For us, like many others, it's a very welcome spring after a long, dark and unusually cold winter.
Firstly, let's make very clear our solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Any hardships we face as a result of the attack on Ukraine, really is nothing in comparison with what they are suffering.
Plus, of course, a lot of our pain in the UK is self-inflicted. And don't worry, I'm not going to comment on the absolute hornets' nest that is Brexit. No, what I'm referring to is something I think there's almost universal agreement on - the catastrophic so-called 'Mini Budget' from that woman who was Prime Minister for a month.
September 2022 must go down as one of the most turbulant and traumatic in recent British history. First we got a new PM, the UK's third woman to hold that position. Which meant for two days both the UK's head of state and head of government were women called Elizabeth. And it was only for two days, because then we all got the news we'd been dreading. I know I'm far from the first to say this, but it's the best way to describe it, it was like losing the nation's much-loved grandmother, the matriarch of the whole country.
So we were still all feeling a bit delicate when the new Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) stood up to deliver a impromptu 'Mini Budget' that seems to have been done without any consultation with, or even briefing of, the finance community, including the Bank of England. Which wouldn't have been as bad if it had been the ticking along kind of a budget. But it wasn't, and the financial shock it caused led to a period of huge uncertainty and chaos.
This was a very unsettling time, and happened just as we were going into a winter that was already forecast to be tough due to large, widespread cost inflation as a result of the invasion of Ukraine. On October 1st, and then again on January 1st, there was a massive rise in energy bills. Mortgage payments and rents increased and food inflation was also rampant. The stark choice between 'heat or eat' became far too common for people across the country.
All very well, but 'what's this got to do with Scandiwegians?' you may ask.
The consequence for us was felt almost immediately after the 'Mini Budget' when our UK orders disappeared over night. At one point we were getting more orders from each of Japan and Canada, despite those countries having to pay £30/€30/$37 shipping costs - we offer free shipping in the UK.
We went weeks when the only orders we got were from overseas, and I cannot tell you how grateful we were to send those parcels off across the Atlantic and in other directions. They just about kept us ticking over, and fortunately I got some work at various football grounds.
We turned down the thermostat to 17c, grabbed our blankets, interogated the grocery shop to get it down to absolute minimum (including stopping buying alcohol, so there was a healthy consequence!) and hunkered down, waiting and hoping for the literal and metaphoric spring.
And here it is! Our quiet period is usually March to August but this year March is when UK sales finally started picking up. There definitely seems to be an increased feeling of positivity in the air in these lighter, warmer days. We hope that you are feeling it too, wherever you are. And we especially hope there are soon reasons to be positive for our brothers and sisters of Ukraine.