I have recently completed another review of the pub market from my perspective and my record remains pretty good. Every so often I review the pubs that have shown up as potentials and look at where they are against my thoughts at the time, its nice to check. Where I concluded that there was simply not enough demand to support the house they have closed, on this I remain 100% accurate. Where people have lost their way with the business and are treating the commercial sale as a residential one they remain on the market. The trouble with this approach is that the emotions associated with selling a home are not supported by the reality of the trading figures, again I am bang on target.
This time around there are a couple of quirks of the market that surprised me. One premises that has been occasionally and very cautiously marketed, I got as far as the ferry on one occasion before they changed their minds, has ceased trading. It is always sad to see a venue cease trading under any circumstances but I was surprised to see plans to extend the post office counter to become the only trading activity. The pub rescued the post office service many years ago when it couldn’t survive on its own for this to have now overtaken the pub in terms of trading viability is both astonishing and sad. I suspect that family dynamics may have held greater weight in this decision than pure economics but nonetheless its a surprise. My thoughts were that the early toe in the water would be followed by a more firm commitment to sell in the future and certainly I kept a close eye on developments.
The second venue that surprised me was an outside option whose status I am unsure about. This venue is marketed by one of those awful business selling sites that requires the DNA of your first-born before you can ‘join’ and then bombards you with irrelevant garbage, needless to say I have progressed no further than the front page. It was during my search for more information on a premises that is being sold by the owners of 4 years due to “retirement” that I discovered how they had come about the purchase. The pub was last sold via a raffle with tickets costing £20 each and the winner getting the freehold. Fair play to anybody who can take £20 and in just four years have a return on investment that allows them to retire but again I feel there is more to the story.
So what Have I learnt? Well commercially failing post offices can surpass the turnover of a well-loved local pub and that a raffle is a legitimate way of selling a pub. Before you leap to the keyboards to pen me a comment pointing out that the trade is in a dire state and I would have to be mad to buy a pub please remember, as I have said many a time, it is not a choice. Don’t bother scouring the web for the trade news that told us this was the worst New Year in the on trade to date with more people staying at home and even youngsters eschewing alcohol, I have seen it already. Even whilst reading the bad news stories my mind was ruminating on potential extensions for letting rooms. For some there is just no escaping the trade we just adapt to the difficulties and plough on.
It transpires that the size of the picture in Amazon does not accurately reflect the actual size of the device, go figure? so now having reorganized my living room the new laser printer has a home and my old mate Andrew was the happy recipient of the old inkjet. I have, inadvertently, discovered another great advantage of laser over inkjet, I actually found this during the transportation of the devices you see laser printers don’t leak. As I was walking the inkjet down the road I mused over the fact that my fingers felt wet, then I checked and sure enough they were full of black ink the ink having emptied itself through the breath hole. I wouldn’t be overly distressed about the ink leakage if it wasn’t for the fact that I am only upgrading because the inkjet repeatedly tells me that its empty, well it bloody is now!
I delivered a wonderful set of cute clothes to the lovely Danny and Jodie yesterday and was treated to a cuddle of the most adorable 5 day old Lily, what a stunner! It’s so nice to see a young family rather than the horror stories that you hear today about single parents and unwanted pregnancies, really does return your faith in human nature. The red-hot apartment and heavily swaddled baby reminded me of bringing my own son up in a freezing house camped out in front of the fire for fear he would get cold. I for one am sure that Lily has a wonderful life with loving parents to look forward to and I will leave her my cell phone number in case she ever needs anyone to bang her parents heads together. As a slight aside, the irritating proliferation of ‘keep calm and …’ T shirts does nothing to detract from a newborn baby grow with the legend “Keep calm and giggle”, just warms your heart. Having left the newborn I was treated to seeing my fostering friends and their 5 month old (and just 12 pound) ward, it took some time but not only did I get rewarded with a smile and a gurgle but a set of limbs desperately perambulating towards me, another stunner and I apologise to my more adult friends for ignoring them, well a little anyway. As is doubtless clear from this post, I adore babies can there be anything more gorgeous, more innocent and more amazing than a baby?
