By way of explanation - this post was inadvertently saved in the drafts folder having been written a week or so before it is being published. It feels important to say this in order to make sense of the next post...
So at the beginning of this pandemic - or should I say at the beginning of the time when this pandemic began to directly affect those of us in the UK - I suggested everyone keep a daily diary.
And I did!
For a few weeks maybe, when I felt a constant compulsion to write and rewrite and spew and dump and in some kind of vaguely cathartic way make sense of what was going on by trying to write about it. But then something strange seemed to happen, in that there "wasn't time" to write. So what was happening in the 24 hours of the day that still seemed to exist, to make it so difficult to find half an hour at the laptop?
Well first of all of course there are the things that do still require me to be at a laptop. Running a small business is busy and stressful at the best of times and even though it may seem to some as though we are on "holiday" many aspects of that continue, and there are other, newer, factors to consider.
There may be fewer emails requesting cakes or wanting to book Afternoon Tea - of course. But there are lots asking about their wedding cakes, or private bookings later in the year. For many of these lovely folk there is so much uncertainty and concern around what should be the happiest celebration, we do not want to add to their stress as we have personal experience of this. So we have tried to be reassuring, to rearrange, and to accommodate whatever the customer requires from us. Yes we may have twenty cakes to make one week in October but if that's what is needed then we will call in the troops and make it happen!
There have been suppliers to pay and refunds to issue, discounts to negotiate and a whole heap of forms to fill in as we have applied for some of the help the government has been offering. At this stage a huge shout out and thanks to Three Rivers District Council for their amazing support and swift processing of a grant which means we do have enough money in the bank - for now.
Looking ahead however who knows? To reopen with limited covers would be unsustainable. The losses are already piling up as stock goes out of date and we continue to pay bills that cannot be deferred. It's a very worrying time but above all else of course the priority is the safety of our customers and our staff.
There have of course been lighter times too and we also want to give a huge shout out to Peter Taylor the Mayor of Watford - and to Luther Blissett - former Watford and England striker - for the wonderful work they have been doing to support #watfordtogether.