Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Who Needs Three Doors? Me Me Me!

A busy day...
Rachael came in to show some of the fabulous things she has been making for the craft fayre on 10th sept. We played 'Price That Item'. Jane won! And between the three of us (and Sharon's online contributions) I think we sorted the craft fayre poster.
Jane came in to plan the details of her Monday night's 'Coping With Teenagers' session. Her course sounds invaluable. She is going  to run a series of drop-ins followed by a six week course. All on Monday nights at 7:30-9:30pm with strong coffee and biscuits. 
We had a few interested locals through the door to admire the roof. One asked if we had a donations pot and I said “no”. Bother. Will I ever learn? But I told him to come in when he was next passing. So man-in-pink-jumper please come back. 
Then Andy popped by to check out the coffee and be a general sounding board. I had french onion soup for lunch (read on for relevance) and then a lot of coffee (again see later for relevance). Then I had to whizz home to grab the car to collect lottie from the services in order to take her to swimming. 
On the way home a lady collapsed just behind me. I held her head and talked to her and was acutely aware that I hadn’t a clue what to do. I dreadful feeling. I called for help from a slowing motorist. Another pedestrian stopped and we asked her to call an ambulance. I felt calmer - there is safety in numbers. The lady wasn’t responding; couldn’t remember her name and was very disorientated. I kept talking to her and talking to her, asking her to stay awake when she was drifting off (all those episodes of Emergency Bikers were some use after all) and eventally she told me her name. What a relief that was, and I told her so. Eventually I left her with the ambulance men. She was probably glad of the peace. It's only later that you analyse what you did and that's when I remembered the French onion soup. The poor woman - I was leaning right over her. On second thoughts that could have been what brought her round.

Note to self...first aid course a.s.a.p. 

My big red door - two letterboxes

My big white door
My big black door - but it's hidden by the shadow of the Cathedral tower.
I didn't notice when I was taking it this afternoon, only when I downloaded it. 

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Someone Spoke to Me!!!

I was quite chirpy anyway (whatever Jane tells you about our 'flat' phone conversation this morning, it's simply not true. Well... a little bit true but someone was parked in my space and then I set the hub's alarms off) so I was chirpy anyway but then, when I checked the blog, someone had commented under a post. That's made my day. Thank you Catherine. Take note please other readers. I like people to talk to me. I sit in my hub, writing on blackboards, humming to myself, tapping away on my laptop, talking to the statues, blah blah blah and then a comment! Brilliant. 

Anyway today, as well as talking to the statues, Jenny and I met to go shopping to fit out the dispensary. I think we did it. I am waiting for the email with the cost breakdown but it feels good to have that done and dusted. I hope the health centre patients like olive wood. Classy? Definitely! 
My angel statue

My lion friend - he's not blurry in real life

And Liz (crocheter to the stars and receiver of complements on her spanish donkey by a duchess) has agreed to crochet for our up-and-coming Saturday craft sales. Hurray! If I can snap up Jacquie too and find Jan a bit of time to knit, I will have the A-Team of clever crafty people. Then if I lock them in the tower and make them knit for freedom - I'm laughing!

Jane is popping by tomorrow to talk teenagers and Andy and Michael are popping in for free coffee! I am still collecting empty jam jars, material scraps (they can be really small as they are to cover badges and jam jars) and wool (again small balls are fine as we can use everything). Either email, ring or pop by and we can sort out how to get them here. 

No Distractions :(

Lottie has gone on holiday for the week so I have no little helper. I will miss her terribly but I am going to get my head down and get busy. I have a hub to create. 

Already this morning two organisations in Exeter have emailed to say they would like to come and visit to see whether the room would suit their needs. I have organised the hire of a van to go and collect our furniture (it looks pretty big and therefore very exciting). The group of artists and crafters getting involved in the Saturday craft and cake event on 10th September is steadily growing and I have plans for an exciting new noticeboard inspired by tipi crafting at Aeon and it's only 11am!

