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Words to guide a good life

Do you ever reflect on life when one chapter ends? I've been doing that lately and thought I would share my career and life path so far for your amusement. When I was still at school I always wanted to be a VET. Bugger knows why because I hate the smell of wet dogs, sneeze whenever a cat is within 10 feet and I detest rodents but anyway, one day, I watched TV Vet James Herriott shove his arm up a cows jacksy and that was enough to change my mind. I knew I needed to see the outside world though (well, outside Cleator Moor anyway) so my next choice was the Forces with my grandads words ringing in my ear,,, face your fears lad! Well my fears were drowning and heights so I joined the Fleet Air Arm as a Mechanical Engineer and had the experience of a crash landing in a Sea King on a Scottish Island as a bonus. At this point I've got to say that every future problem going forward would be solved with my first instructors words (adding to my grandfathers) ringing in my ears 'ide…

Who needs Coronation Street when you have Lowther Street

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It's 22 years since we started the business, a civilised type of shop we thought. The type where a chap could send his butler in for a 50 year old Madeira or a case of Chablis but then we really didnt know how colourful life could be on the High Street!
Over the years we've heard some cracking conversations both inside and outside the shop, in fact it's almost as if some people dont see us at all. A group of ladies sheltering by the door on a wet day were talking about a friends daughter who had apparently done really well for herself with some recent achievement. Naturally our ears pricked up keen to hear what the young lady had succeeded in doing. Imagine our surprise to hear that her achievement was to get onto long term sick benefits!

Another couple, this time we assumed to be a man and wife were discussing whether we were a new shop (bear in mind this was only two years ago) and also what sort of shop we were. She said to hubby 'it looks like an off licence' t…

High Street Retail is dead, long live High Street Retail

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So, is retail dead on the High Street? Are we all changing our spending habits to the point where each County will end up with one or two thriving retail towns or cities with the rest of the spend going to the Net or is is all just a slow adaption to a new and exciting future? If you're a pessimist then we're all doomed and small shops across the country will end up being converted to tattoo parlours, dens of illicit sex or heaven forbid endless amounts of travel and estate agents. If however you have half a brain and a grasp on history, you will dispel such gloomy thoughts and crack open a bottle to celebrate the future. Many years ago when we evolved from clubbing wives and hunting for our own ends and discovered the benefits of trading, retail was born and in the intervening time it's changed a lot but the High Street which started off as rows of market traders selling anything from freshly hacked meat to black bread and cures for boils has always been a magnet for peo…

The weird world of the Whitehaven Festival

In 1998 I came up with the idea that Whitehaven could stage a major festival (over a couple of glasses of wine mind you) and you would think that the strangest thing of all was that it became a success with one event attracting over 300k visits but no, there were far stranger things behind the scenes!Take the claimers For example, and we had so many people try it on from tripping over cables that wern't there (let's face it that's like a chancers apprenticeship) to the down right ridiculous. How about the lady who claimed she was wearing £2500 Gucci shoes that were ruined by raw sewerage running down the harbour. It was an easy one to disprove as there were no pipes anywhere near her and when we asked to see the shoes, low and behold she had destroyed them by fire to kill the smell! Then there was the lady who tried to sue for a blistered throat caused by the exhaust pipe of an Ice cream van. She claimed she didn't know the engine we would be running, all we had to ask…

Read on if you have a sense of humour!

If only Whitehaven was Monaco, what would life be like?
The heat and the wonderful bright sun would be our first problem. Look at how tempers are flaring about car parking and toilet issues right now and it's barely 16 degrees, can you image peoples impatience and lack of tolerance at 30 degrees? Still on the bright side we would see more and more of those wonderfully honed bodies that Whitehaven is famous for. I particularly love to see the old sea dog sailors who had a stomach tattoo done when they were as fit as a butchers dog and now regret not building some expansion into the art. There's nothing says fuck you quite like f     u     c     k     y     o     u!  Mind you unfortunate tattoos aren't the sole domain of the chaps these days and I often wonder if there's any personal embarrassment when a middle aged lady strips for the doctor and her tender parts are emblazoned with eat here or free milk. Still if we were Monaco, we could tolerate all this under the long…

Electric is here to stay baby

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I've driven an Electric Nissan Leaf for three years now, so a cynic could say I've served my penance for mother nature and that I could return to the dirty world of fossil fuel with my head held high but guess what? You can keep fossil fuels and regular trips to the garage because I'm a convert. No, Im not a tree hugger, badger campaigner, stop cutting the hedges and save the dolphin type of chap, in fact the only things I get heated about lately are Man Utds away performances and the latest Donald Trump announcements. I know, I know the latter really arent important but the former definitely is.

Actually one of the best things about the Leaf is that Donald Trump would hate it and that gives me a bit of a kick every time I switch it on. Anyway, I have a habit of digressing but I was just about to tell you I had taken on my second Leaf from Edgars Rowrah and it was the easiest decision I've ever made. Trust me I've thought longer over whether its to be a tea or capp…

Is wine really bad for you

Common sense is not so common. Voltaire
It seems that after 20 years of promoting and loving the wine business, I now find myself on the wrong side of the Government health watchdogs. Alcohol is bad for you they proclaimed, Hogwash I replied, no level of alcohol is safe they shouted, tell that to a Scot I cried, but we are only looking out for your good health they announced, mind your own sodding business I retorted, but we know best they screamed, not according to my pleasure receptors you dont I yelled and so the argument goes on. The Editor and I had convened an urgent COBRA meeting (Cumbrians Opposed to Bureaucratic Ratifications on Alcohol) and we discussed whether continuing this wine column could see either of us taking a trip to see the big man in a black maria. After much discussion about our abilities to withstand questioning and whether we would have to abandon our families and accept a new life engaged to a Scouse drug dealer named Big Bob, we have bravely decided to take t…