My last words on my last blog post of 2015 on Christmas Eve as we locked up for the holidays were:
‘see you again in 2016, xXx’
How wrong I was!
By now you will all have heard about the Boxing Day floods which ripped through our beautiful town of Hebden Bridge, invaded Market Street turning it into a muddy river and violated my beautiful gallery causing so much devastation.
You may well have been affected by the relentless rain and flood waters yourself.
You may not realise how much flood water entered many of our properties; residential or business.
You may not understand how this affects things going forward … on many levels.
You may have seen images on social media and read posts from small independent businesses reaching out in despair.
You may have watched the news or seen one of the many ‘flood related’ programmes that must have popped up. (I’m not aware of any of these as the television hasn’t really been watched).
You may have been one of the many volunteers who flocked to Hebden Bridge and the Calder Valley to help, and for all those that gave up their Christmas holidays to do this, I know how grateful we all are so thank you.
You may be one of my lovely customers wondering what has happened, what is happening and what will be happening.
This little blog post is very late for a number of reasons so I apologise for that but I have not really had the time or the strength to write one until now….and it’s not really everything I would like to say but I did want to try to be brief and also to try to bring you good news somewhere in amongst!
My girls and I are still stocktaking believe it or not! When we went home on Christmas Eve full of the joys of the season and a few glasses of much deserved wine we did not know that the deluge of rain forecast would cause so much destruction to our building, so much damage to our furniture, so much contamination to our stock and so much suffering to us.
I even interrupted my Christmas dinner with Dad and Sandra to head into work and raise everything to the level I thought was safe should there be another flood warning through the night.
When I could finally get into Heart Gallery it wasn’t a pretty sight and one that I hadn’t expected to be fair – after all, I had flood gates and I thought we had a flood plan in place that would protect me! Our furniture is heavy but it was no match for the flood waters!
In the last 3 weeks everything has been removed from the building and the painstakingly slow process of stocktaking has begun. Everything that was under my roof when we closed at 4pm on Christmas Eve will be accounted for … salvaged or ruined!
The building, because of its age, has taken a battering! Finally the loss adjuster and surveyor have agreed to start work on it next week but really don’t know what they will find until this process gets started. I don’t have a landlord to deal with which is a blessing I can tell you listening to some stories out there! There will be help from Calderdale Council for affected businesses of £2,500 without restrictions and a further £5,000 for property owners with very rigid criteria. I was one of the lucky ones with insurance this time (although there are penalties for being under insured … who ever thinks they are going to lose everything in a situation like this so my advice to all of you is check your small print carefully).
Going forward when my policies both come up for renewal I will not be quite so lucky which is why it is so important now to future proof my building. This is one of the reasons I joined the Calderdale Rising Crowdfunder and if you haven’t yet come across this page then please do visit – your pledge however small will make a huge difference to those businesses involved, thank you.
I have to take time to get the repairs and the refit right, time I don’t really have with no income coming in as I don’t have a selling website – something I always said I didn’t want has now bitten me on the bum! We are working on thinking about a temporary pop up online but not sure how this will work yet so do bear with us. My main message here now though is … Heart Gallery will be back!
We are TEN this September and plan to celebrate this achievement with everything that has been thrown at us lately so we do hope you will join us for the PARTY of the year!
In the meantime, keep your eye on this blog as I will bring you regular updates so that you can share the journey with us, I have had to embrace the change and although Heart Gallery will look different when we re-open the heart of it will still be there so it will feel the same.
My mission in 2006 when I opened was to support UK based designer/makers and offer our customers the very best of British by showcasing the unique, original and the bespoke…this has NEVER changed.
If you were given Heart Tokens as a present last year and you still have them to spend (and there are many lucky recipients of these out there) then please email the Gallery to let us know so that we can send you the invite to our opening party thank you.
You can only contact us via email at the moment as the phone line is obviously not working. We can be reached here: firstname.lastname@example.org
So there you have it my friends, in brief to be honest, you are now up-to-date with what is happening for Heart Gallery right now…and my last words for this blog post? Well that one’s easy isn’t it despite not knowing when yet?
‘see you again in 2016, xXx’