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
Can’t believe how busy I am, this is generally my quiet time of year. It’s very welcome because December is always a short month for me. As Christmas approaches the post can be erratic or snow falls and I have to stop sending out orders until the New Year. Last Christmas we also had Royal Mail strikes to contend with so I gave up after a few days into December. Hopefully this year will be better!
One word ‘Trustpilot’. Wow, what a boost it has been to my business (and my ego). I have been saying for a very long time that many of the product reviews I receive sound more like a review of me than the product and that it would be good if people could submit a review of the business rather than an individual item and then I discovered Trustpilot. A customer wrote a lovely review on there and sometime later I spoke to my website guy about the possibility of adding this to my website. He said that it was possible and then began sorting it out. Unfortunately, at that time I lost my elder brother and didn’t feel able to concentrate on anything new so we shelved the idea. However, a few weeks later Trustpilot was set up as a widget on my website and the five star reviews starting appearing. It has been amazing and I am delighted with the amount of reviews I have received. I read and reply to each and every one, I have been told that I don’t need to but I want to! I am extremely grateful for them all. This month's photo - a tarantula waving
Long overdue as ever J My life is changing, it always has but things are so very different now. Covid, leaving the EU, dare I say it ‘not being as young as I once was’ and last but not least, shifting priorities. The bug room is my very own sanctuary to escape to but I don’t want to spend all my time in there! The master plan is going well, I have stuck to my guns and now have a zillion tarantulas and plenty of other arachnids, plus various creepy crawlies but no more leaf eating bugs J (ok, just a couple of Horse-Head grasshoppers but they are so cute)
First day of spring! A good day to write a new blog post. It’s a lovely time of year when everything comes to life. I was delighted to see the first clump of frogspawn in my pond yesterday (a nice
Life is changing and I really don’t like change, I am a control freak (so everyone tells me) and I prefer everything to stay just the way it is but life doesn’t work like that. I had Covid on Christmas Day, which wiped out Christmas and then in the New Year our beloved dog Teddi succumbed to cancer. She was my constant companion for 12 years and it is definitely hard at the moment without her, she isn’t there when I get up, she isn’t in her bed under my desk as I work and she isn’t there to cuddle in the evening. I’m sure lots of you will understand, dogs are a proper family member and they just don’t live long enough.
My master plan is going well. After realising that my life is crazy, I am always in a rush and I am not getting any younger, I have really looked at how I can change this. Having just read my last blog entry, I think I am finally getting there. I have sold off all my praying mantis and I am phasing out stick insects. I have some beetle larvae but they take forever and need more space than I have available so I will have to think about that one. I now have even more shelves full of tarantulas and I have increased my other arachnids too. Scorpions fascinate me and I especially love the Tail-less Whip scorpions (they remind me of Costa Rica – my favourite place in the world J), I now have two lots of homegrown babies (soon to go on the website). I have plenty of juvenile black Asian forest scorpion babies, as well as captive bred adults (it has taken years for them to reach adulthood). It is fine keeping arachnids long term as they fit my main criteria of being able to “look after themselves for a week”. I want to be freer to be able to go away, at least for a weekend without having to give my daughter pages of instructions to follow. She now has two jobs and a busy life of her own.
Again, this blog is very overdue but I have plans! I have had to concede that Ginny’s Jungle is dead and buried and I need to concentrate on my postal business, which is very much alive! (despite the effects of Covid and leaving the EU). I aim to streamline my business because I absolutely have to make more time and get a better home/work balance. We had a lovely, relaxing holiday to Cyprus in July and it gave me time to stop and think. Our daughter had a nightmare looking after everything, she did a great job but the hot weather was a real challenge in the bug room and it wasn’t fair to her.
It’s the time of year when the bugs are breeding and the garden is growing. I often say that my job is like being a gardener, I spend ages potting up baby bugs and am constantly cleaning boxes, tanks and various equipment. I have lots of little praying mantis and need to feed them fruit flies every couple of days. It is such a time- consuming job when I have to use a pooter to move the flies from a net cage into each little pot. Obviously praying mantis, like most of my spiders and scorpions, have to be housed separately or I will eventually end up with one big fat one! Praying mantis are voracious feeders.
Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me! For those of you who don’t know the quote, it is from Carry on Cleo and voted the funniest one-line joke in film history. It sums up just how I feel at the moment. I’m limping along, hoping 2022 will be better and I can’t wait for January to be over, it has been a horrible month both personally and from a work point of view. I have had so many people (ok - 3 or 4) having a go at me this month, complaining to PayPal (I have never lost a case, if people read the info on my website or contacted me in advance, they wouldn’t be disappointed with the size or number of anything because it is always as described). Having to cancel an order due to someone being just too demanding to deal with and then so furious that he threatened physical assault on the phone and I’ve even been dealing with a keyboard warrior from the council regarding animal licensing (I have put in an official complaint as the guy is good at sending nasty emails but seems unable to talk on the phone). I’m not good at dealing with bullies. I always do my best and the vast majority of my customers are lovely and appreciate me. I know this because I get lots of emails telling me and lots of super reviews posted on my website.
I made a start on this blog a couple of weeks ago, well, I got as far as writing the date! Life as ever is busy, busy and this blog entry is long overdue. At the recent Brighton Bug show three people approached me and said that they really enjoyed reading my blog, which was very nice to hear. I can see how many views each blog entry has had and it always surprises me that my blog continues to be read in large numbers even years after the entry was written.