In this time of isolation we have all started to realise how important having face to face contact with people is, especially when you can't have it! Yes we are being creative and face-timing, zooming, phoning, texting but a proper face to face conversation or a smile and hello - you just can't beat it. I definitely am missing the people that come into the shop and certain people have become part of my shop family. I know that my energy comes from being with people and when I'm stuck in front of a computer I can feel my energy sap - this is why I had to open a shop rather than become a studio florist and I would like to tell you about a few of the people that have come into my life purely as a consequence of having the shop and I feel blessed because of it.
The first person who became part of the Bluebell Wood family was Andy. Andy had had a stroke and used to go passed the shop twice a week to go to the hospital for physio - this walk would take it out of him and so he would pop in for a rest and a chat. A stool and a cup of coffee and company for both of us, it was early days for me and very quiet in the shop. Andy has become a friend and also a weekly supplier of eggs to the shop so now known as Andy the Egg Man, even to him. Next I have to tell you about Mr Chunks - a wonderful chocolate lab who again walks passed the shop everyday with Trevor and pops in for a treat but more so that dog makes me so happy, never fails to bring a smile to my face and a feeling of love when he bounds through the door and gives me a hug, or perhaps I give him one! I had a chocolate lab called Dexter who I lost a year before the shop opened and I’m sure he has sent Mr Chunks for a cuddle every day. Because of this dog’s love I have also gained a fabulous friend and now a delivery driver in Trevor. I am also very blessed with many regular customers, all of which have their own stories and background, a few to mention today: Mr Dixon an ex Tewkesbury school history teacher, he used to frighten Jess to death to start when, with his strict to the point school master way, an absolutely softy, who came in weekly for plant gifts for others and wanted to support us. He was so proud of Jess the apprentice and me for keeping her on after she achieved it. This man is a huge part of keeping Tewkesbury's history alive - much respect! Elaine from down the road who loves our English eucalyptus, our emergency response police woman who treats herself to flowers on her down time. Jordan who loves to come and hand pick flowers for his girlfriend. Maria who always pops in to say hi and say how much she loves our windows. Our virtual customers/supports: Andy S - always first to like a post, Linda a constant top fan - so very many that I am sure to mention in future blogs. Our Barton Street neighbours who have supported us from the day we started either by having flower teacups in their tearoom, window arrangement for their salon, lilies for their desk or just to pop in for a chat and keep morale up – especially during the floods etc.
The need for flowers bring people in for many reasons - couples wanted to plan for their weddings, partners wanting to treat their loved ones and families wanting flowers to say goodbye to those they have lost. When it comes to bereavement flowers I am in constant admiration of those who make the difficult journey to come out of their homes to the shop to organise flowers for their loved ones funeral, such a difficult time and often their minds are so full of things to organise as well as trying to deal with their grief but flowers are their last goodbye and it is so important to them. Your job as a florist is to help them get through this task in the most caring and efficient way you can. This is important and you have to use all your skills to get this right for them and not to let your own emotions get in the way – it’s hard enough for them as it is. One lady, Jenny, who I now count as a dear friend, came into the shop. Eight months pregnant with twins - she told me one of the twins had lost its life and she was wanting to prepare to say goodbye to the one baby when she would be saying hello to her new born baby. Jenny was graceful, calm, smiling and just wanted me to create a lovely farewell gesture – a flower bumble bee! When she left I cried, it broke my heart for her loss but I will never forget her bravery on that day. Every year I make a flower bumble bee for her little one. She remains one of the strongest ladies I know - she is also a nurse due to work in the new Tewkesbury covid19 ward!
These are just a few of the many people and their stories I have been blessed to have met through the shop and they have become part of the Bluebell Wood family, I miss them as I am sure you all miss those important to you but am so looking forward to seeing them again when it is safe and until that time will try and keep in touch in the virtual ways. Stay safe everyone.