After a hectic (and over-worked) summer, things have suddenly become very quiet in the venue this week. We still have another couple of weddings to do, but May is painfully quiet bookings-wise. Rob and I are going on leave for 10 days at the end of this week (so that we can sort out some stuff with the house, have some quality time together, and go to Iron Maiden), but after that I’ve also offered to drop my hours back to 4 days a week if things stay like they are.

It’s very weird for me, because I’ve never had a job running a venue where I wasn’t also directly responsible for driving sales. I’m not accustomed to just waiting on work to be handed to me. But this place has a separate sales team who don’t deal with delivery, and a delivery team who don’t deal with sales.

Personally, I think it’s a stupid way to structure an events business. The people who sell the events need to know how they work, and the people who build the events need to know what the customer is paying for.

However, the prospect of having an extra day off every week has me salivating. I’m thinking about the new garden and how to prep for all the plants I just bought. I’m thinking about all of the unfinished projects I have stored away in my brain-file. I already know there will never be enough time.

Take the table(s) above… Both are actually made of kauri, both Edwardian. I picked the smaller one up in a junk shop a few years ago. The larger one I pulled out from under my grandparents’ house when I was 18.

It was originally a dark walnut stain, like the smaller table. But the reason it had ended up under the house was because the shellac finish was absolutely destroyed. It was worse than the finish on the small table (which is also wrecked). At some point, someone had spilled some sort of chemical across part of the top which had stained the wood and caused the shellac to craze and crackle like a rhino’s skin. I smoothed out the shellac and tried to reapply it, but it just wouldn’t adhere to that spot. For years I lived with the table just like that… And then eventually I gave in and bought some chalk paint. I picked Annie Sloan’s Paloma and Coco.

My mother was not impressed that I was “ruining” her grandmother’s kauri table, but I did have to point out that it’s still a kauri table, and the stained finish it had wasn’t just “aged”, it was “poked”.

Unfortunately, after two coats of paint and two more coats of shellac, that darker spot on the top of the table that looks like the paint hasn’t dried… that’s the same damn chemical still seeping through. It’s a lot less significant than it was, but it’s obviously still there and still stubbornly refusing to be sealed. I just wish I knew what it was…

So despite chipping away at it as time has allowed over the past few weeks, this is still an unfinished project that needs some proper time and attention. I was also going to do the smaller table (which has no family heirloom status), and hopefully put together a printer-tray coffee table too. A bit like this one, only each slot will have something in it:

print coffee table


And then there’s re-upholstering the dining chairs, and doing the same for the Victorian settee. There’s pictures to be framed, and bookshelves to be fixed and painted. And so many pots to replant… All those little jobs to suck up my winter and leave me feeling like I haven’t had a rest at all.

Heigh ho…


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