*please note there is talk about the reality of dealing with rats in this blog, not for the faint hearted x
The grit and grime….
Returning after Christmas there was a nagging stress and tension about our new space ‘The Plot’ – what had we done?! It’s massive, overrun with rats and needing a whole lot of work.
We had agreed that the Theatre Royal would perform in the space this month, the tickets had sold out, so we had to get cracking – we had to get rid of the smell, make it safe, get electrics on and all the other tricky things that come with uncared for buildings that you don’t realise until you do it.
So headtorches, rubber gloves, masks, and strong boots became our go to clothing as we became accustomed to the world of rats – how long they live, their grease marks, their habits, the risks and clearing up many years of their droppings. It was tough, working with no electric in the cold, at the end of a day like that you stink, ache and get a bit lost in what it’s all about. Then there is the doubt – maybe we have bitten off more than we can chew.
No Whey and Green Gal Goods are thriving at The Clipper and it was lovely to be able to pop back and enjoy their yummy food at lunch time, we might be biased but they are both worth a try! Union Corner also got a little bit of love this month with a smart new kitchen set up and a big old sort out, and we welcomed Cherokee to Team Nudge!
Gradually things came together at The Plot, we mixed in some fun stuff – painting doors beautiful colours, window graphics and wallpapering the loo! The lights are on, we are discovering all the nooks and crannies – hidden windows, possibilities. Even when it’s tough, we find it’s always better to start and do something. Then the excitement and delight as people pop their head round the door and see what’s happening has really fueled us up to keep going.
The Theatre Royal performance of Underbelly was absolutely amazing, the space was transformed, it was profound, thought provoking, we are incredibly lucky to have projects like that happening with the community in our city. To be honest we were just delighted to get through all the health and safety requirements so they could work their magic!!! It’s been good learning for us, we love the partnership growing between our organisations.
A bit more grit…
But then there is the darker side… we had a window kicked in one Sunday night. ‘To be expected’ is what you hear from people who don’t live and work around here – but actually our experience is that it isn’t to be expected, over 10 years of activity, we haven’t had many issues at all. So we fixed it up but then the following Sunday night it happened again. Frustrating, our budget is tiny and we are trying to max it out to make a difference, we don’t want to be spending it on windows! So we’re asking around, why might this be? Is there something we could put right?
A bit more loveliness…
We start the year feeling strong, brave and thanks to a network of loveliness around us, from volunteers, friends, funders and supporters – you can’t plan for loveliness, but you can make a space for it and even then it surprises you when it happens. We love the fact we are seeing more of it happening at our monthly market, on our walking discovery tours along the street and in our spaces.
Being brave is tough and collaborating is tougher – generally people just want to do their own thing and that’s great – but we are stronger and more exciting when we take leaps together. Our next leap is with Plymouth University, come along and check out The Plot on Friday to see our emerging partnership as we create a Health Tech Hub.
So, after all our rat related cleaning, it’s the Chinese Year of the Rat – we’re excited here at Nudge – we’ve definitely had our fair share already this year!!! Sometimes after all the dark and grime, you finish a day aching, glowing and totally knowing that something special is happening – that is just the best feeling. It’s going to be a year where we scale what we do, we demonstrate the difference we make and we all have some serious fun and joy in the process – bring it on!!
Love from Hannah, Wendy, and all at Team Nudge xxx