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.
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.