We DO have a child-free area, sir … it’s called the cockpit

Airplane Flying Towards The SunsetThere are times when people visit restaurants and pubs for special occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations. Sometimes business meetings also take place over a meal or a snack accompanied by a glass of wine or a pint of beer. The waiting staff and management of these establishments are generally conscious of these things and usually don’t intrude on the people’s conversations – they like to leave them to get on with it!

But when a guest arrives with a child in tow it has been known to cause some consternation and disruption. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong or bad about the child, but management may be concerned that some of the child’s table manners and behaviour might not be as restrained as the majority of the patrons they are trying to serve. And this is why Grant Achatz, chef of Alinea in Chicago, is considering a ‘baby ban’ at his restaurant as it would put diners off their hors d’oeuvres and other courses.

It is reported that some diners have expressed the opinion that they would be livid if they were out for a quiet dinner and their senses were being assaulted with a crying baby in the background. Especially if they are paying the type of prices the Alinea charges.

These ‘noise’ concerns are probably also the reason that 7 out of 10 Britons also want to see child-free flights on airlines. It is reported that as much as 35% of those interviewed would be prepared to pay extra for child free flights. The awkward part about the survey though, reports that ‘drunk and rowdy travellers’ or ‘people with bad hygiene’ and ‘seat-kicking passengers’ were rated even more aggravating that crying babies. So will there be advocates of alcohol-free flights? And who is going to determine who are those with bad “B/O” and redirect them to board the ‘stinky’ flight from Heathrow to Dubai?

At what age does it then become acceptable to introduce one’s child to fine dining? Some would even say that there are some chefs even better behaved than their customers – regardless of the customer’s age. And when is it acceptable to have a child in a flight, when there are adults who cry and shout and throw tantrums on a plane when there isn’t a child in sight?

The lawyers must be rubbing their hands in anticipation.

In much the same way Mrs Attenborough’s barrister son (how convenient for her) had prevented a cricket team from hitting sixes when they have home matches as it might annoy his mum. She doesn’t like the odd cricket ball landing in her garden which is next to the field. Apparently they have come to an ‘amicable solution’ with the club. I’m sure that the Britwell Salome Cricket Club’s opponents are the ones who are most pleased with the solution – especially if they have a dodgy slow bowler – they aren’t going to be slaughtered in their matches.

All the permutations each restaurant, each airline, each cricket club has must be challenging to stocktakers like Jon Rutter and his team of professionals. What a good thing there are easy tools like spreadsheets, stock programmes and CRM platforms to help them keep track of what each client needs in their quest to keep patrons happy.

How long will it be until a restaurant is threatened with legal action by some customer with a relative who’s a judge for playing the wrong music, or being seated at the wrong table because it upsets their feng shui?

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“Big Brother” also slips up from time to time …

Line Of Police Cars In EnglandMany have complained that we live in a society where our every move is scrutinized. Others embrace the concept arguing that if we aren’t doing anything wrong there is no need for concern. But Sophie Vaughan was minding her own business in traffic, in a traffic jam no less, when she took a sip from her Slush Puppy.

A sharp-eyed policeman on a bike spotted her actions and handed her a £100 fixed penalty for ‘driving without due care and attention.’ Perhaps he thought she would throw cold Slush Puppy in his face and felt he needed back-up, so he called for reinforcements and another three colleagues came to his support. Ms Vaughan will now have to go to court to have the 3 penalty points that came with the fine rescinded, even though there is no clarity in the law on whether eating or drinking while driving is illegal. The law merely states that ‘if you present a significant danger’ and if the police think ‘you are not in proper control of the vehicle.’ So it appears that this particular band of four officers felt that sitting in a stationery vehicle and sipping a drink rendered Ms Vaughan reckless.

But for the Met officer who was caught on camera, sipping at his drink while he was driving his patrol car there seems to be a bit of the pot calling the kettle black going on. I’m sure the Met would argue that police officers undergo stringent driver training before being placed in charge of a vehicle, so presumably being able to “sip-and-drive” comes into their training regime.

