Hooray! (I hear you all cheer!), it’s Day in the Life time again! On this occasion I thought it would be nice to introduce you to one of my fellow Just A Card team volunteers, Michael of The Leaping Hare Gallery in Easingwold. Michael is the only gallery owner on the team, so brings a unique perspective to our discussions and ideas. The gallery also stocks some of my work and that of the other team members. If you happen to be in the vicinity do pop in and say hello, but in the meantime, here’s a day in Michael’s life….
The day begins with a six o’clock alarm. Our three daughters attend secondary school in York, so they need to be up early enough to get themselves organised and ready to walk to the bus for ten past seven. They are good girls (largely) and can be trusted to make their own lunches and get their own breakfasts.
I confess to going back to bed and snoozing until quarter past seven (with an eye and an ear open) after I have roused the girls. Sarah will usually get up and make herself her desperately needed morning coffee and drink it in bed. There will always be a girl or two who wants her hair plaited or tied back just the way they like it, so proper extra sleeping is out of the question!
Shower at quarter past seven and then it’s time to awaken the boy (if he hasn’t awoken already with all the girls’ toing and froing). He is in his last year of primary school so he needs to be ready by eight thirty to walk to his bus with Sarah and me. Sometimes the walk turns into a run, as there is usually a last minute distraction before we leave the house.
Child free, and not opening the gallery until 10 am, we have the luxury and the pleasure of a morning walk through and around our lovely Georgian Market Town. There is always someone to say hello to, as we usually meet our ‘regulars’ walking their dogs or going off to work. Life in a small town is so friendly and laid back, we wouldn’t live anywhere else.
Although Easingwold is a town, there are woods and large open, green spaces that we can take in on our way back home. A leisurely breakfast is next. Our house is a little like a gallery, so we have something beautiful and original to appreciate in every room, whether we’re eating or just relaxing. If it’s sunny, we’ll eat or sit in the garden.
We love what we do for a living so much that we never refer to it as ‘going to work.’ It’s ‘going to the gallery.’ So ‘go to the gallery’ we do, by 10 am - sometimes earlier, depending on whether a delivery is arriving. And sometimes it might be just one of us to open up, because the other one might be hanging out some washing or sorting something at home – oh, the luxury of working with one’s spouse and having one’s home and business in the same town! Not everyone can work with their partner, but Sarah and I have done it several times in the past and quite enjoy it. Occasional bickering aside, we get on quite well!
Sarah runs the framing side of the business and I run the business side, as well as being ‘front of house.’ Together we run the gallery side. That is our favourite part of all! Sourcing new artists and stock and dealing with regular suppliers gives us enormous satisfaction. We have developed fabulous relationships with most of them and many have become friends.
My gallery ‘working day’ involves catching up with emails, updating posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, dealing with any new deliveries (and marveling at the new artworks which emerge from the packaging), pricing them, updating my spreadsheets (I have become a master) and putting them on display. One or two new works will go in our window to demonstrate that we are always adding new and exciting stock. We have gained a very good reputation as the place to come for cards, so I have developed a policy of never having an empty rack! There will always be a pile of new cards to fill any gaps and keep our range fresh and different. In between all of this, of course, I am dealing with customers!
Dealing with customers is my next favourite part, after sourcing new artworks. Whether it’s because I am an open person, or whether it’s because people unwind whilst among beautiful things, I’m not entirely sure, but I can often spend half an hour or more talking to complete strangers. Customers open up in surprisingly different and unexpected ways and I have become counsellor, confidante and (I hope) friend on many occasions. If people need to talk, I will listen; it seems to go with the territory and I am happy to welcome it.
By three-thirty Sarah will usually have gone home to meet our youngest from the bus and, as the afternoon wears on, I will complete my regular routine of sweeping, tidying and cashing up, before returning home to the bosom of my family.
Evenings are spent doing the usual parental tasks – cooking dinner (something Sarah and I share), helping with homework, ordering a child to do something they haven’t, and watching TV. Depending on how busy my day in the gallery has been, I might also catch up with some emails or paperwork. Everyone in our house likes tea, so usually it will be the turn of one child or another to make it. I like to unwind with something herbal.
Around about this time of evening, I go to the back door to see if Horace the hedgehog is making his nightly tour of the garden. His timing varies, so sometimes our paths don’t cross. When I see him, I am filled with a sense of satisfaction and quietly restrained joy. I am, after all, a man of simple pleasures.