Sunday, 8 September 2013

New residents, old issues and solutions!

Mayor Hugo Trunk can feel a headache coming. He has 7 appointments today, that is one for each hour of his working day, and it is not the kind of appointments that will take an hour. To top it all that is not all he has to do today.

He looks at his diary and sighs. He is glad he made the pencil markings in brackets otherwise he would have never known what to expect.

08:00 – Admin (phone calls and communication)
09:00 – Mr and Mrs Hazelnut (discuss village plan)
10:00 – Mr and Mrs Mcburrows (Sebastiaan Whiskers insisted to attend this meeting???)
11:00 – Hubert and Hatty Huckleberry (finalization of senior teacher position and schedule for next school inspections)
12:00 – Dorothy Patches (hairdressing saloon – do we need this???)
13:00 – Barry and Hildie (I thought they, at least, were happy!!!!)
14:00 – Lunch (use time to make some telephone calls)
14:30 – Schroeder (docter’s room and housing – oh dear!!!!)
15:30 – Nelson and Beth (no idea)

Hugo started with the huge pile of mail that Pete Petite delivered a while ago. He glances back at his diary entries. He knows that much of these meetings will be complaints about housing and shop availability. Luckily he has appointed Sydney Hazelnut and now he has someone to help him handle this crisis.

The first letter he opened was from Slick Slydale, the second member of his town council. Slick is a registered accountant, but will also handle the finances of Sugarbush Valley. Hugo likes and trusts Slick, but Slick has a very cutthroat business ethic, which might upset others. Slick just gave an update on how great their vacation is and that they will be back soon. Hugo was relieved; he needed all the support he could get.

Then he opened a letter written by one Camilla Hunter-Smyth requesting a meeting with him about a business proposition. Mrs. Hunter-Smyth was requesting a meeting about the possibility of opening a dress shop. Dress shop! Hugo tossed the letter aside in frustration; he has much more important stuff to worry about then a dress shop.

Thirdly was a letter from his good friend Herbage Dappledawn. They met at university and while Hugo was studying hard to pass his law degree, Herbage was always having fun.They remained friends and Hugo recently proposed that Herbage and his family move to Sugarbush Valley to handle the tourism issues of the Village. Herbage will also be the third member of the town council. Hugo is wondering how the other members will react to Herbage’s fun and casual demeanor, but he is not too worried.

Next on the pile was a few bills, he had a quick look at them and shifted it to the side, nothing out of the ordinary and he will hand it over to Savannah, who usually takes care of it.

There was also letters from a Mr. Thistlethorn and Kenneth Furbanks.Mr. Thistlethorn was unknown to him, but he knew Kenneth well. As he was about to read Kenneth’s letter, Savannah enters with a cup of coffee and a scone.

Savannah: I noticed you haven’t eaten yet.
Hugo: I was so busy, I totally forgot. Have the children left yet?
Savannah: They have, but they were so excited about the day ahead that they were out of the door before I could order them to greet you.
Hugo: Oh, ok. Thanks for breakfast; I will need it to get through this day.

Savannah: I noticed your hectic day when I was in here earlier to clean.
Hugo: I thought it was a good idea to have all the meetings on one day, but now I am not so sure.
Savannah: Don’t worry you will manage as you always do.
Hugo: Oh there goes the doorbell it must be my first appointment.
Savannah: I’ll open the door; you finish breakfast and get your things ready.

Savannah left. Hugo quickly swallowed his coffee and went over the agenda for the first meeting.

Savannah: Good morning! You must be Sydney and Mona Hazelnut, do come in. I’m the Mayoress and wife of Hugo, Savannah Trunk.

Sydney: Please to meet you, finally.
Mona: Hello Savannah, you have a wonderful house.

Savannah: Oh thank you, please make yourselves at home; Hugo will be down in a bit. Please excuse me, while a get some refreshments.

Hugo enters the living room.
Hugo: Aah, Sydney! Mona! Welcome to Sugarbush Valley and Beechwood Hall.
Sydney: It is indeed a lovely village you have here, Hugo.
Mona: We already feel at home, although our living arrangements are still quite temporary!

