Virginia Cheeseman - Latest News Blog
I regularly post to my news blog on a Friday. Check back every week to see what's happening at VirginiaCheeseman.co.uk
It’s been go, go, go, this week! What a busy time, after the problems with the post before Christmas when Royal Mail were obviously too busy to deliver parcels! I decided to resume sending orders this week rather than directly after New Year’s Day as I generally do. I had such a back-log of orders to sort that it took me until Wednesday to get everything out but I’m pleased to day that all went well with no delays and no complaints. In fact, quite the opposite, I have received more 5 star reviews this week than the whole of December
Happy New Year! Let’s hope this year is full of happiness, good health and a bit of wealth wouldn’t go amiss J. Talking of going amiss, I hate Royal Mail. I have been a loyal customer for more years than I care to admit and they really let me down over Christmas. There was clearly some sort of breakdown with the tracking system on the Monday before Christmas and only half of my parcels arrived the next day. The weather was pretty mild, they were well packed so not too much of an issue but then it appeared that they were lost as the only information showing, was when I dropped them at my local post office. There ensued an epic ordeal for me and those customers affected. I visited my local post office, spoke to staff, was on the phone to Royal Mail for hours and all to no avail. It seemed to me that a bag of parcels had been stolen as I knew that two bags were collected from the post office and then one disappeared off the radar. To cut a very long story short - the parcels have now been received and all the bugs miraculously survived. My customers were however greatly inconvenienced as was I and to add insult to injury I then received a huge phone bill of £62, which Royal Mail point blank refuse to pay (I thought 0845 was free and was in too much of a panic to think of checking). I do not wish Royal Mail a Happy New Year!
Run out of time! Off Christmas shopping today, finished cards yesterday, get tree tomorrow - "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas". Cancelled tomorrow's open afternoon due to lack of interest. seems I'm too out in the sticks here to run 'open afternoons' but I have had plenty of visitors recently so that's fine, I had a customer yesterday and I have a guy calling tomorrow morning. Both these people have visited before which is lovely so it is obviously the way to go at the moment. Perhaps I will try again in the Spring, when the evenings are lighter and life isn't quite so frantic.
Some ideas are good and some not so good J I think the spider evening falls into the category of ‘not so good’ as nobody came L That said I had plenty of feedback, there is no doubt that most of my customers are just too far away to make the journey. The number of customers who have been visiting me recently have not necessarily been local but they are calling at a time/day that suits them, sometimes on their way to or from work or more often on a day off. Friday certainly wasn’t the right evening to choose. I am not that far out of London and the traffic around here is pretty dire in the evenings but especially bad on Fridays. It is dark so early now and this didn’t help either. I have a list of people who have visited me this year and I should have sent invitations but just never found the time.
My first spider evening is today! ‘No rules’ - seemed such a good idea at the time but now I’m panicking, I am worried that nobody will turn up, I know there is the possibility that too many people will turn up but I have convinced myself that I will be all alone. Hubby says “go with the flow, I will be here if you need me” but I am not one to go with the flow and I could panic for England. Time will tell, obviously I will be clearing and cleaning the bug room today and my office too. I managed to get some new captive bred spiders in yesterday, cutting it fine but I said I would try.
I’m now trying to write something quickly as I’m also cooking dinner and I’m trying to be sociable as my mother in-law has just arrived. I would usually write the blog in the morning but I have about a million jobs on my to-do list (perhaps a slight exaggeration) and I need to get as many as I can done tomorrow before the weekend. I am ‘once again’ trying not to spend the whole weekend working as it really annoys my family but it is a problem when you work from home. I am still trying to get straight from being away for two weeks. So, I’m sitting here on the sofa between my mother in-law and husband, tapping away on my iPad and hoping nobody notices
Getting there! Almost back to normal, everything in the bug room has been fed, cleaned and watered since returning from Costa Rica (most of them twice). All is looking good, Georgie (assisted by Josh, her boyfriend) did a great job with all the animals while I was away. I am trying to cut back on the animals until after Christmas but everything keeps breeding so I am still spending hours caring for the ‘mini zoo’.
What time is it? The holiday in Costa Rica was brilliant, we saw lots of amazing animals and took a zillion photographs. We got back on Tuesday but I’m still feeling shattered from the 11 hour flight and 6 hour time difference. Georgie did well, looking after all the animals, big and small but I know she found it really tough (2 weeks is a long time). I started sorting out all the bugs as soon as we got home but I think it’s going to be a week or so until I get straight. I had intended to write a nice long blog about my trip but to be honest I just don’t have the time. I managed to send off yesterday, all the UK orders that came in while I was away and I have the ‘rest of Europe’ orders sorted, ready to go on Monday.
Panic! It’s that pre-holiday time when I think “why am I going, is it worth it”? Obviously, I know it will be great in Costa Rica but the next couple of days will be crazy. I’m always organised so today is packing and Saturday/Sunday is feeding, cleaning and sorting out the animals. It has been a busy week, I was extremely pleased to receive a flurry of orders. I don’t know why but the previous couple of weeks were really quiet for orders. Perhaps it was just everything settling down after the school holidays. I certainly feel we are going away at the right time, the weather seems to have changed dramatically towards the end of this week. We had our first frost yesterday and it is pretty chilly in my office this morning (mind you I am up so early that the heating hasn’t come on yet). Although we are well into October now I have been in a quandary as to whether I should use heat packs in my orders or not. Yesterday was a no brainer but before that I was worried about over-heating the bugs in their boxes as the weather had been slightly chilly at night but warm and sunny most of the day. Oh well, it won’t be a dilemma once I get back as it is sure to be cold! I’m sad to be missing Halloween, it is a great time for showing off my bugs but I’m not sorry to miss Bonfire night. I really hate fireworks, horrible scary things - I know that most people think snakes and spiders are horrible scary things
I have a stinking cold! Everyone around me has been ill for weeks and now I’ve caught the lurgy but I am way too busy to be ill! Thankfully I was fine last weekend and enjoyed the annual AES (Amateur Entomological Society) exhibition. I was extremely sensible and only purchased a few animals, I bought some lovely scorpions, several new species, and as always, I will give it my best shot to get them breeding.