What happens if someone is seen chewing gum while driving?

Another ‘Big Brother’ moment occurred when it was mooted that pubs or restaurants should have glasses with lines marked on them that indicate how many units of alcohol are in the glass. The campaigners for this move appear to think that if the lines are prominently displayed on each glass then consumers will suddenly suffer a dose of ‘guilt and responsibility’ and only consume what the recommended plimsoll line indicates. Or consumers will decant their drinks into their own glasses or they will develop ‘line-blindness’ as a consequence.

If the move was introduced, would the Palace also follow suit at their State Functions? Would restaurants be able to order colour-coded lines on their glasses to match their décor? It would be a maître-d’s nightmare trying to get his table settings to look good in a Michelin-starred establishment with all those lines, logos and information printed on their finest crystal.

For hard-working stocktakers there was some cost-cutting good news from the USA recently. A 14 year old student in Pennsylvania has advised the USA Government how they can save $400m by making a simple adjustment to the way they print out things. He worked out and analysed that by merely changing the font on their documents from Times New Roman to Garamond the amount of ink saved on the less bulky font will save that massive amount of dosh!

Now if Jon Rutter and his professional team recommended a pub or restaurant change their menu fonts in order to be more profitable, it is unlikely to save them $400m – but the principle of using less ink on the fonts and not so many twiddly bits as decoration could reduce the number of times the print cartridges are changed, which mean savings. Stocktaker’s job done!

Or you could just use a blackboard – chalks are probably cheaper than paper and print cartridges. It would save more trees too.

Two iced teas and a ginger tom, please …

(Update: the butcher in Sudbury who was pressured by one person to remove his dead animal display from the window of his butcher shop has received so much support and encouragement from the local residents and businesses that he has put the display back up. The local businesses say that his display actually brings visitors to the area to see it and that there is a spin-off of increased sales to the neighbouring shops. It’s good to know that one complainer has basically been told to mind their own business – or words to that effect.)

Kiddy Kat 1There were two situations that caught the attention of the courts recently, and possibly also the attention of some stocktakers.

The first was the case of the ‘greasy-fingered’ McDonald’s customer. Mr Lucas is suing Ronald McD for $1.5 million because they neglected to give him more than one napkin and the incident caused him so much mental anguish he is now unable to work. Was that Californian McDonalds trying to save some costs on their overheads by cutting down on their paper napkins? Was it a suggestion from their stocktaker or Franchise holder? We’ll probably never know as unsurprisingly, they have declined to comment on the incident.

The other case was probably where a stocktaker (we have to blame someone) urged the management of an Essex school to make tomato ketchup freely available. So available that it was lining the corridors – or that’s how it sounds. One teacher was awarded £230,000 because he wasn’t looking where he was going and he slipped and hurt himself as he walked out the staffroom. With that type of payout, perhaps the rest of the staff will now diligently be looking for any stray sachets of tomato paste so they can also ‘hit the jackpot’ so to speak. And they said teaching wasn’t dangerous!

In other news, it is probably a first for some professional stocktakers like Jon Rutter and his team if they were asked to add ‘cat food’ and ‘kitty litter’ to their restaurant customer’s inventory. What has been popular for years in the Far East has arrived in London – the first ‘cat café’ where customers can have their cake and tea while cuddling a cat at the same time. And it seems to be very popular too, seeing as their website crashed from booking enquiries within hours of it opening. The owner does say that she is unable to own a cat herself where she lives – so I suppose the next best thing is to stock up with moggies at work. The cats are ‘resident’ so anyone wanting to visit can’t BYO (and if Jon Rutter does happen to visit there he would be well advised not to take Unique Billy with him – it could cause a bit of a stir)!

Hopefully, no one allergic to cats will visit either – it would be a test case if Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium were to be sued by someone because they had started sneezing uncontrollably as a result of the décor.

