People like the Tree House!

tree house windowOne thing I can say with confidence – people like the Tree House.  I get countless comments from people walking in, simply stopping and looking, and saying, Wow, this is wonderful!  All the more exciting because the shop is a mess at the moment – I’ve been moving bookcases around, some have gone and come back again, so the stock is all over the place.  But to those coming in from the outside, it all seems lovely.  Today, feeling tired and Friday afternoon-ish, I sat for an hour on one of the sofas with my knitting, listening to dramatisations of Mary Wesley and Proust on Radio 4 Extra, and got lots of smiles from passers by.  It was lovely.

People have responded well since we opened, three and a half months ago.  The book donations have been – and continue to be – magnificent.  Almost everyone wishes me well, whether or not they find a book to buy.  Lots of children visit and their parents often have a hard time getting them to leave.  We have a core of regular customers and audience members at our events.  People are generous – today a young man’s book bill came to £6, he gave me £10 and told me to keep the change; others have done similarly in the past.  There is definitely a warm glow…

…even though the heating doesn’t work!  It is a little chilly if you spend any time in the shop, and only going to get colder.  A gas engineer has looked at the ancient boiler but it needs a lot of work to get it all up and running, and I simply can’t afford it.  So I am trying to make do with electric heaters, though I am not sure how it’s going to be when the really cold weather strikes.  But as one of our lovely regulars commented this week, Why do we always need to be warm?  We are spoiled by central heating.  If you come to sit for a while, or to one of our events, bring a blanket!  We can provide hot coffee.  It’s really quite fun.

But it does highlight the issue of funds, which are stretched.  I am so glad that people love the shop and are excited by its potential – I am increasingly excited as I think of more and more things we could do, and it’s good to know that there are a lot of people who want to enjoy the space.  But as one of the performers at our event on Thursday evening said, encouraging words don’t pay the bills.

The Tree House is at the point of really taking off, I feel.  There is so much we can do there, so much potential for expansion; I am currently working on ways to increase revenue and begin to exploit that potential.  Your support is invaluable, and I am immensely grateful for it – if you can keep spreading the word, that would be fabulous; share our events, tell people about us.  I do have exciting plans for the future – still in a fledgling state, but will say more as and when they develop.

In the meantime, I am knitting blanket squares to keep us warm in the depth of winter…

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