Haresh’s day had been especially grueling. He’d dealt with a rather angry parent, who seemed convinced his son was being deliberately excluded from Sports teams because he was too good. His son didn’t even like sport, so quite why he thought he was being excluded was completely unknown to Haresh. After that debacle, he’d taken the Assembly to talk about some serious issues, and then had the teachers on at him about funding for each department.
It had been, quite frankly, a nightmare of a day. All he wanted to do now was have dinner and put his feet up in front of the TV. “Gita, I’m home,” he called when he opened to door. Closing it behind him, he hung up his coat and headed straight for the lounge. “Gita are you ign- What on earth is that?”
“Ah, Haresh, there you are,” she began, wearing what looked like a school sports jacket. “I have some exciting news to tell you. You’ll never believe what it is, unless of course you guess what it is, and then you would know.”
“Why do I have a bad feeling about this? And why, might I ask, do you happen to have a one of the schools sports jackets?” He questioned, perplexed at this turn of events.
“I’m the new Football coach!” She announced jovially, obviously choosing to ignore his first question, “Isn’t that exciting?”
“You. A Football coach?!” Haresh exclaimed, “How did that even happen?”
“Well, I was speaking to that Mrs Hatchem- lovely woman, used to be a florist you know- she suggested that I do something up at the school, like an after schools club. There was an opening for the Football team so I signed up straight away.”
“Did it ever cross your mind that she might have been suggesting doing something with flowers?”
“Don’t be silly, I’ve got Bloomin’ Lovely for that. This is a real opportunity for me to expand my skill set, and broaden the children’s knowledge. It's a win win all round, and I get to spend more time at the school.”
“Won’t that be fun,” he mumbled under his breath. There would be no point arguing with her right now, when all he wanted to do was relax. Still, this would probably just be another one of her fads, she’d move on to something else eventually.
“Haresh, just try it on. It's the right size and everything, I told them your measurements. Oh, I think this could be the start of something wonderful, I’ve always said we need to do more things together,” said Gita, holding in her hands a Bear mascot costume.
“Gita. For one, you’re not a Football coach, do you even know the rules? For two, I’m not wearing that thing, especially not in public,” Haresh replied, sighing deeply for the umpteenth time that morning.
“I don’t need to know the rules, the kids know what they’re doing. I just point to a bit of the court, and they know where to go. Its simple really, and I’ve got a real knack for it. Oh, and you’ll love the dance routine I planned for you.”
“This isn’t Chelsea or Tottenham or something like that, it's the school football team. Why do they even need a mascot?”
“It's for morale my darling. Besides, I’ve got big plans for this team. We’ll get to the Superbowl I know it, and Wimbledon too.”
“Those aren’t-” he started. “Oh, never mind. There’s no way you’ll drop this, is there?”
“Why would I drop this? This team is relying on me Haresh. And think of all the people I can tell about Bloomin’ Lovely. It will be marvellous.”
“Oh, won’t it just?” He muttered under his breath, before saying, “Fine, I’ll do it.”
“Wonderful. Now, you can start handing out these flyers, spread the word across the whole village, a crowd is the most important thing.”
While, of course, Bloomin’ Lovely was hugely important to Gita, that didn’t stop her from spending almost the entire afternoon thinking up Football tactics. She decided that offside would be better, and give the team a better chance of getting the ball in the hoop. How could Haresh think she wouldn’t take this seriously? Football was easy, there was nothing to it really, maybe this would be her true calling.
“Gita, are you here?” Haresh called from the front of the shop.
“I’m in the back my darling. This Football stuff is really interesting, we’ll be at the top in no time. I can picture it now, Flowers and Football, it's a winning combination. Oh, and I must start on preparing the flower stand, I’m thinking Begonias, Fuchsias and Petunias at the front- Did you get all the flyers out? We need a big crowd to watch.”
“I’ve handed them all out Gita,” he replied, his shirt drenched in sweat. “I still don’t get why you want to do this though. It's not very likely you’ll get a big turnout either.”
“Excellent,” remark Gita, evidently paying no attention to what he’d said to her. She often zoned out, and never seemed to take any of his advice onboard.
