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Karen's Corner - 19.05.24

Welcome back to this week’s Karen’s Corner! Join me here each week to catch up with what I’ve been up to both in and out of work and what I’ve been loving and connect with me on Instagram

Karen xx


You won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve had another busy couple of weeks here at Fossoway Stables … so much so that I didn’t manage to publish last week’s Karen’s Corner. I’m back at it this week with reports and reflections on all that’s been going on.

The wonderful sunny weather that we’ve been having (really hope you’ve had it too) has brought with it a new wave of activity both in terms of the jobs that have been added to the daily to do lists and, thankfully, the energy required to get them done.

I seem to be on a constant grass cutting mission at the moment in the garden and the wider grounds - I can’t say it’s my favourite job but I do like the feeling of satisfaction when it’s done … even if it it’s only ever really done for a few days before needing tackled again! Both my petrol mower and the flail mower that goes on the back of the quad bike to cut the larger areas have gone on strike this week and are awaiting the engineers to come and fix them which is an inconvenience to say the least. It seems it’s aways when we need them most that the equipment lets us down, but then again, there’s no opportunity for them to brake over the winter months when they’re hibernating in the barn. It has to be said, my ultimate fantasy is to win the lottery and hire a big team of landscapers and gardeners to look after all of this stuff for us!

The summer-season in The Lodge is in full swing which is always really fun with guests checking in and out every couple of days. That obviously means lots of cleaning but it also means meeting people from all over the world, here to explore Scotland. Many of them have been on their way, or returning from, completing the North Coast 500, something I’ve never done and it sounds like a must-do. John and I have ear-marked a week in August to take a proper break from work and we’re looking at going to see some of Scotland that we’ve not visited before … it seems crazy that we live in this country that people travel from all over the world to see and we’ve never done it ourselves! We’ve started looking and charting what we’d like to see so I’m making sure to get our Lodge guests’ recommendations when I can.

Aside from grass cutting and cleaning, I’m spending a big chunk of my time at either end of the day poo-picking fields and filling up water buckets for the horses, ponies, sheep and goats! A necessary job but I love it when Iona is in 3 days a week to take care of the animals for me which allows me to crack on with the jobs only I can do…

There’s a quite a lot of general admin tasks to do each day for all of the businesses so I’m trying to block out some desk time to dedicate to these rather than trying to do them on the go. What happens if I’m out on the yard or around the property for too long is I end up getting caught up in conversations then before you know it, they’ve eaten up a precious hour of my day. It’s often lovely, and important to make time to chat with clients and visitors but by being more disciplined about how I time-block my day, I’m able to get far more done. 

These admin tasks might include responding to enquiries, booking appointments and events, arranging travel, sourcing items, posting packages, populating spreadsheets, analysing trends etc. Not the most exciting of tasks often but they are essential to the running of the business and I’ve found that blocking out dedicated time for them rather than trying to respond in the minute that they ping through, regardless of whatever task I happen to be doing at the time, means I’m more focussed, make fewer mistakes and get through my list quicker. Easier said than done but I’m getting better I think.

Then there’s the creative part of my job where I need to write, have space to daydream a little, think about what might be coming next, problem-solve and re-imagine ideas that haven’t really worked out as we’d hoped. These tasks require me to be in a particular mindset and that’s not always easy to schedule. There’s been a few times recently when I’ve booked meetings to tackle these types of task and they’ve fallen at a time when I’m completely exhausted from putting out some other fire somewhere else, or I’m irritated by or pre-occupied with something that’s just happened and it’s been impossible to bring the right type of energy to the task at hand. 

I’ve mentioned before in these blogs that I find walking, particularly first thing in the morning, great for daydreaming and problem solving so I really try to prioritise that in my daily schedule. Sometimes I head out with a specific topic to think about and other times I’ll just see what pops in my head … either way, I can’t think of a time where I’ve gone out for a walk and not found clarity or a solution or a new idea.

Outside of work, it’s been the usual circus of school runs, kids’ activities and far too many supermarket visits! It was John’s birthday this week and, after loving seeing lots of cuddly otters on instagram, I thought it would be a fun idea to go and visit some ourselves. I don’t think I could ever find the words to describe how different an experience this was to the one I’d imagined. On instagram, they cuddle and hold your hand and generally look as cute as can be. In reality, you have to be careful they don’t bite off your finger like they did to another visitor and then feed and watch them masticate the various body parts of day old chicks. I gave the man I love PTSD for his birthday! Ah well, I’ll try and do better next year!

The week ahead looks pretty busy with all the usual jobs and tasks, the lodge getting a bit of a makeover, a climate change event, The Scottish Field magazine coming to visit, and a little bit of riding and coaching. 

On a Sunday I love to clean and reset the house and sort out my diary ready for the week ahead so that is my plan for the rest of today. 

Until next week ….

K xx

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