Wednesday, 26 September 2012

New venues

I've had to decide, in the wreckage of galleryRAUXA and leaving my stall in Cambridge, where to sell my jewellery. Having made the break with Cambridge, I didn't really want to return though the management very kindly did offer me a pitch. It's not that I haven't enjoyed being there but 2012 was a difficult trading period for whatever reason - fewer customers spending less.

We've been in an economic downturn for 5 years and my sales always held up pretty well up to this year so I'm not quite sure exactly what has changed. Most of the footfall seems to be diverted elsewhere, indoor shopping venues opening up and the free bus has disappeared, I'm not sure if it's been cut altogether or if its route just doesn't take it by All Saints any more.  Either way, this year, Cambridge hasn't been working for me so even though galleryRAUXA is on a back burner for the time being, I won't be returning.

It's time for a new start somewhere else. 

My next craft fair will be in Lincoln, Castle Square on Saturday 6 October 2012. 

After that, I'll be returning to the Fete on the Strait on Saturday 4 November 2012 also in Lincoln. 

They're both outdoor events so wear your jackets and/or coat with optional hats, gloves and scarves according to the temperature!

Watch out for info about December, I'm having to keep my fingers crossed on that one but there may be some big news soon!

One craft fair a month won't really bring me the income I've become used to. I've been adding some more jewellery to my Sooz Jewels Etsy shop today (including the bracelet photographed above), more will follow. 

I had a brainwave to put the locking cabinets that we purchased for galleryRAUXA into shops with my jewellery in it, we've had some encouraging noises being made by a couple of boutiques so I'll keep you posted on that one, too. DH has been photographing the cabinets with my jewellery in it to tout round to some other outlets - if I do say so myself, it looks great and I can't wait to see the photographs (he's editing them as I type!) 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

An appeal for badgers

If you think the plans to shoot badgers to stop the spread of TB is an absolutely rubbish idea like I do, please can I ask that any UK residents reading this sign this HM Government E-petition created by Save Me's Brian May.

It takes seconds to do, it doesn't want to use some weird application to register and you won't get spammed afterwards either, I have signed quite a few on this website. If they get 100,000 e-signatures the subject will be considered for parliamentary debate. We're up to nearly 90,000 but the rate of signatures is slowing slightly so please at least think about it before ignoring my plea.

When you consider the money that is spent out on compensating farmers for infected cows, surely they can give grants for badger-proof fencing or bring forward the licensing of vaccinations. At the very least until vaccination is legal, we should keep the status quo rather than destroy 70% of the badgers in the test areas, many of these will be healthy animals. :-(

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

It's dead, Dave

For Red Dwarf fans, here's a galleryRAUXA reworking of one of the scenes from the very first episode:

Lister: Where is the lease for galleryRAUXA?
Holly: It's dead, Dave.
Lister: What is?
Holly: The Lease for the Strait, Dave.
Lister: What all the paperwork?
Holly: It's dead, Dave.
Lister: What about our Solicitor?
Holly: He says it's dead, Dave.
Lister: What about the Agents?
Holly: They're all as quiet as the dead, the Lease's dead, Dave.
Lister: Sue isn't, is she?
Holly: She says it's dead, Dave.
Lister: Not Missy?
Holly: Gorden Bennet, yes Missy, Sue, everybody, everybody says it's dead, Dave.
Lister: What about you?
Holly: I say it's dead Dave, everybody says it's dead, the Lease is dead, Dave.
Lister: Wait, are you trying to tell me the Lease is dead?
Holly: *slightly under breath* Wish I'd never let him out in the first place!

I think you can tell from the above, we're not upset, we're pragmatic (and making plans). More soon!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

So what now?

Last Sunday was dreadful, awful and so we decided to just get away from everything and let the Landlord and his Agents spin.  We got a last minute booking at a self-catering cottage in our favouritest place - Bamburgh in Northumberland. We left on Monday and got back on Friday evening. Here's a picture of Missy next to the beach at White Sands just up the road

We also had a quick visit into Scotland (an hour's drive) to celebrate Andy Murray's achievement, he won his first Grand Slam tournament in the US Open whilst we were away. (I couldn't watch it on TV so I listened to it on 5Live). Here's a few pictures of the harbour and town at Dunbar (not Dunblane, I know but it was the furthest we wanted to go!) Very very lovely ladies public loos, I wish I'd taken a photograph - they're all decked out with fresh flowers, by far and away the nicest public lavatory I've ever visited!

There were TWO galleries in the town, this one Bass Rock Framing which does framing on the premises and sells mainly framed fine art artwork, they also stock bought in Scottish/seaside themed items. The second was called the Found Gallery, which was selling framed and unframed prints (don't think they do it themselves) and a wonderful mix of British made artisan created goods. If you combine the two businesses together, taking out any mass produced items, this is what we want to do with galleryRAUXA ... but oh, yes, I was forgetting, we have no premises!

We left it with our lawyer that he would e-mail DH if he heard anything but just to wait for the other side to get back to us (if ever). We were adamant we would not agree to any changes to the original Heads of Agreement.

