Wednesday, 27 July 2022

A Previous Life ... Lavender, Lovely Hubby and Worm Tea


Especially for the person who asked when it was that I started blogging, it was back in 2008 with my shop blog 'Lavender's Blue ...' which was also the name of my tiny shop in Ulverston, Cumbria.  

It was meant to mostly be about my little cat Archie as Shop Cat but he had other ideas, and it ended up being about the lavender and gifts that I sold, day to day shop life and the customers that came in.


I loved arranging my pretty wares, nothing stayed in the same place for long and the window changed at least once a week.  Well it was so tiny it was easy to do. 💜

The shop smelled deliciously fragrant, mostly as you would expect from Lavender but there were occasional forays into other essential oils and soaps.

We occasionally sold at Shows, this was  the North Lonsdale Show just outside Ulverston.

But my heart was really in the shop, upstairs nicknamed 'Grannie's Attic' (because, yes ... I was already a granny back then) the lavender mixed nicely with new collectibles and pretty vintage bits and pieces, and my customers loved to climb the tiny staircase and rummage through baskets of lace and a rail of clothes.

And when we made the split second decision to start  our new life in the country ... after a chat one day in the shop when Alan had brought me a cup of coffee from the coffee shop opposite and sat on the stairs drinking his while I drank mine ... and it was time to close the shop and move onto pastures new it all morphed very nicely into doing the monthly Farmers Markets in our new village setting.

If any of you think the fireplace looks a bit familiar, it might be as it has starred in quite a few of the older Midsomer Murder episodes as our village was frequently used as a location.  Each time we see a repeat showing the hall and the fireplace I shout out 'there's MY fireplace'. 😄

The lavender goodies were popular and after a few months were joined by farm fresh eggs, and deliveries by Lovely Hubby of bags of manure, compost and worm tea.


Here's the man himself when he was caught for posterity after doing a delivery of a trailer load of compost, and calling in at the Village Hall for a bacon butty on his way back.  


He also joined the rota for making the bacon butties that were sold along with the teas and coffees for the early Sunday morning shoppers.


My stall at Tetsworth Farmers Market.

It was always nice to get out of the working clothes and wellies and be in a nice clean hall with cups of coffee and friendly customers, and we both enjoyed the break from the farm.

Maud, Betty and Martha in The Orchard

So there you go, a real blast from the past and a trip down memory lane.  

So to answer the question ... I have been blogging since 2008 in many formats and with quite a few different blogs and as there are lots of you don't know me from the earlier blogs if you have any questions please ask away in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them.  

And those of you who have been reading from the very beginning ... WOW hasn't the time just flown by!!


Sue xx 



36 comments:

  1. Very interesting. We also did craft fairs and flower shows etc selling painted glass. Quite a life isn’t it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It certainly is :-)

      As well as the three regular Farmers Markets (the other one was in Aylesbury) I also did a bi-monthly craft fair in Wheatley (Alan ran the Kitchen Café at that one selling bacon butties with our own farm bacon and sausages (also for sale as packs along with the eggs), a once a month Bric a Brac Market in Aylesbury with my son and online sales through the blog. Gosh I used to be so much busier!!

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Was a really good seller and something I used on all our homegrown foods. It was a really cost effective feed for plants as the bottles we sold were then diluted before being watered onto fruit and vegetables.

      It was basically the run-off from the large worm beds we had on the farm. Alan bred worms, a specialist type that we imported 50,000 of from Holland ... possibly the strangest parcels that we ever had delivered. They bred like mad and made all the compost that we used and sold. Turning horse manure etc into a very rich viable compost in a much shorter length of time than usual.

      https://ournewlifeinthecountry.blogspot.com/2011/02/next-stage-of-business.html

      Delete
  3. I hadn't realised you had a shop blog. Your stock looks fascinating. Happy memories

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a shame I deleted the blog, I should have kept it for posterity.

      The stock was very changeable and it was a very happy time for me, living in the town I had always wanted to live and doing what I had always wanted to do and was good at.

      Delete
  4. Gosh, what a fabulous trip down memory lane - I remember so many of your images from the first time around, especially Alan with the bacon butty.

    And talking of images - your new 'canalside' header picture is lovely .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh yes, I fell down a rabbit hole of old photographs getting the pictures for this post. Alan just said 'Didn't we look young back then'.

      I have fallen in love with the bridges we have across the canal here, after our holiday with me drooling over them all (not literally) I just HAD to change the photo to incorporate one of the nicer ones.

      Delete
  5. Your shop would have been one I would often visit - just my sort of thing. Hard work, I would imagine. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was definintely full on and it was a virtual seven day week, but it's not work if you enjoy it. And of course as Alan worked away for four days a week down South I could devote my time to it as much as I needed to.

