For Fax Sake

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Just give me the fax

By 2005 we had taken on a lady called Joy to help grow our Spice business. Full of vim and vitality, Joy really did live up to her name. Part of her job was to book us into local businesses where we would put up the Spice presentation boards and hand out newsletters in the hope of attracting new members. It was usually a two-person operation with myself and Dom taking it in turns to help out.

On one fateful morning Joy arrived in the office to collect Dom and the rest of the paraphernalia, but we woke to discover that our website had crashed. As most of our bookings came in via the web, this was a disaster, so Dom stayed behind to fix it. I went with Joy and was grateful to get out of the office to escape the bad language that was filling the air.

Hoping that everything was back to normal I returned home to find Dom hopping around in agony, asking me to take him to our local town hospital. Alarmed, I asked:

“What have you done?”

“I think I’ve broken my toe!” came the pained response.

At this point I was still very concerned and asked how he could have possibly injured himself so badly.

“I kicked the fax machine.”

Okay, now I was trying not to laugh. “That was pretty stupid” I managed to say, barely able to keep a straight face.

Luckily, our nearest town hospital isn’t too far away, and during the short drive the full story came out. Frustrated by the lack of progress on fixing the I.T. problem, Dom kicked the fax machine which sat on the floor under the printer table. Shoes, slippers or socks would have afforded some degree of protection, but Dom was bare-footed.

When the doctor asked how he sustained his injury, Dom replied:

“I had a problem with I.T.”

He was taken away to have the offending appendage X-rayed and the doctor pointed to where his toe was fractured. Dom refused to believe this diagnosis, and certainly wasn’t going to have his foot plastered, pointing out that he had “hit it on the other side.” A statement that ‘the patient had declined treatment’ was entered on his medical notes and he was sent home, limping on two crutches. A few days later the Royal Berks confirmed he had torn some ligaments. He couldn’t play sports for a couple of weeks, but he never kicked the office hardware again.


Addendum #2

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All I want for Christmas

We’ve all heard the horror stories of men buying (usually soon-to-be ex) wives a mop or a bread-bin as a Christmas or birthday present. In a recent post The Key to My Heart, I mentioned Dom hadn’t made a festive faux pas. I lied. If you want the full set, you can read about my funny Valentine in Addendum #1, and here’s the second instalment. No doubt I’ll be reminded of a few more as time goes by.

Who doesn’t like to sing? We can’t all be blessed with melodious vocal chords, but singing lifts the soul and tells the world we’re happy. Okay, it might not be such a pleasurable experience for those around us if our singing voice is more akin to Scooby-Doo, but I thought the following comment was taking it too far:

“I’m going to buy you singing lessons for Christmas.”

That suggestion fell on tone-deaf ears.

Addendum #1

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My funny Valentine

In a recent post The Key to My Heart, I mentioned Dom wasn’t given to making many faux pas. I’ve been reminded of two instances since then.

The first occasion was last Valentine’s Day (how soon we forget). Dom’s new business was going well and Sandra had recently joined Hazel and ourselves to form a tightly-knitted team. Sandra had also been a Spice Coordinator and during our tenures we would meet up to brainstorm issues such as membership recruitment and retention. These sessions usually involved curry and lots of alcohol. Looking to emulate the same success with his new company, Dom suggested a few dates to meet up. There was only one date when everyone was free: 14th February. A hotel and restaurant were booked and Dom rattled off an email to confirm the details.

“You do know what day that is?” replied Hazel. 

“Do you think she’ll notice?” said Dom, but it was too late, everything was booked.

So that’s how Dom spent Valentine’s Day enjoying a curry with three lovely ladies. We received some very strange looks from the restaurant staff. The other diners were more interested in staring at their phones to pay us much attention, but at least we were all having fun.

Ah, you’re thinking, I bet it was somewhere nice. Nope. I think ‘nice’ is a word that Stoke-on-Trent aspires to. The hotel was sad and neglected and long past its former glory.  Unsurprisingly it wasn’t full, and I’m sure I witnessed a few raised eyebrows at breakfast from the few other guests:

“You stayed HERE?”

Now, I don’t wish to sound unkind, but Stoke-on-Trent isn’t the type of place a girl dreams about spending a romantic break.  It’s not like some of the UK’s other lovely hyphenated towns and villages such as Henley-on Thames, Bourton-on-the-Water or Ross-on-Wye, but I guess such places are unlikely to have vacancies a week before such a big event in the marketing calendar (unless something untoward has happened). But there was another surprise in store; to round off our mini-break, Dom took me on a tour of students-ville to show me his university accommodation.

Who says romance is dead?


Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

The Key to My Heart

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The key to my success

Christmas. The radio is abuzz with tales of partners buying unsuitable presents for their loved ones. Whilst Dom hasn’t made a festive faux pas, he did come close to it for one of my birthdays.

