THE ONE ABOUT…………………………..the Blue Toner.

Many years ago, a lovely lady by the name of Denise Loveless worked for us in our Wedmore office. She was just about the nicest person you could wish to meet and had a heart of gold, but I think it would be fair to say that she could sometimes be a little ‘ditsy’.

One day I was out and about on Market Appraisal appointments and was passing through Wedmore, so I decided to stop by and have a chat with her. As I was about to walk into our office, I noticed a lady sat on the sofa looking through our property brochures. Not wanting to interrupt while Denise was seemingly busy with a client, I waved to her through the door instead, but Denise waved back and then motioned to me to come on in. I entered and Denise explained that the lady was just having a rest while her husband shopped in the Menswear shop next door…

Five minutes later after a very productive catch-up chat, I got up to leave the office for my next appointment when Denise remembered that there was a printer toner cartridge box for me to take away. (We used to collect up all of the empty cartridges from our offices and donate them to a local Nursery Group who were able to sell them to raise much-needed funds). Denise ran and collected it from the back office and passed it over to me, and I once more started to leave the office.

This time I made it as far as the door before Denise remembered that she needed to discuss a property matter with me, so hand on the door (and conscious of the time) I listened to Denise’s explanation of the situation and advised her as best I could. As I was finishing, I became aware that I had lost Denise’s attention and that her gaze was instead focussed on the floor next to me. I looked down and was immediately horrified to see a steady trickle of blue powder flowing out of the bottom of the toner cartridge, hitting the floor and immediately funneling back upwards in a fairly rapidly barrelling stream towards the ceiling.

I gasped. “I thought it was an empty toner cartridge, Denise” I spluttered. “I thought so too,” said Denise. “But I guess that must have been the faulty one that was still full”. By this time the blue cloud was wafting across the ceiling towards all four corners of the room, reminiscent of the mushroom cloud that follows a nuclear explosion! My attention snapped back to the lady who was still sat on the sofa, leafing through the folder and totally unaware of the fate that awaited her. “Excuse me,” I said, very calmly motioning towards the ceiling. “I think now may be a good time for you to leave the office? “Oh no,” she said, staying firmly sat down “my husband will be ages yet”. Deciding that I didn’t have the time to reason with her, I walked over and picked her up carefully under her arms, and gently but firmly manoeuvred her towards the door, closing it quickly behind her, with her protesting all the way.

And with that, the bomb burst; an entire cartridges’ worth of blue toner powder descended from the ceiling like fairy dust, covering every single surface of the room. And that included Denise and I. From head to toe. Silently, for once totally speechless, Denise removed her glasses, revealing two perfect panda eyes in the middle of a blue-tinged face. Realising just how utterly ridiculous we both looked, we immediately dissolved into a fit of the giggles that seemed to go on for hours!

Eventually, we pulled ourselves together and came up with a plan of action. Needless to say, my appointments for the rest of the day were unavoidably postponed, the office was unexpectedly closed to customers and, after a quick trip home to shower and change, Denise and I set to, cleaning and scrubbing every single inch of the room. By the end of the day, it was as if it never happened, other than the fact that we were both sneezing blue powder for many, many weeks!

Thank you for reading!

Sue Iles