Well. So. Um. What do I even say? I think we all would just look at each other and raise our eyebrows, as if to say... What the heck? What happened...? And how did it happen so fast? So many questions, so much uncertainty. I feel like life at the Boutique, my day dictated by my opening time, what soap I needed to make, what products I needed to order... and yes, what bills I had to pay, and when rubbish and recycling had to be taken out... my entire, ENTIRE life was turned right upside down on March 23rd, when our government announced we were moving into Alert Level 3 - allowing 48 hours to get my affairs for the Boutique in order, ensure our power was off, our valuable stock out of the store, and any loose ends sorted to ensure it was safe and alarmed appropriately. Wow. This in the midst of trying desperately to manufacture all the hand sanitiser I could. I will tell you now - I used EVERY bottle, every pump, spray, container - every last millilitre of ingredients I had - and when I turned the alarm on, packed up my lap top and put our Home Sweet Home sign in the window... and drove home, I was exhausted, and the implications of what was happening had not set in. I'm not sure they have set in yet - even now, two weeks on.
Suddenly, my daily routine is so completely different, that I find myself walking into a room, forgetting what I was there for, staring blankly for a bit, and then leaving... or just find myself a bit teary, and aimless. But for the most part, I have spent my days doing things I often wished I had time for but couldn't do because I was at the Boutique! The weather has been glorious, and I have relished sitting in my garden with a cup of coffee in the middle of the morning. I have cleaned.... my oven.... light fixtures, the skirting boards, the eaves out on my front deck... that kind of cleaning. And that feels pretty good. I have a house full of boys, and so I have baked - WAY too much! We have celebrated my husband's birthday, so there has been cake, sourdough bread, muffins, banana cake.... the list goes on.
I still feel unsettled, and I worry about what comes next. Even when we move out of Alert Level 4, I am not naive enough to think we will just go back to normal - that's gone. We will have to create a NEW normal at Bath Boutique. I can't think too much about it - I still feel like the floor has dropped away and I struggle to keep a grip on my mind. I try to keep track of the beautiful things that this terrible disease has allowed in its path. The WHOLE WORLD is seeing a drop in air pollution - the stars are brighter. The birds sound louder because the background noise has been quieted. We are looking out for our neighbours. We are connecting differently with people. For the most part - we are acting more compassionately. We are planning and cooking and being with our special people. We HAVE to be still. There is NO GUILT because there is nothing we can do about it. I LOVE this quote by Pema Chödrön. We are ALL vulnerable right now, maybe we are on the verge of something
Above all, I have understood my deep attachment to the Boutique. To you. So much more that just my customers. I trust you are all well in your bubbles. I hope that you are experiencing positive things, restful things. Beautiful things. In the face of monumental changes to the landscape of our lives as we knew them - may you experience grace, peace, and may you be well. Much love to you all. Thank you for being such a lovely part of my life. Every day, for the last three and half years. I miss you. See you soon. Lxx
Leanne and her husband Gregory are both partners in Bath Boutique. Here she will share parts of her journey with Bath Boutique, from some of the Makers' stories, experiences and thoughts about Boutique Retail in New Zealand.