Jinnie’s Story – Book Five, Chapter one

A new life

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
Jinnie’s Story.
Woman holding pistol,
Sofia Sforza
Unsplash licence

When the meeting with the Super Burger team had concluded with an agreement in principle both sides shook hands. They further agreed that everything they had discussed was subject to the full acceptance of their respective boards of directors and a satisfactory legal agreement being drawn up. Jinnie, Alberto and Brian sat together for a while discussing what had happened and rapidly came to the conclusion that they had done very well for Trattoria Trevi (Holdings) out of the deal just as planned by Jinnie and Brian. For Alberto much of what had transpired had been news but not so much for Jinnie and Brian.

Brian pointed out that although the new company was to be a 50/50 joint venture owned by the two companies they effectively had control as it had been decided that the chairman would have the final word in the event of a split board vote and that Alberto was to be the chairman of the new company. Trattoria Trevi were to contribute the existing Dark Kitchen businesses to the new company. Brian’s rough estimate was that this equated to around £2 million what with the various businesses concerned; the kitchens, the delivery service, and the call centre. These businesses could easily be split out of Trattoria Trevi (Holdings) because of the way the company had been set up with individual companies for each unit. Super Burger were to contribute cash to the new JV equal to the Trattoria Trevi contribution in kind.

The six existing Dark Kitchens’ operators would continue paying fees to use their Potters Bar kitchens, but now to the new joint venture whatever it was decided to call it. It made for a slightly odd situation where in the case of the two kitchens used by Trattoria Trevi they would pay the joint venture just like any other company but would be paid a dividend on the 50% shareholding they had in the JV. In addition, Trattoria Trevi supplied chefs and kitchen staff to the Indian and Chinese kitchens and this profitable exercise would continue, even in new kitchens.

Brian pointed out that, in effect, the businesses would continue to operate exactly as they did now, although their return would be slightly reduced. But the worry they had of financing the next project they had planned was now non-existent as it would be paid for from the Super Kitchens cash contribution to the new business. In a short while, the joint venture would be up and running, they would control it, and on projected figures it would turn a decent profit in the first year of operation. Alberto asked if the cash flow from the two existing restaurants would be required for the joint venture. To which Brian replied, not according to his calculations, if the JV needed extra capital it would have substantial assets it could borrow against leaving Trattoria Trevi (Holdings) free to expand the Trattoria Trevi (Restaurants), Trattoria Trevi (Kitchens), Trattoria Trevi (Home Dining), Trattoria Trevi (Artisan Sandwiches) and Trattoria Trevi (Kitchen Services) businesses using the money they had in the bank. Alberto said, “This is excellent, we need to call an emergency board meeting and get all this agreed as soon as possible.”


It was only once she had collected the twins from her mum, who was happily babysitting them, that it struck her that her life was going to change considerably and quickly. She had talked to Paolo about Brian’s financial shenanigans and how one of his business colleagues had tipped him off about Super Burger and how they were looking at moving into the Dark Kitchen business but wanted Trattoria Trevi’s experience and in particular Jinnie’s expertise. Jinnie and Brian had carefully choreographed many of the day’s events and manipulated them to their advantage. In particular, Jinnie had realised that she loved spending time with the twins and had talked to Paolo about not going back to the SIS at the end of her maternity leave. They had worked out that if she took the COO job she had been offered at Trattoria Trevi they could easily live to the standard they were accustomed. But this was so much better. It really had been a bit of a charade when she had played ‘hard to get’ and had pushed up her remuneration package, if they had said ‘no’ she would have reluctantly accepted the lessor offering. Now she could be Trattoria Trevi COO and the joint venture MD.

In fact, she and Paolo had, some time ago, discussed how they were to bridge the childcare gap between now and Jinnie’s mum’s retirement at Easter. Jinnie’s first thought had been an au pair or a live-in nanny. A nanny was quickly dismissed as research revealed that a live-in one from a respected agency would probably cost in the region of £40,000 a year plus the use of a car and accommodation. An au pair would be a lot cheaper but still came with problems. You had to rely on an agency and you might get a lazy one or a useless one and there was still the accommodation problem.

