What they don’t tell you when you start planning your own small business, is that days off become a rarity. At certain times of the year they are even like rocking horse poo! You will plan your business hours, and create an ideal schedule of when you will get all the jobs done that are required to create a successful business, and then reality hits. Some days you will be so busy, but you will feel like you have achieved the square root of f**k all. Which leaves your “spare” time dealing with all the jobs you couldn’t get done during business hours.
Mondays (our day off), are frequently spent visiting suppliers, business meetings, seeing the accountant, doing the books, working on the website and social media or at trade shows, fully utilizing the hours our son is at school. All the while we try to eek out some time as a couple, even if it is just a brew together somewhere, if we are lucky we might even find time for lunch out. Rushing back in time for end of school from whatever errand we have been on, to grab some family time. Then the following morning the merry go round starts all over again.
Don’t get me wrong, we love our shop, but we are dictated to by the ebb and flow of retail life. Which means time off and holidays are a rarity rather than the norm, and everything has to be planned around your busy times of the year. There is always that worry that you are just one bad day/month away from losing it all, and that the one time you do shut will be the time that your customer wants you to be open. As we all know, you rarely get a second bite of the apple, if you aren’t there when the customer expects you to be they don’t come back again. Be warned though, as logical as this is to other business owners, there will be friends and family who just don’t “get it”.
Anyway, my body decided that this Monday was going to be a true day off as I was poorly. The last time we relaxed on a Monday was during half time when we had a “ahhh eff it” moment and decided to go visit some friends after the shop shut on Sunday. As it was half term, there was no rush to get back for school, so we packed our overnight bags and headed off to sunny Hertfordshire. After a warm welcome from the two horses, a rather large dog wearing a door (he still thinks that he is a puppy and can fit through a cat flap!), a beautiful timid greyhound, two free ranging hens that are afraid of the dark, numerous cats and of course Andy & Trish, we settled in to the old farmhouse.
Andy had recorded the Six Nations Rugby that day for catch up after dinner, so we were free to explore. I naturally headed to the stables to have cuddles with J-Lo and Colonel, followed by a nosy round Trish’s craft shop. The boys disappeared into the numerous garages – surprise. Before we knew it the light was fading and it was time to retire to an evening of hearty home cooked food, good real ale, a roaring log stove, rugby and easy conversation.
The following morning was a slower start to the day than we are used to. A lazy morning which included a late cooked brunch, with our son performing the role of commis chef, numerous brews and a break down of the match from the night before. With full belly’s it was time to head out and play football in the horse’s field, with two dogs in tow. Don’t worry, we utilized Andy & Trish’s pasture management tactics of fencing off large areas and played inside them. While two dogs ran around, and around, and around! Colonel and J Lo happily grazed near by wondering what we were doing with their football. The view across the valley was stunning.
Spring fever started to show in the horses, Colonel most definitely had the wind up his tail. We decided to leave them to the football and go for a walk around the local lanes.
As we turned off the main track, a field was being ploughed and we counted 16 Red Kites ! All flying above making the most of the turned earth giving up it’s worms, and completely ignoring us. It was an amazing sight watching their airborne ballet as they swooped and dived.
We found lots of signs of Spring around us, places to explore and mud!
Before long it was time to head back to the farmhouse for a final brew and a slice of Parsnip and Pecan cake (made by me as a thank you).
Then it was time to trundle back up the motorway, with a sleepy but happy Leon and both of us feeling a lot more relaxed and centered. The power of a short break with good friends to revive and refresh never ceases to amaze. Thank you again to Andy & Trish for understanding and generosity of time.
P.S. Sorry Trish we got your dogs so very muddy – lol
(P>S Trish –