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
Costa Rica, heaven on earth! Where to start, our two weeks in Costa Rica were like nothing I have ever experienced before. The nature was astounding and the ethos of the country is super, they are certainly trying to preserve their animals and plants. I am so grateful to our wonderful son for taking us and for our wonderful daughter who stayed behind to care for my menagerie. After the shocking year we have endured as a family, it was truly magical. I have a zillion photographs and enough memories to last forever.
I’m off to Costa Rica! Off on the trip of a lifetime next Saturday, with my husband, son and his partner. Our wonderful son is treating us as, we as a family have had such a terrible last year. We are touring around for the first week and relaxing on the beach for the second week. We will be visiting all the places that I’ve been told there are tarantulas, snakes, frogs, iguanas and bats (all the things I love). There will of course be lots of other animals to see and really, I love them all. Costa Rica seems to be famous for its sloths, which it seems are everywhere. I’m a bit luke warm when it comes to sloths, they are slow moving and full of fleas from what I’ve heard. Neither of these attributes really endears me to them but I may come back a convert.
All going well! Life is good, well certainly improving. Still rushing around with not enough hours in a day but I can see light at the end of the tunnel at last. I have a steady trickle of orders, I would like an avalanche of orders but that clearly isn’t going to happen and so I have been concentrating on my Ginny’s Jungle parties and experiences. This week, I did my first presentation to a group of adults and was delighted that it went down so well, everyone seemed to enjoy it, there were lots of questions and a handling session afterwards (see Ginny’s Jungle Facebook page for photos). It was a 50+ group run by a lovely lady who wrote an article about me earlier in the year for a local glossy magazine. She asked if I had received many enquiries after the article appeared and this got me thinking, the honest answer was “no” and then I realised that all the Ginny’s Jungle events that I have carried out so far have been via word of mouth from people I actually know. The recent children’s party was for the grandson of a neighbour, the Beaver’s group was from a lady who works in the greengrocers and helps out at Cubs, the ‘Bug Keepers Experience’ that I am running next week is for a friend’s grandchildren who are visiting for half term. Clearly, I need to get myself out there and be seen! I have lots of ideas in the pipeline.
Autumn is definitely here and it seems absolutely no time since I was looking forward to spring. I love the spring/summer and the warm weather. So many people tell me that they love autumn, I admit that the trees look very pretty with their orange and yellow leaves but then they fall off and everything dies! Having said that, so far October has been very mild. I was expecting to use heat packs in all my parcels from October 1st but as yet I haven’t used any. I am writing this blog a day early as I know there won’t be time tomorrow, so as I write I am about to post orders off this morning and may possibly get the heat packs out for a few selected orders. The trouble is that the weather has been pretty warm during the day and I certainly don’t want to over-heat any of the bugs. Stick insects and cockroaches would be fine if they got chilled but I tend to be more careful with other creatures such as millipedes, tarantulas and scorpions. Scorpions really don’t like to get too cold and I don’t post Land Hermit Crabs at all in cold weather as their shells absorb the cold and they cannot cope with prolonged chilling (I’m doing a good job of convincing myself I need to get the heat packs out).
Never a dull moment. Last weekend I did a Ginny's Jungle party for an eight, year old's birthday. The children were very excited and thoroughly enjoyed seeing all my bugs and snakes. I have long since given up on taking any mammals to my parties, I really don't think they could handle the noise! My bug parties and visits are very popular and well received but I do feel I'm lacking when it comes to 'crowd control'. I certainly want the children to enjoy themselves and I don't think screaming out "for god’s sake shut up" would go down that well. It’s an area I clearly need to work on. I have a few Ginny’s Jungle visits in the pipeline which is great.
Not getting away with it! Clearly, I can't duck out of writing my blog, I have had so many people asking what's happened and worse still thinking I have given up on my work! The blog always did and still does seem very self-indulgent, it takes me a considerable time to write and when I was going through the worst year of my life it was hard to find anything upbeat to write. However, I received this email last week and decided that it is time to get back into it but as I've said before it may be more of a ‘monthly moan’ rather than the ‘weekly whinge’ it once was. I really do have to sort my life out and get a better work/life balance. My business is pretty unique in being just me. I feed, clean and care for all my little animals. I breed them, advertise them, pack them and on top of this I do all the paperwork and computer work associated with it, not to mention social media – a topic for the next blog. So, when I say I'm always busy, I mean it. I have a number of people who also need my help (I cannot talk about their problems in my blog) but caring is what I do best in life, only some days there just isn't enough of me to go around.
Where to start? It's been quite a few weeks since my last blog and lots has happened in that time. I had a lovely week in Cyprus at the beginning of the month with my husband and saw lots of interesting bugs and reptiles. I put some notes and photos on my Facebook page and got plenty of likes. Last week I had a disaster in my bug room and got lots of interest and much needed sympathy when I posted it on Facebook. There was a huge storm, massive downpour and all of a sudden rain poured in through the ceiling, flooding everything in its way, electrics and all. I lost lots of equipment but thankfully I managed to save all the bugs. It took days to clear everything up and I had a Ginny's Jungle party booked in my bug room, for the following weekend. The party went well and everyone was happy with the event. I really want to do more parties and school visits and perhaps “Bug Keepers Experiences”. I need to cut back on the number of animals that I keep, the amount of time that I spend on their care is crazy and it's really become too much for both me and my family. If I made the money to match the time then I could afford an assistant but sadly I don’t, so everything is down to just me!
Back by popular demand. I have had some really nice emails pointing out that people understand but really miss my weekly blog or weekly whinge as I call it! Anyhow I have decided to keep going but at a slower pace. I aim to write a monthly blog (monthly moan perhaps?J) I'm also thinking of putting it on my Facebook page and then it could be more interactive. I had an email this week from one of my customers suggesting that I might like to have 'guest bloggers'. I'm not sure I totally understand so feel free to tell me if I have got completely the wrong end of the stick. If anyone wants to write their own blog about their life and bug keeping I would be quite happy to put it on the website.
I have so much going on in my life and very little that is suitable for sharing in a blog that is open to all! I'm still plodding along and when things settle down I will get back into the swing of it. I know there are lots of people who enjoy reading my blog at the end of each week but I just need a bit of a break. If you miss my weekly whinge feel free to give me a call, I'm always happy to chat.
It's been a while but I'm back. Operation over and slowly on the mend. Lots of new animals are coming in throughout the next few weeks. I had scorpions, spiders and giant millipedes come in yesterday, I will be sorting them out and getting them listed on the website today and lots of captive bred tarantulas are due next week. I may have been down but certainly not out. My two weeks off were spent catching up on paperwork and generally getting things in order in the bug room as well as convalescing. Everything is looking pretty good now and the bugs and beasties are thriving. I certainly have plenty of captive bred (by me!) millipedes and they are selling well. As always, I have a large number of cockroaches but I have noticed a drop in their sales recently. I have no idea why? At one time, I thought about getting lots more species in (I really like cockroaches, most people go ‘Yuk’ however they are related to the praying mantis and most are really cute if you look at them closely) but I'm glad I didn't now. It is so difficult to predict what will sell next, it seems to go around in circles. Times are hard for many small businesses at the moment and with two operations in six months, I have struggled at times to continue but I love the bugs and ‘most’ of my customers have been great and really supportive. I greatly appreciate every order that comes in and the help that people have given me recently with improving my website. Things like pointing out mistakes, submitting product reviews and making suggestions about care notes etc.