Refurbishing the roof at Godwick Great Barn was one of those projects that we always said we will tackle next year and then postpone because of time and cost. Early last year, we decided to bite the bullet and fix it for this winter.
Late on a Friday evening last September, I got a phone call that I had never wanted to take. It was from my barn wedding manager saying that they had just heard from the couple who were setting up their wedding and that water had poured into the west side of the barn following a big thunderstorm.
Now it was a torrential downpour of Armageddon proportions, but we had had big storms in the past and while the odd bit of water may have forced its way in, it was very small amounts and was manageable. This wasn’t though. If it had happened at the same time the following day it would have been during the couple’s wedding breakfast and this would have been disastrous.
There and then I decided this was a risk we could no longer afford to take and with the effects of global warming we were definitely being exposed to more and bigger storms.
Looking back on it now (March 2020 amid the Coronavirus epidemic) it was the best and worst decision I have ever made. Best in that we now have a much improved and better looking barn, in my view, and one that is solidly water tight and now with insulation in the roof, meaning that we should be able to retain the heat much more effectively and, importantly for our green credentials, efficiently.
Worst decision on the basis that we had to eat into the cash reserves that we had to do the refurbishment and we suddenly find ourselves as a business – due to the sudden and devastating Coronavirus epidemic – that was growing solidly to one that has been slammed into reverse.
On the flip side of this we will probably soon have postponed half our 2020 wedding season to other dates that we have made available in off peak months or in our traditionally closed months of January and February. We would never have been able to do this with the old roof, or if we did it would have been a huge game of weekly Russian roulette, that would not have been a pleasant ride.
And if I had not taken to the decision to refurbish the roof this year, then looking at this year’s calendar of bookings and rescheduled bookings, when would we have been able to fit it in.
Getting back to that wedding in September, I can safely say we pulled off the clean up, thanks to my incredible team, but also in no small part thanks to caterer Florentina’s front of house team and the couple’s wedding stylist the Little Lending Company.
We all worked tirelessly the next morning to get the mess cleaned up and thankfully the bride and groom were the coolest couple ever and let us get on with the task in hand trusting that we would get it sorted. A happy ending.
As we stand today, we face a fight for business survival. One we as a team are determined to get through and if we do we will be truly thankful of that fantastic looking and totally awesome refurbished roof at the Great Barn.