I think it's time that my gorgeous and wonderful, yet long suffering husband deserved a mention on my blog. Without him, my yarny dreams and ambitions would not have been realised or possible. He supports me in everything I do, puts up with (at current count) six bags – each with a UFO in – scattered around the living room plus numerous boxes, cupboards, trunks, draws and shelves in all parts of the house, all overflowing with yarn and knitterly objects. He's also a great, if sometimes reluctant model for my designs.
However the event that has won him the most husband points in the world, and one that he still dines out on to get a second parent pass in the week, is when he saved my knitting.
Back in 2005 I was asked by Collins & Brown to design and produce six pieces of knitting for Weekend Knitting. My first published book - I was so excited, and little bit nervous. I sent off my proposals and once they were okayed, I ordered the yarn and got clicking on the needles. I also roped my fab mum in to help out with the biggest project of the bunch, the sudoku blanket (81 different squares of knitting).
A few days before the deadline, mum came to stay and we blocked and pieced everything together. Making sure that all were perfect. We wrapped each piece carefully in tissue paper, and placed them in a huge box with bubble wrap to protect them in transit. Taped it up and wrote the address label and congratulated ourselves on our handiwork with a glass of Merlot. The next day Mr B took the parcel with him to work, to post in his lunchtime as he worked next to a post office. He called to say it had been safely handed over and he even bought 'Next day, guaranteed before 9am delivery' with a tracking number.
I emailed my editor and told her it was on its way and to expect it the following morning. However at lunchtime the following day she called me to say my box of precious knitting hadn't arrived. A knot formed in my stomach and I started to feel sick!
I looked at the receipt and checked the tracking number on the website. According to the site it was still in transit and hadn't been delivered. I called the depot and the told me that it was still on the van. Phew. At least they know where it is - I thought. They said it would be taken back to the depot and a new delivery made the next day. So I left work, went home to be met by Mr B who told me he just checked the website and it had been delivered TO THE WRONG ADDRESS! I wrote the address label to 151 xxx Road, London and it was delivered to Flat 1, 51 xxx Road, London. And it had been signed for by some random person.
I looked more closely at the receipt and the address the PO counter person had typed into the computer was different to the one I'd written on the package. I called the depot and told them of the error. "But surely the driver could see that the address on the box was different?" I argued. "Yes, he probably did, but he has to deliver it to the address that the computer gives him, not the one written on the box." I could have screamed. It was a Friday evening and although they eventually saw their mistake they said that they couldn't go and get it until Monday morning!
To say I was in a state was an understatement. All those hours of knitting, sitting somewhere, who knows where. Mr B was beating himself up thinking it was his fault and he should have checked the label. But really you do expect a parcel to go to the address that you have written in your own handwriting, not where a computer thinks it should go!
So I started detective work. I called Directory Enquiries to see if I could get a number for the person who had signed for the parcel. I had the name and the address, but there was no phone listed there. The poor chap on the other end had to put up with my cries of desperation, then gave me a number of someone in the locality with the same surname in the hope that they were somehow related. The poor person I called was bewildered, but very supportive, even offering to go around the next day and get the parcel for me. I wonder if he ever thinks of the mad woman who was crying down the phone at him in search of lost knitwear...
At 9pm, Mr B announced he was going in search of my knitting. We live in Wiltshire and he had only passed his driving test 3 months earlier. We found the address on a route planner, and the printer died! So with the directions copied into a word document, he took the laptop with him and set off. The journey should only take one hour and forty-five minutes, so I was frantic when I hadn't heard from him after two and a half hours.
It turns out the Queen Mum had a birthday that weekend and they'd shut the first 3 exits of the M4 out of London for the festivities. So Mr B had to leave the motorway and find his way back to where he needed to be. He called me from xxx Road saying it was very long and quite deserted bar the odd pockets of scary looking groups of people. As he was talking on the phone he stumbled across number 15 which it turned out was a tenement block of flats akin to Nelson Mandella House from Only Fools and Horses. And it was quite scary. He gave a running commentary and found the flat, and I heard him knocking on the door. My heart was lifted, but there was no reply. I told Ryan to come home and we'll try some other method to get the box back. We said our goodbyes and I settled down with my knitting to wait for my intrepid driver.
Ten minutes later I got another call. It was Mr B: "I have the box and I'm coming home!" I admit I shed a tear or two and danced a little around the living room. Apparently he'd refused to give up, planning on sleeping in the car until morning if he had to. But for some reason decided to go back and try the door one more time, not knowing who would answer given the very rough area he was in. Eventually a very bemused and sleepy chap answered the door and Ryan could see THE BOX in the hallway. He pointed to the box and said "That's my wife's. Can we have it back please?" Mr B was prepared and had been to the cashpoint to offer money if getting the box back seemed problematic. But the poor sleepy chap who didn't seem to speak much English simply handed it over.
My hero eventually got home at 3 in the morning. The box had been opened, and everything had been unwrapped, but it had all been refolded and who ever had looked at the contents had tried to wrap it up again. The next day I resealed the box and took it to our lovely post office in the town who made sure the address was correct on the computer and it arrived safe and sound in the hands of the publishers.
So Mr B I owe you loads and love you lots. Thank you for being so wonderful!