My greengrocer’s gone underground …

“I can get some veggies and micro-greens for you, Mate. Even fresher than the ones from Covent Garden! Oh no, Guv – these ones are from a special mate of mine who’s managed to get his hands on an old air raid shelter. He’s now using it for a farm. Yes, underground. But not just any old underground. This place is using hydroplanes or something. And he’s growing all the greens you’ll need and not even a slug’s bite on anything. He’s clever, this lad. There’s no sand and no pests and he uses a special light that makes things grow. And he’s got that Australian cheffie lass, Michelle Roo, on board too. Don’t roll your eyes like that, Rodney, this is the pukka deal!”

09419118b5It would only take about 15 minutes for Del Boy to scoot over to Clapham from the flat in Peckham to pick up a load of greens from his suppliers, Richard Ballard and Steven Dring. They have managed to secure an old air-raid shelter and have embarked on a venture that will revolutionise the growing of herbs and vegetables right under the heart of London. Michel Roux Jr has teamed up with these entrepreneurs in setting up this garden that is aiming to produce top quality fresh herbs, vegetables and flowers that have never seen the light of day during the growing process. The proximity of this underground farm also ensures a pest-free environment and greatly reduced “food miles” owing to its central London location. It’s the sort of hare-brained scheme Del Boy would have been proud of – if only he’d thought of it first!

But it might have been Del Boy’s advice some landlords followed. Instead they possibly ignored the good advice of their stocktakers and decided to screen Sky Sports matches without the proper commercial viewing agreement in place, have been hit with a total £19 000.00 bill by the courts for their indiscretion. This detail would be one of the things that Jon Rutter and his colleagues would advise their customers to factor in to their planning. For those who provide sports coverage for their customers, this case proves the absolute necessity to plan carefully and ensure that all the correct licenses that they need are in place.

Stocktakers all over would agree that strategy and planning in the Industry never cease – especially with the news just out that April will see the implementation of minimum pricing of alcohol in supermarkets and shops. While some might argue that low supermarket prices have been factors in keeping people out of pubs and restaurants, with the advent of this move, those same pubs and restaurants might need to up their game in their plans to attract punters to their premises back by offering value for their £. Pubs and premises all over are trying different things from grabbing a pint at nine in the morning at a service station pub, to the round-the-clock-drinking rules that many are trying to get changed. In Blackpool, for instance, some are advocating early morning restriction orders preventing sales between 3 am and 6 am. Others are petitioning a relaxation of rules during the World Cup so that punters can enjoy watching the matches in their favourite pub.

It was jolly inconsiderate of Sepp Blatter to arrange the World Cup to be held in a time zone that causes so many problems to English fans and their publicans. I mean, who is really geared up to start watching a match at 11 pm? But it’s probably a good thing the PM has intervened and overruled Norman Baker’s refusal to extend pub hours.

There could have been a lot of miserable fans being chucked out the pub at closing time with the score on 1-0 in England’s favour!

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