Jinnie’s Story, Book Five – Chapter Twenty-Five

Nigel’s House

WorthingGooner, Going Postal

Belinda phoned Jinnie saying she was going to look at progress on Mr Farage’s house the next morning and did she want to walk around the house with her? Then perhaps she could visit Willie and Millie as it was some time since she had seen them. Jinnie said she had nothing planned and would love to see the house and of course she could see the children who were developing fast. Jinnie asked if she and Brian were still being pestered by reporters and was delighted to hear that they seemed to have faded away after a couple of days and they had never bothered Miranda.

Belinda said Miranda had put out a press release basically thanking the Press for their kind reporting of the wedding. Saying how delighted TTEvents were at being able to help someone in their hour of need and they were sure that any other decent company would have done the same thing. She had then explained that the company was new, trying to gain a foothold in the events market and listed all the sorts of events they were capable of putting on. She then said they were embarking on a series of TV adverts that they hoped would give the public some idea of what they had to offer. Belinda said that as far as she knew the adverts were working and a steady stream of enquiries were being made. But she had learnt that in business the trick was turning enquiries into orders!

Belinda arrived shortly before nine the following morning. Jinnie noticed she had changed her car, same make and model but a different colour. The new one was a metallic bronze that Jinnie just loved. When Jinnie mentioned the change, Belinda explained that the business leased the car and because she did so much mileage it made perfect sense to change annually. They walked down the garden accompanied by Larry who ran ahead and disappeared through the cat flap into the garden office. Jinnie laughed as they turned left and went through the opening in the wall where the gate to the new house was going to be installed. Jinnie said, “I wonder how long it will take Larry to realise we are not heading to the garden office?”

As they walked along a new path that led from the gateway to the new patio, Belinda pulled out her notebook and ink pen and started making notes. Jinnie asked, “What problem have you spotted now?” Belinda replied, “Nothing really, just a few observations and questions for Jason. When is the gate being installed? Is the path finished? I think there are one or two low spots where puddles could form.” The house and pool house appeared to be finished from the outside, but Jinnie could see loads of workers. The hot asphalt drive was being laid by what Belinda said were sub-contractors. Landscape gardeners were busy working and a small team were working on the garden office that was to house the security contingent. Belinda pointed to another pathway that led from the house to the office saying, “Doing your office made this one simple, it’s virtually a copy, but without the cat flap!”

Jason had seen them coming, stepped out of the Portakabin that was the site office and walked over to them saying, “Good morning ladies, where would you like to start your tour? I’m pleased to see you both have remembered the site rules and have your hard hats, high viz jackets and ‘toetectors’ on. Can I ask you to step into the site office and sign in before we begin?”

The three wandered off into the pool house, where the pool was being tiled. A giant seahorse pattern adorned the bottom of the pool and Jinnie asked, “Do I spy the work of Melissa.” Belinda said, “Yes, I wasn’t sure but Nigel loved the renders.” Jason took them into the ‘pump room’ which was very busy. Jinnie recognised electricians, plumbers and air conditioning fitters from previous projects and said hello to them. Belinda went off to talk to a man who was wiring a control panel and Jinnie asked Jason how he thought it was going. Jason replied, “Very well, we will be finished early, I reckon we are over two weeks in advance of the programme. Belinda would never say so, but I can tell she is happy with progress. I think we will be out before Christmas and Belinda says we will be moving to the Home Office project in the New Year.”

When Belinda rejoined them they had a look at the showers, toilets and changing rooms that were finished and out of bounds for workmen. Jinnie loved it all and couldn’t wait for it to be finished and her and Lucia getting the twins in the water. Belinda asked when the covered walkway from the house to the pool house was going to be installed and Jason said, “According to the programme the week after next, but I have just been on to Lucy in the office and it looks like the materials will be delivered first drop tomorrow.”

