Jo's shop and a chick update

Having been quoting Yeats on Thursday, here we are with Dr Johnson now, who I think said something like "Be neither idle nor solitary". On Friday I shook myself off, like a dog emerging from water, and set off to meet bodran for lunch and to have a look at her new shop. I had thought long and hard about why I had been feeling so bad - something to do with my desire to stop working and a deep, deep fear of what happens if I do. So no easy or immediate answers but time to be kind to myself, to acknowledge that I am stretched too thin just now and that it might be best to just to let things go for a while. There is a time for action and solutions and a time to deliberately step aside, to turn away, to let time pass, see what the mind can do by itself when I let it be, below conscious thought.

Jo's shop is in Denbigh, a small Welsh town which hasn't yet made it as a tourist destination despite a fabulous castle and some lovely old buildings. It is less well off than some of its neighbours but feels like a town teetering on the brink. Which will win? the beautiful old library, the market hall, the sweeping beauty of the views? or the charity shops, the battered old Woolworths, the sense of decline? For the town to feel more prosperous again it needs its High Street to flourish and shops like Jo's are part of what brings people into town.

The shop is towards the top of the hill, near the library, in a higgledypiggledy building added to over years. Yesterday it did not look when I walked in and found jo on her knees as though there was any chance that it could open today. The shop itself had been painted and decorated with some fabulous wallpaper and a clean calm style that makes you want to smile. But there were boxes and boxes of clothes waiting to be hung and steamed and shoes in boxes and where was the jewellery and weren't there some scarves somewhere? We went for a quick sandwich and then I thought I would give Jo a hand for an hour. Four hours later when I staggered home she was still going strong with another friend arriving and hours more to do.

God knows how she did it (no sleep, amazing energy and a great eye for what looks good might be part of it) but she opened this morning at half past nine. When I arrived today for a look at about half past two the whole place was shining and gorgeous, scented geraniums in the window, at least half the stuff we had painstakingly put out already sold and the shop full of excited customers practically falling on Jo's neck with joy and gratitude for finding a shop like this. There was a French market in the town and instead of its usual slightly abandoned feel the town was full of people and as far as I could see practically all the women over thirty passed through Jo's shop. The clothes are just gorgeous, organic cotton, simple and immensely flattering and not silly prices either. You could see people wondering whether it was worth coming inside and getting giddy with the affordability when they did.

I wish you all the luck in the world Jo. It is a great place and deserves to be a big success.

And here is quick chick update for those who have been wondering: all seven of the survivors are well and eating for Wales. They are feathering quickly so are losing the impossible cuteness of fluffy chicks. If you take the top of the box now they fly up onto the edge, curious and interested. I am still trying to handle them every day, really hoping to get these tamer than our other bantams which, though ready to feed from your hand, are very reluctant to be picked up. Another couple of weeks should see them feathered enough to go out into the shed which will be good for the smell of younger son's room. We will have to work out how to make them a totally bombproof, dogproof run but so far, so good!


  1. Hooray! Look at those chicks - they already have that little upturned tail of the bantams. Fabulous to see.
    And that shop looks good - I loved your phrase about customers feeling giddy with the affordability of it all. I know that one!
    Nice to see you're feeling a bit perkier.

  2. The shop looks so posh did we really do that???

  3. It looks lovely and it was all down to you (and colin!).
    You are a star.

  4. Don't know whether to enthuse about the chicks or the shop! Both look terrific.

    You're an excellent surrogate mother hen - those chicks look really sturdy, amazing how quickly they develop isn't it?

  5. Thank you for the shop piccies...didn't you lot do well?

    The chicks are lovely ...all gangly and teenager attitude I hope.
    again ..didnt you do well? Doesnt seem 5 mins since you had your head in a book and just look at what you ended up doing.....

  6. Hi, just wanted to say, I love your blog, and great news about the chicks. May well visit your friend's shop some day, too! Best wishes to you.

  7. The shop looks gorgeous....Denbigh sounds like Matlock: just waiting for a few more businesses like Jo's to turn it around! It ony takes someone like Jo to get it going in the right direction and that attracts more. The very best of luck to her.
    Well done with the chicks! As M says, they look so healthy!