You can’t fool ’em … meat comes from animals!

Greyton Livestock 002Two people walk into a pub. The bloke orders a lager and the lady a glass of wine. The barman says, “how many calories in your wine? And how much ABV?”

She says, “whaaat?”

Well that’s what could be on the cards if Sainsbury’s efforts take off. They’re of the opinion that ‘… clear labelling has an important part to play in helping customers make healthier choices …‘ A recent survey they conducted indicated that 85% (not 82.3 or 86.1%) of Britons do not know how many calories there are in a glass of wine – and also that 66% would like to see calorie-labelling on alcohol (but there was no clarity as to whether the 66% figure is 66% of those polled thus making it 56% of all Britons).

A cynic may suggest that whether people know the calorific factor on alcohol or not wouldn’t make any difference to the consumer. Having had all the calories, salt, carbohydrate etc on food labels for years hasn’t seem to have made any difference to people buying what they want to eat. If they want bacon, they’ll buy it, and if they want croissants, they’ll buy them. Regardless of any fat or salt quantities itemised on the labels. (Stocktakers might not appreciate Sainsbury’s efforts – they might have to insert a whole lot more columns into their Excel spreadsheets if more options need to be available for dieting wine-bibbers).

The Welsh were celebrating in style this last week as they handed the the French their 6-Nations head on a plate to them by winning 27-6. possibly the Welsh team had all seen, and were inspired by Sam Warburton’s cameo appearance on a groom’s video project to surprise his new wife. Steven Williams had embarked on an ambitious plan to get all his wife’s heroes to send her a wedding greeting. And somehow he managed to get a star-studded array of personalities to send in personalised messages to Ceri wishing her well on her wedding day! Even Jimmy Carr and Matt Lucas weighed in with a personalized greeting to this winning Welsh team-up giving the guests the impression that they were all long-time friends.

But ‘impressons‘ seem to have caused offence to a few people in Sudbury who objected to the fact that JBS Family Butchers were displaying their wares in the shop window. You know, things like dead animals that people eat – pigs, chickens, cows, sheep and so on. The butchery has been doing it for years. For the last 100 in fact. And only now someone has gotten a bit miffed about it. Other butchers have expressed outrage at the petition that called for the goods on display to be removed, saying “… The people kicking up a fuss about this man have gone soft. They’ve lost touch with reality…” Professional stocktakers like Jon Rutter and his teams will probably also have to educate the public in outlying areas on how things like meat is ordered and break the truth to the ‘town-mice’ by letting them know that down at the pub, the ‘pork pie’ is really made from the little piggy that didn’t go ‘wee, wee, wee all the way home!

One wonders whether the folk moving to the country are also shocked that milk doesn’t really come from gold topped bottles in nice cold fridges in the supermarket, but from the nether regions of moo-cows. Perhaps, knowing this, they’ll just stick to taking their tea with cream instead!

Hold on to your ‘toque’ … the Chefs are on the run!

Over the years many chefs and restaurants have striven to emulate the standards set by the French in the field of cuisine. In the background there has been a cultural war going on as to which nation produces the best food, the best plating, the best techniques. And the perception has been that cost’ has reflected quality – if it costs less, “… then it can’t possibly be as good as Monsieur Chef down the road whose food is frightfully dearer.” Most people have heard of the Michelin Guide and some will glibly boast of having eaten at a 2-star restaurant without really knowing what that means.

modern-table-setting-1013tm-pic-1185Not many have heard of the Gault-Millau culinary ‘rankings’ (pronounced: “go meeyo”). Among the French some even regard this as the food Oscars but compare the Michelin Guide as being the mere Cannes, Palme d’Or of food – still glitzy but not as significant. But those in the know are suggesting that the halcyon days of charging a small fortune for a smear on a plate with a scallop or two and some flowers are over. Restaurateur Jean-Claude Vrinat indicates, among other things that restaurateurs “Re-examine your economic policies, and think of the consumer’s pocketbook.” Cheers from all the consumers out there! (This is what good stocktakers have been doing for their clients for years – constantly examining, re-evaluating and adjusting to keep the client and the consumers happy).

