A balancing ACT
WOMAN - UK|November 30, 2021
Her thriving business came first for Gaynor, and men were right offthe agenda – weren’t they?
Barbara Dynes

Some of us are rubbish at relationships,’ declared a female voice on the van radio. I laughed as I drove. Thinking about my next job, I hadn’t been paying much attention to the discussion, but that statement was so true. I was definitely one of those women. The few relationships I’d had had ended in disaster!

Take my last one, with Darren. I fell hook, line and sinker, as they say. I really loved him – his ways, his smile, even his corny jokes. We seemed great together, until he found someone else. Unbelievable! I’d cried buckets.

I sighed, but congratulated myself. After months of hurting like crazy, I could, at last, think about Darren without that awful knife-twisting feeling inside. And now my business came first. Men were right off the agenda!

Pulling up outside ‘Starlings’, a large detached house, I got out of the van, grabbed my toolbox from the back and dragged the doors shut, grinning.

Thanks to my lovely gran leaving me some money to get started, I’d been working for myself for a while now – but the bright-green lettering reading Gaynor’s Gates on the side of my white van still gave me a thrill.

Right from childhood, all things electrical or technical had always fascinated me, but who’d have thought I’d end up doing this – repairing and installing automatic gates? And loving it!

Then I stopped grinning. Walking towards the drive, I was faced with even larger black lettering across an even larger white van: HW Gate Automation. That was all I needed!

A vaguely familiar guy was kneeling on the ground, surrounded by spanners, screwdrivers and the like.

‘What’s going on here?’ I demanded.

He squinted up at me, shielding his eyes from the sun with his hand.

‘Ah, Gaynor!’ he said, scanning the name across my green overalls. A surprised look of recognition stole over his face. ‘A Jenkins Gates girl, right? Remember me – Harry?’

I frowned. How could I ever forget Harry? We were both apprentices at Bob Jenkins’ set-up a couple of years back, and at each other’s throats right away.

I knew Harry had now also started up on his own, but his customers tended to be way out of town, which meant that, luckily, we’d never clashed before.

At the Jenkins apprenticeship, Harry’s attitude to work had been what you might call relaxed. He treated the job like it was just a bit of fun – which was definitely not an attitude I shared.

‘Let your hair down, girl,’ Mum was always saying. ‘You take life far too seriously!’ And I suppose she was right.

But there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get on in life, surely?

Now I glared down at Harry. Mind you, glaring was difficult, taking into account the friendly way he was grinning up at me.

‘Look,’ I declared firmly, ‘I’ve been called out to this job…’

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