Well I popped in to see Alastair the new landlord of The Ship yesterday on the way back from picking up my son and I think that the old girl is in good hands.
It was kinda odd walking around the place so long after closing her down, wanting to tidy up and move stuff around! But I explained the lessons that the old girl had taught me, the quirks and oddities that have entertained us all during my time there and Alastair seemed generally pleased. In response to the point that “you could have just driven past and thought its your problem now” I honestly said that the pub did me no harm and owes me no debt, I am genuinely pleased that she will continue as a public house and not become housing as so many of us feared.
In this day and age it’s good that a village the size of Kirkby can maintain two pubs and encourage investment, well done people! I saw hursty earlier and he was already licking his lips, can’t wait to have a pint in the old girl again.
Well I realised that my secret squirrel routine was never going to see me all the way through but it’s done well and thanks to a good friend i haven’t lost the mask yet!
Said friend was asked about my interests and tells me that she did a spectacular job of laughing it off, as good as that is it does mean that I will be on the ‘must stalk’ list of at least one local this weekend so it’s a good job that my alcohol resistance remains low due to my diet and I therefore won’t miss the pub!
Whilst this does not, of itself, have any effect on the inevitable gossiping and discussions it should keep me out of them and thus reduce the belief in them for a while and I could do with buying all the time I can get right now.
I have no particular concern about people knowing my plans, let’s be honest if I did I would not be entering the licensed trade, but purchasing conditions can be very badly affected by rumours which can make a vendor unjustifiably brave or drive competition out of the undergrowth neither of which are beneficial to me.
I shall continue to wear my secret squirrel mask for a little while longer and lets see how I get on.
On a slightly different note it has just occurred to me over the last 24hours just how much work there is still to do at such time as I see a green light on a venue. Just the sheer volume makes you want to plan a couple of weeks of no work or trade to get straight, its only when you see the mortgage payments that you realise that’s not such a good idea!
So as you all know now my offer is in and winding its way around a rather long and tedious course which should result in the pronouncement of some for of decision in some measure of time, I suggest that more likely a question will return because decisions do not seem to be easy to come by….
So now I wait, impatiently, chewing nails and stressing as to the machinations that are invisible to me after all I am but one property of many to all of the people involved in the decisions. Of course I shall remain at my maximum paranoia as I have so far and so remain convinced that at the last-minute I will hear that somebody else has secured massive backing and has blown my bid out of the water or that somebody has been negotiating at the golf course directly with the vendor. I am almost primed to receive the telephone call from the agent that tells me how sorry he is but he ‘wasn’t aware’ and ‘these things happen’.
Now what really helps the situation of course is the ongoing, unstoppable and not far short of unbelievable rumour mill. I have been told of at least three distinct and individual people that have put offers in and have even been told of offers that have gone in well above the asking price! I must now remind myself that when I was frantic to get a viewing and beginning to believe the rumours of other offers and back door deals my agent advised against listening to the rumours, ok we had some false turns and it was difficult but it’s not an easy situation and the result was as promised, the first person to view was indeed me.
It’s not only in recent times that I have been outbid or beaten on financials, it has happened on several business over the years and the frustration is different to that which you see in a house purchase. With a house the price that you offer is clearly a result of your desire for that property and the affordability of that mortgage but with a pub you have to shelve the desirability (we all love pubs) and look at the affordability from a business perspective.
Now when you have spent weeks labouring over business plans and costings and weeks securing funding followed by yet more weeks stress testing all of the financials then you know that your numbers are correct simple as that the maths is correct. So when somebody appears out of the woodwork with a higher estimation of the potential for the business you know, as a matter of fact, that they are incorrect. If their numbers are incorrect then they will fail, that is a given, but on their way to failure they will degrade both the goodwill and the asset in so doing they will present a bigger hurdle on their exit.
Normally when people exit on failure they leave uncovered costs behind them and these costs end up with somebody and be that a receiver or a landlord they are now looking to extract more from a business that is worth less and so the cycle continues. I have looked at several pubs over the years and less often produced business plans for some and I can honestly say that where I have produced a business plan and somebody has offered more money they have all failed 100% of them; my record is not as good where I have only looked in passing but its something like 95% still.
In the current instance I have done all that I can do to document a sensible and rational long-term approach to a business that has been in severe decline for many years and almost like sealed bids I must resign myself to the fact that I do know my maths and I have tabled a strong offer that has a good chance of maintaining the business, if only this was one of the vendors considerations…
Another conversation brings another enlightenment. Just had a call from a friend who didn’t know about the pub plans (its been a while) so I got all the normal about how good it will be to get free beer, paid to drink and never needing a taxi home.
This one I had boxed though because I know his routine, so what happens when you go to your local get mashed and act up?
“well head down and use another pub for a week or so and it soon dies down”
There in lies another constraint of the licensed trade, you see your social life is bound to your pub and the trade in general so there is no forgetful excess and misbehaving because there is nowhere to hide. No matter what you drink or how late your evening clientele keep you up you need to show the ‘brave face’ the next day. Think back in your life, how many landlords have you apologised to? How many landlords have apologised to you for drinking too much?
Not a complaint by the way merely an observation.
Well what a day! We have the paperwork through, loan offer against property, schedules of costs, terms and conditions and that other scary stuff its best not to read.
We have a formal, fully financed offer in writing made and I have just got of the telephone to the agent who tells me that the offer has gone to the head office from where it goes to the vendor (that is apparently the process) and the agent tells me that he has recommended proceedings on an agreed tight timescale, this is a common feature designed to minimise the time that the property is off the market while the vendor ‘tests’ the purchaser.
I am increasing my milk intake in the hope that my nails will return enough for me to chew them back off while waiting!
As you will all recall waiting is not my strong point, please keep everything crossed for me and on my part I will try and learn to sleep with everything crossed! There really isn’t much more I can do at this stage . . .
Well currently stuck on the A14, feet up sitting in the sun and blackberrying the afternoon away. . . On account of some idiot stacking it and causing a massive jam!
Not what I needed after a textbook mega early start still it won’t happen when I’m in the pub!
That’s the next step in the chain and an offer on the table, here’s hoping that they respond quickly and hopefully positively!
I will get my pub