Some trivia here: apparently the Gault-Millau culinary ‘rankings’ work on a score up to 20 and then the restaurant/chef may display from one to five toques (five being the highest). A toque is the correct name for the headgear that a chef wears. Which possibly explains why the Aussies rate their chefs as “1, 2 or 3-hatted” – maybe they just don’t speak French that well.

Looks can be deceptive. This was borne out by the police in Nottingham who nabbed a beggar for something and discovered the chap was carrying £800.00 in notes and small change on him. The proceeds of his three days work. The police also don’t believe that he’s homeless, as he claimed. However they had to let him go, with the dosh. So if a pub or restaurant in that area happen to have what might look like a dodgy character pitch up and ask for a brew and a nice meal, don’t be so quick to move him on. He could be loaded and just wanting a bit of peace and quiet!

The security at Tesco had no difficulty in identifying a horse in their shop in Co Durham though. The recent craze that has been sweeping the world, “neknominations” was played out by the lass on the horse downing a Pepsi (instead of alcohol) as she accepted her nomination and then challenged some friends of hers to upload their own videos within 24 hours. (The “neknomination” challenge is to nominate someone to down a drink in one go while having it videoed, then to nominate two others to do the same within 24 hours). While some of these challenges have been accepted by the nominees with fun and good grace, there have been some tragic events in the aftermath of the craze as people seek to do more and more outrageous things to better those who have nominated them for the challenge. Others have turned their nominations into opportunities to engage in acts of kindness to others less fortunate, making the video and then challenging others to do similar things instead of consuming alcohol.

Organisations and clubs like Rutters Stocktakers, Brighton Rugby Club and others are always up for a bit of harmless fun in the same way some have used the “neknomination” opportunities given to them to help those in their communities – all it takes is planning and dedication – just like making any business a success.

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!

Champions have routines … don’t knock it

Boring? the routine of figures and procedures?

Boring? the routine of figures and procedures?

Go into any well-run business and look behind the scenes. You will find procedures and routines that MUST be followed or heads roll. From the small things like making sure that the last one out turns off the lights to putting the shop keys in the office, on the same hook each time, so that they can always be found. There are also more significant routines too, like making sure that every item is checked off the manifest when a delivery arrives instead of just taking the van driver’s word that it’s all there.

Some might argue that these routines are mundane repetitions that take the fun and spontaneity out of life and make work “boring” … but others rigorously defend them saying that they help the business, or the individual to function at their best. Take the chef who needs to have all the pan handles facing the same way, with the pans of varying sizes in a particular order so that without thinking he will reach up, select what he wants and then slam it down on the counter in just the right position for him to add whatever ingredient he needs before moving it onto the stove burner and the dish can be cooked. No mess, no fuss, job done. Now imagine some free spirit in the kitchen deciding to make chef’s life more “fun” by storing the pans in an assortment of sizes with some handles facing the wall, some handles facing the range and others upside down. They are likely to find themselves with a “fun” bump on the head from where chef has chucked the 9 inch pan at them when he wanted the 14 inch one but it wasn’t where it should have been.

So the routines that Jon Rutter and his team of professionals employ are designed to make their client’s businesses work at maximum efficiency – there is a specific sequence that they need to follow to achieve the end result, making their clients the best they can be. Some might scoff and suggest that one or other process is a bit OTT, but “over the top” routines work for champions. They help to keep them focussed on the task at hand and on track to achieving their goal. Another champion that uses routine has been criticised recently – Rafael Nadal. His penchant for lining up his drink bottles with labels facing the right way and the sequence he uses as he touches himself in various places before serving has irritated many watchers. It has even been suggested that he has OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Well, if he does, so do hundreds of other successful athletes, among them Sharapova and Andy Murray. Which begs the question, are children learning tennis taught to bounce the ball a few times before serving? Why do players do it?

