Who would've thought that two weeks ago we would be in the situation we currently find ourselves?
Two colleagues, now friends, and I bought Brook Taverner 18 years ago and have grown it steadily over that period introducing the online business and then, latterly, opening our high street stores. As I write, all of our stores are temporarily closed and all our high street retailers & concessions have also closed their doors. While it is difficult for us all to see our businesses and livelihoods decimated, no one is untouched by these unprecedented times and we must try to take the positives out of this situation. Every cloud has a sliver of silver lining and, thanks to you, our online business is keeping us ticking over and we are acutely aware that we are in a far more fortunate position than some.
The outrage of boredom from my teenage children has nostalgically taken me back to younger days when television only had three channels, and one of those was given to open University most of the time…There was no Internet, there were no mobile phones, no Snapchat or Facebook. I remember those days both vividly and fondly. What did we do back then? We played games, read books, listened to records, baked and generally kept ourselves busy one way or another. Perhaps, on some level, the situation we currently find ourselves in is similar to that our grandparents and parents found themselves in during the Second World War, but of course we are not sending our young men off to war and we are not being shot at and bombed – a sobering reality and one that I recommend reminding both ourselves and our families as much as we can.
Certainly in my household, my family seem to think they are in a wartime situation! My wife, Bex and our three children, Isobel, Lara and Henry, are in the lucky (!) position of having me at home full time and days are filled with the children undertaking school lessons via Zoom which, fortunately for both them and my sanity, means I am not required to blow the dust off old textbooks and try my hand at teaching unlike many others. I truly do sympathise with teachers all over the country! It does mean that like many of you, Bex and I have had time to hit the garden. It hasn't looked so good for some time now, although the back is taking a hammering in my ageing state!
In order to keep order in the house, a list of jobs and daily duties is stuck to the fridge door and the ‘Managing Director’ of the house, Bex, is making sure that these are adhered to at all times. Gender typical job allocation has long gone out the window! We may only be a couple of weeks in but Bex is mowing the lawn and I have been ironing... variety is the spice of life, I say!
As we adjust to this change in lifestyle over the coming weeks and months, we will all be faced with the challenge to fill our time constructively. Might I suggest a regular browse of our website www.brooktaverner.co.uk!!
One small positive from the ongoing situation is the opportunity to introduce the kids to some of the old classic films – Officer and a Gentleman, Citizen Kane, Grease and dusting off Cluedo, Kerplunk and Monopoly. How do you rate my chances of getting enthusiasm for Scrabble rather than Fortnite or TikTok!? How things have changed since my childhood…
Of course, we must all keep mind and body well by exercising daily. We have not yet resorted to The Green Goddess or Mr Motivator classes but I’m sure there’s time. Thankfully, there are numerous online offerings to keep the family circuit training and yoga-ing. I’m getting to know my exercise bike very well.
With that said, it’s all about getting stuck in together. Last Sunday’s roast last weekend was undertaken by my eldest daughter, Isobel, and myself. We were watched closely by Bex, with the occasional eye roll when we didn't quite do things in the correct order or indeed add the flour to the gravy, but otherwise we felt it was a great success and quite frankly no small achievement! Will we be invited to do it again? Perhaps not…
My 50th birthday has approached far too quickly for my liking and sadly, all previous arrangements to celebrate this milestone have had to be postponed. However, our gruesome fivesome will still celebrate and may even utilise the new ‘House Party’ app to bring family and friends together in a live stream from the kitchen, perhaps with a celebratory glass or two.
These are the ramblings of a housebound business owner, spending quality time with the family and adjusting, as you all are, to occupying ourselves for the foreseeable future whilst desperate to return to work and to put this terrible virus behind us. Look after yourselves and who knows I may drop you another line sometime soon, but, as this is my first blog, I will see what the responses are before I do another one!
Keep in mind the all the NHS staff, doctors, nurses, farmers and other key workers who are out there on the front line doing what they do best and keeping us safe!
I wish you all the best in the current climate. Keep safe and thank God for Netflix!