Were my exact thoughts when I drove into Fareham Park Road on Monday morning, and could see just a pile of dirt and rubble, where the shop forecourt is. Having only just had it all dug up again (the 2nd time since last August) due to an electrical fault (Southern Electric - not us) I was expecting to have to light the shop by good old fashioned candles (I have some pretty big ones in the cupboard - just in case) and get back to basics with a pen and paper for keeping track of the takings; I did give a silent thanks for the mobile internet (at least I would still be able to pick up the online orders without needing electric so that was a bonus).
Imagine my delightful surprise when I parked up and got to the shop to find the hole was too neat to be the electric company (let's face it; they're not really bothered where or how they dig) and had in fact been dug out ready for the new block paving the landlord had organised for us (oddly enough both times the electric went previously the paving had been due to go down the very same weekend - thankfully both times the problem happened before the paving got laid).
Now as you can see there was a rather large mound and so I had a bit of a difficult decision to make; did I unlock the door for customers or not? It's never an easy option choosing to keep the doors locked, but I had to do what was not only sensible, but also what was safe and so the door stayed closed and locked all day. I did however stay open and the phone did not stop ringing all day (see what I mean when I go on about how lovely you all are? Rather than go elsewhere those of you that did venture down just popped home and phoned instead.
By Tuesday morning there was enough of the brickwork laid to make an entrance, so I was able to open again as normal; by Tuesday evening it was pretty much finished.
The guy that has created this lovely new forecourt for us was so considerate to - not only us but our neighbours also) and when it came to cutting the bricks he was originally driving home so that he didn't get dust anywhere; then one of our neighbours kindly offered to let him cut them in the corner of his forecourt to save him keep going home. This made a huge difference as he was able to cut the lot in one go which took him less than 10 minutes and kept all the dust contained so not only was he mighty appreciative of this, so were we as it meant things were finished earlier.
Anyway; now that it is all finished many people have said how odd it looks when the businesses either side of us have tarmac, so I am thinking about turning it in to a proper courtyard area (only during opening hours) by putting a little picket fence down the sides so that it doesn't look so out of place. Everyone I have said this too thinks it would look good and many have said that as a florist a courtyard would work well, so I am currently pricing up how much it would cost, and whether I can get some that has a decent weight to it so that it doesn't blow away. It would also have to be movable as I wouldn't be able to leave it out overnight. As you can see from the photo below with the planters out there (I have some more to plant up as well) it's not looking too bad so do you think I would need a fence or not? I would put one down both sides and a panel at the front on each corner (pretty much where the pink planters are).