The party walked across the patio and entered the house via a huge folding glass wall. Jason explain that on the plan this room was a lounge and was south facing hence the glass wall. It was nearly complete, power and data sockets were installed as was concealed dimmable lighting. Looking at the large fireplace Jinnie asked if it was the only heating as it was a massive room. Belinda replied, “Actually it’s a dummy fireplace and Melissa designed it as a centrepiece for the room and a fancy electric fire will be installed to help the illusion. The real heating is all under-floor, powered by a ground source heat pump and supplemented by air conditioning that can either add warm or cold air. The council wanted us to be as “green” as possible so we have installed an array of solar panels on the roof and battery storage in a room at the back of the garage. Gary reckons that we will be exporting power to the grid most of the time and there will be no electricity bills associated with the house.

Jason pointed out that most of the house was nearly finished, a couple of the bedrooms were still to be decorated. The fast EV chargers still had to be installed in the garage. But that was down to the power company who insisted that they needed to run a new power cable to the building as the local circuit wouldn’t be able to handle the power drain of two EVs on fast charge and the house all drawing power at the same time. Belinda had pointed out how ludicrous this argument was when the calculation showed they would be exporting power, even when charging two EVs that the PM didn’t have. But it was no good, the power company were adamant.

Jinnie was particularly impressed by the master bedroom suite, again south facing with a balcony over part of the patio. The room was huge and Jason pointed out the bedside power and data sockets had been positioned to allow for a king-size double bed between them. The ensuite bathroom included double basins, WC, whirlpool bath and a shower cubicle. There was also a dressing room that was huge, Belinda said that the company who normally supplied their storage wall had been commissioned to install custom-made built-in wardrobes and shelving that was currently being manufactured to suit the finished room dimensions.

All of the other five ensuite bedrooms were impressive if not quite as magnificent as the master and once again Jinnie pointed out that all were to have built-in wardrobes. Back downstairs they visited the dining room which connected to the lounge via folding doors (for parties Jason said), the cloakroom, the ex-PM’s office, his PA’s office, snooker room, a den and a huge entrance hall with sweeping staircase. Jason opened a door off the hall and said, “Look at this, we even have a server room.” In the room two PCs were buzzing away and there was a large network connection box and several racks of equipment Jason nodded at and said, “That’s secret squirrel stuff. Two men from GCHQ installed it and an alarm goes off in Cheltenham if anyone messes with it. I believe it monitors all the alarms in the house and garden.”

Belinda said, “That reminds me, Sky tell me that the ‘Fibre to the Premises’ will be activated on Monday. The street cabinet has been upgraded by Open Reach and the cable will go in over the weekend.” Jinnie replied, “That’s good, I’ll speak to our Nigel later, Sky promised I would be upgraded to FTTP just as soon as it was installed in the street, he can chase them.” The final stop on the tour was the kitchen. Jinnie was impressed. It was huge and four men were busy installing floor and wall units and it looked fantastic. Belinda said, “It’s Howden’s top of the range and Mr Farage has specified marble worktops. It going to have all built-in units with every mod con you can possibly get.”

Jinnie said, “But why, Nigel doesn’t cook. He told me he was going to eat out and buy in-home deliveries.” Belinda answered, “I think he is thinking about using the Trattoria Trevi home dining service for dinner parties. He knows loads of people and can afford the best. I bet you and Paolo get invited.”

Belinda said to Jason, “It’s looking good, there is hardly anything to do and I have virtually nothing on my snagging list. The flooring contractor is booked for Thursday and I believe you will be ready in the house. The pool house is going to be done by then too, the drive will be done today and the garden by the weekend. The main gate and the wall gate are the only thing that could delay us. I spoke to the supplier on my way round the M25 this morning and they said they were aiming to be here on Friday morning and finished by lunchtime but I’m not sure. If I ask Nigel to come for a final walk-round on Friday afternoon how do you feel?” “I’m happy with that,” said Jason. “Can we get the Portakabin off-site on Thursday afternoon and the last skip collected on Friday morning?”

