For the fourth time in a row, the 5am alarm was most unwelcome. Once again Cheltenham’s craic had extended it’s warm and friendly arms well into the early hours and three days of looking after clients by day and drinking Guinness cocktails by night, had left me ‘sub-optimal’ to say the least.
But this was the big one, Gold Cup Day, we had the most clients attending today and my best (and favourite) clients would be there with their customers and even the boss, Jon, was due to make an appearance.
I loved Jon and his staff, they weren’t the biggest of companies but they were growing rapidly, had some really big contracts on the go and were always working flat out.
Even though they were so busy, whenever I spoke to Jon or his sales director Andy on the phone, they always made time for me and were great fun (Jon and I shared an affinity with sailing and I always deeply enjoyed reminding Andy how much better Man Utd were than Man City….you can probably get the rough timeline from that, how things have changed!).
A coffee, shower and puff of bronzer later and I sat down with the other events guys to have our daily briefing; which clients were there for the day, what we needed to do and any special requests we needed to action.
I’d never met Jon or his team face to face so, it was on my mind to make a good first impression. I’d saved my best dress until last, had spent a bit of extra time on my racing war-paint and had made sure I was up to date with all the latest news from their company.
I’d seen some press coverage with photos of Andy but I didn’t know what Jon looked like (this was before Linkedin had really taken off and there were no head shots on their fairly new basic website).
We set off walking along Evesham Road towards the racecourse.
It was a cool and fresh yet sunny twenty-minute stroll up to the course and, as usual, there were some very interesting sights and sounds to encourage us on our way…..
…..a blacked out stretched limousine meandered it’s way along with the snaking traffic and pulled up alongside us. Smoke was gently drifting from the sunroof along with the distinct smell of cigars (which I love).
The back window slowly lowered to reveal a bevy of smiley female faces, rosy cheeked with Cheltenham cheer and clearly keen on mischief.
A strongly built arm extended from the window grabbing my colleague ‘Ole Pimbrook’ by his jacket collar and proceeded to winch him into the vehicle like a fairground prize grabbing machine!
The limousine carried on for a few yards with Ole’s rear torso flailing around out of the rear window like a drunken ducking swan.
He appeared several seconds later with ruffled hair (which he will have hated being a big fan of high quality hair product and his beloved Barnet) along with a lingering whiff of Irish whiskey and several different shades of smeared lipstick covering his slightly embarrassed (although quite happy) face!
Ole recovered well from this episode and is engaged now (not to one of the limousine ladies) and still works in events although, whenever he sees a black stretched limousine, he jumps to the nearest bush for cover!
Some names have been changed to protect pride and marriages! (Words by Pippa Phillips)