RIght breakfast time and then I am going to have a go at driving to the hub. That involves sinking the bollard into the road at the end of Princesshay and mastering a remote control barrier. This could all go horribly wrong. 

Saturday, 27 August 2011

The Suggestions Keep Coming...

And the suggestions keep coming...
Makey Bakey Art 
Wakey Wakey, Makey Bakey
Make and Bake, Bring and Take (thank you Niece Rosie)

For those that are asking about the term Pop-Up Cafe, it means a cafe that pops up occasionally but isn't permanent - perfect for the hub. 

Thank you for all the suggestions and the first cake and craft event is on 10th September. Time to be confirmed.

New Link:

If you are interested in art & crafting click here or click on the tab above called 'Make some pocket money'.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Get Your Thinking Caps On!

In order to start shouting from the roof about our first event we need a name.

The post on FaceBook read, "I need your help...I need a name for our monthly Saturday events where we will have craft stalls, homemade cakes and a chance for people to sell on their unwanted art & craft materials/equipment (NCT style) to make themselves some extra pennies. But we need a great name to sum it all up - PLEASE HELP clever and creative people."

Ten hours later we have....

Hustle @ the hub
Project C (craft, cakes, coffee and all things creative)
Saturday’s Hub works hard for a living...
Bring, Bake and Barter
sARTurday Seconds
TeaBay (and cakes)
communitTEA crafts
craft lootsale
Cathedral Crafts & Cakes
Sunshine Saturday Crafts
Update 26/8/11 10:23am: Becky suggested The Hub Kaleidoscope 

It’ll be a pop-up cafe so it would be good to include that somewhere...
I love the puns and in 12 hours thanks to social media we are a lot closer to a name and therefore closer to being able to advertise. I would still love more of your thoughts.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

A Date for Your Diary

Scrapstore were celebrating exciting things today so we got a little held up there this morning. There were photographers, men in suits, champagne and nibbles as well as their usual treasure trove of goodies. A big congratulations as Scrapstore is now a charity and no longer part of city council. Hence the celebration. While I was there, I was introduced to Clare (Education Manager – Performance & Music from The Phoenix), she is responsible for all the wonderful things that Lottie has been up to at The Phoenix this summer. An absolute bonus as we had a good chat. And I met the lovely Jo (one of our practitioners daughters) who is running Scrapstore. 

Then we met Wolfpaw. An incredibly knowledgable man who told us more about the hall's history and pointed out features I hadn't noticed and explained their relevance. I couldn't take it all in but I hope he will add to his blog. I have such a sore neck tonight. I am not sure if it is all the looking up or the result of trying to sort room layouts and furniture choices. Thank goodness for Grangran who scooped Lottie up and took her for Nutella and ice-cream crepes followed by conker-hunting. I think I missed out there. 

Reminder: I am away until Tuesday (I am going to stand in a muddy field but it will be worth it to hear my fabulous little brother play with his band Gobi). From Tuesday I am back in the hub and taking bookings. 

Keep Saturday 10th September free if you like crafts and cakes...more details to follow.

I am also on the scrounge...clean jam jars, wool, material offcuts and unwanted books can find a good home at the hub. I will trade for cups of tea and coffee!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

An Eye for Detail...

It was an early start this morning. Lottie and I were carrying chairs over the green when we bumped into Sandy who used to work at the cafe. In fact, it was an even earlier start as Lottie and I popped into the hub at 1am. I couldn't sleep for worrying about leaving the 16 ultra-bright spotlights on. I was so afraid that they would start a fire and the hall would go up in flames that I woke up little Lottie and drove up to Southernhay. We then marched purposely through a deserted Princesshay in pyjamas and hoodies. I said to Lottie that it must look very dodgy on the CCTV. I must have looked like I'd stolen her. We turned the hall lights off and rushed back to the car, hugely relieved. I won't do that again. 

