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
What an eventful time I have had since writing my last blog. I’m thinking “where should I start”? Last weekend hubby and I went to SEAS (the South of England Arachnid Show). This is always my favourite show of the year, the venue is great and the organisers (the Invicta tarantula club) are a super friendly bunch. It is held in a lovely spa hotel in Kent, as it was my birthday this week we booked a couple of nights in the hotel. Unfortunately, hubby had to work late on the Friday so we didn’t arrive until almost bedtime and then Saturday flew by so I didn’t get to use the spa/gym but we went for dinner with the spider club in the evening and had a great time. We got up and took a leisurely breakfast the next day and then walked into the halls and chatted while everyone set up their tables. I then did what I said I wouldn’t do, I got totally carried away with myself, spent a fortune and have practically doubled my stock. I have been kicking myself ever since but it was fun! Consequently, I have been run off my feet this week, housing, feeding, labelling and adding the new stock to my website. I would like to say that I have almost finished but that would be a lie. I have fed everything and they are tucked up warm in my bug room but there are many, many creatures ‘queuing’ for a new home. I have received lots of orders this week and each time I sell something it gives me a cage to instantly fill with a new inhabitant (after I have cleaned it out). I have done an awful lot of washing up this week and the family have had to put up with dirty tanks on one side of the breakfast bar and clean tanks that need to dry out on the other.
Sales are picking up now (thank goodness). Pre-Christmas is an awful time for my work, the orders dry up and I’m left looking after a multitude of animals that are reproducing but going nowhere! This week I have received several orders from schools and from people who visit schools with their animals. I’m a day late with the blog as the week has been very difficult on a personal level. I can honestly say that this is the saddest January I have ever experienced. All around me seems to be ill health and friends and family needing my help. I haven’t even had time to go in the gym and that is pretty desperate as it is my sanctuary where I generally retreat to at least every other day. I even got a call from the gym yesterday asking where I was!
Snug as a bug, well at least my mini zoo is happy in it’s well insulated bug room. It is freezing (literally) outside now. I suppose it had to happen, I know it’s winter but I was thinking we could just coast along, enjoying the mild weather until the spring. I just hope we don’t have any more power cuts, evidently the recent one was due to a pheasant flying into an electricity cable. I have spent quite a bit of time in my warm bug room this week and everything is looking pretty good. I am trying hard to concentrate on what I’ve got and get everything sorted before I restock at the end of the month. I just seem to have so many animals and of course they all have their different needs. It would be so much easier if I just had one or two types of bugs, say spiders and scorpions or all stick insects or all millipedes but as you know I have a huge range. Oh well ‘variety is the spice of life’ as they say.
Happy New Year! This is my first blog of 2016, I do hope that everyone had a great Christmas and I for one am now looking forward to the spring (10 weeks and 2 days – but who’s counting). It has been a very mild winter so far but today we have frost and the temperature has dropped considerably, as you all know by now I hate the cold. The bugs are all doing well, I have been sorting things out in the bug room over the festive break. I had a very good breeding year in 2015, I did especially well with scorpions and now have several species as juveniles. I have cleaned out and set up new colonies of many of my cockroach species. I will be gradually restocking in January as orders start to increase once Christmas is over. Honestly, I might as well give up in November and December, sales are always terrible but I still have to care for and maintain my menagerie. I am having a rethink on what to do next winter, a long holiday sounds good but I can’t afford it!
Nearly there, this time next week it will be Christmas day! I would like to say a big thank you to all my customers for your support throughout the year. I do try my best and I think most people appreciate that. It has certainly been a difficult year sales wise and since injuring my back and eye at the end of last year it has highlighted to me that I need to cut down on the amount of creatures that I keep. With the best will in the world my family have no interest and therefore no idea how to care for my menagerie. I am rarely ill but if I were, there is simply no back up plan. I think 2016 will see some significant changes to the way I work. If you are a regular reader of my blog then you will know about my “Ginny’s Jungle” parties idea. I will be setting it up in the new year but it will take time to organise so I won’t be restocking on the scale that I usually do in January. I have no intention of giving up my online shop (I have just spent a fortune on the website upgrade and new computer), I just hope that the children’s parties will run along side my regular business and ease the pressure a little.
Christmas Bah Humbug! The run up to Christmas is great for kids but damn hard work for adults (dare I say it? Especially women!). I did my second Ginny’s Jungle practice party on Wednesday and it went really well. I learnt a lot from the first party and put it into practice, and again at this party I tried a few different things to see what worked best. I still need to do a group party before I launch my new business for real (i.e. I start charging). My god-daughter informs me that she is moving up to Brownies in the New year so it will probably be the Brownies then.
Getting there slowly! I seem to have been going backwards lately and everything had gone to pot but I have worked very hard this week and I am finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have another practice “Ginny’s Jungle” party next week and then I will have to leave most of the party planning until the New year. There is still so much to do, flyers, advertising, labelling and of course sourcing a couple of suitable reptile/amphibians to exhibit at the parties. I had hoped to do a practice group party (Brownies, scouts, etc.) before Christmas but I have run out of time.
Christmas is coming and sadly for my business that means a distinct lack of orders. Plenty of animals, plenty to do but not a lot of orders going out or money coming in. It’s always been this way, schools and universities close down, people are too busy for new pets and most people don’t have the money to spend on themselves just before Christmas but the New Year is sure to be busy so I am using this time to organise my new venture. I will be launching after the festive season but for now I have lots to do and it is all very exciting. I did my first trial “Ginny’s Jungle” party on Saturday (hence no blog last Friday). It went very well, some of you may have seen the photos on my Facebook page. The kids and adults seemed to really enjoy it but I am always ultra critical of myself and think a lot could be improved on, of course that is the idea of having practice parties. I think I’m going in the right direction and I’m getting lots of help. I have arranged a second practice party this morning and am already planning the improvements needed.