ve only seen the photo, same as you. I worry that it looks grey rather than mauve – but hope it doesn’t look too Mrs Slocomb.  I had to go all the way into Norwich to get it done and I got a parking ticket so it was an expensive enterprise.  Anyhow, I feel more in touch with my gothic teenage self so I’m pleased.  I don’t know what it is lately, I’ve been feeling really old and down.  Midlife crisis?  I will, if you will.

I do worry about Poppy.  BUT she knows what Massimo’s like – didn’t she catch him with that French au pair you had?  And what about Carla’s sister – wasn’t there a snogging incident at Freddy’s Christening?   How can she have so little self respect?  I think she dumps him regularly, but then somehow, she always takes him back.   It puts me in mind of Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native with Massimo cast as Wildeve.  Anyhow, I know Lorenzo’s invited Poppy to his 50th which has set the cat among the pigeons.  To be fair, the invite list had all been sorted before Massimo sprang the new girl on us at dinner last week.  And Dick’s been invited so it would be bloody obvious if he didn’t invite Poppy.  Massimo had clearly promised Lucie-from-the-pub that she could come.  I gather the talk in the Buck and Fart is of little else, highlight of the social calendar and all that, so she knows what a big deal it is.   Typical Massimo – I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t try to wing it with both girls there.

Will you give me a call this afternoon? I’m so bored – Nick’s taken an aluminium garden furniture manufacturer from Poland out for lunch and I don’t expect to see him before dark.

I’ll be in after Pilates, around 12ish,

Love Rosa xxx

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To: Rosa

From: Laura

Date: 5 Nov

Subject: Happy Bonfire Night!

Hi there,

I’m in the dog house (or dog box as an old Kiwi mate of mine used to say).  Juno ‘gets’ that it is Bonfire Night but doesn’t ‘get’ why we’re not doing fireworks until the weekend.  I haven’t even got any sparklers L

What are you going to wear to Lorenzo’s party?  I’ve just splurged on a fantastic new dress which I shall have to wear to at least 8 occasions to make it reasonably priced.  Fortunately it’s black so it will do for funerals as well as black tie dos.  I also went a bit mad online with some lovely jewellery too (have you checked out Boticca?) but I guess it isn’t everyday that one’s brother hits a half century and with Carla to put up with, I’m surprised he’s got this far.  Flora never did have a big 50th and I can’t imagine we will, in due course, so better make the most of this one.

Apparently, Carla’s worse than ever with the made up illnesses for the kids.   A friend of mine works in the office at their school and she says Carla’s a laughing stock.  She calls in with some niggle at least 3 times a week.  Personally, I think she’s setting us all up so that when Ant and Maria don’t cover themselves in glory with A+ in all their GSCEs next year, she can turn round and say it was ME or Glandular Fever or some such.  You know, she’s taken Maria up to Harley Street twice already since September and the kid is never in school.  There’s some very rare virus that’s playing hell with her health apparently.  Really?

Those kids just have to say they’ve got a headache and they’re given carte blanche to get out of anything.  If only Carla did something positive with her life instead of endlessly trolling round Brent Cross, Maria might have something to aspire to.  As it is, she’s turning out to be a younger, wetter version of her mother.   They share clothes now!  And you should see what they’ve got planned for the big Do.  Carla’s booked them both in for full make-up and hair, plus fake tans.

Then they’ve got matching really short sequined dresses.  Carla may be skinny but she really shouldn’t wear the sort of dress that a sixteen year old wants to wear.  They gave me a preview and I didn’t know what to say – especially when Juno asked, “isn’t Aunty Carla going to wear her trousers with that t-shirt?”  Didn’t know where to put myself.

The best bit is that Carla’s considering cosmetic surgery – I kid you not!!!   She’s off to see some clinic this week but the plan is to have a big reveal at the party.

I forgot to say – mum has announced that her old flame, Silvio, will be over from Italy for the party.  Since she’s already lined up flashy Frank the merc dealer from Leighton Buzzard to act as her partner for the evening, she’s going to palm poor unsuspecting Silvio off on Auntie Pearl.  He’d better be wearing iron underpants!  Pearl doesn’t seem to mind that mum’s lining up replacements for dad, even though he’s not been declared officially dead.  I guess she knows what her brother was like and is convinced it’s one of his scams just like the rest of us.

All for now,

Laura xxx

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