Wednesday 20th March is World Storytelling Day, and after learning about this, our interior designer, Adele, regaled us of a story from the day she was fitting a customer’s cream curtains only for a muddy dog to run straight down the middle of them. After a bit of a chuckle in the office, we started sharing embarrassing stories we have from our own lives.
Some of them were so good, we had to share them with the rest of you. So in the spirit of World Storytelling Day, we hope you enjoy them. We certainly did.
To view a story click the title below.
Christmas day disaster
6 Year old Matthew had been busy all morning unwrapping his presents in the living room with his parents. After all the unwrapping had finally been done his parents headed out of the living room to the kitchen to pop the kettle on, make a brew and relax after another successful Christmas morning.
Unbeknown to them back in the living room, young Matthew was already enjoying his presents, one of them being the poster paints his parents had bought for him... As soon as his parents had left the room he made a bee line towards the paints and unleashed streams of paint up the living room walls (I believe it was in the style of his Ghostbusters hero, Peter Venkman).
After the initial adrenaline rush something occurred to Matthew, could it be that what he had just done was 'naughty'? Whilst stopping to ponder his actions he heard the thudding footsteps of his oblivious parents getting closer to the living room with every step.
Panic set in, Matthew had to prevent his parents from seeing this. He bolted for the door between the kitchen and living room and planted his bum at the foot of the door so that all of his weight and might would keep the door shut forever. His dad, brew in one hand, tried the door handle with his other and pushed.
To his bemusement the door took more force than usual to open, so he applied enough to create a gap to pop his head through and view what was causing this obvious obstruction. His dads attempt to open the door slid Matthew across the carpet a tad, and when Matthew saw his father peering into the living room , he knew it was time to hide.
Matthew zipped across the living room to every 6 year olds secret place, that den behind the settee against the wall. Dad saw Matthew speeding across the room and was now starting to wonder what his son could have possibly got up to in the 5 minutes they had left him alone. He creaked the door open to slowly reveal a previously cream wall, splattered with blue poster paint.
Needless to say, the language may have got a bit blue after this point as well as Matthews parents faces. It seems young Matthew was always destined for a career revolving around interior design, even if his early designs we're a tad too contemporary for his parents.
P.S. Sorry Mum and Dad
Well what are the chances of that!?
When I was asked to think of a tale for World Story telling day one that sprung to mind was a huge coincidence that actually happened to somebody else rather than me but seen as it was connected with me I can claim it in a fashion!
Early in 2007 I was planning for my wedding and although I didn't have many jobs, one had been to make arrangements for the photography. I was working in a marketing job at the time with quite a significant PR slant and this brought me into contact with a few choice photojournalists - one of these it turned out did the odd wedding.
We had become pretty good friends during our working relationship I knew he was top notch photographer, very thorough and meticulous in the planning - so once I knew he was willing to take it on I had no hesitation in entrusting this important task to him.
Now we had already been warned that he operated with a high level of attention to detail so we needed to be in contact at a few points prior to the big day as he liked to conduct at least two reconnaissance missions to the venue to sort out angles and vantage points.
Although we were in pretty regular touch over the telephone it seemed that I had never given over my home landline number over until this point so at some juncture he had scribbled this down in his notepad with the intention of calling to make arrangements for one of many scouting visits.
It was at the first attempt to make one of these date in the diary calls that the fun and games occurred. Now when the photographer dialled what he thought was my number he had indeed dialled the correct final 6 numbers that I had given him - but crucially he had put a Cheshire STD code in front of it instead of a Stoke on Trent 01782.
Ordinarily this would only have ended with an obviously wrong number he would have realised the error and he probably would have dialled my mobile number to get me that way instead. Oh no the fate Gremlins had something else in mind and what followed in one of those glorious moments of incredulity that is fantastic to recount but you thank your lucky stars that your brain doesn't have to unravel one of these everyday.
So I understand it went something like this:
[Drring, Drring, (Older Woman Answers)] Hello?
[Photographer] Hi there, can I speak to Martin please?
[Woman] Oh right he doesn't live here - this is his parents house - you do mean Martin Bailey??
[Photographer] Yes that's right (confusion setting in... why has Martin given me his mothers telephone number??)
[Woman] Who is this?, I can give you another number if you need to reach him
[Photographer] Its Chris Rushton I'm doing his wedding photography?
[Woman] Wedding?? He's not getting married or he hasn't told me if he is!