DH can pick up e-mails on his Blueberry phone (it's a Blackberry really, he just calls it that). Reception is intermittent though so we only turned it on once a day when we were in areas where we knew we could receive e-mails

Thoughts of the disappointment were never too far away and we tried to formalise what we were going to do in the future, lots of ideas cropped up, the more wine we had, the crazier they got ...!

Checking his phone when we stopped for lunch on the way back on Friday, we heard that the Landlord had had a change of heart and decided that the Heads of Agreement could stay where they were, they signed the lease last Wednesday and want to complete as soon as possible now.

It's quite a big shift to go back into it, we've lost over a week and we have messed around our workmen to the point that I'm quite surprised they took our phone calls asking if they were free for yet another revised start date. As well as that, there's the issue of whether we trust the Landlords and their Agents.

The previous tenant tells us he never had any problems with the Landlords at all, pay the rent and they totally leave you to it until he told them he was vacating. A similar tale has been told to us by one of the neighbouring shops who has the same Landlord, pay the rent to the Agents and you never hear anything from them, she's only had one inspection in 10 years.

Apparently it's a religious holiday for the Landlord and their solicitors on Monday and Tuesday so we're aiming for a Wednesday completion ... we're both hoping all this fuss wasn't the universe hinting that we shouldn't go ahead with it! We've made the decision that we will carry on with our plans for a picture framing Gallery today and there's a new moon, so we're taking that as a sign that a new beginning will be kindly looked upon.


Thank you for the kind messages received here, e-mail, phone calls and on my Facebook page, it makes all the difference to be reminded that the majority of people are really really lovely!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Lincoln steampunk weekend

Lincoln was buzzing yesterday with the steampunk weekend that is held in the City every year. Lovely weather and lots of people about. This was taken in Castle Square which is the bit at the top of Steep Hill inbetween the Cathedral and the Castle.

It's encouraging for the business community that there always seems to be something on to draw people into the City. DH and I had a stall at the Fete on the Strait just a couple of weeks ago, I forgot my camera that day (duh!) but it was a really lovely occasion some pictures at this link from this is Lincolnshire

Here's a picture of my sister, Sharon with her fiance Martin manning their steampunk stall yesterday selling Impossible Fossils, jewellery and stamps.

I wish I had taken more photographs of all the outfits that the people dressing up had on, they're all very elaborate and authentic. I wasn't feeling very sociable and it would've meant being pleasant to people and asking them to pose - really not on the agenda at the moment!

We just had to torture ourselves and walk down Steep Hill. Here's the Estate Agent's sign above the premises we were supposed to be leasing from last Friday - "Letting Agreed" - yeah, yeah, that's what we though too!

I'm afraid it didn't do much to cheer us up, we went on the hunt for other commercial premises in the area but we had been looking for so long before we found this one, we didn't hold out much hope. The only lettings we could see were for units that are too small.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Shattered dreams

So, Geoff signs the lease for the galleryRAUXA premises on Thursday afternoon, we transfer 3 months rent and insurance to our solicitor's client account. We expect completion on Friday and we'll be able to pick up the keys ... ?! Yes?!

NO. On Thursday evening, we get an e-mail from the landlord's agents saying the landlord wants to change the break clause from 3 years to 5, the Agents office isn't open on Friday (what?! he prepared the completion statement saying Friday for completion) but he'll be monitoring his e-mails "what are your thoughts?" A 3 year break clause has been part of the Heads of Terms since we started negotiations two months ago. "Sorry about the short notice" he says. The Agents office was shut all day yesterday apparently for a member of staff's funeral. We e-mailed back immediately and left a message on his mobile phone with no response. We have to spend the weekend not knowing what is happening.

The other side's solicitors said yesterday they were urgently seeking instructions, up til Thursday afternoon, they too were expecting to complete on Friday. We suspect that a charity shop (who put in a smaller offer at the same time as us) has spotted the fact that the premises have been empty for the last couple of weeks (while the legals go through their machinations) and put in a better offer. It could all be speculation but it looks like we are being gazumped and our dreams are shattered.

Our solicitor says it's unprecendented in all his years of negotiating leases for the other side to attempt to change the Heads of Terms the day before completion. It happens all the time in domestic house purchasing before exchange of contracts but not with commercial leases.  A three year break clause is pretty standard for a new lease and most landlords expect it.

If they want to renegotiate the terms of the lease at this late stage, then so do we, we'd like to decrease the rent by £1,000 a year, please - sorry about the short notice!

A little levity to break up the miserable nature of this posting but in reality we are beyond upset, we are beyond angry. It could all be a misunderstanding but it would've happened yesterday if the landlords intended to proceed with us, three months of rent were just waiting to be transferred and they don't appear to want it. We are left with two wasted months, alot of time and money expended, a cluttered up home and no income.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Why am I so tired?!

Might have something to do with this little madam demanding breakfast and her walk at 6am. Dogs do not understand the concept of a Sunday lie in!