This morning, Carole came in to talk yoga. She turns out to be the oracle on all things community and she was so good to share her contacts, ideas and special places with me. People like Carole make the world a better place. Then Sharon came by. She's magic too. She is a creative and stylish wonder woman. She has great ideas, such an eye for beautiful things and a vision of how things should be to look amazing. She had a magic touch at the cafe and I think she might wave her magic wand over the hub too. Then Leonine popped by. It doesn't sound like the hub is quite right for her but it's important to know we can't suit everyone and it was great to meet her.  
Sharon, Lottie and Carole - origami-tastic!
Sharon & Lottie (that's Lottie's 'I love Sharon' face) -
can you see the need for furniture shopping (see later)?
We have started our asking for favours (quick hide!). We are looking for jam jars, wool and material offcuts to kick off our first community event which we have planned for September...more details to follow. 

Tomorrow we get to meet Wolfpaw and I am off to renew our ScrapStore membership. I have some serious planning to do for the first Saturday craft event and it's furniture ordering day.

As of September 1st (a week tomorrow), I am taking bookings for the hall so please do get in touch if you know when you would like to book. I will be emailing all the practitioners with the finalised time-slots and rental price bands. Thursdays will be left available for one off events and will be available for half-day or whole-day one-off sessions. 

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

News in Brief

Today's news in brief:

  • Wolfpaw is going to visit us soon. He sounded delighted to get an email to say the hall is open to the public.
  • We had a lovely tea party with Sal, Ben, Lottie and Rachel this morning all gathered around our temporary children's table and chairs. Tonight Lottie and I took a two hour round trip to Babbacombe to collect some comfier chairs just in time for tomorrow's meetings. They better be comfy!
  • Sarah Hewlett paid us a flying visit on the way to work. So lovely to see her but not for long enough but we may see her again tomorrow.
  • I have decided (with a little help from my friends) that the walls are just fine. After surviving 600 years without my help I think they have clearly shown they are made of tough stuff and I should leave them alone so I have put my roller down (it didn't take much persuasion). 
  • We are collecting books for a bookstall so if you are having a clear out, please think of us. The more pennies we collect the more fun we can have!
  • Lottie and I had an hour off to go to MakeArt to decorate pudding bowls after deciding the ones we had were either too big or too small. These ones are just right.
Tomorrow is going to be busy and productive I hope. Carole is coming in to talk yoga; Sharon is coming to sort me out on the interior decoration front and to get some girlie time in; Leonine is coming to talk colours and then in the evening I am meeting with Catherine and all on comfy chairs.  


I had never heard of Wolfpaw until an email from Simon this morning. Wolfpaw's blog is "about Exeter and its history, its architectural losses and the fragments that remain". I agree with him that is incredibly sad how much of historic Exeter has been lost in the past 100 years and reading his post about our medieval hall, he talks about the hall being locked up and filled with filing cabinets. It was fascinating to read his post. We have heard lots of information from people over the past few months but it is hard to take it all in. To see it written down, you have time to digest it. Our magnificent hall, which dates back to the mid-1400s (or at least the wood in the roof was felled between 1417-1442) can now be shared and Simon is inviting Wolfpaw to come and see.

Tourist Guide:
Yesterday whilst chatting to Simon at the end of our alley some faces appeared at he entrance. There were four German tourists who wanted to take a photo, so we invited them up the alley and into the hall. They were wowed by it. I told them what I knew and they told me that I talked to fast! It transpired that they had only two hours to see Exeter so we wished them luck. They took a last photo of Lottie and me in front of our hall (we weren't in our pyjama phase) and went on their way. I think I am going to need a souvenir stall - I am thinking thimbles and tea-towels? Your thoughts please...