So now we had two very confused people, Chris who is wondering why I've given him my mother telephone number & if you hadnt already worked it out, the Mother of another Martin Bailey who is wondering why she is the last to know about her sons impending nuptials! But there is more....
[Photographer] We are talking about the same Martin Bailey from May Bank, who works for ******** ??
[Woman] No No, he lives in Crewe and works for [Newspaper Title not sure which]
[Photographer] Oh my god, did he work for The Staffordshire Sentinel about 25 years ago by any chance??
[Woman] Yes indeed he did!!....
Now the odds of this particular situation are absolutely astronomical. I will summarise -
So what were the chances of my landline at the time, with a simple replacement of the STD code resulting in reaching a lady who had a son with the same name as me? Not only that it was a Martin Bailey who he had worked with over 25 years ago and absolutely no contact with since! Any mathematicians in the house?
If the shoe fits
In honour of National Story Telling Day my colleagues and I on the Marketing Team at Terrys Fabrics have decided to each share a short personal story with you of something humorous or entertaining that has happened to us. So here's mine......I thought I'd keep it relevant to curtains and fabrics.
“The story is about an incident which happened during my days of consulting and advising on window treatments for Terrys and for that reason the names and exact location of the actual clients have not been disclosed through courtesy to them and, if I'm honest, to spare myself any more blushes than actually necessary!
The clients in question had just taken possession of a beautiful new build property on a very affluent housing complex on the Staffordshire/Cheshire border. The property had approximately 20 windows which needed dressing in a style that suited the character of the property and the clients' tastes, so I was awarded the consultation and asked to go and advise on fabrics and styles. The design ideas and installation needed to be completed quickly as the clients, their two children, two cats and new kitten were already living in the property with nothing at the windows to spare their blushes.
Blinds, curtains, pelmets, bed runners, curtains, cushions and accessories were all diligently produced to my specifications in our work room and an installation date was arranged. I anticipated that the entire installation would take one and a half to two days maximum. ‘Mr' client often worked from home, so the fitting days were arranged around his home work schedule so that we had access to the property but agreed to try and incur as little disruption to his working day as possible. Obviously it isn't possible to install fixtures and fittings for window treatments without drilling and making noise.
I attended the property with my team of fitters to oversee the installation and keep things running smoothly and swiftly. Day one went fine and we completed the upper floor. Day two, Mr. Client asked how long we anticipated being there as he had a financial advisor coming to see him at about 4.30 in the afternoon and would like to see him in the dining room. I was confident we would be more or less finished by 4.30 apart from the tidying up but agreed to fit the dining room first so that there was no question of us impacting on his meeting.
As 4.30pm approached the fitters had finished as I had anticipated and I was doing finishing touches, as the financial advisor arrived. I quickly explained to Mr. Client that we had finished fitting, would tidy away our tools and equipment, see ourselves out and have no further need to disturb him.
As you can imagine for a full house fit with a team of fitters, we had a considerable amount of equipment with us – several pairs of steps and ladders, numerous tool boxes, dust sheets etc., etc.
As I recall it was a cold winter's afternoon and was raining miserably. To save traipsing in and out of the house and having to keep changing our shoes (the fitters and myself always wore designated indoor shoes in clients' homes, not our normal outdoor shoes, for obvious reasons) we formed a passing line from myself inside the property to the fitters outside and systematically and fairly quickly removed all our equipment from the house.
I did a quick final check to make sure that I was happy with everything then, as I collected up the last few dust sheets protecting the grand entrance hall floor, I stepped in to my outdoor shoes, collected up the fitters' indoor shoes which were lined up neatly by the front door and made a quick dash for the company vehicle in the pouring rain.
As we had no further installations booked that particular day we made our way back to the office and I tied up the paperwork. I finished work at my normal time and switched off my work's mobile as I left.
The following morning as I arrived at work I switched my mobile back on, only to find I had a message from Mr Client asking me to ring him back straight away –(there was an urgency in his voice, but I also detected what I thought was a slight snigger) – the message continued and I gasped, as I heard Mr Client say that his financial adviser was just leaving and it would appear that I had....wait for it..... TAKEN HIS SHOES!!!!!!!
Although a big part of me was relieved that there was no problem with the installation, I realised straight away what had happened and was horrified! In my eagerness to leave the premises as quickly as possible without disturbing my client, I had obviously picked up the financial adviser's shoes lined up neatly by the front door next to the fitter's shoes, without realising I had an extra pair that day.
