When we first had the idea to open a Gin School in Hull, I don’t think either of us realised how quickly, or to what extent, it would turn our lives (and our house) upside down.
I’m sure I visibly wilted when I got back from Leicester last Friday and found the front room of our once tidy house full to the rafters with boxes. Simon, like the cat who got the cream, beamed with pride when he told me he’d bought up what looked like a warehouse full of gin glasses at a knock-down price. I really felt like I’d been transported to Trotters Independent Traders in Peckham, and fully expected a blow up doll to pop up from behind the mountain of cardboard. We had such an exciting evening loading and reloading the car and transferring the fruits of Simon’s late-night shopping sprees to our tiny unit. The romance just never dies.
When we finally got to put our feet up, I couldn’t help but notice that Simon still looked like he’d won the lottery. I began to feel distinctly uneasy. That look usually means that I’m about to spend a weekend cleaning Humber mud off some random nautical gear, or he’s made stew for tea. “Shall I tell you now, or would you rather it be a surprise for Sunday morning?” he teased. Then, he almost fell over himself with excitement as he told me all about the interview he’d arranged for us at Sunday lunchtime… on BBC Radio Humberside’s Lara King show. I felt another small part of me wither and die. “Don’t worry,” he assured me. “Those nerves you’re feeling now? That’s what makes top athletes win gold medals,” he told me, with an enthusiastic smile that only made me wish I’d locked him in the unit earlier as well.
As it happens, Lara couldn’t have made it easier for us, and was so welcoming and enthusiastic about our plans that I soon forgot my nerves (once I’d stopped trying to escape unnoticed on the wheelie office chair). Thank you, Lara! You can listen to us chatting here, if you’d like to hear about how things are going with our Gin School plans (scoot to 2:12:22).
Better still, it made up for some of the disappointment we felt after we’d had to turn away Sarah and the BBC Look North team who called to interview us last week, and were really keen to visit and film at Hepworth’s Arcade, and to talk about the recent boom in microdistilleries. They seemed quite keen on our suggestion that they come back as soon as we’re up and running to have a go at making their own gin, though. There are some other really great businesses and lovely people already trading in the Arcade, so we hope that the BBC team’s visit also highlights what they are doing, and encourages more people to get down there to see for themselves.
In other news, we’ve also had some exciting meetings this week, with HullBID to get Hotham’s involved in the forthcoming Farmers’ Markets and the Yum! Festival, which was such a huge success last year; and with some local businesses keen to collaborate with us on gin-related projects - keep checking back here and on our social media for the latest updates on these. We also went to meet Emma from York Gin to compare notes (and gins), and Simon spent a great evening getting tips from ‘Head of the Hedgerows', Jonathan Curtoys of Sloemotion.
In the meantime, I notice that Simon has his face glued to his laptop screen again, and has that crazed look that can only mean one thing: he’s found another catering supplier’s end-of-line sale. I’d better go and rescue the company credit card.
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