As Harriet’s woodwork was only ticking along, but also actually ticking along despite there being so little work going on, she decided it might be time to make another investment before it became too difficult to reorganise the workshop. It would also allow her to work more effectively when more jobs come in. Harriet had always planned on spending some more of the money that Amanda gave her, from selling the jewellery that Marie had lavished on Harriet after each fight they had, on a table saw. It would be the heart of her workshop but was also a big investment. There was also that slightly opportunistic aspect that due to the lockdown a large number of businesses had closed, some were upgrading while work was quiet, while others would never reopen. There would be old machines coming on the market and a bargain might be found. Harriet would need to keep an eye out.
Ideally Harriet wanted an old heavy machine, cast iron and rigid. They had been costing more then some of the modern light trade portable saws that would be her fall back option if it came to it. However, she got lucky and her saved searches on Ebay came up trumps for her with a Wadkin AGS10.
This one was affordable, converted to single phase power, and although it was over 150 miles away at the other side of the country, it was cheap enough that she could afford the delivery cost. Harriet bought it and paid the extra for the seller to put it on a pallet for delivery.
Delivery was set for the following Thursday and Harriet was up early to make sure she didn’t miss it. “No hiding from the recycling chap today, Monty. We have a delivery on its way!”.
They went down to the workshop and Harriet put the recycling box outside the door. “Well, it won’t fit through the door so best get the shutter up.” Harriet pulled on the chain that opened the big roller shutter at the front of the building. It was a chilly morning but Harriet was happy to stand in the opening and look down the road expectantly while the breeze blew out a few cobwebs and dust, freshening the workshop a bit. Her phone pinged. Harriet had a look and there was a message from the delivery driver with an approximate arrival time. It was on its way and Harriet couldn’t help but feel excited.
After a little while she heard the characteristic beep beep beep of a lorry reversing. It got a short way down the track and stopped where the road curved. “Oh heck,” Harriet exclaimed. “The lorry can’t get down the road. I’d best go and see what we can do.” Harriet told Monty to stay and walked up the road to look and have a chat with the driver.
Harriet returned to the workshop where Monty was sitting waiting. “Goes from bad to worse.” She explained to Monty. “The lorry has a crane, nothing else. The driver can only unload out there.” Harriet dragged her pallet truck out, “Good thing I have a pallet truck I guess. Here goes! It won’t be fun on the cobbles.”
She trudged out with the pallet truck ratting behind her as Monty laid down to annoy a stick he had found, completely unperturbed by the events outside.
The lorry driver had got on with unloading the pallet into the middle of the road and then got his phone camera out to take a photograph as a proof of delivery. “So, ‘Wren Works End…’ He said to Harriet, “Is it sommat to do wit war?”
“Sorry?” Harriet was momentarily confused.
“Name o’ road, is it t’do with t’war? WRNS, wrens. Me Nan were a wren.” he explained.
“You know, I’ve never thought about it.” Harriet looked up at the trees, “I was thinking of the birds, but I don’t think I’ve seen a wren here, never mind one doing any work.” Harriet manoeuvred the pallet truck under the pallet and pumped it up. The driver didn’t offer to help. He looked about eighty years old, very overweight, and was huffing and puffing as he moved. Harriet didn’t blame him for not wanting to do more then he needed.
“Well, ‘ave fun wiv moving that, lass, I’ll be off now.” And he climbed back into the cab.
“Cheers mate!” Harriet rolled her eyes and sighed as the lorry set off. “I guess I will just manage it from here!” She added under her breath.
The pallet was sideways onto the road and Harriet needed to turn the truck ninety degrees to face the workshop. Pulling the pallet truck around she realised just how heavy it all was, and the small wheels of the pallet truck was not the best on the cobbled surface.
In the meantime Daisy had arrived at the end of the cobbled road and found it obstructed by a huge lorry. It had been unloading and looked like it would be leaving soon so she parked the trike at the side of the road and waited for it to be clear before walking up to collect the recycling box from the workshop. Just as the lorry drove off Daisy saw the woman she met a few weeks ago, struggling with a heavily loaded pallet on a pallet truck. It seemed the ideal opportunity to get to know her a bit better. “Morning! Looks heavy. Can I help?” She asked.
Harriet, startled, looked up at the recycling woman. “Umm, err, oh, it’s you!” Harriet smiled. “Umm, yes please, yes, thank you!” Harriet got ready to pull on the pallet truck as the woman approached.
Daisy looked around the thing on the pallet to decide where to push from. “OK if I push on his bit?” Daisy put her hands on what looked like a bit of very chunky iron.
Harriet glanced over. “Should be, I’ll pull this end.” Then, leaning backwards to pull on the truck handle, she took a breath and said “So you’re not agency cover then?”
“Ahh, no,” Daisy smiled “We swapped rounds, it happens sometimes.” She explained about the ‘enforced’ holidays and rota changes as they moved the pallet up to the workshop. It was slow going and awkward with lots of stops to wiggle the pallet truck to get the wheels out of the ruts but it gave Daisy a chance to get the measure of Harriet while they worked the pallet truck and talked. And also for Harriet to get a good look at Daisy.
“If we can just get it inside…” Harriet said as they finally made it to the smooth tarmac of the workshop driveway. “So you’re my.. err, you’re back next week then?” She asked tentatively.
“Yep,” Daisy replied, “I might get to see what you do with this… ummm… ‘thing’ then.” Daisy waved her hand at the pallet load.