Hugo: Well, Mona that is exactly why I have recruited you and your husband to sort out the housing of our village, but where do we start.
Sydney: If you don’t mind us being to forward, Mona and I have already drawn up a plan. It is only a draught, but I do think it is a good starting point.

Hugo: Wonderful. Just what I expected. May I have a look?
Sydney: Sure, but again it is only a draught and your insight is needed to perfect it.

Hugo took a few minute to have a quick glance at the plan, he was astonished at how great, but also doable it was.
Hugo: Sydney! Mona! This is amazing. For the first time in months I feel that we can salvage this village from utter disaster. Congratulations!
Sydney: So what must we change?
Hugo: Nothing really, you have focused on all the important issues and I like the fact that the first shop you want to attend to is the doctor’s rooms. But what is truly impressive is the idea of a commune that can be used as temporary housing for new villagers until their houses is complete. I really like that idea.
Sydney: That was actually Mona’s idea.
Hugo: Mona congratulations on an excellent idea.
Mona: Thank you

Savannah: Hugo, the refreshments is ready, please help yourselves.
Hugo: Wonderful, thanks dear. Sydney, Mona you first.
Sydney: It looks delicious, thank you.

Everyone helped themselves to some tea and lemon cheese cake. The men continued their talk on the project plan, fine tuning some points, while Savannah and Mona mainly talked about the kids, school and also cooking.

Soon the meeting was over and the Hazelnuts had to leave. As they were leaving the twins woke up. Savannah quickly greeted the quests to tend to the twins.
Hugo: Sydney, can I schedule a new meeting in a week’s time? I think it is good to stay on top of this and not get behind.
Sydney: Good idea.
Hugo: See you then next week. Mona, have a lovely week and please be patient about the housing issues.
Mona: I can be very patient so don’t worry about me. Bye Hugo.

As Hugo was saying his goodbyes to the Hazelnuts, Sebastiaan, accompanied by Digger and Heidi Mcburrows arrived.
Hugo: Hi everyone, welcome. Digger, good to see you again and Heidi nice to meet you.
Digger: Thank you Hugo.
Sebastiaan: Thanks for seeing us on such short notice.
Hugo: I must say that I’m quite curious why you insisted on accompanying the Mcburrows to this meeting, Sebastiaan.
Sebastiaan (laughing): Nothing to be curious about, it will all make perfect sense soon.
Hugo (laughing too): Let’s go inside then.

Sebastiaan: Digger, do you mind if I go first?
Digger: I think that is the best way, I’ll fill in if needed.
Sebastiaan: Ok good. The short and long of the whole meeting is that Digger has offered to buy my landscaping business. I met him a year or what ago at a gardening expo, and told him about the wonderful village where I live and how my business is thriving. We kept in touch. A week or so I got the call from Digger that he and Heidi have decided to move to Sugarbush Valley. By then he had already informed you and got the go ahead. The problem was that he was still looking for work. He didn’t want to open his own business as he is too much of a gentleman to be in direct competition with me. So after a bit of thinking and talking it over with Katrina, we have decided to sell my business to him.
Hugo: I was wondering about this, when Digger’s request to move here came in. He told me however that he wants to work for you, so I decided not to prompt the issue again, until I’ve heard from one of you two. I’m so pleased that you worked it out amongst yourselves. The big question remains however, what will you be doing now Sebastiaan?

Sebastiaan: Over the past couple of months, business really boomed. Katrina is getting a lot of orders from Eaglewood, but also Blueberry Hill. So the plan is that I will assist her. She will still be the sole owner and pay me a salary, but she needs some help. I will do the deliveries, also pick up the flowers at the market. Then there is the administration work and back office work that Katrina just doesn’t like to do. So I will be quite busy.
Hugo: That makes sense and might be a great business decision. Digger are you happy with things.
Digger: Heidi and I are pretty excited about moving to Sugarbush Valley and to have our own business so soon is a true blessing. I was so glad when Sebastiaan made the offer.
Hugo: Congratulations to you both then.

Hugo: Let’s have something to eat and drink. Heidi you have been very quiet, you can go first.
Heidi (giggling): I’m a great listener, but not so much a talker. As Digger said, I’m just happy to be here.

