Jinnie’s Story – Book Four, Chapter Thirteen

The Project progresses

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
The usual Boxing Day excursion to watch Barnet play.
Underhill Stadium, Barnet,
Oliver Mallich
Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The Walsh family made the usual Boxing Day excursion to watch Barnet play, but this year the party had grown as they were joined by Daniel meaning they need two cars. Jinnie drove her official Jaguar with Paolo and her parents while Penny drove Daniel in her car. Mr Walsh told them not to expect too much as Barnet were having a poor season but they scraped a 2-1 win and managed to climb a few places up the league to a safe mid-table position. Paolo, who had been to a lower league match once before, decided not to have Bovril this year, instead having a coffee which he said was a little better than the Bovril.

That evening they all went to the Trattoria Trevi and as always enjoyed their meal immensely. Alberto took the opportunity to bring Jinnie up to date on the two projects, but firstly he updated her on pre-Christmas trading which he said had been absolutely phenomenal, what had pleased him was they had added an Italian Christmas lunch as a special and it had proved immensely popular and profitable. Not only that he was delighted to report sales of alcohol were well up. Bookings for the week before and New Year’s Eve had been full since early November. The chef’s table was proving remarkably lucrative and had sold out for weeks in advance from the moment it had been put on sale. He was predicting more record takings over the New Year.

Alberto then told her that as expected full planning permission had been granted for the Crawley restaurant and the groundworks were planned to begin immediately after the New Year. In common with most civil engineering companies, the company Belinda had subcontracted the foundations to had closed down between Christmas and the New Year. Belinda had a building contractor she knew well, lined up for the actual extension build and reckoned to have a dry building by the 2nd week in March. It was then that her team would move in for the fit-out. Belinda had promised that the restaurant could remain open for most of the build, only having to close for a few days as the extension was linked into the existing building. Alberto said he thought that now was the time to link their two restaurants under the Trattoria Trevi brand and said he was torn for a new name between Trattoria Trevi South and Trattoria Trevi 2. Jinnie replied, “l think either might be a bit limiting. If we opened a restaurant still further south, say in Brighton, we could hardly call it Trattoria Trevi further south. If we opened a chain, Trattoria Trevi 15 might be a bit confusing. How about naming it after where it is, Trattoria Trevi – Turners Hill.” And so ‘Trattoria Trevi – Turners Hill’ was born.

The next update was on the project manager. Alberto had spoken to Belinda’s recommendation on the phone and had liked what he had said and asked him to come in for a formal interview the next afternoon. He suggested that he, Guido and Jinnie form the interview panel and, as she too was on holiday, she agreed. The final update was on the ‘dark kitchen’. Belinda had said because she had two school refurbishment jobs running over the Christmas break she had a skeleton staff in the office and they would be working on the proposals and budget costings and thought she could present them early in the New Year.

Jinnie was delighted with progress on both fronts and told Alberto that with the board’s agreement she would get her father to commit all the costs of both prospective sites for the ‘dark kitchen’ project to a spreadsheet. Alberto liked the idea and said he was certain everyone would agree as it had proved extremely useful on the original expansion project. He promised to feed the numbers to Mr Walsh as they came in. Jinnie then told him of her encounter with the pizza parlour owner and they agreed that if they hired the project manager they would give him the details.

The following afternoon Mrs Walsh gave Jinnie a lift into town and went off to the New Year sales while Jinnie joined the interview panel. Tony, the project manager, arrived five minutes early for the interview, which immediately gave him an uptick in Jinnie’s book. He was smartly dressed and presented very well. Alberto, having already spoken to Tony, introduced him to the rest of the panel. As he answered questions and talked through his experience and qualifications Jinnie became more and more convinced he would be perfect for the position. At the end of the interview, Jinnie suggested he should withdraw to the restaurant’s reception where he could enjoy a coffee while the panel decided what to do.

There was no discussion, they were unanimous in the decision to offer him the job on a rolling monthly contract, starting as soon as possible. He could look after the ‘Turners Hill’ project while the ‘dark kitchen’ was finalised. He was offered the job and following a short discussion on salary and conditions, especially mileage allowance, as he was to look after two projects on opposite sides of London, hands were shaken and all was agreed. Alberto suggested that while he was in Potters Bar it might be a good idea for him to have a look at the old factory site. Alberto and Jinnie walked him around the building and explained what they envisaged where and how they thought the project could work. Tony said he hadn’t realised quite how big the project was and was this their favourite for the site. It was only when he asked the question that Jinnie realised that in her head this was going to be the ‘dark kitchen’ unless the other site had a substantial cost advantage. She looked at Alberto who smiled back, nodded and said, “I think so, it is just so convenient.”

The following day was Jinnie’s next ante-natal appointment at Barnet General Hospital. She and Paolo had discussed as to whether they wanted to know the sex of the twins. Paolo said he did because he need to know what colour to decorate the nursery. Jinnie said she was indifferent, but had secretly wanted a daughter ever since she had spent time with Juliette. Eventually, they decided that when the midwife asked them if they wanted to know the sex they would say yes. The appointment seemed to go on forever, blood and urine were taken, blood pressure was measured, the midwife talked them through ante-natal classes, breastfeeding classes, checked vaccinations, height and weight, talked about state maternity benefits, even pelvic floor exercises, in fact everything except an ultrasound scan.

