My brother's been down staying with us this week to develop our reporting system and on Wednesday morning he asked me how I was, fairly obviously implying, how is life without Babette a year and two months on. My answer was, that I had been thinking about this only a few days earlier, and beyond the obvious (bloody awful some of the time, thankfully, only a small proportion of the time), I was reflecting that I was very proud of what she and I built in our lifetime together. We produced three children, in whom I am immensely proud, for a whole variety of different reasons, Jonathan for overcoming his autism and functioning effectively in the world of software engineering, Jeanne for her good nature, work ethic and tireless enthusiasm and Josie for her good nature, ability to put limits to everyone (including her dad!) and how she's dealt with and kept her spirits up in the face of an exhausting long term illness (that is now looking like it's in recession).
And on top of that, proud of the way we've developed the business, getting the values right, making conscious decisions to get the right teams in place, creating really good relationships internally, as well as with our suppliers and our customers. And, when it all goes tits up (as of course it does from time to time), having a culture where mistakes are viewed as friends, and not something to shame people over. And the reason for this is because people who live in fear of being ridiculed for their mistakes, also live in fear for their jobs and will go to extraordinary lengths to cover their arses. Not good for them, not good for the company, not good for their relationships at work and, dare I say it, not good for home life either.
So, in answering my brother’s question, some of the above came up in the discussion that followed. But also, since she died, I have been far more adventurous in my personal life, taking more risks, giving more positive feedback to people, being far more sociable, finding new friendships, and maybe being generally nicer to people (is that even possible I hear you ask, thank you, but yes I think it is). One friend (who'd been no more than an acquaintance before) said to me the other day, that previously I appeared a bit remote, or standoffish, (she had known Babette much better than me), and that she'd no idea who I was behind the "mask", and this has, I think, applied to a number of friendships to a greater or lesser degree, that have blossomed since she died. And I must say that this has made my life much the richer.
We are still having to deal with her absence and to help that process I've been going to a Bereavement Course run by St Mary's church, Reigate, that Kate (associate vicar and who ran the funeral service for Babette) invited me to. Run by Simon Kruger, this has been very helpful. Putting into perspective some of the emotions that, just maybe, I feel I shouldn’t be having out of guilt, or regret, or just feeling that they were inappropriate somehow! It's very easy to make judgements of oneself at the best of times, add a significant loss into the equation and it can become quite a burden. This course, or should I say the people on it, have been highly supportive and non-judgemental.
Now, as I said at the beginning, Jim's been here all week working on our reporting systems and helping me with this year’s budgets (our year actually starts 1st September so I'm some way behind already), but this has taken its toll on my time for writing about product. So here, without further ado, are some new lines from the Joseph brothers.
1. Joseph Joseph Lite Loo Brush. A cut down version of their highly successful Loo Brush, this one sells for £18 (stainless version £24) and does the job well. No time for the schoolboy humour that these products usually bring out in me, I'm afraid!
3. Joseph Joseph Knives in a drawer. A good and safe way of keeping your knives sharp and safely away from young eyes. £70. Includes 5 kitchen knives, from paring to bread.
4. Joseph Joseph Elevate Knife Block. £100. A very sensible design where you can pull the knives out forward, rather than lifting upwards very much, which means they can stay safely at the back of the counter and underneath a high-level cupboard, if you choose, and you can still get at them easily.
This Weeks Offer:
Buy one of these new lines from the Josephs and get 10% off.
Buy two or more of these new lines from the Josephs and get 20% off.
Tell us who you are if coming into the shops or use code JOSEPH10 or JOSEPH20 if shopping online.
I’ll leave Winnie the Pooh to have the last word this week.
“What day is it” asked Pooh.
“It’s today” squeaked Piglet.
“My favourite day” said Pooh.
I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful weekend.