Rafa probably does have fun in his life when he’s not working at tennis. As does Maria and Andy. But for them to achieve the right result in their trade, they need the focus that their routine provides. No restaurant, club or pub is any different – as any stocktaker will tell you, the “same-old, same-old” boring stuff needs to be done to keep the business moving forward to make them champions in their own field.

Perhaps we’ll see Chef juggling pans for fun on Britain’s Got Talent, but not in his kitchen!

Smartphones. Just the thing for smart shoppers

Mobile phoneHow things have changed. It wasn’t that long ago when mobile phones were just that – phones. Nowadays using that mobile gadget to make a phone call is becoming increasingly rare. It’s like an add-on extra to the hand-held computer that keeps the user in touch with their world by email, social media, Skype and so on. You can even see where you are in a town, and also where you need to be, by launching the maps application. It also helps you find the shortest way of getting from A to B.

It didn’t take long for big business to latch on to the power of the internet some years ago by launching their online shopping services. And while some have worked really well there have been some horror stories of hidden costs, wrong items delivered and even cases of virtually nothing delivered as “the warehouse didn’t have stock” leading to the hapless shopper having to nip out anyway, to do what they were hoping not to have to do in the first place – go shopping.

But with all the problems that might have been associated with the big guys online shopping, there is a new move afoot that may just help the High Street businesses. The concept is the same. Shop online, but shop using local suppliers. The idea is to get local business who wish to participate to register with Hubbub and then residents in an area can see who’s available that they can buy from. Fishmongers, delis, butchers and others ply their wares via this website. All that has to happen now, is that all the local shops participate – otherwise you’ll be using that maps app on your smartphone to find a shop that sells what you need instead of having it delivered!

Image: John Nyberg

Image: John Nyberg rgbphotostock.com

Another great use for smartphones is seen almost daily in supermarkets and stores around the country. People are using the “calculator” function more and more. Even those folk who grew up as the generation that learned their multiplication tables by rote are using this function. Simple calculations have been taken away from the public by clever merchandisers. Gone are the days when it was easy to work out which cheese was cheaper by checking the price per kilo. Now there are all types of packaged goods in differing quantities. Like £2.80 for 190g … so how much is that compared to the brand advertised at £4.49 for 350g? Out comes the smartphone to see which is the best deal.

The poor stocktakers! How do they stay in touch without things like computers and complex formulae to keep the playing fields level? Jon Rutter and his team probably don’t have much use anymore for pieces of “arithmetic paper.” They must love that Σ symbol on their spreadsheets that works out the formula automatically. And it’s not only cheese that’s been causing a fuss! There has been a bit of a hoo-haa recently with supermarkets advertising “half-price” wine, when in fact that appears to be just marketing lingo.

Yep, things have changed! Get out the smartphones, and start comparing prices!

Fighting talk!

Every householder is, in reality, an amateur stocktaker. A person who checks to see what they have, what they need and where to get it at the most economical price without leaving any waste. A person who needs to get the most out of every pound and, hopefully, have something left over (profit margin). Perhaps that’s over-simplifying a noble profession that is essential in today’s business world, but it’s all about budgeting and using money wisely – whether in a business or at home.

Image: Adrian van Leen

Image: Adrian van Leen

So the war that has erupted between consumers (home-stocktakers) and suppliers (supermarkets) has probably been simmering for a while now. Tesco has weighed in by accusing each household of wasting £700 quid a year on chucking food out. So they have launched “a campaign” to help curb our profligacy! Meanwhile, WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme) have retaliated by turning their ire onto Tesco and telling them it’s all their fault for packaging and presenting products in the way that they do and making it impossible for careful shoppers to buy only what they need.