After some delicious refreshments, the Mcburrows and Sebastiaan left. After only two meetings, Hugo was feeling exhausted already and he could see the Huckleberry’s approaching.

Hugo: Hatty, Hubert come in.
Hubert: Hi Hugo, how are you.
Hugo: Good, but tired and worried.
Hatty (looking concerned): Poor man, you must let me know if I could assist with any of your duties.
Hugo: Thank you Hatty, I will definitely let you know. Come in, come in.

Hugo: Let’s go through to my study. Savannah is cleaning up downstairs, after the previous two meetings.
Hatty: What a cosy study, Hugo.
Hugo: Thanks Hatty.

Hugo: So let’s start, what is first on the agenda?
Hubert: I’ll go first. My main concern at this moment is the distribution of the classes. At the moment I have the Senior class, ages 16-13, Gordon has the Middle class, ages 12 – 10 and Delia has the junior class 9-7. I have no problem with the ages in each group, as they fit perfectly, but at the moment Gordon Chiffon has 20 pupils to my 14 and Delia’s 10. He is really struggling as they are a tough group, clever but very energetic.
Hatty: Was it that many, I was only aware of 16.
Hugo: Hatty, I guess you are due for an inspection then. But Hubert, I’m really hoping that you are not proposing that we should employ another teacher?
Hubert: Not at all, I just thought it might be easier to come up with an idea if we are thinking together about this.
Hugo: This is really a tough one and personally I don’t think we should make a decision without consulting with Gordon. Any changes might be taken as a negative reflection on his capabilities, but as School Inspector and Headmaster I’m glad you brought it to my attention.

Savannah, softly knoced on the door. Hugo was as glad for this interruption as he could feel the tension in the room after his last comment
Hugo (relieved): Savannah, do come in.
Savannah: Hi Hatty, hi Hubert, so sorry to interrupt. I would just like to say there are some refreshments in the living room, I’m taking the twins on their morning stroll, so you will have some privacy.
Hugo: Thank you, dear. We surely need something.

Hugo accompanied his guests downstairs. They quickly poured some tea and continued their discussion.
Hatty: Hugo, I agree with you. Maybe I must prompt him on my next inspection. I think we also need to watch the children’s rapport cards. If it is consistent, I think there is no need to worry.
Hugo: Hatty, that is an excellent suggestion. Hubert are you okay with this?
Hubert: I am, because frankly I have such a good bond with my class that I don’t want any new children to join the group at this late stage.
Hugo: Excellent! Hatty what is on your agenda for discussion?
Hatty: Actually not much. I only want to give you through the dates of the scheduled inspections, as well as the items I’m concentrating on. I usually have no problems with the schools in Eaglewood and Sugarbush Valley, but there is one particular school in Blueberry Hill that cuts corners.
Hugo: Thank you, Hatty for your hard work. Hubert are you happy with Hatty’s proposal?
Hubert: I am.
Hugo: Then I’m not interfering with that, if Hubert’s happy I’m happy.

The meeting quickly came to an end, and Hugo was relieved. It felt like he had dodged a bullet. He saw the Huckleberry’s off and as he was about to go in, when he saw his good friend, Ben and a unfamiliar lady approaching the front door. He sighed, so this must be Dorothy Patches, his next appointment. He was hoping for a short break, before they arrived.

Hugo: Ben, good to see you! And this must be Dorothy Patches.
Ben: Same here Hugo, yes this is my sister-in-law, Dorothy. She was unsure of how to get here, so I just walked with her.
Hugo: That is kind of you Ben. Dorothy, good to meet you. Please come in.
Dorothy: Hi Mr. Mayor, please to meet you and thanks for seeing me.
Ben: I’m off, still hard at work at the Fishmonger, I’m thinking it will never open.
Hugo: See you, Ben.