To visit Wolfpaw's blog CLICK HERE

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Ups and Downs of Painting

What a fabulous Monday. Lottie and I went to our last printing group in Uffculme (that's not fabulous, that's sad). It's not the last printing group but I have commitments in Exeter now but we ended on a high. Lisa taught us mono-printing and have treasures as a result:
Lisa demonstating mono-printing
Lisa's fabulous printing press
My print entitled, 'Lottie and the Spaghetti Tree'

My Fish Print

Lottie's Owl Print
And wonderful Liz crocheted a gorgeous owl for Lottie who called him Ollie and took him everywhere  today. We are lucky girls.
The Fabulous Ollie
Then we came back to the centre to meet Barbara and her husband so we could show them the centre. Today was hub painting day but it didn't quite go to plan as there was something unusual about the walls. I suppose when they have been there since 1470 (I'm going to check that as that sounds ridiculously old) you have to be a bit more forgiving but a slap of Dulux just wasn't going to do the job. So we painted our blackboards instead. 

We were well prepared. We had taken our pyjamas to wear over our clothes whilst painting. It was just a shame that we had so many visitors during the pyjama phase and a bigger shame that none seemed to bat an eyelid. My pyjama look can't be that dissimilar from my usual look.

Mum popped by. I love the constant visitors.

So roast beef sandwiches polished off, cow material bought to make bag for Lottie to take to the Aeon Festival and garage emptied into the hub using Simon's Saab convertible. It's amazing what you can fit in a car when it has no roof. 

Then Lovely Laura and family popped by even though they had friends from London arriving imminently. It meant the world that they came to see what we are up to before heading home to Marlow. So big thank you...
Top to bottom: Phil, Laura, Lottie, Anna and Jamie :)
Tomorrow Lottie and I are going to unpack all the boxes, admire our new refreshments table, eat more roast beef sandwiches and have a late afternoon trip to Torquay to collect four chairs we won on eBay. I'm off to research painting ancient places on Google. Wish me luck! I might just
 put the kettle on first...

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Rollers, Roast Beef Sandwiches and Wrist action...

It's Sunday night and Lottie and I are ready and packed for tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be a busy one...

It is my last Art and Craft's group up in Uffculme at Lisa's converted butcher's shop. I love it there and it has been a regular feature of my Mondays for such a long time that I am already a bit wobbly about not being able to go any more. But Lottie and I have made a huge crispy cake with marshmallows on top to ease the pain. But Lovely Lisa has promised to come to Exeter and run a two-hour session weekly at the hub so, although I will miss my classmates tremendously, I still get to see Lisa and she will have the pleasure of teaching me for a little longer. I am a tricky pupil. It's the short attention span and my 'more speed less haste' attitude that does it. 

Then Lottie and I are painting. I bought her her own mini roller set and have promised her roast beef sandwiches and so far that seems to have persuaded her that it's going to be fun. I think she may have forgotten how large the hall is. The size of the tub of paint might give the game away but once we're there I'll lock the door and bribe her with the second crispy cake I made for exactly that purpose. Parenting is an art!

Barbara is coming to visit us in the early afternoon. She is an ideas machine so I will have my notepad ready and I hope my oldest friend Laura will pop by later with her family. Sadly Laura never saw the cafe and with our projects it seems that if you don't see, you don't really understand. So I am going to get her in early on this one. Plus Lottie's roller set has plenty of spares and friends = workforce so fingers crossed. 

I have treated myself to a special roller with an extension pole. 5'4'' of me with an extra 2' pole allowance is 7'4'' plus with the chair I can precariously balance myself upon... I reckon I can reach up to the dado rail. 

Anyone who loves painting - come and grab a roller. You never know, it might be fun and there's payment in crispy cake.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Lovely Neighbours

It was lovely to see Andy, Rachel, Chris and Zoe today. We spent a long time looking up. Apparently the faces in the ceiling could be the people who built the hall in which case the builders were a choir of angels, a couple of lions and some round-headed people with a penchant for foliage headgear. But I tell you what, they were fine craftsmen. 

