“It always seems impossible until it is done”
Nelson Mandela was certainly justified in speaking about perseverance and it is a characteristic we try hard to embody at Origin Fine Foods.
Have you ever seen those stories on Facebook where people are trying to track down something they have lost. The posts either disappear into a distant memory or there is the fairy-tale ending everyone hopes for. I have only seen handful of those fairy-tale endings and always thought to myself “how lucky”. Well, last week I discovered that perseverance plays a bigger role than luck but thankfully Abbey and I have plenty of perseverance!
As many of you will know, at the start of lock-down I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to get back down to Sussex to see my Nan who was battling cancer. Sadly, that became a reality when she passed away on June 19th after her health deteriorated quickly. Due to my Mum flying in from Israel, I chose to travel down to Sussex to complete her required self-isolation period together to support her through the grief and help with sorting through my Nan’s cottage. One of the tasks was to go through my Nan’s extensive jewellery collection and determine where it was all going. My Mum longed to have the engagement ring that my Grandad proposed to my Nan with; a gorgeous Edwardian opal and diamond ring. But she could not find it anywhere…we looked in the sock drawer, in the biscuit tin and under the mattress. It was nowhere to be found, along with a few other key pieces of jewellery.
My Nan had been ill for quite some time and, probably fuelled with the fear of ending up in an expensive nursing home, it appears she had sold some of her jewellery to fund some much needed repairs on the cottage. In the middle of the night, the day before the funeral, my Mum had an epiphany! The ring might still be for sale somewhere! On the first website page of the first jewellers she looked at, there was the ring looking back at her. We immediately paid for it with the excited expectation of getting to the jewellers and back in time for the funeral. At 9am I received a phone call from the jewellers to say that, sadly, the ring had been sold but not removed from the website. I was gutted that I had to tell my Mum that the ring was gone. The look in her eyes as I told her, on the day she was burying her Mum, was awful so I knew I had to do something about it.
Whilst we were busy getting ready for the funeral, Abbey called the jewellers to see if anything could be done. She obviously knew that the jeweller could not pass on the confidential details of the buyer, but there was no reason they couldn’t pass on our details. But they were unwilling to help! My Mum said not to worry, that fate would bring her the ring if it is meant to be and to give up looking. So, having never really listened to my Mum, I posted a plea looking for the buyer on all the local Facebook pages, sent a strongly worded email to the jeweller and then it was time to leave for the church…
The service was beautiful, but the burial was a little delayed…think of my 90-year-old Grandad trying to get his motorised mobility scooter down a narrow path with steps at the bottom! So, by the time we had said our goodbyes, Abbey had messaged asking me to get in touch. As I walked out of the cemetery, I found out that the jewellers wanted me to call them directly and see if something could be done.
Back at the cottage I called the jewellers from the privacy of the top room, not wanting to risk upsetting my Mum any further. They explained that during the lock-down, with no money coming in, they had sold a lot of their stock as a job-lot to a commercial dealer. He wanted to check a few details about the ring to check it was definitely the right one before he made the effort to try and track it down. There was no doubt it was the right ring, so I asked him to do what he could. A short time later another call came through, this time I recognised the number and my heart did this strange fluttery thing as I tried to dash upstairs to answer it. The jewellers had made contact with the dealer, but he wasn’t sure if he still had it and wouldn’t be back at his shop in London until Tuesday. There was no way I could keep the news to myself for that long, so I tentatively told my Mum thinking that if nothing came of it, we wouldn’t be in a worse position than we were already in! Cue three long days of me and my Mum checking if it was Tuesday yet…
“Is it Tuesday?”
“………how about now?”
However, Tuesday didn’t bring us the relief we were looking for. I got the call and my heart did that fluttery thing again! The jeweller started by saying that the dealer thinks he still has the ring but was quite vague and not 100% sure. The broker promised that he would post it back down to the original jewellers but it may take a couple of days. More waiting!
Thankfully, the call we were waiting for came only 24 hours later or my Mum and I were going to drive each other crazy (or crazier?). The ring had arrived, it was now less than half a mile away from the cottage. I asked my Mum how long it would take to walk there….”Five minutes, why”, I simply answered “well, we’re five minutes away from hopefully having the ring back”. I’ve never seen my Mum get her shoes on and hair re-brushed so fast, we practically power-walked our way down there. We must have been fairly quick because even the jeweller seemed mildly surprised when our two excited faces appeared at his door, ringing the bell to be allowed in!
As the jeweller was locating the ring he kept apologising for having not taken the ring off the website as he should have done (…remember my strongly worded email I mentioned earlier?). But my Mum rightly pointed out that if he had of taken the ring off the website, we would have had no leads to be able to track it down. It was a blessing in disguise!
As soon as the ring was ceremoniously unveiled my Mum’s eyes filled with tears. It slipped onto her wedding ring finger, where my Mum has also worn her Mum’s wedding ring…and, like Cinderella’s glass slipper, it fit!
I don’t know if you can call it fate that I totally ignored my Mum’s advice to stop looking…but there was no way Abbey and I weren’t going to give it our absolute best. Was it time consuming? Yes. Was it a bumpy ride with lows and highs? Yes. But, was it worth it? A thousand times, yes!
“It always seems impossible until it is done”. Sometimes a task might impossible, there are things we might not be able to physically achieve. But without trying our absolute best, exploring every opportunity and giving it a try…we can’t pass it off as impossible! At Origin Fine Foods we will always go above and beyond to try and meet someone’s expectations and needs. It may not always be possible, but please know that we will always try our best!
Recently we took an order for a Father’s Day hamper to be shipped to somewhere on the mainland of Scotland, I checked and double checked the postcode. But when it came to booking the courier, they wouldn’t accept the delivery. At short notice we had to try and find a courier that would not only cover the delivery area, but also get it there before the Sunday, Father’s Day. The hamper was collected from our shop on the Thursday afternoon and I don’t think I un-crossed my fingers until I found out that it had arrived, on time! It cost us far more than the delivery price we had quoted and despite the lovely customer offering to pay extra, we swallowed the extra cost, made a loss and chalked it down to a learning experience. But it got there! On time! I’m a Taurus (despite what NASA may or may not say!) and I am stubborn. As Josh Shipp, the motivational speaker, would say “Perseverance is stubbornness with a purpose”.
So, fairy tale endings do happen with a bit of perseverance! Want to know the funniest part? We burst out of the jewellers, my Mum holding her hand up to see the opal stones glistening in the sun, tears in her eyes, hugging me and saying thank you over and over! Well, it caught the attention of passers-by and being fairly close to Brighton, with a high percentage of LGBTQ+ residents, they thought we had a different kind of fairy-tale ending!
(The previous version of this blog post contained a few photos of my Nan, check them out here)