I am not quite sure how it happened, but somehow amongst the uncertainty and upheaval of the last eighteen months I agreed to a complete refurbishment of our Kitchen Diner!
We had exciting ideas!
Windows and walls were to be replaced with bifold doors and a completely new kitchen with solid wood floors and quartz work tops were all part of the grand plan.
Our vision was of a seamless project, and we planned everything and coordinated trades people and suppliers so that everything would be finished in plenty of time for Christmas.
The reality has been that trades were delayed, material prices increased, and stress and frustration has ensued!
In the summer we were first delayed by the late arrival of our Structural Steel. Then the back of the house was condemned to darkness while wooden OSB boards provided limited security while we awaited our new doors.
For months our kitchen equipment and utensils have been boxed up and have taken residency in my Garage. We have been cooking on a single ring camping stove but were confident it was all going to be worth it.
So, we focused on how lovely everything would be when it was finished……… just in time for Christmas!
Then .... this week .... reality checked in!
There has been a final delay with our work surfaces and now they won’t be installed until the new year. Our vision of a comfortable Christmas in our new space is now more likely for next year.
So, we are hastily adapting our plans and building temporary solutions.
As I reflect on this year and the many trials, we have all faced with COVID, government restrictions and uncertainty. I realise just how many parallels I can draw from my home project and the challenges of running our business.
For us all 2021 has been a year of change and uncertainty. Personally, I have never found it harder to forecast or predict workflow. Instead, we have had to focus on the work in-hand and push forward one month at a time.
Raw material costs have increased and delays with supplies being held in customs have been painful. That said, it is amazing how quickly you adapt when you must!
Thankfully we have a great relationship with our customer base and our team here are agile enough to react to short lead-times and changing priorities. We have pulled together and pushed on.
In March Charlie joined us to add his skills in turning and fabrication. Jack came on board in September as our newest Machinist and we added our first ever apprentice Max in collaboration with Fareham Cemast in October.
Despite the challenges and uncertainty, we have remained focused on building a brighter future. A future focusing on hope and the probability of better times to come.
Now with the news full of Omicron related uncertainty and talk once more of partial Lockdowns we are once again challenged by the unknown.
Sadly, for us all that is now a familiar feeling!
But I have learnt a great deal over the last eighteen months.
Not least how resilient we all can be when faced with problems beyond our control.
So, with that in mind I would like to wish all our customers, suppliers, and friends a very Happy Christmas.
I hope that you will all get to enjoy some valuable downtime with those you care most about.
I am now about to plan how to cook a Christmas dinner on a camping stove and then share that plan with my lovely wife.
All the very best for 2022, I hope it is an easier year to navigate for us all.