Annette Ogilvie is finally realising her lifelong dream.
It all began in 1965 when her parents gave her a copy of ‘the Night Before Christmas’.
“Ever since, with that book, I’ve always looked forward to Christmas,” Ms Ogilvie said.
“It’s about how families come together, and it’s all the pre-up to Christmas, it’s about getting together and creating things, and making things, and cooking.
“It just brings the spirit and joy into the family.”
With her partner Anthony Kelly, Ms Ogilvie has redone the old shop at 141 Wallace Street.
The shop has been transformed over the past few months into a winter wonderland, with bright red walls, colourful decorations and a special Santa’s Grotto.
The shop is opening later than planned, due to a few unexpected setbacks.
In October, Mr Kelly took a tumble down the stairs, breaking his neck.
He’s glad to be up and about again, and healing well, but it was clear the building needed more secure stairs. The new stairs are so solid, Ms Ogilvie thinks they may outlast the building.
It was a fortunate investment, the pair have purchased enough stock that they’ve been forced to expand the operation into the upper rooms.
With the opening just over a week away, Ms Ogilvie has never been more tired, and she’s never been happier about it.
The shop is her new start on life, after she discovered a quiet retirement didn’t suit her.
“My Mum thinks I’m very silly, maybe because she thins I’m too old to be doing this,” Ms Ogilvie said, “but I’m thinking why not? What do you do with the rest of your life? Do you just sit at home and do nothing?”
Instead, she’s channeled her energy into this project, which has almost become her and Mr Kelly’s baby.
“This is more like not work to us, it’s a passion, it’s our baby if you can call it [that],” she said.
“I couldn’t be happier. I’m tired, I’m tired all the time, I work nonstop, I do everything from scrubbing and repairing and nailing and hammering and cutting up wood, so it’s like I’m in my glory basically.”
She’s looking forward to sharing the joy at the upcoming opening, with a Christmas celebration featuring balloons, candy canes, and if she can find two volunteers a Santa and a face-painter for a charity fundraiser.
In pride of place will be the framed edition of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ she was given so long ago.
- ‘A Very Braidwood Christmas’ will open on Saturday December 9, from 9am