Creating our own future

Introduction to our Rum Distillery Journey

And here it is... the first blog post. I’m tired and this isn’t quite the grand entrance I imagined but here it is anyway. I love writing; I find it therapeutic and cathartic (except for when I’m trying to write from the heart with a 4 year old and 5 year old bellowing for snacks). I’m going to backdate the blog posts a bit as I always meant to document our experience the whole way through and never got round to doing more than scribbling some lines in the back of a notepad.

I’m going to talk about all of our experiences from my perspective, as that’s the only one I can truthfully speak from. I’ve discussed it all with Matt and he’s happy for me to write about both of our experiences and struggles. I would love any feedback about what you think of the post- is it too long, emotional or not covering the stuff you’re interested in? Although I am writing for me, I’d like it if you were interested too. Fire any questions or comments you have to becky@oldmotherhunt.co.uk.

How Our Scottish Rum Journey Began

So, taking it all the way back to the beginning and I guess I’d better start where our old life ended and Old Mother Hunt began. On 4th March 2020, my son’s birthday, we all went to Edinburgh Zoo to ogle at the animals and eat some ice cream. My main memory of the day is the kids getting absolutely shit scared of the gorillas when they started screaming and banging and insisting ice cream was the only thing that would help. That and the tiger that they were so desperate to see, the only real reason we were there, was suddenly too frightening to go near. In the afternoon Matt’s Flybe work chat starting blowing up with colleagues reporting their aircrafts had been grounded and impounded and some airports were refusing to give fuel. The promised help the government was going to give to keep Flybe going, no longer seemed to be an option when Coronavirus was added into the mix. The next day Matt got the official notification that Flybe had folded and he was made redundant.

At first, the blow didn’t hit too hard as although Matt had just lost his job, the reality of COVID-19 wasn’t fully appreciated so he sat down and fired off applications to airlines and we crossed all fingers and toes that a new job would come up quickly. As the weeks dragged on and the pandemic unfolded we started to realise that things weren’t going to “go back to normal”. Luckily the house we had just bought needed a fair amount of updating, so replacing the bathrooms by ourselves (I say OURselves but I really mean Matt did it all) kept us busy enough to carry on ignoring our rising panic. After we’d exhausted all the DIY distractions the nagging doubt settled in and reality came crashing down. We both applied for hundreds of jobs and neither one of us heard anything back- Matt was over qualified and I was under qualified as I’d spent the last 5 years looking after the children.

I couldn’t believe the dramatic change that Matt went through during these weeks. I’d never really considered before how closely he tied his idea of his own self worth to his career, his ability to earn a living, provide for his family and challenge and prove himself in a whole range of scenarios. More than that though, I couldn’t believe the effect his struggles were having on the whole family. This is in no way a criticism of him- I could see how hard he was trying every single day to “act normal” in front on the children but it was a monumental task. His lack of humour, his sadness and hopelessness filtered through the rest of us and as I was also struggling with my own resilience, everything became hopeless alarmingly quickly. I was so aware of our personal problems spilling over into the children’s lives and I hated the thought that what we were going through, although very serious, was barging into the lives of a 3 and 4 year old where they had no right to be. We tried so hard to keep it away from them, carried on with our daily routines, kept on with the daily walks and tried to save our frantic discussions for when they were asleep. I thought we’d done a fairly good job, until our little boy found a penny on the floor and gave it to me saying I could use it to help keep the house. My heart broke and swelled in equal measures.

We made a decision that night that we should dare to dream big and that maybe as we had no career or anything to lose, we should try to start our own business. We’d always talked about how great it would be to work together, to manage childcare together, and to organise our work around our family life but always after a glass, or two, of wine and never with any real conviction. We no longer had the luxury of day dreaming about it and we had to make a change in our lives or we would drown in our problems. We wanted to create a business that would be future proof and as the old saying goes, “Sex, death and alcohol will never go out of business,” we didn’t really fancy our chances with the other two areas!

In the next post I’ll tell you how we came up with the name and how we started the company.