Life at 186 has been incredibly full - on for the last couple of weeks but we have made so much progress. The pink palace has all but disappeared, washed away in a sea of white and ocean view blue. Various pieces of furniture have been shunted round, on more occasions than my aching bones care to remember, whilst others have been demolished and dispatched to the great furnishing and fitments graveyard, otherwise known as Vicky's favourite place - the tip.
Salvaged shelves have been fitted, in what is rapidly turning into a proper shop space, (and then were re-fitted as we put them up wonky and Philippa didn't believe that this was an actual, deliberate design feature.) Stock is beginning to trickle in and the on-line shop is taking shape too, providing opportunities for some much needed cash to trickle in too!
Sofas have gone to a new home, courtesy of Freegle. I'm a lucky bunny and now have a new, old chest of drawers to replace the old, old kitchen cabinet which was only really held together by the remains of someone's cooking. Philly has built herself an extra super-duper counter, from which you can hear nothing but the constant ring of her mobile and her incredibly dexterous typing, as she answers a multitude of emails from here, there and jolly everywhere. This is punctuated only by the odd disappearance into the street to chat with neighbours, or to order a cheeky pizza or two.
Her habit of talking to absolutely anyone who comes within a three mile radius really paid off when a passing chippy (hammer and saw kind, not the fish and deep fried saveloy variety) stopped to lend a hand with some woodwork that was proving tricky. Which reminds me of the two enormous notice boards that she has managed to fabricate, out of what was once the pink cladding of downstairs 186, that are now waiting for a coat or two of blackboard paint and varnish, before we hoist them aloft, either side of the front door.
Alongside all these renovations we continue to pack and dispatch to the NHS and are beginning to see orders coming through for our new line of scrub sets, the donations for which help to keep the bills paid whilst this amazing enterprise starts to flourish. Both adult and children's classes are going well, with new customers coming through the door or booking online on a daily basis. There's a constant stream of new ideas being bandied about, some of which come to life whilst others tend to wither on the vine, as well as an almost incessant stream of ribbing, or 'chat' as Vicky likes to call it. Most of it, believe it or not, tends to be aimed at the colour of my lunch, as she has developed an irrational hatred of anything green and edible, only feeling at peace in the presence of beige foodstuffs or chocolate.
So. now you have a vague idea of what has been happening behind the huge glass frontage of 186 Seaside. And a vague idea of what I have to put up with, five days a week, when coping with the two forces of nature, otherwise known as Vicktorious and oPHelia. It can feel like being a very small piggy in the middle, caught between two monoliths. Sometimes there is silence, sometimes a little sadness tangible in the atmosphere but, most of the time, there is laughter. Belly aching, tear inducing laughter that stops just this side of hysteria. I think that's what I love the most because it keeps me going and it's such a joy. When things are pretty bleak I know that I can walk through the door of 186, and that, whatever frame of mind I arrived in, I'll soon be laughing.
Which leads me to the whole crux of this splurge - friendship. That's what Sew Sussex is, that's what Sew Sussex gives, alongside all the helping, caring, supporting.
So, two quotes that sum the last seven months up, from joining at the end of March to the present day:
"A friend may be waiting behind a stranger's face." Maya Angelou
"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked." Bernard Meltzer.
Thanks you two. You're mad as hatters but love you anyway.