Hugo and Dorothy went upstairs to the study.
Hugo: So Dorothy, have you found your feet yet? Ben has told met about your unfortunate situation and that you want to permanently stay in the village.
Dorothy: Mr. Mayor, yes it is unfortunate, but I don’t want to idle around and my sister, Pippa, has given me the idea to start cutting the villagers hair in the comfort of their own homes, until Antonio and I can open a shop.
Hugo: Please call me, Hugo. And have you done any research on this idea, will people be interested?
Dorothy: We put up an ad at Pippa’s delicatessen. I was astonished by the response, the nearest hairdresser is in Blueberry Hill and most people don’t want go there.
Hugo: I’m sure Savannah will love the idea too. Okay let’s give it a try, I hope it works. We need inspired people in this village who want to work hard.
Dorothy: Uhm Hugo, I already have an appointment for your wife. And thank you for the blessing and kind words.

At that moment Savannah entered the study.
Savannah: Hi Dorothy, so good to see you. So has my husband given you the go ahead?
Hugo: As if that was necessary, I just heard you already have an appointment
Savannah: Well, I would have convinced you, because that is definitely a service this village needs.
Dorothy: Phew, thank you Savannah for saving me. For a moment I thought I was in trouble.

They threesome chatted some more, especially about Dorothy’s training and the city of Paris. Soon the doorbell rang. All got up, as Hugo’s next appointment, the Hawton’s has arrived.

At the front door, they introduced Dorothy to Barry and Hildie. Dorothy said her goodbyes and the Hawton’s were ushered in.

Hugo: Welcome, have a seat.
Hildie: Good to see you again, Hugo, Savannah. But Hugo you look so tired.
Hugo: Is it that obvious. I’ve just had a long day; you are my 5th appointment for the day.
Barry: Wow, I hope they all had good news and that it was not too tiring. Well, we are not here to keep you long.

Hugo: Most had a good ending, I’m all ears. I was just worried, because I really thought you were happy in the village.
Hildie: But we are so happy! Did someone indicated otherwise, or said something?
Hugo: No not at all, it is just I always expect the worse.
Barry: Well this is good news. We have recently become good friends with the Hazelnut family; you know your Town Planer. Lovely people! The best thing is that our children hit it of too. They, the Hazelnuts, came with the idea, that we should build a house together.
Hugo: Really, they did, but they didn’t mention it this morning.
Hildie: Yes we know, but they wanted us to break the news. We are so excited, about this prospect.
Barry: Indeed we are, now just to find the builder and the site, but that we are leaving to Mona
Hugo: You guys have just made my day. Thank you for the great news!
Barry: We are truly excited too.

Hugo: On another note, how is school.
Hildie: It is great, we love our job.
Barry: Indeed, and the children is so well mannered. There is a few that doesn’t hear so well, but they must just be too energetic for us.
Hugo: So you only brought good news? Nothing for me to worry about?
Hildie: No nothing, we are as happy as can be.
Barry: Hugo, stop worrying, we love this village as much as you do. And I know that some people doesn’t realise it, but we see all the hard work you are doing?
Hugo: Thank you Barry, and again thank you.
Hildie: We must be on our way, still lots to do.
Hugo: Thank you for dropping by.
Barry: Our pleasure, bye Hugo, see you soon.
Hildie: Bye

Finally it was time for lunch and a short break. Schroeder Fisher is his next appointment, and he knew that will be less pleasant.

He went inside and realised how hungry he was when he saw the delicious plate of sandwiches Savannah has prepared. He thanked her and decided against going to his study. Instead he decided to spend a relaxed half an hour with Savannah. They discussed all the new plans for the village and he briefed her on Sydney and Mona’s plan for the village. As usual Savannah loved it and was her supportive and encouraging self.

Too soon the half hour was up and they were interrupted by the doorbell, which incidentally also woke the twins. Savannah went to attend to them, as she knew Ivor and Nellie will be home soon too. Hugo opened the door and invited Schroeder in and showed him the way to the study.

Hugo: Schroeder please sit down. I have a feeling what this meeting is all about.
Schroeder: Thanks Hugo, and I’m glad, now I don’t have to beat around the bush. In all frankness it feels like you have lured me and my family here under the pretense of and extraordinary life and in the past month we have seen none of that. In you defense business is booming, so I can see why you and the villagers need me, but we are struggling a bit.
Hugo: Schroeder, I am truly sorry for your situation and yes I do take all the blame and I will fully understand if you want to go back to the Big City. But in my defense I really REALLY didn’t foresee then that our small village will become this popular, with so many requests for residency. This meant that I had to deal with too much paperwork and didn’t apply my time to sorting out what I should have done, organising housing for my current villagers.

