Harriet was gradually getting her workshop together. As and when he had time Robbie was picking up Harriet’s tools, timber, and equipment from Sarah’s Stor-It box and bringing it over. With it all came Harriet’s first big purchase, an old bandsaw she had bought on Ebay. The seller had agreed to deliver it if Harriet didn’t mind waiting a while.
Harriet also began to make some new friends on Twitter by sharing some of her activities in getting the workshop ready. One friend in particular, Flo @52_Square, was in Scotland and they became good friends. Flo was a great laugh and support just when Harriet needed it. During one evening of idle chatter with Flo Harriet had found a pallet truck for sale on Ebay, while absent mindedly browsing for tools and machines she might want or need. The seller was in a town not too far away by train, but the pallet truck was apparently somewhere in Theraton.
Harriet was joking with Flo about it being a useful thing for the workshop and Flo had encouraged Harriet to put in a silly bid as it was never going to go that cheaply. The auction was ending that night, and there was bound to be a flurry of bids in the last few seconds… So Harriet thought.
There wasn’t! Harriet suddenly found herself the proud owner of a two and a half ton capacity orange pallet truck for the opening bid! It was fortunate the seller had it at his house in Higher Theraton. The seller had been using it as part of his own house renovations, and now the job was done the truck was no longer needed. Being collection from a residential address, and listed in Home and DIY instead of Business and Commercial probably explained the lack of bids! Still it was a bargain, of sorts!
“Flo!” Harriet exclaimed, “This is your fault! How am I going to pick up a pallet truck? I can’t walk back pulling it, it’s miles!”
The only options open to Harriet were to either arrange a courier – that would be expensive, hire a van – that would be more expensive, or get it herself with a folding bicycle!
How difficult can that be? she thought, I can make a single use trailer from wood and the wheels off an old bike trailer, and give it a go. What’s the worse that could happen?
Harriet had messaged the seller and got the dimensions of the pallet truck, she figured that she really only needed a simple cruciform trailer frame to strap the pallet truck onto. As long as it held together for one return trip…
Having built the trailer Harriet set off, slightly nervously, partly hoping the trailer would hold together, partly hoping her legs would hold together, and partly hoping she wouldn’t attract too much attention to herself. She was sure there might not be laws against what she was doing but someone sensible might decide there should be!
Harriet arrived back at the workshop and wheeled her bike, trailer, and pallet truck through the front roller shutter before collapsing on her back on the floor!
“I’m DEAD!” she said out loud, and lay there hands over her face, “My legs, my poor legs are never going to forgive me!”
Harriet’s legs did forgive her, eventually, and then she found the note that Mr Chow had left for her while she was out. The note said he would be away for a short holiday in Wales but Harriet was to choose a carpet for the design studio upstairs that he would have fitted, and also to pick up some timber for the garden railway. They would need to be suitable to make one third scale fence posts for a scale two metre high fence. A trade account card was left for Harriet to use at the timber merchants.
Shopping with someone else’s money, that makes a change Harriet though.
As they were heading back to the compound, in Beryl, with the afternoon’s collection Steve exclaimed “Did you see that?!!!”
“What?” asked Daisy.
“I swear I just saw a woman on a Brompton towing a pallet truck on a trailer!”
“Over there. See?” Steve pointed across the road junction.
“Oh yes! She could do with one of the trikes to carry that!”
“Unless she does that often I bet her legs will be aching later! She looks determined though!”
That sighting was worthy of discussion back at the Environment Centre. They knew cargo trikes and bikes were not uncommon in Theraton, they used them for the recycling, and there were a few cycle courier and parcel delivery riders locally. Also Brompton bicycles were also fairly common, but one towing a trailer was unusual, and a trailer carrying something as big as a pallet truck would be completely unheard of! They felt that they already knew most of the unusual cyclist in the town but they couldn’t work out who that would have been!
“Whoever she is, she must be quite something.” Daisy said, “I mean, what does a pallet truck weigh?”
Linda looked on her phone and a did a quick search. “Around eighty to a hundred kilos, or more depending on type! That quite something to hang on the back of any bike never mind a Brommie!”
“And the trailer too! Steve thinks it was make of wood, he had a better view of it then I did.”
“Only a bit, but yeah, looked like a load of timber joists or something bolted together. That’ll weigh quite a bit on its own!” Steve confirmed.
“That is so cool! I wonder if we’ll come across her again? She must be local I’m guessing.” Daisy said hopefully, and slightly in awe.
“Yeah, I don’t think that would be a long distance ride!” Laughed Steve.
“OK team! As you have probably heard, there will be a ban on non essential travel.” Phil announced. It was another impromptu meeting. There had been a lot of these to address the ever changing concerns and guidance regarding the ensuing pandemic.
“What it will mean is that unless you need to travel anywhere you are to stay where you are, as far as I can make out. We are expecting that will mean visitor numbers will be down, if not stopped altogether, but staff can, and should still come into work but avoid public transport. Obviously if this changes, and I am sure it will, I will update you.
“Whatever happens, I expect the recycling team, and core staff, will continue to work as normal. Core staff might well be able to work from home, but volunteers and other non essential staff probably should not come in unless absolutely necessary.
“I understand that some of you might not want to come in, due to being at a greater risk, or having family who are at greater risk, and I fully appreciate that and will help you accommodate that where I can.
Hopefully it will only be for a few weeks or months, but we will see.”
Daisy didn’t see it affecting her working day at all. The team had been sanitising everything, wearing masks and gloves, being very careful about washing hands, and keeping away from people as much as they could. She was more concerned about her home life.
Ingrid was back from Germany and still working, though there were concerns at work that make up artists might lose their gigs if close contact was a problem. Fran was still modelling, and so the three of them all worked with different groups of people every day before coming home and being together.
She didn’t know how big a risk that would be. A house meeting would be needed, but would that be sensible? It would be a good way to make sure they all caught the virus if one of them had it!
Daisy sent a text to Ingrid and Fran suggesting they meet and discuss their concerns and options.