Eventually, it was time for the scan and Jinnie was asked if she wanted her husband present. She said, “Of course” and the midwife got things underway. Muttering, “Yes, good, yes,” and various other things before saying, “You’ll be pleased to know that your babies look perfectly normal and exactly the size I would expect them to be, I see no reason to adjust the due date, we will just add a couple of extra appointments, but that is what we always do for twins.” She then filled in Jinnie’s hand-carry notes and told her to bring them to every appointment. As she was packing things away the midwife turned to Jinnie and said, “Silly me, I haven’t asked if you want to know the sex of the babies.” Jinnie replied, “Yes please.” And the reply came, “Well actually you are expecting a boy and a girl, I suppose you realise this means that they will not be identical.”

On the way home Jinnie and Paolo discussed what they had learnt and decided that they were both happy as Jinnie wanted a daughter and Paolo a son. Paolo suggested they paint the nursery neutral white, in a few years time they could each have their own room either side of the Jack and Jill bathroom. The next discussion was on names, should they be English or Italian or one of each? Paolo said as the children were going to be brought up in England it made sense to give them traditional English names, with perhaps an Italian middle name. Jinnie approved so she suggested they get a couple of baby name books.

As usual, Larry was waiting for them and greeted them at the door. Jinnie scooped him up and held him stroking him gently. She said to him, “Larry things are changing around here, I’m expecting twins so you are going to have someone else to play with.” Larry thought, ‘You think I didn’t know? I have known for ages you can’t keep secrets from this old cat.’ But he was happy because Jinnie was happy. Jinnie phoned her mum to tell her the news but her dad told her she had gone to the Oxford Street sales with Penny looking for wedding attire. So she told him instead and after congratulating her he asked if she wanted to do to the pub to celebrate. She reminded him she wasn’t drinking alcohol. So instead he asked if Paolo wanted to go. He was more than happy to and Mr Walsh said he would phone Daniel to join them.

Sitting alone, with Larry, Jinnie decided she had to tell someone and picked up her phone to ring her old friend Gretel. But she wasn’t answering. Next, she started to ring Emma, but halfway through thought, ‘What am I doing, she only lives a few houses down the road’. She set off to walk the few hundred yards to Emma’s house only to find Larry trotting at her heels like a pet dog. Suddenly her emotions overcame her and she burst into tears. Emma opened the door to find a sobbing Jinnie and immediately assumed that there was a problem with the pregnancy. Sitting on Emma’s sofa with a cup of builder’s tea Jinnie managed to recover her composure and explained that they were actually tears of joy. She had suddenly been overcome with an overwhelming feeling of happiness, everything in her life was perfect. She was married to the man she loved, she had a beautiful home and garden, she had a job she loved, she had an investment in a restaurant company that was rapidly expanding, she had more money than she needed, she had a cat who she loved and who loved her and now she was expecting twins. But best of all she had just found out that the twins were a boy and a girl and that morning’s scan showed them to be fit and healthy. It was just the family she had secretly always wanted.

Emma said how delighted she was for her and Paolo and asked if they had thought about names. Jinnie explained that they had decided on an English first name and an Italian middle name, but they were going to buy a book of baby names. Emma stood up and crossed the room to a bookshelf, where she retrieved a book which she handed to Jinnie saying, “You’re welcome to borrow ours, we have already selected names for when the time is right. Mind I hope you avoid our choices, they are underlined.”

Before Paolo got home from the pub Jinnie had selected a boy’s name and a girl’s name and only hoped Paolo would agree. She had found it easy to avoid Emma’s choices, not that she didn’t like them, she just preferred her own selection. That evening she sat Paolo down and told him her choices. Paolo sat for a few minutes before finally turning to her and saying, “If you like those names then I am happy, I don’t really know British names, but they sound good to me. Now I must suggest Italian names and hope you like them.”

On the 2nd of January, she met Emma at Hadley Wood station on the way to their first day of work for the new year. Once sat down in their regular seats Jinnie dived into her bag, pulled out the baby name book and handed it back to Emma. Emma was supposed and asked Jinnie, “Have you decided already? It took Freddie and me weeks.” Jinnie replied, “Yes, the English names were easy. The Italian ones are proving a bit more difficult. Paolo is not sure if using names without a family connection will upset his mother. He is going to ring her this evening and try to gently find out.” Emma asked, “Have you chosen family names?” Jinnie said, “No we have chosen names we like and think will be acceptable to everyone.” “Are you going to tell me or are you going to keep the names a secret?” Asked Emma. “Oh of course not, especially as I want you and Freddie to be godparents to Millicent.” Replied Jinnie, “We are not certain yet who her other godmother will be. But we want Penny and Daniel for William and I think Dirk for the other godfather.” “Of course, we would love to,” said Emma and after thinking a minute, laughingly said, “You realise they will be Willy and Milly?”

In Chapter 15 – The Dark Kitchen

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