Item 1: Unusual but should be possible. I’ll get the pear tree from the garden centre for £19.99 and surely the partridge is more of a “want” than a “need”. I mean, how would I keep it in the tree? Tie it to a branch?
Item 2: Actually the partridge could be a “need” because he wants more birds, but turtle doves are only summer visitors to the UK and they are pretty expensive. But I can get diamond doves for £30 a pair, plus a small dovecot at £95 to keep them in, and perhaps I could bung the partridge in there with them?
Item 3: More birds, poultry this time, but why French? Not too difficult to source, a trio of French copper black maran hens, in lay, for £45 and the eggs will be a “quick win”.
Item 4: Birds again, but I’ve never heard of this variety. And neither has Google, “calling” birds might be songbirds or even “colly” birds, an old word for a blackbird. I’m sending this back to the requisitioner for clarification. Good, the pear tree has arrived, crikey it’s a bit bigger than I expected, just put it in the corner over there, thanks.
Item 5: Not birds for a change and gold prices are pretty close to 6 year lows so it’s a good time to buy. I’ve found an 18 carat yellow gold wedding ring for men or women at £192 a pop, reduced from £406.50! Really? Does that count as a saving? I’ll have five of those please.
Item 6: What?! We’re back to birds again! And talking of birds the French hens have arrived. Put them in the corner by the pear tree and try to block them in with something. Now for the geese, only £15 each but they won’t start laying until the spring and it seems that they’ll fight amongst themselves and can be aggressive, but come on, they’re only little birds.
Item 7: More birds, you know this requisition should really have gone to the Avian Category Manager, and this could be the trickiest item so far because Her Majesty the Queen owns all unmarked mute swans in open water. So, Liz is a monopoly supplier with more power than anyone else in the land. Perhaps I should try and arrange a meeting? But hang on, I don’t have to get mute swans, there are other specifications. Even so, they aren’t cheap; best I can do are the black ones at £320 a pair, I’ll try and get a 7 for the price of 6 offer. And I’ll also need a temporary pool, here we are, 2000 litre portable pond hire at £40 per day, I’ll book it for a week.
Item 8: What the hell is that noise? Oh, the geese have arrived. No! Don’t put them with the hens! Ouch! Shoo! Gerroff my sandwich! Just try and push them into the meeting room! Phew, thanks everybody. Ok what’s next? Temporary labour isn’t a problem but where am I going to find women with these skills? Actually I probably can’t limit this role to women. We’ll just have to train the milk-men and milk-maids, I can’t find a hand milking course for cows but milking goats must be more or less the same so a course for 8 people at £70 each. And I’ll need cows, four will be enough if they share. I’ve asked the city farm to loan me the cows for a day, I told them it was for a school play, the manager there thinks I’m mad.
Item 9: What? Do you think this means professionals or a bunch of amateurs? Right, I can either have a cabaret themed dance show for £1488, but there are only 6 dancers, or the East Grinstead clog dancers at a cost of 9 pints of scrumpy. Decisions, decisions. Oooooh! The gold rings have arrived, very shiny my precious, I’ll lock them in my desk drawer. Blimey, those French hens are starting to smell a bit, I’ll need to order a few replacement carpet tiles, and a few more for the meeting room probably. I still haven’t seen the turtle doves, I’ll give the supplier a call. What? No, I don’t want to wait two weeks while you make the dovecot, just send the birds in a plastic bag or something. Stop! Stop! Holly, don’t go in the meeting room! Too late, the geese are out and last heard honking from the direction of main reception, the first aider is calming Holly and everyone is glaring at me. I add a bunch of flowers for Holly to the bottom of the requisition.
Item 10: Real Lords! I don’t think you can hire real Lords to leap, although you can hire MPs to do just about anything so it might be possible. Hang on, telephone, it’s the requisitioner and I haven’t even got to the musicians. Apparently he doesn’t need anything on the requisition now! Seems that the internal customer has “changed her mind” and has accepted an alternative offer. I must say he sounds pretty down in the dumps about it. He also seems to think that I have bought all of his items on a sale or return basis. Not so, and later today he’ll be getting the pear tree, doves (if they arrive), hens, gold rings, geese (if found), portable pond, swans, cows, milk-men, milk-maids and cabaret dancers. They should be just in time for the office Christmas party.
by Paul Lee