Paolo and Jinnie had a four-bedroom home. Two of the bedrooms were en-suite and the other two shared a Jack and Jill bathroom. One of the en-suites was their master bedroom and the other was their guest room. Although only one of the other two bedrooms was currently serving as a nursery, Paolo had worked hard preparing the second as a girlie pink room ready for Millie to move into soon as they would be six months old at Christmas. That meant giving up the second en-suite to any au pair for a few months, not impossible but it would mean no visitors staying for those months. But Jinnie needed a home office and had planned to use the spare bedroom. They were rather stuck and had still not come to a final decision as to what to do.


On Christmas Eve, Emma and Freddie popped in for a drink and to bring the twins their presents, matching cuddly dogs, one pink and one blue. While sorting out the nibbles, Emma joined Jinnie in the kitchen and Jinnie took the opportunity to ask her if she could set up a meeting for her with ‘C’ on the first day back in the New Year. Emma looked at her and said, “You’re putting your notice in!” Jinnie said, “Well yes, but it’s not public knowledge yet.” Emma said, “I am not surprised, but I did think you would see out your maternity leave and then hand over to Alan, if only for the money!”

Jinnie and Paolo swore the visitors to secrecy before explaining what was happening and that Jinnie would be doing two jobs, Trattoria Trevi COO and the Joint Venture MD, while mainly working from home. Jinnie explained the au pair accommodation/Home Office problem and said they still didn’t know what the solution was, she had even considered asking Belinda about building a small extension to house an office and a bedroom. Suddenly Emma asked, “Have you considered a garden office, next door have one and it’s lovely.”

When the visitors had gone home, Paolo fetched his iPad and they started researching garden offices and had to admit some looked very interesting and nowhere near as expensive as an extension. They decided that directly after Christmas, when companies were back at work, they should get some quotes. Jinnie started writing her specification, she wanted it fully furnished, with power, lighting, air conditioning, running water, a toilet, broadband and a fridge. She wanted a hard walkway down the garden and if possible to have it covered. But the best thing was it was considered temporary and didn’t need planning permission.

On Christmas morning, before heading to Potters Bar for lunch, Paolo phoned his mum in Italy to wish her a merry Christmas and to ensure her present had arrived. When twenty minutes later he joined Jinnie, was who in the nursery getting the twins ready for lunch at grannies, he had an enormous ear-to-ear grin. He quickly explained that his mum had been full of how his cousin, Lucia, had just returned from travelling and had a place at university in Rome to read English in the autumn. But in the meantime, she was thinking of getting a job as an au pair in London, ‘For the experience and to improve her English.’ His mother wondered if he knew anyone who wanted an au pair? Paolo had promised his mother he would ask around.

Jinnie asked, “Does she have childcare experience?” Paolo chuckled and replied, “She has six younger siblings so I’d say yes.” The child seats were in Paolo’s car so rather than swap them over he opted to drive. They had hardly left the drive when Jinnie’s mobile rang. It was Belinda wishing them a merry Christmas and reporting on dinner with Mike Graham. It had been booked a long time ago as it had been difficult to find a date that suited everyone. As Mike was not working on Christmas Day, Christmas Eve was perfect. Belinda said they had all got on well and the food and service had been exceptional. In all it had been a wonderful evening and she said she intended to listen to his show when he was back on air on Boxing Day as she hoped for plenty of free publicity.

They had nearly reached Potters Bar when Jinnie thought to ask if Belinda knew anything about garden offices. Belinda laughed and said, “Brian wondered how long it would take you to think about one. I can tell you most are a ripoff. A good quality summer house packed with floor, roof and wall insulation, boarded on the interior and the windows, and doors replaced with triple glazing should cost about half what a specialist supplier charges. But it is the extras that really make them big money. Heating, lighting, power, data, concrete base, water, drainage and toilets are all overpriced. If you are seriously thinking about it, I will give you a quote and I bet I can beat an equivalent quote by 30 to 50%.” Jinnie asked, “When can you come on a site visit?”

Over Christmas dinner, Jinnie and Paolo told the family all about their latest plans. Her two jobs, plans to work from home, a home office and even an au pair. Ever practical, Mr Walsh asked if Lucia could drive. Paolo said he hadn’t thought to ask but would do so when he next phoned his mum. Mr Walsh pointed out that Jinnie’s Mini was sitting in her garage unused and if she was getting a Lexus to replace her Jaguar it could prove ideal for an au pair.

