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Reconfiguration and Expansion

I haven’t written a blog now for 6 months, but I have a great excuse – we have a new baby.

Last August my wife and I went out for dinner and during the meal she availed herself of the facilities to do a pregnancy test. She had suspected in the preceding days and the test confirmed it. We have two children already Finn and Flo who were 9 and 6 at the time. We have been fortunate in that my wife has not had to work for a few years but when Flo went to school a couple of years ago she has been pondering what to do. She used to work in recruitment, but with a partner in that profession and running a business, she had not been overly keen to get back into it. She has considered more creative pursuits such as floristry, but there had always been a rumbling conversation about whether to have a third child. We threw caution to the wind, and fate played its hand. The due date was 9th April 2018.

As delighted as we were this created an immediate problem of space. We live in a 4 bedroom house with a study and only one bathroom. The study was small and pokey but up in the old attic on the second floor, so out of the way of the house hubbub and nice and quiet. To accommodate the growing family we would need to do some internal reconfiguration: we’d need 4 bedrooms for us plus 3 kids, and we also realised our need for a second bathroom, particularly as my eldest approaches his teenage years. So sure enough Mary announced I was getting turfed out of my study so it could be converted to a bathroom. I briefly considered taking some local offices but frankly I love working from home and I wanted to ensure I was still around so that I could help Mary with the new baby. One of the many advantages of working for yourself and working from home is that you can build in those elements of flexibility that simply can’t be accommodated when you’re in a more office based corporate job. So we decided to build me an office in the garden, in effect a posh shed. This would give me space from the house, but would still mean I’d be close enough to come back in if Mary needed a break for half an hour.

Dubbed Melber Flinn Global HQ, construction commenced in November and then abruptly stopped as we realised our position in a conservation area called for planning permission. We moved the builders from the office, to converting my old study into the second bathroom, which meant the works were taking place in not quite the order we had envisaged. This also meant that without a study or an office in the garden I had to set up camp in a corner of the living room for 2 months. This was far from ideal, the space itself was okay, but being on the ground floor of the house meant I was subject to interruptions from Finn and Flo, and the dog who I discovered likes to bark at any person, creature or object that comes within 10 meters of our front door.

But by the end of January the office was ready. I moved in my decks, vinyl, vintage Ibiza posters and a sofa, and acknowledged people had a point when they suggested it was man cave first, and office second. But its set up as a great work space, I have an L shaped desk which curves around me and has ample space for dozens of post it notes with call lists. It has more storage space, and it has French doors which give me a good view of the garden. Its also a 6 meter commute from the main house, a journey on which I rarely encounter any traffic.

And on 5th April baby Lila Rose was born. It has been a bit of a shock getting back into new parent mode but we’re getting used to it and we have found our new normal. Finn Im sure will remain ambivalent, until Lila can play Fortnite, Flo at aged 7 has been an amazing doting sister, and consistently proves herself to be the second best parent in our household, just behind Mary. If she were willing to wake in the middle of the night, she’d be vying for the top spot. But all in all we couldn’t be happier, and we’re very much enjoying being a family of 5.

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