Well, a lot has happened since I last wrote to you...
Sadly, Gary's mum, Gwen, died November 2nd 2017, and even though we expected it and were prepared for it (we thought), it knocked us sideways. Cancer is a terrible disease - sadly it seems that more people are affected by it than ever before...probably becasue we live longer, I don't know, but it is awful.
On a brighter note, our staff party took place on December 2nd and what a night it was! We decided, that because we now have 18 staff, to have a party at home. We hired a professional DJ, set up a fire pit, benches and fluffy throws outside in the garden, and our son Elliot and James, one of our staff, tackled the BBQ. I also set up a photo booth in our hallway, which went down a storm! It was a fantastic night that saw us all rather delicate the following day - good job it was a Sunday and we could all rest!
We had pleasure in purchasing our new van for the business - our carpet machine is a bit of a monster, and so we needed to be able to transport it whenever customers required a carpet clean. If you live in Epping and surrounding areas, you will see us out and about in it - it is very cute! When we pull up in it, on a job, the customer usually has something complimentary to say about it, so look out for us around the towns. (Picture on the web site)
Gary and I took a holiday after the staff party (thanks to my brother, a break in Tenerife - boy it's good to get some heat to your bones during our winter). Nikki and Simon manned the work phones, doing a stirling job, and then we had a final week before we broke for Christmas. This year, closing for Christmas really worked - it was lovely to be able to spend time with family, all our staff had a jolly good and well deserved rest (they do work hard). Gary and I (and Elliot our son) took off to the Lake District, to visit my family during the run up to New Year, which was very enjoyable - we love Christmas!
January came and we hit the ground running, but the dreaded 'Ozzie Flu' hit our staff hard. Gary and I had been ill over the Christmas/New Year period, so we were ok by then, but five of our staff went down with it the first week back, which was a bit of a nightmare, as everyone wanted their house cleaned, and then the following week, we had the sickness bug hit the staff. So...a very difficult start to the year, but we fought back and soon got back up to speed.
Gary and I have been working on our book whenever we get a minute (which is difficult to find most weeks!) We have set ourself a deadline (being teachers we work to deadlines) of Easter to finish our first 3 chapters and an outline of what is in the book. We are very excited about it! We have already identified who will be starring in the leading roles should we be fortunate enough for it to go into film...! Gary and I also tried out skiing in January...well...that was an experience! We have now decided to rejoin our local 'Fat Club' to lose the blub, as although we did love skiing and will do it again, we felt a little like Mr and Mrs Porky on the ski slopes...they are all so fit and healthy out there!
I can't believe we are now looking at our second birthday coming up next month. March 2018 we will have been trading for 2 years. A massive thank you to all our fabulous staff, who are our ambassadors and do an amazing job. Also, a greatful and heartfelt thank you to all our customers, for supporting us these last two years and for all your recommendations.
That's it from me for the time being...as I always say (but dont always manage it)...hope to see you soon!