It’s felt rather unseasonal recently. I think. Well I can’t recall it being so frosty in October previously. Though that could be my poor memory. You’ll appreciate it’s a very British thing to talk frequently about the weather. Probably due to the vagaries of it in this country! Changeable, unpredictable, and interesting.
Frosty mornings are very pretty of course, but not great when you’re running a shop and have the doors wide open all day. The Saturday before last it even snowed at one point! Good job I’ve got thermals and a Calendar Club fleece to wear.
Due to the intermittent lowered temperature, we’re being asked the age-old question lots again – “Is it cold on the boat in winter?” I reckon if we had a fiver for every time we’ve heard that, we’d have made a few hundred pounds! It’s akin to living in a house – if you have no heating then yes, of course, it’s cold. However, most narrowboats have a multi-fuel stove to make the small space incredibly warm and cosy. With the right coal, and fire settings, a semblance of heat remains the morning after the night before too. Occasionally also when we get in from a day at Calendar Club.
We choose three main locations to travel and moor during our winters at Lichfield – Alrewas, Hopwas and Whittington. Each have pleasant countryside moorings, local facilities, and crucially good bus routes. Fortunately from 1st November to 1st March, 48 hour moorings turn magically into 14 day ones. So it’s little trouble to us and there would be no advantage to pay for a winter mooring.
Grasping opportunities to see friends
Since opening we’ve welcomed many friends into our Lichfield Calendar Club store. Apologies to everyone for not snapping your picture each time. It’s also an opportunity to make plans to see people we rarely do while we’re staying mostly still.
Last Friday we met up for dinner with two couples at The George and Dragon in Alrewas. I’d been in touch with Alison and Fran via Facebook, and we’d got a date when we were all free into our diaries weeks ago. Barry, Martin and Paul talked about brewing for hours (can’t imagine who influenced that subject?!), while us women reminisced about our years of amazing midwifery at Good Hope Maternity Unit in the late 1980s and 1990s. I have an abundance of fond memories of maternity care, and the mostly collegial atmosphere, during that period of my career. These two were, and are, very special people. Sadly only one continues to practice midwifery.
I’m sure we’re going to be enjoying many more fun evenings, to keep us motivated in the coming months, as we continue to manage our shop seven days a week.
Brightening up our window
Our original window display wasn’t showcasing Calendar Club terribly well. we just didn’t know what to do to improve it. Fortunately we had a surprise visit from the Marketing Manager of Calendar Club a couple of weeks ago, after she’d seen the one we’d started with on a blog post!
The plan generally is to change the window display each week. However, the design and layout of our store makes this quite challenging. Access is limited. So we’ve had a bespoke design produced, appropriate stock delivered, and early on Saturday morning the new display was built by Barry before we opened to customers.
It’s definitely an improvement don’t you think?
Hopefully feedback like the comments below from the ‘receipt competition’ (where you can win a £250 High Street Shopping Voucher by the way) is going to help our footfall and sales – how lovely!
Sharing the commitment
I’ve previously said how grateful I am that there’s two of us running our Calendar Club store, as it means we still achieve a modicum of work/life balance. Today, Monday 5th November (remember, remember), I’ve got a day off. Barry was off yesterday, though he spent it moving the boat from Alrewas to Whittington so it wasn’t exactly a rest day. He had my niece and her twin boys as company, but sadly I don’t think any of them took any photos. Along the way he filled up with water, pumped out the toilet, and stocked up on coal and kindling. All those vital necessities which keep us going.
Tomorrow Barry will enjoy a proper day off – being stationary and choosing what to catch up on, rather than moving, filling and emptying!
We’re already a quarter of the way through the 12 weeks, and loving (almost) every minute of the challenge. Sales are good, we’re welcoming customers we got to know last year and meeting heaps of new ones. There’s free postage on online orders of any amount until 19th November (normally it’s only if you spend over £10), and if you put in the code A1187, you’ll also get 10% off your order – and even better the commission will be tracked back to us!
Check out their extensive range of calendars, diaries, notebooks, mugs, advent calendars and more. There’s really is something for everyone! www.calendarclub.co.uk