I’m Catherine, currently living in New Zealand for the British winter and will be returning to Yorkshire in May 2017 I have a great love of Mindfulness practice and Floral design and have made 2016 a year of exploration and discovery. I love travelling and shortly after getting married in October 2015 myself and James decided to book our flights to kiwi land for September 2016. In between that James had decided he would love to cycle 5000 miles across Europe on his touring bike whilst I worked at three florists across England. I started at Wild Bunch in Shropshire, then went on to The Great British Florist in Herefordshire followed by Lucy MacNicoll in Yorkshire. Collectively all three gave me a wealth of experience and inspiration, feeding my passion and desire for flowers and the simple life.
September soon came and we arrived in Christchurch pottering around the heavily under construction city, hunting for a van suitable to be our new home and travelling mobile! Along came Missy our troublesome Mitsubishi. Her bumpy life shown well on her body work, but she had been kitted out with fabulous carpentry inside. After all, never judge a book by its cover – it’s what’s inside that counts! She has provided us with an abundance of mechanical worries in the short time we have had her and although she pulls tight on our purse strings she is our home, our transport, our roof over our heads on those rainy New Zealand days and we wouldn’t be without her.
After travelling around the South Island with our wonderful pals Hazel and Mark, we parted ways at the end of October in pursuit of work. On the drive back down from Abel Tasman I noticed a lovely looking place which went by the name of The Rosarie Flower Farm, later that day I called them up and to my surprise they had a vacancy. I interviewed the next day and luckily got the job. It’s an amazingly gorgeous place! Hundreds of beautiful roses, lilies, stocks and alstroemeria being grown in the glass houses as well as stunning little gift shop come casual floristry which you wouldn’t struggle to find a little something for any member of your family! You walk in, greeted by friendly staff and are advised to go ahead in to the chiller to see the full delight of flowers on offer! The smells of all the gorgeousness hits you and the range of flowers is like one of the most pretties rainbows of colour I have ever seen.
I was 14 years old and had just finished my work experience. I was wandering around a lovely little town called Wetherby when I thought I would give this little shop a whirl and ask if there were any Saturday jobs going. Lone behold there was and I could start the following Saturday. My hours were 9-5 and I got paid £23 for the joy. The shop was called Academy Florist which is unfortunately no longer in Wetherby. I would turn up at 9 either by bus or courtesy of my lovely pops and start filling the buckets with fresh water ready for the day’s trading. We would lay the plants out all nice and neatly and I would check the flower stems for freshness and make sure everything was just so. If Hayley had been to the wholesalers that morning we would collectively unwrap the flowers, cutting the stems diagnally and placing in some fresh water with a little flower food to allow them to hydrate.
We often started with a brew- I think it was here that I properly got used to drinking tea. The shop was so cold that we often needed a little something to warm our hands. We would collectively look at the orders and gather the flowers from the buckets and start prepping them for customers. Orders both over the phone and through the fax machine would start coming through. My regular job which (I’m not going to lie didn’t enjoy that much) was cleaning all the glass vases! I felt like I was always going to drop them and they were heavy and had quite hefty price tags on.
Lunchtime would come and Hayley would send me out for some grub. This was usually either a sausage roll and caramel slice from The Oven Door or a chicken salad from former bakery Ainsleys. I would often try and sneak a cheeky chat with a couple of my friends Katie and Faye who also worked in Wetherby. We would have a little pow wow about how our days were gong and what we were up to that night then I would get back to work.
Afternoons were usually spent making ribbons for bouquets, taking orders, making the stock outside look attractive, walking with the pre-orders to local businesses, sweeping up off cuts, salvaging random little bursts of colours simply just to place on the desk and admire. My favourite part of Saturday’s were listening in on the wonderful conversations that Hayley would have with Brides to be. They would come in with pictures from magazines and the big wedding portfolio would come down off the shelf and we would coo and ahh over the stunning colours and incredible designs. I would often break off to serve a customers advise them of what looked good wth what, what they could get for £20, £40 etc all the while dying to get back to the wedding flowers conversation.
4.30 would arrive and I would begin topping buckets up and bringing stock in from outside. Hayley would pop random stems to the side in a pile, ones that she knew would be no of come Monday, not fit for sale. I could tell she took great pride in ensuring customers got only the very best in quality. I would then get paid my £23 guard it with my life then Hayley would pass me the selection of stems and wish me a nice weekend. I never expected that little treat but I always appreciated taking them home, passing them on to my Mum for her hallway or maybe a friend in need or a neighbour. I worked here for a further 6 months until a new job cropped up paying £3.25 an hour and unfortunately I moved on. I’ve always looked back on that period with a huge amount of fondness. I loved the vibe, the creativity, the simple life at the time even at just short of 15 I moved where the money was but in hindsight I had a little gem of a job their and one that has undoubtedly influenced my choices in life now 12 years on.