Me: What for?
Dave: For what you're about to volunteer for.
Me: What am I about to volunteer for?
Dave: To get the crate back home.
Say what you like about his dancing skills and his weird attitude to birds, but there's no doubt that Dave knows how to pick the right person for a sticky job.
So this morning I wander over to the Octagon to make sure the crate's OK, and note that apart from no longer being on the wheeled trolley we loaded it on, it's exactly as we left it. Good. So I ring the transport company. Can you send a tailgate and pallet jack? Sure, they say, but we'll have to do the same as before - open it, take out all the stuff to make it lighter, lift it onto the truck with four people, and seal it up again.
Sure. And while you're at it I'll sign a declaration of contents without being there to supervise the resealing.
Can't we just load it on the tailgate? No, because it's too long, it won't fit on the gate. There isn't a truck in all England that can lift a 2.4m wide load.
So are the trucks I get paper on at work a special model for Officeworks Clayton only?
Back home for a council of war. I can't get hold of anyone else from our company, and the treasurer isn't answering emails or pigeons. It's executive decision time. There are three options - unpack/repack, find a forklift to load it, or get another truck to take it to the depot in Essex.
Chris takes a stroll around town and asks various shops how they do their loading. Remarkably, it seems only Aldi have a forklift! We're unlikely to be able to drag the crate up all those hills to the fork, and even less likely to "charter" the fork for half an hour to load it for us. Strike one.
Google turns up quite a number of transport companies in the Manchester area, but very few of them have tailgate trucks - most only do containers. Eventually one refers me to a company that might be able to help. The quote is £111 plus VAT... luckily we still have some of the society's money left from what we had to use for things like the rehearsal accompanist.
It's taken four and a half hours, but we're fairly sure we've covered all the bases. The G&S Society owes me a day's gunzelling.
Just imagine if the Angelico Contingent had decided to fly out on Sunday. Dave would have had to change his travel plans, thereby annoying his family greatly. Or worse, imagine if someone else had been left in charge, someone with no knowledge of transport and no capacity for making something out of nothing. The crate might have been lost forever and the society hit with import duty. A day's gunzelling vs an averted disaster. I think I did the right thing.