“Thank you!” Harriet said with relief as she settled the pallet truck in the workshop and they stopped to catch their breaths. “Wadkin AGS10 table saw.” Harriet explained. “Yes, if it’s all working ok. we can cut some wood…”
“Is that what you do?” Daisy looked around in awe at the workshop tools and machines.
“Yes, I’m a maker, I make stuff. Mostly wood though.” Harriet picked up a few bits of timber she was working on to show Daisy. “You?” As Harriet said that she cringed. What did I ask that for? Of all things!
Daisy stifled a laugh, and smiled kindly. “I’m collecting your recycling?!!” She spoke in jest as if explaining to an idiot, and then gave Harriet a friendly nudge on her shoulder and laughed out loud.
Harriet looked up at the ceiling and hoped the ground would open up and swallow her, and also hoping it would not. “Oh yeah, doh!” She tried to make light of her foolishness and laughed too, “Ha, and when you’re not?”
Daisy thought for a moment and said as innocently as she could “Dunno yet!” and then smiled, maybe slightly more suggestively then she had meant to.
Harriet felt her face flush and worried her heart beat could be heard across Theraton. She was a little embarrassed for a moment. “Oh, umm…”
Daisy decided to break the spell until she was sure of how she was feeling, as much for herself as for the poor woodworker woman who was obviously getting embarrassed. “Anyway, best get that recycling box.”
Right on cue Monty dragged the recycling box over in his mouth. “Hello you,” Daisy said, “Thank you for bringing the box to me.”
Harriet beamed, and put her hand to her heart, grateful for the distraction. “That’s Monty, Monty Dog. He’s a rescue.” She explained.
“Hello Monty.” Daisy bent down to have a fuss. “You’re a lovely dog, aren’t you!” She said, as Monty tried to lick her face.
Harriet couldn’t help but be the proud Mum and crouched down to share in giving Monty a fuss. “He is. Lovely and helpful, always trying to help.”
Daisy took a chance speaking directly to Monty, “I bet you like long dog walks, Monty…”
“There’s a thought,” Harriet replied, taking the bait keenly, “If you fancy a dog walk…”
“I’m working ‘til 5ish,” Daisy said, and then sighed, “6ish if I don’t get on.”
“Oh, yeah. I’ll walk out with you and bring the box back.” The spell was finally broken and Harriet and Monty followed the Daisy out to her cargo trike and watched as she quickly sorted the waste into their segregated crates and bags. “I’m Harriet, by the way.”
“Daisy, your friendly neighbourhood recycling collector.” Daisy laughed again. “Anyway, better be off to the next collection. And we’ll see about taking you for a walk, Monty.” Daisy ruffled Monty’s ears and gave him a pat. They then bid their good byes, with the promise to arrange dog walks, and Daisy cycled away.
As Harriet walked back up to the workshop she chatted to Monty as he carried the recycling box. “Yes, Monty, she was lovely. And she liked you. And she thinks you are funny carrying the box for her. And she wants to take you for a walk…. Aren’t you a lucky dog!” Even Monty noticed Harriet’s light mood and spring in her step, and was hoping they would go and play in the park with his new friend.
“Right, back to work!” Harriet said as she examined her new machine. That is really awful strapping! Some four by twos, and a loose rope! I’m surprised it got here! Now then, how am I going to get this off the pallet?
Daisy continued with her round and was grateful for Steve offering to swap rounds with her, even if only for a few weeks. He had asked her if there were any issues at the workshop the previous week and Daisy had explained about how it was fine, and she thought the woman was interesting but also that she was still uncertain about what to do or where it might be leading her.
Daisy didn’t want to make a fool of herself, especially as she wasn’t sure of her own feelings. She also didn’t want to cause any upset with Harriet, having only just met her and knowing very little about her. For now she was just exploring her own feelings by giving herself permission to be interested with no obligation to do anything beyond a dog walk or two. Steve had said he was fine about taking the round back if she wasn’t happy, but now Daisy was glad of the opportunity she had, and it felt more comfortable then she expected.
As Daisy returned to the Centre for lunch she saw Steve already there, plugging Beryl in to have a top up charge.
“How’d it go this morning, Daisy?” Steve kept his voice neutral in case things were not so good. He carried on walking around Beryl checking that nothing was loose or showing signs of being completely missing before walking with Daisy to the smoking shelter. He changed the subject. “Do you think we might be oh kay having our lunch inside again one of these days? Winter is going to be miserable if we have to sit out here all lunch time.”
Daisy shrugged her shoulders non committally. “I’m sure Phil will tell us one way or the other. Anyway, with global warming I am sure we’ll be more then happy to be sitting outside all winter.” Her dead pan face broke as she saw no one else what back yet, and she grinned, “It was good this morning. Her name is Harriet, we had a bit of a chat. I was lucky, she was having a machine delivered and I had to help her move it into her workshop. I think we got on quite well. I offered to take her dog for a walk sometime.”
“So that’s a win then, yeah?”
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, so it is a start. I don’t want to mess up, I mean, I don’t really know what I am doing and I don’t want to mess her about, assuming she is even interested in finding out. She may already be with someone, or just not that way inclined. She is nice though, she could just be a friend.”
Linda arrived for her lunch, and as she approached Steve respectfully changed the subject as they ate and asked after the volunteer who hadn’t returned with Linda. “Where’s Carol?”
“Oh, she wasn’t feeling too well, so decided to cycle home. She said she’d be back for tomorrow if she is feeling better. She phoned and told Phil before she went.” Linda explained.
“She wasn’t that well yesterday either.” Daisy added. “Stomach cramps she said. She was looking quite green at the end of the day. I wonder if she’s eaten something bad?” The conversation continued about work until it was time to head back out.