Rachel showed us a stunning purse she had made - such a clever lady. Some people have an eye for design and Rachel is one of them. Unfortunately, moments before she walked in I put some terrible flowers on the know when you wish you hadn't? Rachel recommended Lottie's origami tulips instead. Always so polite. Anyway flowers are in the 'garage' pile. 

And I met the neighbours. Ian has a very long title that starts with Canon; has a fabulous house and is clearly a very nice man. He was worried about his daughter's ghettoblaster disturbing us! That's the kind of man he is.

I have also scrubbed the entrance and have before and after photos. Please at least pretend to notice a difference. 


I am sitting on the wall outside my hub on the cathedral green and I am counting all the people walking past. Happy Joey! 

Thursday, 18 August 2011

We Have a Clean Door!

What a great day. Nikkie came with her boys Sid and Ted and had a good look around even getting up to the roof to see the view. I really hope Nikkie will run some yoga groups at the hub. Then Dad and Sal came over to examine the parquet flooring and give an opinion. Floor has character which was the same conclusion that Nikkie came to. They too enjoyed the view from the roof. Then Em came over with Felix and Beaulieu the Bear (who face-planted into my partially-scrubbed mossy path giving him a green nose). They too made it to the roof and Felix counted 62 steps! Finally Lisa Purchase, our fabulous art group teacher, and her two children Prince and Princess Purchase, came to have a look. After deciding that the hub makes an excellent skipping space and deciding that it really should be a roller disco, we went up to the roof (60 and 64 steps depending on who you ask!). I am now sitting with aching calf muscles. I am going to be such a fit bunny.

But it wasn't al socialising...I also scrubbed half the path (half - so I can see a before and after effect tomorrow) and cleaned the two doors. They made their doors really big in the olden days!

You can make brilliant key fobs from Shrinkies! Sometimes I surprise myself :)

Update: 12 hours legs are really feeling it this morning. Why get a gym membership when you can have an office in the roof?

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

How to Make an Origami Butterfly

We're In!

I have the alarms all sorted and we're in!
I met the other people who have offices on other floors of our new attached health centre. They are all very friendly. They had lots of computer screens and it all looked very techy. I looked confused by what they did and they were equally puzzled by what I did.
Tomorrow I am putting in the coffee machine (as my friend says the opening checks should start with 'Put coffee on!'), cleaning the hall and scrubbing the green stuff off the entrance path. I think this could be the exercise I've been needing to do for a while. The painters seem to have painted two walls and left two so I may be borrowing Zoe's PaintPad Pro and sprucing up the walls a bit. Nikkie is popping by to see whether it is somewhere she would like to run classes and Dad is coming in to see whether he can help out a bit with the D.I.Y which means it's not D.I.Y it's get-dad-to-do-it. G.D.T.D.I! He put up some shelves in my kitchen today as a warm up!
So it's coffee on, heels off and sleeves rolled up. Where did I put those micro fibre cloths from the cafe?
This is the Hub on the Green! 

The Real Fun Starts at 2:30pm!

At 2:30pm I collect the keys and from then onwards the hub is ours and I am soooooo excited.

I have a very small home, not big enough to swing a guinea pig, so I am really looking forward to having a space to do things. You don't need money to do exciting things you need a space and good people and now we have both. So we have exciting times ahead.

I am particularly looking forward to Lisa running some art groups; planning children's yoga classes; if Jane can keep up her courses for parents of teenagers for a few more years I will be there; coffee with friends; big tea parties with huge cakes; lots of laughs; bringing Health Question Times to Exeter; our affordable art gallery; getting the knitters together again and watching them create magic; getting all the people I miss from the Cafe back together again for good times; my Lottie is looking forward to having a big space for her 10th birthday party; taster sessions all sorts of new things; craft stalls at the weekend...

