Thursday closed with a great sense of anticipation. We had moved our vehicles out of the barn, off of the wide hammerhead driveway and on to the soft mossy grass to await our long expected delivery the next day. There was still tension in the air the next morning as Greg (a night owl, certainly no morning lark) leapt out of bed at first light as he heard the unmistakable crunch of wheels on the gravel below. False alarm – it was only our local organic veg box delivery.
As the morning fog turned to silent heavy rain we settled down to our computers, trying hard to concentrate, but unable to tackle the weightier jobs of the day. At lunch time the telephone rang. Our delivery had made it to Presteigne, our nearest town, and the driver was calling to check his directions. It turned out that the driver was familiar with our little mountainside lane as he regularly delivered to another business just down the road, but he was convinced that he couldn’t make it all the way up to us – there must be a low bridge or a hairpin bend, or something preventing his access? We assured him no, just make your way slowly up the lane, watching out for tractors and sheep. Continue about half a mile past your usual drop off and you can’t miss us.
Watching out of the window for the driver I realised that the rain had cleared. The sky was a beautiful deep blue and our little valley was bathed in warming spring sunshine. We couldn’t’ have hoped for better weather. Greg was the first out the door as the truck came into view and after rounding off one last email I followed behind, stripping off winter layers as I stepped out into the sunshine.
Our brand new 15kg coffee roaster had arrived – on the back of a 7.5 tonne curtain sided truck. Perfect. We had moved to the farm just a year earlier with almost exactly the same vehicle so we knew there should be no problem manoeuvring it up to our barn doors.
Unwilling to even try at first the driver gingerly backed his lorry through our gate and up the steep gravel slope until the rear wheels began to spin. Oh well we said to ourselves, at least, if the roaster is going to be dumped unceremoniously in the middle of the drive, the sun is shining. But it was not to be. On the steep slope there was no way that any of us could shift the huge weight with just a pump truck to manoeuvre it onto the tail lift. The driver would have to take our crate away again or try a little harder. As the sun was out and the taco graph said time for a break the driver softened his initial gruff attitude and settled in to try again.
This time he would take our advice and come up the gravel slope forwards, turn to the right and then reverse backwards to the barn – easy? Apparently not. While he proved the truck could handle the gravel in a forward gear he just couldn’t get the angle right to reverse over to the barn and succeeded only in getting himself stuck broadside across the steepest part of the drive and gauging a large hole in the grassy bank behind.
Ok, plan C – pull forwards into the drive, turn left towards the barn then reverse right and put the crate down on the grass in front of the roastery. It was still sloppy here, but Bee (our bright yellow Land Rover) was waiting with her winch. With the lorry soon in place I pulled out the winch operating cable and pressed start – nothing, not even a click. Ok, no winch but Bee could still tow. Greg rigged up the straps and manoeuvred our pallet truck into place while the driver assisted with his pallet truck from behind the crate. Bee took the strain and in low ratio I eased her back over the grass. With only a couple of meters of reversing room we had to reset several times before our crate was fully on the tail lift platform, but inch by inch the crate edged forwards and was finally deposited on boards on the soft grass.
We were finally the proud owners of a brand new coffee roaster!
The driver had pushed and pulled as hard as any of us and remained cheerful throughout, so, the least we could do, was serve up some lovely fresh coffee before waving him on his way.
Now we had nothing less than a monolith in the middle of our lawn and once the lorry had left, the first tractor to pass by almost ended up in the pond as its driver spun his head around like an owl to take a good look at our new arrival. Clearly there was nothing subtle about it where it stood, basking in the sun, but it was by now, mid afternoon and our mysterious box would have to stay put until we’d at least had lunch and a think.