Tales from the Sea Garden

Tales from The Sea Garden

Email me: theseagarden@btinternet.com

Sunday 4 October 2020

Change is a-coming....


Hello everyone!

So another summer has come and gone, somewhat different to normal, but also in many ways not: Portscatho has been busy with visitors all the way through since lock-down was eased, and there has been a lovely relaxed atmosphere in the village with people just enjoying the freedom of being out in the fresh air and at the seaside. Customers have been very polite and patient with the rules regarding wearing face coverings and only allowing one customer at a time, so I thank you all for still making the effort to come and visit my shop; it really means a lot to me.

I think Covid-19 has made a lot of us re-evaluate what is important in our lives and perhaps forced us to make changes which we were not expecting, or wanting. For me, this pandemic has only reinforced what I already had made a decision about, that I no longer wish to run the shop full-time, all year round. I find that I no longer have the stamina to work thirteen or fourteen weeks without a break all summer long, and there are more artistic and creative endeavours that I wish to pursue. 

I am the same age that my dear Dad was when he suffered a major stroke which so very nearly cost him his life, and left him paralysed and completely dependent on others to care for him. It kind of puts things into perspective. So I have decided that I am not going to wait to act on what I feel is best for me: the time is now.

This doesn't mean that I wish to close the shop, but I will be open less than I have been in the past. Wendy and Patsy, who run the shop with me, both have grandchildren and families that they wish to spend more time with too. So I will be closing the shop at the end of October for the winter, and only opening for a few days at the busiest times, for Christmas shopping, Christmas holidays and February half-term. 
I am also contemplating selling online through some kind of platform (though I don't wish to run my own website), but I don't quite know what to go for, so am hoping that some of you reading this will be able to give some advice. Have you tried Etsy/NuMonday/Folksy etc and how do they work for you? Or is selling through Instagram the way to go?

Another idea I am formulating is letting other craftmakers/vintage dealers hold 'pop-up' shops in The Sea Garden. They would bring their work or stock to the shop and take it over for a day, or two, or longer, if they wish, and they would be responsible for manning it and selling their own stuff. I would just be in the background helping out if needed. For craftspeople who are just starting out this would give them the experience of selling direct to the public in an established premises with a strong customer base, and lets face it, there just aren't any physical fairs happening at the moment (or in the foreseeable future) for people to sell their work at. For my customers it would bring added interest with new crafts and vintage items that they will not have seen before. If someone found that they had good sales (and I would hope that they all do!) then they could return on a regular basis, say one or two days every other month, and we would build up a calendar of different people exhibiting through the year, but all under one roof!

I know that changing things at the shop will disappoint some of my customers, it is inevitable, but I hope that people will get used to a slightly different way of my running things, and that as a result of me being able to pursue my artistic needs I will bring new and exciting work to the shop too.


Sunday 14 June 2020

Open for business!

 The Sea Garden will be reopening its doors this week!

 Yes, we shall be welcoming (hopefully) customers through the door once again at No. 3 River Street, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings till the end of June, and depending on how busy we are, we will increase the hours accordingly through July and August.

 It will be good to get back to a little bit of normality.....

 June is the month when you begin to enjoy the fruits of your labours in the garden, and this week Mum and I have been eating the first of the new potatoes, broad beans and loganberries, and I have begun harvesting the lavender. To get the maximum benefit from the essential oil contained in the buds you must pick it before the flowers emerge, and hang the bunches up in a cool, dark place till they are fully dried out.
Wild strawberries have spread themselves quite liberally all over Mum's garden, and there is nothing tastier than the intense strawberriness of this tiny fruit. I love to sprinkle them over my cereals in the morning!
I gather that a lot more people are growing their own veg this year because of the lockdown, and that can only be a good thing. 

Sunday 24 May 2020

 This week I have been revelling in the glory of the Spring.....
 and doing a spot of knitting outdoors; what a view!

  This little footpath is literally spilling over with wildflowers......

There is barely anyone about - at the moment. The big question now arises: How do we welcome back the tourists safely to our beautiful county?