But this space is for all of us so if you have an idea or would like to run a group but have never had the space, let me know.
Good times in Cullompton with Jan's knit and natter group

Monday, 15 August 2011

Lottie's Origami Flowers

Sometimes you stumble across something by chance...

So last night while I was working, I found information on a course running today at the Phoenix. It was called 'Origami Summer Flowers Workshop' so I booked a place there and then for my daughter Lottie (9 years old and wants to be a Blue Peter presenter). She had a wonderful time - "It was BRILLIANT mummy!" and now she is filling the house with paper tulips and butterflies.
Now I am wondering how many paper tulips it takes to decorate a medieval hall!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Keys = Happy Joey

I get my hands on the keys to the new centre in Exeter this week. Which means all the planning of the past few months can be put into action and I am really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Interior Decoration

So Jenny and I sorted the reception at the new place (in our minds) and I am on 'find a builder' duty. It's going to look great. Jenny has gone for grey (doesn't show the liquorice) shelving and we have compromised on a screen to the waist (I think Jenny wanted a hiding space). I am getting access to the building soon so I can start getting really stuck in. 

Then I bumped into Francis whilst mug-shopping who was a therapist from the last place we were based. It was so lovely to catch up. I had a tea, blue cheese and walnuts overlooking the new building. 

Then a great chat with Simon who is in his canvas office and we sorted out all sorts long distance. 

So the rest of the week is about working from my Oxford office/sister's house and hunting for fridges, worktops, builders, plumbers and a floor polisher; creating timetables and bookkeeping templates and munching our way through the 1.5kg of silverside that we have just collected from Pipers Farm as payment for a favour done. 

Phoenix Cards

I am now building a team of Phoenix Traders. The best bit is we meet regularly and have coffee! But we also all sell cards and while some of the team do it to keep busy and make some money, I do it to raise funds for some of our smaller projects. In Cullompton, the Phoenix profits were used to buy plants and equipment for the community garden. In Exeter, I am yet to work out what the funds will be used for but I am hoping to create small raised beds by the entrance so it may well be used for similar things. But the point is if you would like to continue (or start) to order your cards, you will still be supporting the Phoenix charities and our community projects as well as getting fabulous cards. That's a win win if ever I saw one!

Click HERE for more information. Happy shopping. 

If you live locally then there will be no postage and packing. For postal orders then there is a £2 postage and packing charge, unless you fancy coming to visit us, having a coffee and a chat and collecting in person. 

Friday, 5 August 2011

Progress, Progress, Progress...

A good morning planning Jenny's reception room at the new place. It's a good job she has a sense of style because not all of us do! I wouldn't know where to start. I also met with Rachel who is a wonderful local lady who is a creative whizz. It was great to talk through ideas with her in Boston Tea Party of course. And this afternoon Catherine and I talked Phoenix cards which I sell to raise money for community projects. We are starting to build a little selling all means pennies for the community pot and the more pennies the more we can create. Hopefully Chrissy will join the Phoenix team and three means we can have meetings and chats and coffee and conquer the greetings card at a time.

This weekend I am going to office furniture shops, sink shops and sideboard shops. I will be researching limed oak and sage paint. Kirstie Allsopp I am not but I'll give it a go! 

Monday, 1 August 2011

A Summer of Planning...

It is August already! And for me, August is my planning month. Simon is due to come over any minute to talk though our latest venture. My to do list is growing and there is nothing more satisfying that crossing things off it but it is growing faster than it is shrinking. 

It is an exciting time though. People know what to expect of us now and so the list of people 'on board' is already a long one and that helps me sleep at night. 

Some of the things on my to do list this week...
Go furniture shopping (Started)
Collect the coffee machine (DONE)
Send off the invitations to the 'Show People Around the New Place' evening (DONE)
Meet up with Jan from Cafe Sustain to talk knitting business! (Done)
Catch Sharon to talk through display boards (DONE)
Contact Jane from StartHere to talk information kiosks...

How many times more likely are you to do something if you have written it down?!