Everyone who knows me will confirm I am a glass half empty kind of a fellow. I have found that hoping for the best and preparing for the worst has worked for me. Now that I am getting older the world is increasingly more confusing and seems to have no place for the values with which I was raised. I increasingly feel like an outsider and judged by comments from some of our “special snowflake” customers I think they would like to see a tyre put over me whilst being doused in gasoline and set on fire. When did the world become such a hateful place? We do bonsai because it offers a solace from the maddening world and helps us connect with the eternal rhythms of life. However it appears to me that bonsai is becoming a competitive blood sport.

Thankfully most of the folk we do business with are decent and understanding. Kaizen Bonsai is run from our family home and there are just three of us involved and my parents (well in their 70s) do half days and home work for us. This time of year is exceptionally busy, coupled with a cold I collected in Belgium, yesterday for instance was a typical day……

4.30 am start with two hours of emails and web site updates.

6.30 to 8am outside in freezing temperatures working on a new maple

8.00 to 9.30 down to the warehouse to collect a ton of soil and a quarter ton of pots

9.30 to 10.30 packing parcels and humping soil

10.30 to 11.30 back to the warehouse to receive a delivery of two tons of soil products

11.30 took delivery of a car for my daughter that we bought unseen off Gumtree the previous evening. Her old car detonated and I have no time to go shopping for such things, spent half an hour figuring out how to put gas in the stupid filler neck from a can

12.00 to 12.30 dealing with someone ripping off our web site and attempting to offer our products to customers for 60-80% off. At the same time spent half an hour trying to get a typo corrected by Ryanair (don’t fly with them!)

12.30 to 16.00 Packing parcels, humping soil, web updates, purchasing stock Loaded the days parcels and a half ton of soil into the carriers van

17.00 to 20.30 Packing parcels, preparing goods for sale, assembling carving tools

20.30 First meal of the day washed down with a half jar of moonshine put a smile on my face

21.00 Fell into bed in my clothes

3.30am Up and repeat.

That’s a fairly typical day here and of course that was just me, Catherine did much the same. She also spent the last two weekends working from 10am to 11pm preparing VAT for the last quarter. We really could do with another member of staff or two but there is not anywhere near enough profit in what we sell to do that. So, to that end you will be seeing some changes here at Kaizen Bonsai. We will be reducing our offering and services over the coming months because if we carry on like this there is no future. Expect to see items disappearing from our web site. This year I have also stopped doing demonstrations, there will be no workshops and we are no longer open to visitors. If you are reading this and happen to be a very skilled business consultant or a person in need of some very hard work in exchange for minimum wage or less give me a call ๐Ÿ˜‰


Today’s soil (van is completely full) ready for mixing and packing.

All of this is moved several times before it leaves later in the day. Watch out for Vito’s story coming soon.