Penny asked if Jinnie had put her notice in yet and she said no, but Emma was going to set up an appointment with ‘C’ on the first working day after Christmas. Penny said, “I know I shouldn’t really say this but it is very quiet at work, the fighting in Austria is all but over, and the Germans have been beaten again. They are conceding ground everywhere in negotiations and I’m beginning to wonder if the department is going to be slimmed down. When you come in please bring the twins, all the girls in the office would love to meet them, and I know Alan would, he is always asking me about them.”


There was no Boxing Day football this year, for the first time in ages the fixture computer had chosen to give Barnet an away game. Instead, she and Paolo decided that after a snack lunch they would take the twins to visit the oldies in their retirement home, before their traditional evening meal at the Trattoria Trevi. As the child seats were still in Paolo’s car once again he drove. It was a chilly afternoon and Jinnie wondered if the oldies would be in their usual chairs in the lounge.

The rest home carpark was quite full, obviously it was a convenient visiting day for many. The twins were put in their double buggy, Jinnie wrapped blankets around them and they headed for reception. The girl on reception remembered Jinnie from the lunch and told her Fred and Jimmy were in the lounge and Bert was in his bedroom, as usual. Fred and Jimmy were delighted to have visitors, they didn’t normally see anyone except their solicitors, other residents and carers. They asked if they could hold the twins and Fred took Willie while Jimmy held Millie. While they held them they became the central attraction in the lounge with many of the residents ignoring the film on the huge TV in favour of the twins. Jinnie was pleased that the babies were on their best behaviour, chuckling and smiling and not crying once.

They then went up to visit Bert and all three of the oldies posed with the twins while Paolo snapped them with his iPhone. As usual, the conversation turned to the old days and the War of Liberation. Inevitably Jinnie had to tell them that she was no longer involved with the SIS and was now the managing director of the Dark Kitchen joint venture with Super Burger and COO of Trattoria Trevi. Fred was very interested as he was a Super Burger shareholder and had not heard a word of the new company from his broker. Jinnie explained that she wasn’t surprised as, although the deal had been agreed, the lawyers were still sorting out the paperwork. Fred said he was going to buy some additional Super Burger shares as soon as the stock market reopened after the holiday break and Jinnie warned him not to say anything to his broker as it might be considered “insider dealing”.

The following day, Jinnie took the twins to London in her SIS Jaguar as Emma had made the requested appointment with ‘C’. The twins were much admired in the office and left in the capable hands of ‘Auntie Penny’, while Jinnie went up to the meeting with ‘C’. Emma had obviously warned him what the meeting was to be about as the HR director was waiting for her along with ‘C’. Jinnie had composed an official letter of resignation and presented it to ‘C’, who said he was accepting it reluctantly as he believed she had a huge future ahead of her with SIS.

After a short discussion, where ‘C’ had asked what Jinnie intended to do, he suggested that the normal three months notice could be reduced to one month as she was moving to an industry totally unconnected with the security services. Although Jinnie was happy with the reduced notice it meant she had now to move forward quickly with the plans for a garden office and an au pair. ‘C’ explained that in some ways it helped him in that he could now confirm Alan as permanent Director of Planning.

On her drive home, Jinnie first rang Paolo to tell him they had to advance their plans as she could officially take up the new jobs in a month. She suggested he rang his mum about Lucia. Next, she rang Belinda to ask her to come around and give her a quotation for a garden office. Her third call was to Alberto who confirmed that her office was ready for her the moment she wanted it but he was happy for her to work from home. He asked if she wanted a PC or a laptop to work on from home. Jinnie explained her plan for a garden office and the aim to have a high-speed broadband line installed. She said she believed that she should have separate computers for the companies so that she could keep the jobs independent of each other.

Jinnie’s final call was to the Super Burger sales director, Jerry, her contact with them. Once again she explained that she was only going to be kept to a month’s notice, so she would be able to take up the MD’s position sooner than expected. Jerry whistled loudly and said, “We are going to have to speed things up. Where are we with the Manor Royal kitchen and offices? I know we agreed on you working from home but I think we need to start up the new company, even if it is with a core team in serviced offices. I really think we need to look at you getting a secretary/personal assistant.”

In Chapter 2 – A Home Office.

© WorthingGooner 2023