We have lift off. The shop is opening tomorrow, and by jingo it actually does look quite like a shop. This, I should hastily point out, has absolutely nothing to do with me, as I have been off on a publicity tour for the new book over the last week or so. My contribution has therefore consisted of waltzing out of the empty shell of a room last Thursday, calling cheerily over one shoulder to the new staff members "See you in a week chaps, try to get the place ready if you can."
Book tours are great, as you tend to stay in lovely hotels, wear big fluffy dressing gowns, and everyone is very, very nice to you because they have to be. Over a series of sumptious breakfasts, whilst reading a recently ironed copy of The Times, I would occasionally phone the shop to find out how things were going. Things were going very, very well as it turned out.
The reasons for this are called Andy and Lucy. Andy has been nothing short of a man possessed, standing on the top of wobbly ladders balancing on one foot with a mouthful of nails, brow furrowed as he sorts another piece of overhead DIY phoned in by me in the manner of Lord Bufton-Tufton as I feasted on quail at the Ritz. Andy, in short, is made of the right stuff.
Lucy applied considerable elan and flair to the layout of the place, and plundered her own store to provide lovely chalk boards and odds and bobs to make the shop look what can only be described as chic and stylish. As these are two words that have NEVER been applied to me, it's obvious that the credit for the place looking so good really does lie elsewhere.
Not forgetting Jim, Jim, Simon, Josh, Steve who all worked on the project, and the many brilliant photographers who have submitted their works for display. It's been a wonderful effort all round.
So, we now have a shop. Here's a couple of piccies....
Andy, by the way, is the ruin of a man waving his arm in triumph behind the counter. Or possibly waving his fist at me and threatening legal action - I haven't quite decided which....
So it's the big opening tomorrow morning. If you're in Dartmouth come in and have a coffee (if we can figure out how to work the machine), have a chat (if we've figured out our staff roster system), or maybe even buy something (if we can figure out how to work the till). It's been a roller coaster ride, but then again they're quite fun aren't they?
Oh, and I've been told under threat of death by Tam that I need to pass on the new Facebook page for the business. www.facebook.com/MontyHallsGreatEscapes. There we go, done it. We'll use this to keep you posted about the shenanighans of the Summer to come.
Oh, and by the way here's a shot of our little Isla swimming. She's a chip off the old block that girl....
Oh (again) and there's some big news about the blog, but I'm sworn to secrecy - tell you as soon as I can.
Onward ever onward.
Cheers, Mont and the team.