Its been a funny six weeks for me at work and at home. My wife and I are were expecting our first baby at the end of March, just as the Corona Virus was starting to take hold of the UK
The anticipation of a newborn was somewhat stressful and the health concerns that came with Corona alongside the uncertainty of work created a somewhat difficult few weeks
I started to work from home and self isolate towards the end of March. It's not the easiest task to roast coffee from home (a lack of coffee roasters is the main obstacle!), but it did give me the opportunity to catch up on some paperwork and look towards the future. Lockdown in general is a funny time but it was actually a bonus to be able to spend a little more time at home to prepare for my little one's arrival.
Our due date came and went and no sign of baby Hampshire and on the first of April the decision was made I would be put onto furlough. This was tough as I love my job and enjoy structure, but with the baby due any time it made complete sense for me take this option. So, my lovely wife is now overdue, I'm not currently at work, we are self isolating and not allowed to venture out - the house soon became quite oppressive. Now don't get me wrong, I know a lot of people have it a lot worse than I do but let me tell you, that first week was tricky : )
The days passed and still no baby, then finally on the 8th April out lives changed forever. Along came Seth Robert Hampshire, a beautiful baby boy. As soon as I saw him my heart melted and I knew things would never be the same again. It wasn't the smoothest of journeys for baby Seth and he had to spend some time in the high dependency unit at Jessops as well as extra nights on the ward. This was obviously hard in its own right but due the the threat of Corona, I wasn't allowed onto the maternity ward so there were lots of trips from home to the hospital and back again. All is well that ends well and after some time in hospital, Seth came home.
I'd like to take this opportunity to give my heartfelt thanks to all the staff at the Hallamshire Hospital Jessop Wing. All the team at the Jessops were absolutely fantastic and could not have done more for Seth, my wife and me. The NHS is an exceptional service that everyone of us should be proud and delighted to have available. I hope if nothing else positive comes from this it will make people appreciate what an amazing service ALL the NHS provide.
As head of coffee, I think you will agree, it was important to make sure I continued to quality control all the coffee we produce. Armed with an Aeropress, Chemex, Bean to Cup machine and a classic cafetiere I continue to brew and taste all our coffees at home. There was something really special about brewing up a beautiful single origin Ethiopian at 2am after the 100th nappy change of the day 😂. I certainly think I'm in the right industry for my current sleep situation!
Obviously I really love and I'm extremely proud of all the coffees we produce. The Cooling Towers through the Chemex and cafetiere of the Winter Coat have really been keeping me going during the last month.
Whilst being on furlough and becoming a new Dad, one of the hardest things I have had to endure is the isolation that the Covid-19 outbreak has brought. None of our parents, siblings or friends have been allowed to come round and have a little cuddle with Seth! It's been somewhat heartbreaking Face Timing and looking at Grandma and Grandad through the window and them not been able to hold our little bundle of joy. It is what it is, but it has been a challenge I wasn't expecting to face three months ago.
Having said this, the amount of gifts, cards and messages of support we have received from friends and family has been overwhelming and to anyone reading this that has contributed (you know who you are), I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Since the 8th of April, my world has been nappies, cuddles and coffee! It's had its challenges but I couldn't be happier with how my life has changed.
I've had regular updates and messages of support from the team at Cafeology and I really couldn't be happier how the skeleton crew at the roastery have preformed in the last month. Our change to focus on retail has brought challenges, but the boys and girls have delivered time and time again. I actually think they may prefer me not being in work 😁.
I'm due to come back to work on May 4th, which I'm excited but also apprehensive about. I can't wait to get back on the roasters and throw myself into work, but with the current situation it means my wife is flying solo at home with Seth. This presents many issues and concerns, but my amazing wife will not only survive in my absence, she will thrive. As I return, Tom, who has been running the warehouse will be placed on furlough as his other half is also expecting. There must be something in the Cafeology coffee : )
My six-and-a-half years at Cafeology has been an adventure from start to finish; we have adapted to new markets, taken and won new challenges and it has been an absolute pleasure to be involved in. I'm sure that we will come out of the situation stronger and better equipped to tackle whatever comes next. Becoming a dad has only inspired me to progress further in the industry I love. I'm excited to start working on our next new blend and to take Roastology to the next level.
I'd like to finish this post with a massive thank you to all the front line workers during this pandemic. What an amazing effort by them all to keep the country working!
Thank you x