For a lot of my colleagues, the focus this week has been looking forward to our swanky new home at Chiswick Park but I have a slightly different point of view. Don't get me wrong, I'm not averse to change, and I do realize that the time had come to move to a purpose built facility, but it did not stop me feeling sad to be leaving my ‘home’ of almost nineteen years.
I had been putting off clearing out my dressing room because I knew I would unearth long forgotten memories, but on Tuesday it was my last opportunity to get 'stuck in'. There was no chance of me tackling this mammoth task on my own, so I enlisted the help of my entire family plus Gilly, Sophie's flatmate, who now feels like one of the family!
We arrived shortly after 2pm and five hours later everything had been packed to take to Chiswick, put into bags for the charity shop or thrown away. Daniel was sorting through papers and memorabilia, and Sophie was in charge of clothes and make-up.
Sophie was fairly ruthless with my clothes rails. Anything she thought I should keep went straight onto the rail to take, and anything she thought I should discard she gave me five seconds to make my mind up about. Fortunately Gilly was the one actually hanging the clothes on the rail bound for Chiswick, and if she spotted that I was less than keen to throw away something Sophie thought I should, she secreted it onto the rail.
Two rails of clothes quickly became one and that included three of my 'original' jackets that I couldn't bear to part with. The make-up was no problem as I had no attachment to anything, so gloopy nail polishes that hadn't seen the light of day for several years, and out of date lippies hit the bin happily.
A lot of the paperwork was information about products we sell, so that went straight into the moving crates, but it was the memorabilia I struggled with, particularly when I came across the original 'Good Luck' cards from Chris and the children from 1993, and of course photos down the years – I must confess to a few tears. Obviously none of that got thrown away, I just need to find it all a new home.
Alison Young, who hadn't started on her dressing room either, was no help at all as she kept appearing with nail varnishes in the latest colours to add to the pile of stuff I was trying to sort out!!! I got my own back by putting a massive Oktoberfest beer mug in her dressing room when she wasn't looking!
Post clear out I took everyone out for pizza, trust me they deserved it!!
The final show from Marco Polo House was with Ralph Rossini from Honora Pearls. I was very touched that some of the backstage staff who weren't scheduled to be working that evening turned up to be part of the final show. I wore the infamous blue jacket that I wore when Jon Briggs and I launched the channel and was quite surprised that it was on the 'roomy' side… and what were those shoulder pads????
At the end of the show I flicked a switch to turn the lights off for the end of our nineteen year relationship with Marco Polo House. What you guys at home didn't see was that out of the darkness Daniel and Sophie stepped forward with a bouquet of flowers.
I had no idea they were in the building, but they had wanted to be part of the farewell as it has been a huge part of their lives too. They had both appeared on air with me when they were very young, playing with toys in toy shows, helping in the kitchen and Daniel's favourite memory of slotting a goal past Jules Ballantyne when we were selling a football net – precious memories!
But of course QVC goes on and I turned up at Chiswick Park last night for my first shows with a bubble of excitement in my stomach. I was a little disappointed that the pass I had been given didn't allow me into the Presenter dressing room area… are they trying to tell me something??? Seriously though, it is the start of a new and exciting phase at QVC and I am very glad to be part of it.
I hope you are enjoying the opening four days with all the great products and treats. I will be launching the L'Occitane TSV at Saturday midnight, my birthday as it happens, and all I am saying is… ALMOND!!!!!!!