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Written On 3rd May 2021
So two weeks today and the long awaited reopening of our classic arcades will commence! Its been a journey!
We got a bit of stick when we predicted back in December that the lockdown 3 would be lasting until May, which we are sadly proved to be accurate on.
Many hard working families and individuals up and down the country have sadly lost their livelihoods, and many people have lost much more than that due to COVID.
There is no price on a life and although there have been many hard decisions and many of those may have turned out to be the wrong ones we are in the here and now, and we are the lucky ones to still be here.
I will always look back at lockdown with a differing view. I will always be sad for the bad things that have landed for everyone but also as a positive person I always like to see the good out of a bad situation. For me personally I have had the most wonderful time with my family and the financial kamikaze that created was worth the time I have experienced with it.
Lockdown still feels a surreal event, and although we have three under the belt and many of us are frustrated with them, some that we know have become too familiar with the new lifestyle. I think many companies and organisations around the globe will have great difficulty in getting their people back to work. In the UK the government have provided incredible support to employers with the furlough scheme, but this amount of time off for many has highlighted and perhaps created a big 'money for nothing' ethos that has been present for some time. I highlight this because quite frankly I am old school and I work hard with 100% commitment and dedication, this was hard to find before lockdown and now I fear more scarce than before. Lets hope that when the country gets moving so do the idle backsides of the many that have been watching too much daytime TV.
Throughout lockdown we have all had our wobbles and mental tests, pressures and likely financial strains for most. Its been a testing time for us all, and for many of us have really really struggled and that is nothing to be ashamed of or to be scared to admit. Life can be tough going as it is, and when the structures that we are used to are tuned upside down we all deal with it differently and ultimately do our best.
On Boxing Day 2020 knowing that lockdown had commenced, I spoke with Amelia, Ruby and Scarlett, thanked them for a wonderful Christmas and explained that work needed to begin immediately. We knew we had a tiresome and gruelling road ahead, something that was not for the faint hearted, but with sheer determination and hard work we had every chance of pulling through.
Work commenced from that moment until the beginning of April when full focus turned back to the arcades. We have refurbished and restored so many games, and had a chance to work through some of our projects that we would not normally be able to do. The eye opening revelation was that we have realised we have enough work for the next decade, perhaps a little longer with the vast array of games we have. This is where they head can be swayed and deep thought is needed, especially when you can take a step into a life you may have never have seen before.
Religiously we found jobs to do to keep active and busy, having the girls involved was fantastic and more importantly fun. The pressure would intensify and increase as the bills rolled in and the reliance on negotiations were even more vital. I remember speaking with Cuz and questioning what I was doing this for, and my words answered the question for me before the answer needed to be found, its always the people. If it wasn't for you people it would be likely a waffle to say goodbye. Our passion for the games will always be up there but the passion for our visitors will always be paramount.
Perhaps one day our arcades, which we see are the peoples arcades will be a museum with turnstiles at the door, who knows. All we do know is that this has been a journey that we will never forget and we promise you that the best is yet to come.
So for the 17th May, what do we have in store? Well we have dug into some of our gems and pulled the odd game or two out. Some of you may have already subscribed to our youtube channel reelfruits, on here we have showcased a range of games that we have had a little time with for a giggle and presentation.
Talking of Reel Fruits (Maidstone branch) we have been so frustratingly delayed, anyone that deals with shipping from international waters will be aware of the global shipping crisis anyway, but wow its a catastrophe! So bad that although the carpet for Maidstone was ordered and paid for some months ago the production and shipping was completely skewered. It will be back, and will be something to look out for, we are seeking hungry new team members to join and help bring back the magic when we return.
We are immensely thankful and eternally grateful to Phil and Kev for incredible support, passion and desire to strengthen the behind the scenes activity and shenanigans that are like the blood to the body for our classic adventures. Both of them are through and through wonderful friends, and will always be part of our family (Kev has no choice with being 'actual' family lol). Thank you both, we know it and you know it and you both should be proud, we certainly are.
There has been some talk and confusions over the 'rules' on our return, I would like to advise that Bognor, Chatham and Tonbridge will still need to adhere to the policy of masks, one metre plus. Any of you that have been to the pub recently will be aware that the track and trace IS compulsory and that we need you to check in either through the app or the old school way, all is confidential and destroyed within a short time frame.
Some have asked the opening times (in particular Bognor) well we will confirm the opening but will be latest 10am, we would love to all have a mega breakfast with you all BUT with the rule of six etc we likely cannot just yet. Regarding closing at Bognor we will be looking at around 10pm for the first day I would think, but as its season this may well extend like it has many times before it.
We will release a video soon of Bognor and how it looked just two weeks ago (before operation clear) and although its crazy we have made good use of the time just working on machines and preparing for the gems that will be in store for our visitors.
The relaxation of restrictions seems to be on the cards, much of it on the 21st June, and whilst we must all remain vigilant we need to announce a date for the Summer Party 2021. The Summer BBQ madness will be held on Saturday 28th August 10am until LATE. Get the date booked and be sure when I say this is the one not to miss!
Amelia and I would like to whole heartily thank you all so much for your kind words, messages that were inspirational and many phone calls and great conversation through the pandemic. Your all a great bunch and we are very lucky to have so so many of you as friends.
See on the 17th,
Keep smiling, and never stop believing.
Dave, Amelia, Ruby and Scarlett xxxx