Family Business Part 17

Part 17:  Unusual Valentine’s gifts abound in Family Business Part 17.  Rosa’s taken delivery from a garden centre, but who’s had His & Hers tattoos?

To: Laura
From: Rosa
Date: Valentine’s Day
Subject: floral tributes
Dear Laura
How’s your Valentine’s Day been?  Nick has ignored the subject.  He is in a major sulk because he thought he’d sold 10 x 6-seater aluminium tables with extra pricey high back, folding chairs to a local hotel in Southwold (kerrr-ching).  At the last minute they bought elsewhere and he’s taking it very personally.  Obviously a big sale at this time of year is manna to the cash flow of a seasonal business but I wish he’d keep things in proportion.  I hope to god it wasn’t you guys?  If it was, he’ll never believe I didn’t tip you off.  He’s become so paranoid about Edge’s Garden Furniture!
However, things weren’t completely a wash out on the romantic gesture front.  I took possession of several lovely peony plants.  I had to pretend I’d ordered them myself, but they came with a little note from Alex, saying one was for each day we spent in Brittany together (!).  I’m so delighted with them.  Discreet, classy – and not from my dull old husband.  Who could ask for more?
Yours, smugly,
Rose J
To: Rosa
From: Flora
Date: Valentine’s Day
Subject: floral tributes
Well, well old girl. 
I’m beginning to suspect there’s more to your trip to Brittany than you’ve told me.  And you would tell me, wouldn’t you?  Any twin secrets are obviously safe with me.  Peonies are so heavenly.  What a fabulous, glamorous pressie and how clever to send something you can a) keep and b) easily hide from Nick.  Where are you going to put them?  By a love seat somewhere? (ha, ha).  Remember, they’re very hungry plants and they’ll want loads of horse poo. 
I didn’t do much better from Paul.  Just a text promising to phone later this evening – despite me telling him that I was going to be down the pub.   I’ve agreed to play the piano accompaniment for the Valentine’s special.  None other than local celebrity, Herb Wintergarden is on the bill.  I do hope he can sing!!
Re your big order of outdoor aluminium furniture for Southwold; as far as I know, we haven’t sold any metal furniture to the hospitality industry since … er about the time Massimo was given the job of doing just that. 
Sounds like neither of us are going to have much romance later on, but I hope to entertain you with the gossip from the Buck & Fart – everyone seems to be going.
Xxx Laura
To: Laura
From: Rosa
Date: V-Day
Subject: floral tributes
 I didn’t send Mr Garden anything.  Is that bad??  Or is it entirely proper given that a) we’re just good friends and b) I am married even if my husband is more married to the job than to me L
To: Rosa
From: Laura
Date: 15 Feb 2015
Subject: The Morning After the Night Before
Rose, my petal
Don’t feel bad about the peonies.  Alex has time on his hands, plenty of funds and no one to spoil … accept graciously!
About last night – only in a ‘local pub for local people’ like the B&F would you get the kind of carry-on that we experienced yesterday.  It was pretty rammed – I’d say about 60 people but most of the really weird ones are related to us (gloop!).  If I tell you it kicked off with Frank and Pearl revealing they’d just had His & Hers tattoos, you’ll get the picture.  Not your usual romantic dinner date for 2 – just a crazy mishmash of eccentrics, all more interested in getting completely pie-eyed than in romancing anyone. 
Back to Frank and Pearl.  Honestly!   You cannot imagine anything more disgusting.  Apparently, they’ve had each other’s names done in Mandarin but my experience of Chinese translations ofgarden furniture brochures suggests they’re much more likely to have ended up with the equivalent of Sausage and Tooth Whitener.  Perhaps that would be appropriate!  Anyhow, Pearl’s skin is so wrinkly, from baking it for years on the Costa del Sol, that it must have been very hard for the tattooist.  It looks like one of those kids’ ones we used to do, where the image bubbles up so you can hardly see it. 
The tats are to go with their new image.  Pearl has persuaded Frank that he should ditch the motor at the weekends in favour of a Harley Davidson, so they were sporting leathers too.  Not pretty!
The other revelation of the night is that Herb can sing!  He’d certainly brought a few groupies along, though I dread to think what the poor loves made of it all.
Of course, Lorenzo’s clan was all there.  Maria seems to have got over her fling with Garry (who I think is back with his wife).  Her focus was all on Liam (Peter’s son?  He’s suddenly blossomed rather – the acne’s gone and he’s grown at least a foot since I last saw him).  Big Bro didn’t trust Maria at all so he spent his evening trying to butt in on their teenage conversation.  Talk about cramping her style – it reminded me of Black Adder’s Spanish Infanta love scene.  Poor Lorenzo didn’t get much chance to relax yo-yoing between Maria and Carla who, in turn, was fixated on seeing off Herb’s groupies.  Carla looked like, ahem, Cher.  Do you know about the Trout’s latest hair do?  She’s had really inappropriate hair extensions done that kept getting in everyone’s pints.  At one point, she’d tossed them over the bar and Daffodil, that enormous fat pub tabby had settled down in them for a snooze.  For few seconds, Carla was pinned in place since Daffodil must weigh a fair few pounds… Then with an almighty toss of her head, the cat went flying through the air onto the lap of poor Old Parsley who was dozing in the Inglenook as usual.  Not sure who was more surprised Parsley or Daffodil!  At least they both smell as bad as each other.
Carla insisted on singing a duet with Herb (Islands in the Stream) but it was so excruciating (she’s no Dolly) that he quickly ditched the ballads in favour of sing-along classics for everyone.  It was actually a right laugh and easier for me, cos no one really notices if the pianist plays a duff note when they’re all bellowing out Twist and Shout at the top  of their voices!
Massimo had the right hump because although he turned up with Petra, she’s a girl who likes the limelight, so she draped herself all over Herb at every opportunity.  I have to say that between them, Petra and Herb have upped the glamour quotient round here!  As you can imagine, Lucie was delighted to see Petra otherwise occupied, but she was so busy all night serving drinks, that she couldn’t stop Massimo getting up to his old tricks.  I’m afraid I think I noticed him and Poppy sneaking out the back at some point while Charlie was being all chummy with Lorenzo.
And talking of which, it is funny to see Charlie with Lorenzo since the news of his shady past reached these shores.  He’s almost deferential these days.  Of course, Lorenzo’s always enjoyed being in control so he was practically preening.  Charlie kept trying to buy Lorenzo drinks trying to engage him in conversation about distribution networks, but on this occasion, Lorenzo’s attention was certainly divided between his two girls!  Thank goodness he’s got Ant – who is no trouble.  Ant was actually helping out behind the scenes at the pub.  He’s not old enough to serve the drinks, but he’s got a job in the kitchen.  By all accounts he loves it and the punters love him because he’s so neat and clean and personable!  Bless him!
I’m going to watch a murder mystery this afternoon with the box of chocs I bought myself on behalf of Paul, so …   
Lots of love,
Laura xx

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