Friday 8 May 2020

VE Day

 The 8th of May 1945 was named 'Victory in Europe Day', and this is an actual copy of the Illustrated News magazine that came out the following week, showing amazing pictures of the celebrations that took place on that momentous day.

The 8th of May 1945 was also the day that my Mum was born!
So today we have been celebrating her 75th birthday, not quite in the way we had envisaged with family and friends gathered round, and lots of street parties going on all over the country, the coronavirus has put paid to that. But nevertheless a very special day just for the two of us!
We made a fresh strawberry gateau with clotted cream on top (naughty, but oh so nice)
Thank you Mum, you're the best!

It has been very poignant and thought-provoking over the last few days to watch programmes on the tele with people describing what it was like to live through the war, and then the relief and jubilation of knowing that it had all come to an end on VE day. What we owe to those heroic men and women who experienced it first hand cannot be expressed adequately in words. There is a resonance too with what we are going through at the moment with the Coronavirus epidemic, with everyone pulling together to combat a very different, invisible enemy.
The song 'We'll meet again' has taken on a new meaning for us all.
'We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when, but I know we'll meet again some sunny day'

Wednesday 29 April 2020

 Mum and I are in lockdown together as neither of us fancied a long time spent completely alone, so our world at the moment revolves around Mum's garden and the greenhouse, a real sanctuary.
 So far we have planted two kinds of potato, runner and broad beans, peas, tomatoes and a cucumber, with seeds of courgette still waiting to come up.
 Over the winter I propagated lots of new succulent plants from leaf nodules and cuttings....
 My favourite bed in the garden is one that gets left alone to do it's own thing; there is mint and oregano and chives spreading themselves about, and forget-me-nots, aquilegias, marigolds and love-in-a-mist just seed themselves in amongst it all. The bees and butterflies love it!

 We have three apple trees which are now in full blossom - beautiful!
 I had already set up a sewing studio at Mum's so working there is like a home-from-home, with all my fabrics and sewing machine and thread in place. Cushion production is in full swing,
and this is my latest collection of bags, made from dyed old French linen tea towels.

This is the view I look out upon from my sewing room window; I can watch the tide flowing in and out in the estuary and the sun setting in the evening. 
Apart from missing the company of friends, I confess lockdown for me is not hard to endure, as I am well used to working in isolation at home for much of the time, and I'm enjoying the freedom to make new collections without having to run the shop as well. Mum and I get on very well together and we have a nice environment around us. I know full well that this is not the case for so many people, and I do count my blessings every day.
Wishing you all well

Sunday 5 April 2020

 Hello dear friends! This is the jumble of wool on my workroom floor where I am spending many an hour whiling away the isolation knitting and listening to the radio. 
It's going to be a cardigan - I suppose I shall refer to it as my 'Coronavirus cardigan' as it will forever be associated with this time. 

Do tell what you are all creating out there, if you are stuck at home too. If you've never tried knitting before, give it a go, it really isn't difficult. And it's a great stress reliever. There will be instructions online that you can download, and wool can be ordered online too. I don't use any fancy stitches, just knit and purl. Start off in just one colour and as you become more proficient, work with a variety of colours and weights of yarn; that's when the fun really begins!

Sunday 22 March 2020

 How are you all managing out there? I thought I'd share some photos of joyous Spring flowers to wish all mothers a very 'Happy Mother's Day'. There are probably lots of you who weren't able to see your loved ones today because of the contact restrictions, but  sacrifices have to be made for the common cause.
My shop is now closed until who knows when? I was feeling rather bereft yesterday as my shop really is the focus of my life, and I have been working hard at home all Winter making things ready for the season, which would ordinarily start next week with the start of the school holidays. 

To those of you who may still be planning on coming to Cornwall to spend the Easter holidays, may I ask you to think very carefully before you do - I know it's a beautiful place to escape to, but Cornwall has a higher than average elderly population who are feeling very vulnerable right now. So far there have been few cases of Coronavirus in Cornwall, and a sudden influx of visitors could make that number soar, as well as deplete our little village shops of food and essentials. We only have one hospital in the county with facilities to cope with the virus.
 So please, stay put in your own home, and stay safe, and we will get through these unprecedented circumstances together.