It was a cold, wintry night and we had driven 50 miles to Southampton for a monthly Spice Preview Night. These nights gave people who weren’t yet members a chance to find out more about us and every month a small group of members would come to offer their support. These dedicated souls would venture out in all weathers, keen to meet new people and hoping to see the group expand. After saying goodbye to the last of that evening’s enquirers we started chatting to the members, many of whom have remained good friends to this day. 

“What are you doing at the weekend?” enquired Chelsea. 

We quickly established that we were hosting an event on the Sunday, but Saturday was free. I’d deliberately left the day clear, giving Dom the opportunity to spoil me on my special day. I had envisaged a surprise visit to a show, or a trip to the cinema, maybe a meal at our favourite restaurant, but Dom had other plans:

“We need to go to B&Q to buy a lock for the shed.” 

You can imagine the raised eyebrows. Thinking this was a very bad idea, I tried my best to steer him away from this notion, but my suggestions were falling on deaf ears. Exasperated, I blurted out:

“But I don’t want to go to B&Q on my birthday!”

Well the members thought this was hilarious and Dom’s romanticism (or lack of it) has entered into Spice history. He often gets reminded about it and I’m not entirely convinced he knows exactly what he did wrong.

Oh, and we never did get that lock.

The Slave Auction

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You’re for the high jump, my lad!

Can there be a better night out than a Black Tie Ball? Ladies looking stunning in their best frocks, their smiles hiding any torture they are suffering from their back-of-the-closet party shoes and their should-have-gone-on-a-diet-sooner control underwear. Meanwhile the menfolk, who can throw it all on at the last minute, are checking their watches to see if the bar is open, before sauntering in looking effortlessly suave and ready for action.

The air is filled with optimism and the odd sprinkling of desperation. “You look gorgeous!” and “Don’t you scrub up well!” are shouted above the noise as you air-kiss your way around the room. You find your table and already seated are some new people to bond with. The meal is served, copious amounts of alcohol consumed, and if you’re still capable of standing after all that indulgence, it’s time to hit the dance floor to party the night away. What’s not to like? 

We were all set for our first Spice Black Tie Ball of 2005 on Saturday 15th January. The Tsunami had struck in the Indian Ocean ravaging parts of Indonesia and Sumatra just a few weeks earlier and we wanted to make a contribution to help those affected by the devastation. So we struck upon a great idea – a raffle followed by a Slave Auction. Lots of people donated prizes, which included booze, chocolates, gift baskets and a VCR machine (remember those?) In total we raised £503 for the appeal, which is pretty impressive considering we had 150 people in the room that night.

We then moved onto the highlight of the evening – our Slave Auction. Six slaves volunteered to be ‘sold off’ to the highest bidder in exchange for various duties, some of which were more demeaning than others. One by one Dom introduced the slaves and their chosen services.

“Here’s Andy, he’s offering to give dance lessons to the highest bidder.”

A flurry of ladies put their hands up. I took note of the highest bidder and the amount offered allowing Dom to introduce the next slave. Only trouble is, Dom couldn’t pronounce Reiki, forcing him to improvise.

“Next up, it’s Jeanette, she’s offering a massage service.” You can imagine the reaction. A flood of hands went up, almost entirely male. Jeanette whispered something in Dom’s ear.

“Just to clarify” Dom shouted above the baying crowd, “This is for a Reiki massage.”

Then it was Phil’s turn. Phil was one of our most popular members. He was tall, dark and handsome with matinee idol good looks and impeccable manners. Women wanted to be with him and men wanted to be him. So when he volunteered to clean someone’s lounge in “a pinny and a smile” a bidding war ensued. It was a surreal scene, with women frantically outbidding each other, clambering to their feet as their voices became louder and more desperate to secure his services.

The atmosphere was electric. Everyone was on a high. Then Karen steps forward. Her offer was to clean someone’s kitchen from top to bottom. Now Karen could have put Kim and Aggie from ‘How Clean is Your House’ to shame. Dom was swept up with the euphoria. Full of energy and gleeful delight he announced to a room of 150 people:

“And if you’ve seen the state of my kitchen, you’ll know this is a phenomenal offer!”

Seriously, you could have heard a pin drop. A deathly hush filled the room, immediately followed by the sound of jaws hitting the floor. “Did he really just say that?” Dom’s mum was there that evening. “That’s the end of his night” she said.





Mind the Gap

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We’ve recently returned from a cracking Halloween Ball weekend in the Forest of Dean, spending Saturday night in a candle-lit cave, partying to the witching hour and beyond.

There were various activities to do during the weekend, and whilst I spent Saturday meeting up with old friends and searching for last minute adornments to our Halloween costumes, Dom opted to go caving. He looked through the list of attendees and spotted Colin’s name.  Unfortunately, Colin was suffering from a bad cold and had pulled out, deciding it was better for him to recuperate rather than attempt anything too strenuous.

“Oh, but I was relying on you going.” says Dom. Intrigued over the concern for his welfare, Colin asked why.

“As you’re larger than me, I knew if you could get through the gaps, I could!”

How not to win friends and influence people!