Thursday, 22 May 2008

Episode 40 - Lizzie’s little empire is growing

Ken stood in his garage surrounded by boxes and boxes of Lizzie’s stock for her stall. Bloody hell, he thought she’s got enough gear here to set up half a dozen stalls. He was amazed how much stuff she was managing to sell, though he wouldn’t dream of telling her how well he thought she was doing. His philosophy was to keep quiet and hope that this latest fad of hers would just disappear but even he had to admit as plans go, it was not one of his best.

Lizzie’s stall was going from strength to strength and even if Ken did think that the hours she spent on the phone to her brother Frankie arranging delivery of new stock was a pain, he had admit that the extra income was very welcome. If only he could find his golf clubs under all the clutter.

‘What are you doing, I hope you haven’t moved any of them boxes. You’ll ruin my filing system’ shrieked Lizzie as she walked into the garage.

‘What bleeding filing system? It’s like a jumble sale out here.’ Ken moaned

‘What are you doing out here anyway’

‘I’m trying to find my bloody golf clubs. Have you hidden them again?’

‘You left them in the downstairs cloakroom after you’d finished washing the clubs in the sink. They’ve been there for the past two days’ Lizzie stood in the doorway with her hands on her hips. ‘And don’t forget to put those boxes back where you found them’

Ken muttered to himself as he shoved two of the boxes across the floor with his foot. ‘I thought that you were supposed to be looking for a lock-up for this stuff?’

‘Well you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve gone one better than that. I’ve just been talking to the estate agent in the village. Do you remember that little shop we saw empty, the one just behind the market?’

‘What, the old electrical shop, the tatty looking place?’

‘It’s not that bad, nothing a lick of paint wouldn’t put right, well I’ve said that we’ll take the lease up on it.’

‘You’ve done what’ yelled Ken fighting his way through the boxes ‘and just where do you think the money is coming from? I hope you don’t think it’s coming out of the savings.’

‘Don’t bust a gasket, I’m not touching your precious savings. There’s enough cash coming in to lease the shop for six months and some left over to tidy it up. Frankie said that he would come over with a couple of mates and give me a hand to do it.’

‘Frankie, I might have known. Why is it that your brother always seems to know what’s going on before I do?’ yelled Ken

‘Because he shows some bloody interest, that’s why.’

Lizzie looked at Ken as he stood there seething.

‘If you showed some interest I’d love to be doing all this with you. But all you ever do is tell me that I’m going to make a fool of myself. At least Frankie has some faith in me.’

‘Oh Lizzie, I don’t want to you fail. I’m really pleased that your business is going well. I just wanted us to move to Spain and spend more time together, not have you working all hours and never get to see you.’

Lizzie put her arms around Ken shoulders and kissed him gently on his check. ‘You soft sod, that’s all I want too. So why don’t we do this together, let’s run our own business. I can do the selling and you can be in charge of getting the deliveries over from England.’

‘What driving backwards and forwards each month?’ Asked Ken horrified.

‘No silly, I mean dealing with the suppliers and shippers, stuff like that.’

‘I suppose I could give you a hand doing up the shop as well, if you like.’

‘Ah babe, that’d be great. Do you fancy coming down to the village with me this afternoon to see it? I told the estate agent I would be there about five o’clock. This is so exciting, our very own shop. What should we call it?’

‘Gawd knows. I’m surprised you haven’t got a name already.’ laughed Ken.

‘I was thinking of something classy like E J Interiors.’

‘Yeah, not bad’ pondered Ken ‘But not really you.’

‘Of course it’s me EJ - Elizabeth Jessel’

‘But nobody calls you Elizabeth.’

‘Alright clever clogs, you think of a name.’

Ken sighed and sat down on the nearest box ‘I don’t know, how about Lizzie’s Loot.’

‘That makes me sound like a bank robber.’ Laughed Lizzie ‘how about Lizzie’s Loft’

‘That’s great. I love it, Lizzie’s Loft, I’ll drink to that.’


‘Where do you want these boxes sis’ asked Frankie as he started unloading the van outside the villa.

‘Just put them in the garage for now. Ken will sort them out later.’

‘Where is the old sod, down at the club as usual?’

‘No he isn’t.’ snapped Lizzie ‘he’s at the shop finishing off the painting.’

‘I thought that you wanted my mates over to do that?’ asked Frankie as he finished emptying the van.

‘No need, Ken’s been brilliant. There’s only the flooring to lay now and the it’ll be ready for me to start dressing it.’

‘Dressing it’ exclaimed her brother ‘you sound like one of them property shows off the tele.’

‘Well that’s what it’s like. You have to make people want to buy your stuff and the best way to do that is show people what it would look like in their own homes.’

‘I don’t believe you sis. You’re turning into a right little Alan Sugar.’

‘You’d better believe it Frankie. This time next year, who knows, we could have a whole string of shops along the coast. There are plenty of ex-pats buying property out here and it isn’t just the Brits. There are Germans, Dutch, Swedes and loads from the old communist countries. And not everyone wants to ship there stuff all the way out to Spain, they want to get new stuff here.’

‘Well good luck to you but at this rate I’ll have to buy a bigger van.’

‘Oh Frankie love I wouldn’t expect you to carry on bringing the stuff out for me. Now I’ve got the shop to run Ken is going to be in charge of all the buying and with the bigger orders we can put in to the suppliers I’m sure that he’ll be able to do a deal over the shipping costs.’

Frankie looked at his sister in horror. These trips to Spain each month had proved a nice little earner for him. Not only was Lizzie paying him to bring her stuff out but filling the van for the return trip with cheap Spanish beer and spirits had been very profitable around the car boot sales at home. He would have to think fast to convince his miserable brother-in-law to keep things exactly they were they were. Frankie knew that he had too much to loose to let this nice little arrangement stop.