Belinda said, “That leaves the three-phase power to the garage. But we can get the house signed off without that, doubt it will ever be necessary unless Mr Farage decides to buy two power-hungry EVs and wants to charge them both overnight when the batteries are flat. If Nigel is happy he will be able to move his furniture in next Monday.”

As they walked back to Jinnie’s house she said to Belinda, “I have booked a table for eight at Trattoria Trevi on Friday evening in the hope that the house would be finished. Can you and Brian make it? Paolo and I make four, Melissa and Andrew have put in a shift on this project so that’s six. I will invite Nigel as he loves the Trattoria Trevi. That leaves me one. I was thinking about Jason, he has worked very hard on this job do you think he would be OK with Nigel and a posh restaurant?”

“I think that is very generous of you,” replied Belinda. “Brian and I are definitely free on Friday evening. I’ll let you know about Melissa and Andrew as soon as I get back to the office. I’ll talk to Jason, I really can’t speak for him but when we have been out on work do’s he does scrub up quite well and has a couple of very smart suits.”


Les and Penny had been doing tourist things while waiting for the ghillie suits to arrive from London. They had visited a distillery, gone to Limerick and Killarney, strolled along the beach at St Finian’s Bay and visited Skelligs Chocolate. While in Limerick, Penny had bought a Daily Mail after she saw the front page story about TTEvents. After reading the story the paper was disposed of in a litter bin, they couldn’t have anything that might associate them with England, they were German.

Sergeant O’Connell eventually delivered the ghillie suits which according to their labels were of German manufacture and were in metric sizes. O’Connell said that they could be abandoned somewhere between Portmagee and Dublin without raising suspicion. But Les said they should be left in the boat that was stolen to get ‘The agents to the submarine.’ O’Connell, who was organising that, thought it a good idea and said, “I suggest we leave your Discovery near the boat moorings. I will organise a car to take you to pick up your decoy car on the outskirts of Dublin. The decoys from Cork will just disappear.”

Penny and Les drove out to near the Taoiseach’s farm and found a place to park off the road and out of sight. After ensuring they were completely unobserved they headed for the reed bed carrying their suits in sports bags. Penny also had the telescopic sight from the sniper rifle sat in her coat pocket. Arriving at the river bank they had a quick discussion and decided that it was probably better to make their hide on the far bank from the area where the Taoiseach was known to ride. The river would not affect a bullet being fired across it but was deep enough and wide enough to foil possible pursuit.

Penny strolled along the river bank, before suddenly saying, “Here Les, the reeds are tall and dense and there is a good view over the fields on the other side of the river.” She pulled the ghillie suit on and walked into the reeds. By the time Les had got his suit on Penny had totally disappeared and he called, “I can’t see you, give me a clue.” Penny’s voice said, “Forward, forward, left a bit, forward, left a bit more, stop.” But he still couldn’t see her until she raised a hand. He dropped down beside her and said, “You’re right, I very nearly trod on you but until you waved I had no idea you were right in front of me.”

They spent an hour or so scoping out the fields on the opposite bank and Penny used a laser range finder to measure the distance to a number of landmarks; a gate post, a lone tree, a big stone, a wild bush and a number of other items that Penny jotted down in a notebook. All the time Les kept a watch for anyone but the area remained totally deserted. They backed out of the reeds ensuring that their route in wasn’t obvious, slipped out of the suits and made their way back to the car which appeared to be undisturbed.


Lucia was in the kitchen feeding the twins their lunch. They were sat side by side in their high chairs each with a bowl of scrambled eggs in front of them, with slices of tomato and little sticks of celery. They both had a double-handled cup of milk. Lucia was doing her best to feed them in turn, using a small spoon. But as with any 18-month olds they wanted to use their hands and were shoving handfuls of food into their mouths. Belinda and Jinnie laughed as simultaneously they held out a handful of food to their mother and said, “Eat”. Jinnie went to get a damp cloth to clean up the eggy faces while Belinda found another spoon and fed Millie while Lucia fed Willie.

