Jean’s Woolly Blog

Caroline and I could only meet on a Saturday as she was working on that day and I was not at the Library on a Saturday. I would come in and Caroline would go through the list of things that we still had to do. I found a friendly local accountant who would not only do our accounts, but recommended a solicitor. The solicitor was helpful and explained the partnership process to us. All we had to do was talk to him while he made notes, telling us to wait a few weeks and a draft partnership agreement would be in the post. The date was set as 24th October and we left his offices knowing that there was no going back and I was really excited.

In the meanwhile Caroline and I came up with a new logo for the shop front and colours for our uniform. As we now had a solicitor we could open a bank account and again everyone was helpful, we saw a Small business manager who was in charge of our account who provided us with everything we needed to begin our new venture. I did manage to get my first Parking Ticket ever, as the meeting went on for longer than we thought but that is the joy (or not) of living and working in Sittingbourne. The lease of the shop was due for renewal in April, but Caroline and I were able to renew the lease early and again the chosen date to start was the 24th October.

It seemed strange to me that although I had been in and out of the shop looking at logos, colours and making business decisions I had never served in the shop before, or really used a till. Reader Services, a department at the Library that I had worked in for years had a till once, but the staff in the department were, collectively so bad at making the figures right  the till was soon taken away from us and given to reception, I was terrified.

One of the ladies who was going to retire had a special anniversary, and so wanted to have a Saturday afternoon off,  so she asked if I would like to “work” that afternoon so she could leave early. Well it all sounded so doable. Caroline welcomed me into the shop and showed me the till and how to work it. In the meanwhile I had brought a pinny, so that I looked different from the customers, but, different from the ladies in the shop.  Suddenly I was like a small child, I had a sign in number on the till and that was about as far as I got, every time I used the till it would bleep at me, and at times the bleeping sounded quite cross. All I could think of during that afternoon was how was I going to manage in a shop if I couldn’t use the till. I left that afternoon, with wool to start making Christmas decorations and a list of things to think about.

Things started to rattle along. I had handed in my notice at work, colleagues were sad but happy that I was going to be doing something that I loved, I had a holiday in Whitstable to go on with my husband, daughter-in-law, and her husband Justin. I took knitting to do, Christmas decorations and some lace yarn to make a small scarf. The holiday was wonderful a really relaxing time was had by all, I looked after two of my grandchildren James and Alex and their dog Poppy and then it was back to work before the real change began.

I had planned a week off before I started at the shop, but that still involved visits to finalise things with Caroline and start thinking about approaching our local newspaper. My first day official day of work however was going to be 23rd October as I was going to part of the stock taking. Although the “old partners” would be there, I would get the opportunity to meet Caroline’s mother Audrey and our window dresser, Jean, yes another Jean. Caroline and I counted buttons, Hours has a reputation for buttons and we have lots of them, counting them is quite hard work, but the buttons had been counted before and we just had to check that the figure was correct and include them on a Stock Sheet. This was so the accountant could give an accurate figure of the stock to the old partners had before it was handed lock stock and button to Caroline and myself.

The day of the 24th October went really quickly. I presented flowers to the two leaving partners so I could send the photograph to the newspaper.  Friends dropped in, flowers started arriving for me, together with good luck cards it didn’t seem like work at all.  The shop was closed early so we could have a final appointment with the then shop solicitor. Caroline and I handed over our cheques from our new bank account and so began my life in my new woolly world.