I rang Mr Client straight away, apologised profusely, explained what had happened and reassured him that it was a genuine mistake and that there had obviously been no intention to ‘steal' the shoes and I hoped I hadn't caused him too much embarrassment?
As I asked this, my thoughts turned immediately to the poor gentleman without his shoes and I asked my client if he had been able to sort him out with something, had he been able to lend him a pair maybe???
Mr Client replied that it was highly embarrassing as this gentleman was a very important visitor and was actually top of the field in his area of work, very high up in his company and that is why he had requested a meeting with him. The gentlemen in question apparently refused the offer of any foot ware and proceeded to go home in the pouring rain and freezing cold...... in his socks!
I wasn't quite sure what to say – apart from I would of course courier the shoes back to him without delay - and was pleasantly and thankfully relieved when Mr Client then started to laugh and explained that after a questionable length of time searching for the shoes they had all realised what had happened and had fortunately seen the funny side of it!
The financial adviser in question is still, as far as I know, top of his field but did, by all accounts, get a lot of ribbing and leg pulling from his colleagues and company who found it highly amusing if not hilarious and, as I'm sure you can imagine, so did I!......... and still do to this day.
So that's my story. Humility is a very endearing quality I think, so I'll leave you with this.......
William Wordsworth famously wrote ..."A day without laughter is a day wasted!"..... so, I hope I made you laugh today and your day wasn't wasted.
I always get nervous about going into very quiet expensive shops. You know the ones – the minute you walk in the shop assistant is all over you and every time you pick something up they are offering to ‘put it behind the counter' or in the changing room. Now I know a lot of people feel like this but I have good reason!
While on holiday in Las Vegas my husband convinced me to go into the designer shops in the Bellagio hotel. In one particular store I saw a few things that I liked but had kept going because out of the corner of my eye I had noticed another part of the shop I wanted to look at. As I started to make my way towards this section I was aware there was a person heading towards me. We were both taking in the products on the shelf running down the side of the shop.
I then realised we were about to walk into each other, I stood up straight and started to apologise to the person for nearly bumping into them. I then realised the person was wearing the same very large shell necklace I was wearing. I was standing only millimetres away from a mirror and was loudly apologising to myself in the middle of a very quiet designer store. It was only the necklace that made me realise I was talking to myself. I quickly exited the store and waited for my husband outside. After a few minutes he appeared still laughing at my embarrassing moment and telling me that the shop assistants were still giggling about it as well!
Needless to say I didn't go into that shop again for the rest of the holiday!
A colourful day
My story takes place 10 years ago, after a particularly heavy night of drinking around a friends house. It was my friends parents house and they were away on holiday, so, as was customary for a group of 19 year old men, an evening of drinking was called for, interspersed with a little bit of poker.
Festivities had died down when the alcohol ran out, in the very early hours of a Saturday morning with various people trying to get some sleep in any part of the house that was remotely comfortable. I was fortunate enough to have commandeered the main sofa in the living room and fell into an alcohol fuel slumber.
I awoke in the early morning to the sounds of commotion as the lad whose house it was, was getting ready to head into work, thus kicking us all out after nothing more than a few hours rest. So it was in this hungover and very tired state that I accepted a lift into the local town where my friend worked, so that I could catch a lift home.
My friend dropped us off in the town at his work, and a few of us walked up to the main bus station – in the middle of the town, on a busy Saturday morning.
We stopped off for a quick bite to eat and a drink, to help our tired bodies. I don't remember anyone paying me any more attention than any other time; perhaps I was too tired to notice.
We finally made it to the bus station, just as a bus that I could use was sitting there, so without waiting any further I started to get onto the bus. It was at this moment that one of my friends put a hand on my shoulder.
“Mate" he said “You do know we've drawn all over your face, with permanent marker, don't you?"
No. No I didn't know.
And so it transpired that whilst I was sleeping peacefully on the sofa, my ‘friends' were hatching a cunning plan to ridicule me, which succeeded way beyond their expectations. They took a big black indelible marker and proceeded to write all over my face and neck – some of which was of an adult nature!
And I walked through a busy town with all this over my face. I had bought food and drink. I had even bumped into a work colleague who had asked me if I'd “had a rough night". Being naive, I assumed I looked like death, it turns out I looked like death AND was covered in the uncensored doodling of my mates.
And so, for the first time that day, I checked my reflection in the window of the bus. It was all true. All over my face.
That was an interesting bus journey home.