In the interests of ensuring that this blog is an accurate record of my search for the next pub I will share the weekend with you.
The current target has taken on a sudden urgency with the vendor wanting to complete before end of February. Given the delays and difficulties in getting this far the sudden urgency is a nuisance that I could do with avoiding but, as they say, if it was easy….
The outsider in terms of reports was the stonemason but he turned it around in record time and has ended up being the only report received in time. I know the surveyors issues and roof work is something that I am more comfortable estimating.
This weekend I managed to avoid the issue of a deadline for offers today by getting stuck into plumbing. Yesterday was D day though and I settled down with a glass of scotch and a calculator. This is the step into reality and, despite the length of the search, it is a big step. Looking at spending every penny on a project that is so far away and in a trade that is so embattled really hits home when you are looking at numbers.
One offer already exists so that pretty much pins the low end of my offer. I could come in below this and hope that the other offer is weak but that is a dangerous move so the question is how much should I raise the bar? Obviously any saving is welcome as it will help the long months of renovations and the slow build of trade. But if I come in too close and the other offer is strong then I may lose.
I generated my number and in it went. This morning I received a call telling me that it’s a positive offer and will go forward with the agents recommendation subject to all of the usual proof of funding etc. There is lots of watch this space but the culmination of all of the first stage work is sitting in a rather simple email the response to which could determine the rest of my life.
Whilst I have bemoaned the silly season of New Year’s resolutions, and I stand by that rant, it does seem that there is something about the season. It’s OK I haven’t signed up to a diet plan or joined a gym, in fact I’ve made no change or commitment over those that I have had for some time. I do feel doubly frustrated at the stagnation of my life at the moment though and I can only put that down to the season.
I have one potential pub project that remains on the market without any apparent urgency to sell, I know the price and it’s always been kind of my reserve option. Over the weekend I have found myself becoming quite annoyed that I cannot take it off the market right now, January being a great time of year to crack a start on a seasonal venue. Some may say that this is fuelled in part by a desire to leave where I am at the moment and it is true that recent additions to the neighbourhood do make exit even more appealing but it is not just that. There is a floor plan on my PC that I used for the original business plan and it discounts the first floor for immediate trading, this is still the right thing to do. That floor plan has become the subject of much modification over the last few days as I seek to resolve two problems with the layout, or more accurately the commissioning of a kitchen within the current layout. The kitchen being at the rear of the first floor means that it blocks the rear door which is the preferred access to the small garden, the pub needs its own access to the rear for a smoking solution and to attract trade from that direction. There is also the matter of knocking through to internalise the access to the second floor residential, I hate lock up premises, which doesn’t suit the current arrangement.
I now have a plan for this side of the building that involves only one external alteration at the rear, since the building is not listed this should not present a difficulty. So I have a plan for something that is not intended to need doing until year 2 or 3 at the earliest. I also have plans to resolve the fact that the patio extends over the toilet roofs, the original one being a sign over the mirror in the ladies with an arrow pointing up and the legend “Shhh they can hear you”. Obviously my business plan already sets out a trading style and on reflection I think a 4 week shut down will benefit the venue by setting a break point between current trading and the future. This is the passion of the trade that drives me with every opportunity, I sit sketching and drafting plans and then walk to work thinking through options.
I’m not sure if was looking over the files at the weekend or January blues, whatever they are, but I find myself horribly frustrated that I cannot call my agent and proceed today. I know where the venue is and where I need it to be and its annoying not being able to make progress on that path. Like I said it’s not a new commitment, it’s not a resolution it’s just a sore reminder that the slow and painful machinations of the system are still holding me back, lets hope I’m not saying the same thing next January.
To those that follow the other project don’t worry Rahel is currently in the pub, her one not mine, and you will see an update soon.
I ordered groceries for home delivery this week and this presented two points for the blog. The first is that I am English, I know that we knew that but this was true proof. The government need to forget any residency texts or history of the UK there are far easier tests. They have started of course with the queues at immigration in all of our airports, you think that is because they are short-staffed? think again. English queue patiently and that my friends is the test, those that jostle, push and shove are immediately marked as ‘not English’. There is another test, as I concluded yesterday, and that is the ‘being a nuisance test’. When my delivery driver advised me that there had been substitutions to my order he gave me a printed list and the option to reject or accept. There is no point in the exercise because I am English, when faced with this task I quickly scan the paperwork and agree to accept. In truth I did see familiar items on the list and checked that the brand hadn’t changed to something that I didn’t use. Putting my shopping away I discovered that the substitutions were not as expected. Of course I could have gone through the list line by line but that is just not the English way.
The second thing that I learnt from this experience is that the ‘shoppers’ at Asda are as mad as a box of frogs. My face wash was substituted for moisturising sun block, where is the similarity? The leave in conditioner had been replaced with shampoo, it is just as well I read the bottle or I would have foamed up in the rain. They appeared to generally substitute with products that had the same colour. There was no rational or logical argument for the substitutions many of which went straight in the trash as no use to me whatsoever. Speaking to Andrew last night I discovered that he had also suffered at the hands of the substitute loons and that in the past he had challenged them. Apparently he was told that there were no substitution rules as such it was just what the picker decided. I can now imagine a 50-year-old picker looking at the list that says “men’s face wash” and finding the shelf empty. A natural reaction would be to think “tart it wasn’t like that in my day” and throw in some moisturiser, it’s all too personal. I have to share Andrew’s older substitution though as an example of dogged determination. He had ordered a deep fat fryer and they were out of stock, the substitution offered was a frying pan, maybe that little human touch does serve a purpose, even if it is only comedy.