Both sides have trollied out statistics and reports, with figures, to support their arguments. “… one survey indicates …” “… alarming figures show …” etc etc. Just an observation here – no one has EVER asked my opinion for a survey, nor have they ever approached any of the many people I know. Where do they get their figures? How do they come up with “15 million tons of food is junked” … why not 14.326 million tons? Or “customers chuck away 40% of apples” … why not 42%, or 31%? The numbers just seem to be too neat. It’s probably a very good thing that most pubs have professional stocktakers like Rutters doing their stocktaking. At least they know where they are. Pity the pub that uses a “survey group” to do their stocktaking – Thumb-suck Incorporated!

A fight of a totally different nature could also break out when Sir Alex releases his autobiography. It seems that the rule of “keeping things that go on in the changeroom, in the changeroom” don’t apply to him anymore. There might be some folk mentioned in his book who might like to give him a bit of the old hairdryer treatment themselves. Among lots of other revelations, he apparently goes into great detail about what he really said to this one and that one.

Sorry chaps, you’ll have to delete all those recorded after-match interviews he gave – he didn’t really mean what he told the press at the time. Posh was the underlying reason for Beck’s cut above the eye (Sir A was annoyed with how David changed when the two started walking out together), and the reader will get the low-down of how he froze Rooney out when he played away from home, again. Plus it promises to deliver a whole lot more insight into the workings of the coach’s mind and events in his long career with Man U.

Another fight won in County Durham even with energy suppliers all across the UK announcing price hikes. Victory for Licensee Leo Gillen in his legal battle with Npower over a backdated £38 000 electricity bill.

The energy company could not be reached for comment. They’re probably out there conducting another survey.

I’m freegan out!

Image: Philip Jackson

Image: Philip Jackson

“Freegan” Libby Russell openly bemoans the fact that she has to go into the supermarkets when she wants to treat herself to a chocolate as because she doesn’t find any in the skips that she searches through to get the perfectly good food that she uses to stock her pantry. Freegans are those folk who pick up the bargains that supermarkets have tossed out as “beyond-their-sell-by date” – the downside for the freegan community is that sometimes they have to climb in and out of huge skips and bins, but hey, it saves them a fortune in food!

Image: Rawkus

Image: Rawkus

The good news for Libby is that she won’t have to wait much longer for some binned choccies to make their appearance in the waste bins. Because 3 months prior to Christmas the little red Santa’s and reindeer themed chocolate treats are already on the shelves (probably with those same ‘festive’ music selections as the last 10 years also playing in the background) so it won’t be long before some confectionery items will have reached their “expiry date” because they were probably made a year ago anyway. Merry Christmas, Libby!

You’d think that supermarket chains would use stocktakers like Jon Rutter and his crew to plan more carefully to avoid wastage and profit loss. It is precisely the planned strategies, specialist advice and effective problem solving that stocktakers bring to a business that make winners out of pubs and restaurants. And one of the stand out statements on hearing that Tom Gee had won the Best Freehouse 2013 title was that the judges had said that they felt, “… Gee was a licensee with a clear vision and a firm grip on the direction of the business.Jessica Mason, writing for the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, goes on to list all the winners. Congratulations to them all. For them to achieve that success probably means, among other things, that they have a very firm handle on the stocktaking aspect of their business too.

With the Premiership only 40 matches old and loads more to come, choose with care where you watch the matches. You don’t want to be sitting there with your favourite pint in hand and ten minutes into an important game find some bloke coming in with wire cutters, snipping the cable and walking off with the TV-top box because the landlord hasn’t got an official connection. One landlord has been fined nearly £6500 for not having the correct commercial subscription. I wonder if she had a stocktaker? They could ensure that this type of detail gets sorted before the trouble starts.

Following on from our account of the story of the pub with no beer (town with no pubs) – some enterprising chaps in New Zealand pranked their mate by re-plumbing his house to deliver only beer from the taps. Watching the video I don’t think his girlfriend was impressed, but it made for a bit of a laugh as it was soon reversed. Beer on tap in every room, what a thought. And even though beer is supposed to be good for your hair, it does take a bit of effort to get it to lather properly. Pity that.