      Delete
  6. Your shop looked delightful. The smell of lavender is so warming and soothing ,isnt it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a beautiful smell, people were often drawn to the shop as they could smell it before they could see it, my door was always open and outside the shop I had trays of living lavender plants for sale. I had struck a deal with the local garden centre and they would sell me plants of all sizes at 20% off, which I could then put back up to the normal price to sell. When I ran out I would tell customers to visit the garden centre.

      Of course once I was on the farm I could grow large beds of it for myself and sell the bunches of dried lavender on the stall.

      Delete
  7. I adore the smell of lavender and your shop would have been like a magnet to me
    Loved seeing this glimpse into your past adventures
    Alison in Wales x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a gloriously calming scent. Some customers would come and just loiter ... as long as they bought a little something I really didn't mind on quiet days.

      Delete
  8. I didn't know you ran a shop. You certainly are a versatile woman who knows how to do many things! What an interesting life you and Alan have had!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had two shops of my own at different times, but my main career was in the charity sector, managing charity shops and training other shop managers. We have gotten up to all sorts over the course of our time together, but Alan has always done the same job in the background.

      Delete
  9. What lovely memories! I remember you mentioning that you used to have a shop, it looks absolutely adorable, I'd have been your best customer! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a lot of regular ladies visiting the shop, two or three times a week in some cases ... you would have been very welcome to join them :-)

      Delete
  10. I would have loved to visit your shop or your stall. You have certainly been unafraid to try different ways of earning a living and Inhope you are enjoying the slower pace of life now in your tiny home. Catriona

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I've done all sorts of jobs in my time, and changed course quite a few times, but to be honest I think I have slowed almost too much at the moment, all though through no fault of my own really. I do feel I have at least more one adventure left in me.

      Delete
  11. I haven't been with you the whole trip,, but Sue, what struck me as I read this is the simple grace with which you live your life, moving gently from one thing to the next, no looking back, no worry, just a gracious nod to how well it morphed from one lifestyle to the next. That's something to strive to emulate, from where I sit anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a lovely, and very gracious comment ... thank you.

      I have to admit I do have my moments and doubt whether things have worked out the way that I wanted them to. Our plan was for Alan to retire and join me full time running the smallholding for instance but that didn't come to pass, he decided he wouldn't give up the day job, much to my dismay. Hence my move to the Van and living separately during the week for a while. If I had know the dream wouldn't come to pass would I have given up my shop ... I'll never know. But I think I would have done the 'self-sufficiency' thing on a much smaller scale, one that I would have been able to continue to manage on my own while he worked full time.

      Delete
  12. How pretty your shop was. It must have been a wrench to leave such a lovely area. I miss going to all the Fairs we used to visit - we have such a good circle of friends and only see them at Malvern or Llandeilo now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it look lovely and smelt wonderful. It was a huge wrench to leave Cumbria and Ulverston the town I had always wanted to live in. For a few years I would burst into tears every time we passed Junction 36 on the M6. I am still in touch with some of the people I knew back then via Facebook.

      Delete
  13. Your shop looks beautiful and I adore the smell of lavender. I really didn't start reading your blog until you had moved to the small holding.

    God bless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even so you have been along for the journey for quite a long time, thank you for reading. :-)

      Delete
  14. I used to love playing shops when I was a child ,but the closest I have come to the reality was when I worked at Waitrose for a year which was fun. I am sure you have at least one more adventure in you as you say in fact maybe more just different scales of adventure, my adventures are never Everest size, more like mole hills but that will do me for now. I am sure that there is a reason for each small or large change in our lives ,it might not always be apparent but it's there . My latest mole hill requires me to lose a few stone but there is an ice cream with my name on it so for today I will flatten my mole hill with my chubby little foot ! ( and thank you :) x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved playing shops as a child, and like you loved working in a supermarket for one year. I was an online picker for Sainsbury's for a year in Calcot, Reading just when that was a relatively new thing. Shopping for other people was a revelation!! I hope you enjoyed the ice-cream ... I could do with losing two stone too!!

      And ... my pleasure :-)

      Delete
  15. What a truly wonderful shop you had Sue. It was always my dream to own such a shop but never managed to get one. Yours looks so warm, inviting and exciting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was my second shop and you know me, I loved it most because it was tiny, in fact it is the smallest shop in Cumbria, even counting the two floors. :-)

      Delete
    2. To my mind small is always beautiful ;)

      Delete
  16. I didn't realise that it had been so long. Doesn't time fly when you're having fun. You've had a lot of fun and adventures along the way haven't you? I found you through your shop blog when I was looking for something to do with Lavender all those years ago and have followed ever since. Here's to the next adventure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Time goes far too bloody fast if you ask me!! Oh well I've managed to squeeze quite a lot into the years.

      Delete
  17. How interesting! I did not realize you had done all these things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And this is just the tip of the iceberg ... I've never been one to sit still for long. :-)

      Delete