Living the Dream: Final preparations underway for crucial fortnight

Shaun and Wendy McKenna.  Pic: Lucy Oates.

Shaun and Wendy McKenna. Pic: Lucy Oates.

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Sometimes it’s the little things that take all your time up, the sort of things that mean a lot of running around.

Thankfully I have an organised wife who keeps me focussed on the priorities, although one day I’d love to get another swing in that hammock I received at Christmas - I’ve only used it for all of five blissful minutes.

All of this job focussing has been aimed at next weekend, when one of our daughters, Evie, is getting married and she and Joe, her other half, are holding their reception out here on the farm.

And not only that, but a week later we open our doors to the public with our new tea shop, farm trail and shepherd’s hut.

It’s been a mix of the usual grass cutting, finishing jobs off and gardening to get the place looking just so, but at the same time trying to get an abundance of signs in place.

We want to ensure that everyone has a lovely time when they come to see us, but also a completely safe visit too.

There is so much work that is coming to a conclusion this week; work that has been more than two years in the making since we moved in.

So much has been done to bring us to this point.

The last of our contractors completed their work this week. They were also our very first contractor all those months ago, to sort our stock fencing.

Rob Matthews, our fencing contractor, even saw fit to bring reinforcements along, in the shape of his wife Sal, to get the job completed on schedule.

We are extremely grateful to so many people, who have assisted us in so many ways to get us to where we now are, teetering on the brink, excitedly poised to share what we have in the world of tourism, hospitality and customer service.

It has long been a part of Wendy’s dream to open a little tea shop and it has been great to take a step back and watch her stretch her wings to bring all her ideas to fruition in our little part of paradise, right here in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

You see, after running a hairdressing salon from her late teens, then getting married at 20, she has since been raising our six children for 30-odd years.

During that time it has been me out in the world of work, whilst she has coped with far more nappies, teething troubles and school runs than most people. Now I see it as her time to shine.

It has been wonderful to watch her step up to challenges that inevitably have come up and it has been so difficult at times to not interfere and let her discover for herself the way through an impasse which may have arisen.

It has been difficult at times to get it into my head that it doesn’t matter if I have been through many of the challenges before, it is more important for me to be there if needed than take away the learning experiences that she has been going through.

Whether it has been fitting out the place, working with producers and suppliers or recruiting staff, Wendy has stepped up to the plate and taken the opportunity to grow through it all with both hands.

After all, if we both came out the other end of this adventure, having squandered too many of the experiences, then I think we would have missed out on a great deal.

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