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Friday, 25 July 2014

Salon back in business after 2005 floods

FIONA Findley has good reason to mark next Tuesday’s anniversary of the 2005 floods.

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Magic number: Fiona Findley and Tracey Appleton in one7nine on Warwick Road, Carlisle

She is back in business in Carlisle for the first time since then in the same premises that were inundated by the swirling waters.

The whole experience was so depressing that she left to start a new life in Spain.

But last year circumstances brought her home and she opened a hairdressing salon, one7nine, in what used to be her Au Soleil tanning studio at 179 Warwick Road.

Mrs Findley, 59, can vividly recall the events of Saturday, January 8, 2005.

She said: “It started with a phone call from my friend Lindsay Nicholson asking if I was okay.

“I was still in bed upstairs [above the studio]. I didn’t have any idea that we would soon be looking out at men on jet skis, police in rowing boats and people carrying children in water up to their chests.

“That was the end of my business, which we opened in 2003.

“When we walked downstairs on the Monday my lovely tanning studio was covered in filth. The brand-new sunbeds were ruined and my dream was gone.

“It took 15 months to get back into our home and we decided not to reopen as my daughters were ready to move on, my husband worked away and I kept dreaming of working overseas.”

Prior to opening Au Soleil, she had been a lecturer at Carlisle College, a manager in education and had run an IT centre in Haltwhistle.

The floods were a spur to open a jewellery shop in a village in Murcia, Spain.

She said: “Looking back I can appreciate that people found it very daring to go on my own to a different country and take up a business about which I knew nothing, but I had a great time.”

She became back partly because of the economic crisis in Spain and partly because she had separated from her husband, Steve, and needed to look after the house.

Mrs Findley said: “My neighbour is Tracey Appleton, who used to have Elle Classique opposite the bus station.

“We had talked about working together for years and it seemed logical to change the house back to a salon but this time with hairdressing. So one7nine opened at the end of February.”

The business has gone from strength to strength.

It now employs hairdresser Luci Greenwood, who used to work with Tracey, and beautician Rebecca Chan.

Helen Musso, a Reiki master, has joined latterly and she introduced Maureen Colohan who offers Mindfully Slim, a weight-loss programme based on psychology rather than diet.

From next week, one7nine will host All About W8 classes, run by Louise Robertson.

This is a meal-replacement plan using fresh foods to give a balanced diet to encourage weight loss safely.

Wendy Hirst, a specialist in Thai massage, is taking appointments and is offering massage courses to start in February. Other innovations include tarot readings.

The salon sells the ARK Age Aware Skincare products, which do not contain chemicals, in particular parabens – often used in cosmetics as a preservative – that can cause skin irritation.

Since Mrs Findley was last in Carlisle, the Environment Agency has completed a £24m flood-defence scheme to protect the Warwick Road area. But she still gets nervous when it rains. She said: “I’m signed up for flood alerts and get texts, emails and phone calls from the Environment Agency.”

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