Well, who’d a thunk that finding a new workspace would be so fraught with, well, dead ends, political machinations and strangely rude people? Not me, for certain. It has been a whole new experience – and I thought that finding my initial shop was bad enough! (All I will say on that matter is, should an estate agent indicate to you that “people call [him] ‘Honest John’”, it is safe to say that they most certainly don’t. At least, not without a huge wallop of sarcasm.)
Back in February, a late night perusal of the interwebs turned up a beautiful workspace in a newly converted barn in what purports to be the best of villages. It looked almost too good to be true; beautiful building, ideal space and location and very reasonable rent. All of those things were there when I visited it and were, indeed, true. But that was the end of it. After wasting three long weeks, jumping through hoops, filling out countless forms and making countless phone calls that elicited not one answer to any of my reasonable questions, not to mention receiving one of the rudest emails I have ever read from the clerk to the parish council (who, frankly, is wasted in that job and should be a doctor’s receptionist*), I knew when to give up. So I informed my parish councillor, the clerk and the office bint at the estate agency (because I never got to speak “to the bloke”) that they could keep their rural workspace as I’d (a) taken exception to the rudeness of the clerk and (b) done some digging as to the integrity and acceptability as landlords of the parish council, who own the property, and decided that there was no way I wanted any further dealings. With any of them. Hopefully their eyes are still smarting.
So there I was, back at Square One, with about 3 weeks before I had to be out of my shop. Stressed? Ooh, just a tad.
But then, a fantastic friend and customer mentioned that I might want to call a chap at the Council, because he deals with ‘buildings’ and knows what’s available and what might be coming up. I called. He said, “Well, it might be too small but do you want to come and see the one we have available tomorrow morning at 9am?” Could it really be that simple? Oh yes.
Well, it’s not really big enough but it’s a start. It has heat, light, power, telephone and internet. There’s a proper kitchen rather than a cupboard with a kettle and a tiny sink. Two lavs. Carpet. An entry security system that will provide me with endless hours of fun. It is just down the road from Aldi and on the same bus route I use now. At less than half my current rent. Plenty of parking should I choose to park. And do you know what? The nice lady and gentleman from the Council answered all my questions. Every single one. Even before they did the credit check. They don’t expect me to reimburse them for insuring the building and there’s no call for me to fork out the best part of a grand and my first born for the drawing up of a lease. (Which could have become complicated because I have no actual offspring.) If I decide it’s not for me, I give a month’s notice and I’m on the waiting list for a larger unit when one becomes available. And I’ll bet you a fiver that if I ring up tomorrow to ask them something, they’ll actually answer the phone…
Hopefully, by the end of next week, I’ll be able to confirm where I’m going. Can’t do it yet as I haven’t signed anything and that would be tempting fate. I figure that tempting fate without having a large plate of something delicious to proffer is probably A Very Bad Idea.
* The doctor’s receptionist thing. It’s a fact universally acknowledged that as a breed they tend to be rude and unhelpful, although I do accept that not all of them fit this profile. At my current surgery, the receptionists are all delightful. It’s the dispensary there where they specialise in passive aggressive notices and willfully ignoring patient needs…