Monday, 5 February 2007

Wined and Signed and Stolen Wheels

As a consequence of the timings of buying a house and Ma & Pa Dobson's movements, Thursday evening was a marathon paperwork session for four of the Dobson clan. Having been the sole person with any opportunity to actually read any of the paperwork before it was signed (this was carried out the previous evening in the company of a couple of lagers and the sounds of Wednesday losing to Southampton on the radio), I naturally fell into the role of thrusting a series of documents at each person (Dad, Mum, Emma (who was trying to plan lessons upstairs), myself, plus Nigel and Liz from next door who kindly witnessed where required) and telling them where to sign before moving on to the next victim.
Two bottles of wine later, everything was signed, dated (incorrectly then crossed out, corrected, initialled by four of us (my fault, would you believe?)) and ready to go.

I'd taken the next (Friday) morning off work to pick up some furniture from Saddleworth, as a colleague of Vicky's was moving house and getting rid of some useful items. By Thursday evening, I was expecting that the pickup was cancelled, as we'd had no word from Vicky's colleague regarding where she actually lived (can I have a show of hands from people familiar with Saddleworth? No, I didn't know either). The relevant information reached us by 10:30pm. Fortunately Dad was free and has recently got one of those GPS navigating thingies so finding the place wasn't an issue. Ben (Vicky's boyfriend) was also free, so after collecting him we set off, dropping Mum in town for some family history research. We fortunately hired the correctly sized van (we had no idea how big the furniture was prior to arrival) and made it over to Saddleworth in good time.

Nice furniture: we've collected enough from various places that we don't need to buy much to survive in the new place. The new pieces from Friday are crammed into the lounge (by Ben and myself, with management from Dad) along with an increasing number of boxes.

Now this was when it got more interesting (well done for reading this far. Signing legal documents must be a gripping read). On the way return the van, Dad's phone went off. It was in his pocket, so we didn't answer and assumed it was Mum wanting picking up. I checked the phone: 1 missed call from a Manchester number and a voicemail message. The message was from the van hire, asking us to phone them urgently regarding the vehicle we were driving.
Bomb on the van? Wheels about to fall off? Brake cables cut?
It turned out that the vehicle had been reported stolen, and could we let them know when we were returning it so that the police could have a look? Oh, and if we get pulled over by the police, give them a ring.
On returning the van we found out that the last bloke to hire it had gone walkies without paying, and it had been reported stolen by the hire firm. Someone had let it go out again before the police could see it and take it off the stolen list. We did get £25 off as a consequence, which was nice.