Its been more than a fortnight since the gnome measurer-in-chief struggled with his tape measure in our living room and promised we’d hear from him inside the week.
Consequentially it was time to ring Gnomic Carpets this morning to find out why we hadn’t heard from them with regard to the fitting of the aforementioned carpet.
“Good morning Gnomic Carpets.”
“Hello.” I provided name, address, date of gnomic visit finishing with, “You said you’d ring when the carpet arrived. It’s December, getting close to Christmas and there’s a lot on. So I was just wondering where the carpet was.”
There was a pause. I distinctly heard the sound of paper being rifled through. “Did we? Er yes. That’s right.”
“And?” I prompted.
“The carpet doesn’t seem to be here yet. I’m not sure where it is. I’ll have to ring the company. I’ll get right back to you.”
“This morning?” Those gnomes are going to have to get a satnav. They’ve probably delivered the carpet to Outer Mongolia by now.
“Er, yes.” And then he was gone.
It was probably just as well I was on the end of the phone and not HWIOO as his levels of tolerance and good will are in increasingly short supply at the moment possibly due to a furniture related accident that has left his shins looking somewhat lacerated, not to mention the golfer’s elbow which disapproves of him gloss painting. It’s becoming easier to ask him which part doesn’t ache.
Four hours later I ran out of patience and rang Gnomic Carpets for the second time. “Hello.” I rehearsed the rigmarole of the missing carpet once more for the benefit of a new gnome.
“Ah yes, my colleague talked to me about it. You rang me before I had a chance to ring you.”
What were you doing? How many people want to buy carpets at this time of year? The sound of paper jolted my memory. Ah yes – that’s what you’ve been doing -sorting out your paperwork. There’s probably some poor old biddy who’s been waiting for about a hundred years for her carpet and its going to finally turn up because you’ve found her order stuffed down the back of your desk or being used as a paper aeroplane.
“It’s not here. There’s a problem with the stockist see. I was waiting until tomorrow and then I was going to phone you anyway you’ve rung a day early that’s all.”
“I thought you said the carpet was readily available that’s why we chose it.” Lets not venture into the maze of who was going to ring who when.
“Its the size see.”
“No, not really.”
“Five metre length isn’t standard see.”
“Oh.” The living room’s not that big – it’s not a ballroom or a baronial hall. “When will it be here?”
“Tomorrow possibly or perhaps next week. Might even be the week after. It depends when they get new stock see.”
“I do indeed see.” Ah, right. You never actually ordered it. You forgot all about us- if I hadn’t rung you I’d never have got the carpet, would I? You’re probably doubling as elves in grottos around the countryside – and the fair carpet maidens are probably all doing their Christmas shopping. You’ve ordered it today and have your fingers crossed that it arrives this coming week.“Can I book a provisional fitting for it?”
“Not until it arrives.”
“I’ve got no carpet at all in my living room. You will get it fitted before Christmas, won’t you?”
“Yes – we’ll definitely get it fitted before Christmas.”
“Right, before Christmas,” I said. “I’ll give you a ring on Monday to find out whether its been delivered and if not I’ll ring again mid week.”
I hung up the phone – showing that I’m older than I think I am because these days you don’t hang phones up you stick them back in their electrical chargers.
HWIOO lowered his paint brush, “He didn’t say which Christmas did he?”
“He probably means Christmas 2016.” HWIOO sighed, “Or possibly Christmas 2017.”
“By the time the maidens have a new extra big loom and the gnomes have delivered it to Gnomical Carpets you could be right. I bet the Queen doesn’t have this problem.”
“How would that conversation go then?”
“Something like this – Hello, Mrs Windsor here, I’m ringing about my carpet…Elizabeth….still can’t find my details? Try under Queen, HRH The…address – which one?…no…oh dear…not standard?…Difficulties of manufacture…Look sunshine, I don’t care if the maidens are working to rule. You’ve got twenty four hours to find my carpet and get it fitted before I unleash the Beefeaters…yes, that’s right, the big blokes in the funny outfits who live at the Tower…yes, the ones who say ‘whose keys, my keys…’ Threatening you? Certainly not – think of it more as an encouraging halberd shoved somewhere medieval.”
“You are quite mad. You do know that?”
“I’m not – a trifle eccentric may be, and besides, you did ask.”
“She’d send the Chelsea Pensioners – much more intimidating.”
“They don’t have halberds.”
We returned to our painting. Perhaps its the fumes…or possibly hysteria.