  8. Hello Elizabeth,

    As you wrote last time, you surely are a "do-er" ... just look at what you have done, helping others, bringing happiness!

    I know how much work it takes to set up a shop, and Jo has been very fortunate to have your assistance.

    Those chicks may never say a proper thank you, but perhaps will soon be giving you eggs. What a lovely circle.


  9. Hello Mother Hen...your babies look so well today!
    What a very tempting shop Jo has, I wish I was near enough to comr in and look at everything.

  10. The shop looks fabulous and just the sort of place I would go giddy with excitement too.

    Brilliant to see the chicks looking so healthy and happy and getting so big! Can you tell yet if they are male or female? I've got my fingers crossed here that they are all ladies!

  11. If it weren't for the big ocean in the way, I'd be checking Jo's shop out tomorrow morning about 9:31am. It looks quite lovely.

    And the chicks! They are still irresistible. So glad you were able to save them and keep them healthy!

  12. The shop looks lovely and the chicks are growing.

    Thanks for your very helpful comment on my blog. I am almost my old self now & Sam has called round every day at some point & is fine & Kaiko is happy with her house & I have the children this week before & after school.

  13. How brave of Jo - I hope it's an out and out success. Looks very chic(k)...sorry!

    And they (the chic(ks) look extraordinarily exuberant and large - well done you.

  14. Hi and thanks for your visit to mine. So sorry to upset you about Clive Owen's gigantic bottom but I'm afraid it's the truth.

    The shop sounds really exciting, makes me want to open one and have loads of customers rushing around. The chicks are lovely too!


  15. What a fabulous looking shop, Jo, and what a good friend you are, elizabeth. Should I ever decide to open a shop I shall know who to call.

    Hope you're feeling slightly better, too - sometimes there's nothing like a bit of cleaning, tidying and sorting out - even if it's for someone else - to shake off the cobwebs.

    Glad to hear the chicks are doing well. That one to the bottom right is just crying out for a caption.

  16. Oooh the shop looks fab....I never dare go into clothes shops hence end up buying boring stuff from M&S but sure I would feel OK with Jo there - so sounds like a spree is forecast for the next trip! Thanks for posting the pics and report. Ditto to the chicks as yes, had been wondering and hoping. They do look very healthy and yes, teenagy! Well done and glad you're feeling a bit better.


  17. you do sound more cheerful, hoorah, hoorah. The shop looks just delightful. I do wish denbigh were nearer. And the chicks coming on a treat. xx

  18. Oh gorgeous. I had forgotten how chicks will fly up and look around and seem quite tame at first. Then they so love to get into the garden and scratch. Have you noticed how every chicken scratches the same way?
    Three scratches with one leg, two with the other and then a step back with both to examine what's been turned up. Even hand rared chicks do it so it can't be learnt - must be inherited. Yet however do you program that little bit of behaviour into a gene?

    Jo's shop really does look gorgeous, doesn't it. On of these days I shall make it up to North Wales again and call in. Well done Jo.

  19. Great blog Elizabeth; I had somehow missed it. Bodran's shop sounds lovely and you are a star for helping out when you were not feeling so hot yourself. I hope she does really well with it. Hope you are resting up where you can and allowing your mind to peruse possibilities ( love the way you put that) xx

  20. What a lovely post.
    Next time I visit my Mum I will be sure to try and pop into the shop. Denbigh - it looks great.
    An Artist's Garden

  21. Sorry I missed this earlier, the shop looks great and how kind of you to help set it up. Hope Bodran does really well.

  22. 'There is a time for action and solutions and a time to deliberately step aside, to turn away, to let time pass, see what the mind can do by itself when I let it be, below conscious thought...'

    You're so wise ElizabethM. I hope your trip was the tonic you wanted it to be!

  23. The shop looks great Elizabeth, how kind of you too to help with Bodran, wishing her every success with new business.

    Glad to know that the chicks are doing well, I was worried since you told us about nasty incident with doggies.

    You are a very kind person with animals,hoping for you to have a good batch of eggs layed.



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