Millie suddenly said, “Milk,” and grabbed the cup and drank deeply only for Willie to copy his sister. Belinda said, “That is them to a tee, one does something and the other copies. You can bet that if Willie learns a new word Millie will have mastered it before bedtime.” Lucia said, “And they are learning the words in Italian and English. Millie only said ‘milk’ because you were speaking to her in English. If she was with me she would have said ‘Latte’.” Turning to Jinnie she said, “I have been counting, I think they know about 12 or 13 words, which is about right for their age, but they know them in English and Italian.”

“Gosh,” said Belinda, “they are developing quickly.” Jinnie replied, “It’s something new every day. Yesterday they learnt how to climb onto the sofa. Now that they are walking we are having to be careful and have installed gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. They started to climb up them on their own and I was petrified they would fall. But if you hold a hand they will happily walk up to their bedroom.”

When the twins had finished their lunch Lucia said, “It’s time for their nap,” and lifted them out of the high chairs and walked off holding their hands. Belinda helped Jinnie tidy up and load the dishwasher saying, “You have two lovely children I can see why you don’t want to work full-time.” Lucia joined them and asked, “Coffee and a cheese toastie?” “Yes please,” said Jinnie, “is that OK for you?” she asked Belinda. When she said it would be perfect, Jinnie said to Lucia, “You get the coffee on and I’ll look after the sandwiches.” As she made the sandwiches Jinnie explained to Belinda that this was their quiet time while the kids napped. But Lucia explained they had recently trimmed the after-lunch nap by 15 minutes as the twins were waking earlier.

Belinda asked if Jinnie minded if she gave Melissa a quick call to see if she and Andrew were free on Friday evening. After a very short conversation, Belinda announced that they would both be more than happy to meet them at the restaurant. Jinnie said, “Tell them the table’s booked for seven thirty and we will see them there. Now about you, Brian and Jason. As you are going to be here for an afternoon meeting with the PM? It would be silly for you to drive all the way home to get changed only to have to drive back. Why not bring your glad rags with you and you can get ready here. The same applies to Jason. And tell Brian if he wants to come with you he can play with the children while you have your meeting.”

When Belinda had gone she phoned Nigel at the Crawley office and told him that Sky were going live with FTTP on Monday and he said he would be on it immediately, if they were pulling a cable for Mr Farage they could do one for her at the same time. Jinnie then phoned the other Nigel’s number and he rang her back a few minutes later. He said he was staying at his London club until the house was ready. Jinnie said she had just had a walk around it with Belinda and it was very nearly finished. She told him that Belinda was proposing a walk round with a final sign-off on Friday afternoon.

Jinnie said, “I really shouldn’t be telling you this, it’s Belinda’s project so I suggest you ring her for a progress check. Now my real purpose for calling, I have a table booked at Trattoria Trevi for seven thirty on Friday evening to celebrate the completion of the project. Belinda and Brian have accepted invites, as have the principal interior designers Melissa and Andrew. I have also invited Jason who has run the project on-site, but I am yet to hear if he is coming. But the party won’t be complete without you. Please say you will come.”

“Of course I’ll be there,” said Nigel. “The only thing is I will want to put on a decent suit for the evening and it’s a long way back to my club to get changed, is they a decent hotel in Potters Bar?” “I don’t think there is anything of your standard in Potters Bar,” said Jinnie. “There is a Premier Inn and a Ramada Inn just down the road at South Mimms services on the M25 but they are not for an ex-PM. Mind you, if you just want a place to wash and change and your driver is going to take you back to your club after dinner how about the Hadley Hotel? It is only five minutes from here and I understand from Paolo the beer is good!” “That might just do me,” said Nigel.

In Chapter 26 – Nigel moves in

© WorthingGooner 2023