Haresh sighed deeply, again. He was more than used to Gita’s antics, mad ideas and wild fantasies. It would just be a fad, nothing more, and she’d be back behind the counter of Bloomin’ Lovely in no time. “Well, I’ve got some paperwork to be doing. I’ll see you at home, okay?”
“Yeah, yeah...sure. Don’t forget to try on the Bear suit!”
The whole squad was stood around in the school's rather small sports hall, clearly wondering why they were here so early. They had been training with Gita for a couple of weeks, and she was rather unconventional in her approach to it. Compared to their last teacher, Mr Banks, she seemed to sit around a lot, and talk a lot. In fact, most times they got nothing done because she kept talking.
“What do you think of our chances?” One boy asked.
“I don’t think we have any,” another boy answered.
“Where’s Mrs Chandra?” Asked a third.
“No idea,” the first boy replied, before they spotted her approaching the hall.
She entered the room with her usual gusto, ready to give them some last minute pointers; whether they proved helpful was another matter. “Right then, my darlings,” she began, “This is what we’ve been training for these past two weeks, and I think we’re ready. We need you, Thomas, in that front zone, you’re our Grecian horse, they’ll never see you heading for the hoop. Alex, you just stop them from getting to our hoop. The rest of you, help the others, and confuse the other team.”
“Are you ready?” asked one of the teachers from the doorway leading outside.
“Yes, we are ready for this,” Gita replied gleefully. “This is the start of our journey to Wimbledon, and then the Superbowl. Now, remember, just have fun, and try and score some points.”
They headed out onto the field at the back of the school, where a small crowd of people had gathered. Gita lead the way, feeling excited at for the match, and also a little apprehensive about it.. Still, she’d put all her effort into this. Her flower stand was all set up ready, many people looking bemused as to why there even was a flower stand. And, at least Haresh had put some effort in.
“I feel like a right fool,” he whispered loudly to Gita.
“Now, now, don’t go spoiling everybody's fun. You know what they say, sport is fun and jolly, and mascots must be too. At least, I think that's the saying.”
“Fine. Just don’t expect me to do this again.”
“Hush now, the game is about to start. You go keep everyone entertained.”
“Mrs Chandra, I’m afraid you cannot remain in the position,” the head of PE said.
“Well, my darling, we can’t be expected to win every game,” replied Gita. “I have high aspirations for this team you know, I’ve got a plan and everything. Wimbledon, here we come!”
“Look, its abundantly clear that you have no experience of this kind of thing. For starters, Wimbledon is for Tennis. Not to mention the almost constant offside position.”
“It's not my fault those flag people kept waving their flags about. Someone should have a word with them, and they’re a distraction too. Listen, Mr...” she paused, unsure as to his name.
“We’ll get to the top of the game I know it. We just need to assess our performance and work out a plan of action.”
“I’m sorry, but we have to let you go. We lost 15 to nil, and that's not good for morale or indeed our hopes of winning the cup this year.”
He got up out of his chair, heading towards the door to show Gita, who reluctantly stood up as well, out. Hesitantly, she went to leave the office. “Do you like flowers?” She asked, “I could give you a discount.”
“Goodnight Mrs Chandra,” Mr Hargreaves replied, closing the door behind her.
“I did warn you,” remarked Haresh.
“It was those flag waving people, they must’ve had it in for me. Maybe they didn’t like my flowers, oh my word, maybe they work for that Hocus Pocus! That must be it, it makes perfect sense.”
“Yes, must have been,” agreed Haresh, hoping she would focus more on Bloomin’ Lovely once again. “Their flower shop is probably all clinical and plain looking.”
“We can’t let them win, especially not that Candice woman. We must fight them on the shop fronts, fight them at the gala.”
“Churchill?” asked Haresh.
“Yes, we’ll get one of those nodding dogs too. Ooh, and I’ll need to get some new stock in, something exotic perhaps. This will be marvellous, Haresh.”
“That's the spirit,” he exclaimed happily. “You could say, it will be Bloomin’ Lovely!”
“Yes, it will be Bloomin’ Lovely!”
Bloomin' Lovely concludes tomorrow in The Establishment...