Schroeder: Oh ok, that makes sense, but living in a tent is not comfortable and although Isabel is not pressuring me, I want to give my family the best.
Hugo: I know, I know, and I would’ve felt the same. I don’t want to make empty promises, but you might have heard that I have employed a Town Planner, Sydney Hazelnut. We went over his plan this morning and you are on the priority list, only two families in front of you. Also the Doctor’s rooms are the most important shop to be finalised as soon as possible. Does that help and set you mind at ease?
Schroeder: It does, thank you. Hugo, we really don’t want to go back to the Big City, we love it here, especially Linus and Lauren, so I hope these plans of yours will realise soon. I appreciate your openness and not trying to hide something from me.

Hugo: That is what you deserve, so please I beg of you just a little bit more patience.
Schroeder: You got it. Ok I must be off. Still lots to do. See you Hugo.
Hugo: Thanks, and good luck with all the sickness.
Schroeder: Bye!

Hugo never felt so relieved after a meeting, Schroeder was really understanding about it all. He is such a professional and composed person that he, Hugo, should’ve known that Schroeder wouldn’t be unreasonable. What felt like the 100th time for the day, Hugo’s train of thought was again interrupted by the doorbell.

Meantime Savannah got on with her chores and the kids evening routing, wondering when Nellie and Ivor will return.

Hugo: Nelson, Beth! Do come in.
Nelson: Hello.
Beth: Hi Hugo, how are you? And Savannah?

Hugo: We are all fine thanks for asking Beth. How are you Nelson, Beth?
Nelson: Fine.
Beth: We are really good, our business is thriving and the kids have missed the winter flu, but yes we do have a few concerns.

Hugo: And what would that be?
Nelson: I would like to know just how many intruders you are going to allow to come and disturb our peace?
Beth: I think what Nelson mean is that there has been a lot of new faces around, and we would like to know how that would influence our business as well as quality of life. We like the peace and quiet here. Also can we accept some competition for our business?
Hugo: Oh I see, I can understand your concern, but I want you to be sure that I will never do anything that will jeopardise your business or the peacefulness of the village. That is why I have interviews with potential residents and have to approve their business ideas first. I haven’t had another request from someone to open a bed shop or something similar, but I will also not allow it. Do you understand, Nelson, Beth?
Nelson: Yes!

Beth: Thank you Hugo for clearing that up, I do feel more relaxed now.
Nelson: Your town council, can I trust them?
Hugo: You can, there are only 4 members, myself as mayor and chairperson, Slick Slydale as accountant and financial advisor, Sydney Hazelnut as Town Planner and Herbage Dappledawn as Tourism Advisor.
Nelson: Intruders!
Beth: I think what upsets Nelson is that he was overseen for the position of financial advisor.
Hugo: Nelson, I trust all these men fully and more so with our Village. You were not appointed as financial advisor, because although you are great bookkeeper you are not a qualified accountant, which by law I should have on my town council. Also I have a much more important job for you, but I will not need you to fill that until a later stage. Do you understand and would you be interested?
Nelson: I guess.

Hugo: Anything else?
Nelson: No
Beth: No thank you Hugo, thank you for clarifying everything.
Hugo: My pleasure and don’t hesitate to come and see me again if you have questions.

Finally the Puddlefords left and Hugo’s work day was over. He felt exhausted. He thanked Savannah for all her help and decided to take a relaxing bath before dinner.

Hugo enjoyed the peace and quiet and while relaxing in the tub, realised that although exhausting, his day was very satisfying and that he loved his job!


  1. Great story, glad that Hugo got Sidney to join the battle of keeping residents happy, very much work ahead of them! Nelson made me laugh and he reminds me of someone lol

    1. Hugo and Sydney will make a meantime and all problems will be sorted in no time ;-). I actually based Nelson on someone I know too!

  2. I feel exhausted like the mayor after reading about all his appointments :p It's a tough job he has! I foresee some interesting conflict with the future dress shop!

    1. Thanx JC. Indeed it is tough but he enjoys it :-p