They're bloody heavy!
And an awkward shape. Nightmare.
They really need to be off everyday and put back on again at night. We store them down a little passageway at the side of our shop. I'll take you through the steps of taking them off because I'm feeling sadistic.
1). Lock the shop.
2). Unlock the bolts - this has been made significantly easier by the fact that I've bought new locks. Before, one of them stuck like nobody's business, especially in cold or wet weather which makes very little sense to me but it genuinely happened. I bought new locks this week. The unlocked bolts are hung on the grille on the door (which we can't take off) just while I'm sorting the grille out.
3). Lift the grille slightly up and slightly towards yourself to get off the hooks attached to the wall.
4). Lower it down gently, avoiding toes, letting the top of the grille rest on the frame around the window.
5). Pull the top half of the grille towards you so that it's still resting on the ground but you're supporting some weight.
6). Cartwheel this massive thing onto its side, using brute strength at first and gravity to help pull it down.
7). Wait for the pavement to clear. This is always the time when the massive group of school kids, the drunks, the walk-of-shamers or (yes, believe me) the sheep (!!!!!!!!!!!) trundle past.Whilst I'm stood shivering waiting for my time. The grille is parallel to the shop right now.
8). Once the coast is clear, the grille needs to be pivoted round so that it's sticking right out in over the pavement and it takes nearly all of it up.
9). Supporting the grilles massive weight, I need to unlock a sticky gate with one hand with a key that I inexplicably bent like it was plasticine and push it open. It's really quite a heavy gate and it doesn't stay open very easy to that's a hefty push.
10). Come back to the grille, with a heave get the front of the grille up the half a foot step, making sure that a little taggy bit of metal on the grille doesn't get caught in the hole in the ground.
11). Slide the grille the rest of the way in, using the grille to keep the door open and lifting occasionally to keep the tags from sticking.
12). Once the grille is fully past the gate, then it's a case of lifting it. Did I tell you it's bloody heavy? I need to bend my knees, make my arms really long and hook my fingers in the holes, straighten my legs and it's up. Then I need to walk, sideways because the passage is narrow, past Oscar-from-next-door's grilles and into position.
I won't tell you about how we get the grilles out again because that's a right pain in the arse. Now, one of the best things about being fat is that your muscles are generally bigger to compensate. I love the fact that I'm stronger than most of the people that I know and I use it to my advantage.
But, poor old skinny June doesn't have my muscles and also has a gippy shoulder. Sooooooooooo, the grilles are impossible for her. Sometimes her housemate helps her but he's working at the moment and just can't get in. When June's in, I'm on a day off so I don't won't to come in and do them for her but that means that the grilles have been up on Mondays for a while and now it's cold the door has to be shut otherwise she'll freeze. I've had a few people tell me that they didn't come because they thought we were closed. It's not true but I understand.
So I went back to the company that we got our marvelous sign from and got this one to put on the the grilles:
Isn't it brilliant and big!? Now nobody has any excuse!!
So, what I'm going to do is put a message on the website somewhere, maybe on every page, explaining the the grilles will be up on Mondays but that we are open and we'd love to see you.
Love Eleanor. :)