In other news I idly looked through a catalogue today before returning it to the shelf and wondered if anyone has a more eclectic bookshelf than I do? On this shelf a catering equipment catalogue resides between a cookbook and a motorcycle repair manual, next to these is the Engineer’s relay handbook, the excellent Treitel’s Law of Contract and then One Million Tattoo’s. I could almost hear the Lloyd Grossman voice drawling ‘now who would live in a house like this’
I had a close up look at an E-Reader today and I think I am finally sold. I have an I Pad at home and I think that in a strange sort of way this has put me off further investigation into E-Books, the I Pad is too large to use comfortably on busy trains, too power hungry for long trips and too Apple flavoured for my taste. I love a book, I love the feel of a book and I love the fact that I purchase a piece of hardware something tangible that I can see and hold for my money. The accident means that I spend more time on public transport, as such I spend more time reading but I am also extremely limited as to the amount of books that I can travel with or indeed purchase. When I set off at the start of a week I pack a book, if the book that I am reading is past the first 25% then I pack a fresh book and leave the ‘in progress’ one at home, this in itself is a new concept for me as I am used to reading one book at a time.
One problem is that if I read during my time away then invariably I will end up completing the book before the end of the week and thus have nothing to read on my way home, I can’t spare the weight or space to carry more than one book especially with the injuries. I live in a small coastal village and the direct physical purchase of books is not possible within the limited range of local shops, this means that I tend to make purchases when I am returning through London and again limits me to a maximum two book purchase. I did, on one occasion get so overwhelmed by the offers available that I purchased 4 books on a return journey but I was remarkably close to leaving them part of the way home due to the additional burden. Of course I could get my books delivered and indeed Amazon offer a good service and price but I work away all week and like most delivery agents they fail to accommodate this, I have lost count of the times that I have returned home to a card from a courier company based in the middle of a distant town offering me the option to collect or have redelivered, the later being available for another week day when I wont be in.
Perhaps it is the very physical presence of books that is now becoming a hinderance to me, or more accurately is increasing the attraction of E-Readers, yes books look great on the shelf, they are real and tangible and bear witness to your journey through the literary world but they are, of necessity, large and weighty. I have questioned before whether my lack of comfort with the purchase of electronic copies of music or books is based more on my age than any practicality and of late I am thinking that it is. I am a one time reader, I don’t return to novels that I have read before and read them again so why do I need to maintain rows of paperbacks? I am far too long in the tooth, have far too mundane tastes and not nearly enough visitors to presume that my bookshelf will spark lively and entertaining debates at dinner parties, the books seem to serve no other purpose than to pander to some ingrained belief that you have to be able to touch and hold something that you have purchased.
Bullet now well and truly bitten I have placed an order for an E-Reader and await its speedy arrival to my parcel holding service at the local pub (thanks guys) I have no doubt that frustrations and entertainment with this new toy will fill the blog for a while now. In true modern style I have just copied the 9G of books from the travelling hard drive at work to get me started and they don’t weigh a thing.
As I slipped into a vacant seat on the coast bound train I looked up to see a slightly nervous, even agitated woman on the seat opposite.
Despite a handbag and a shopping bag she gripped her cell phone tightly in her hand as if awaiting some important call. As I glanced over again I noticed through the edge of the envelope on her lap two passports amongst some papers.
I could see that the hands that clasped the cell were wrapped in black gloves, not feminine gloves but thick black leather motorcycle style gloves and her coat buttoned high, despite the warmth of the train, covered all but her face.
I am lucky that I understood what I was seeing, this was a secret assassin dressed as a female in order to carry out the hit that would be communicated to her on the cell, after all what reason would an apparent businesswoman have for such a small basic model if not that it is readily disposable? Once the act was carried out ‘she’ would slip to the toilet with the shopping bag and exit as Mr Smith, using the second passport to support this identity. The high neck of the coat and the thick gloves hid those masculine features that are so difficult to disguise.
If it wasn’t for the fact that I have read so much David Baldacci I might not have spotted the little clues that exposed her, I could have thought that she was just another innocent commuter.