Monthly Archives: December 2013

“A Pub Co Christmas Carol” a year on.

   “A Pub Co Christmas Carol” a year on.

The Characters in this Jovial Christmas Tale are purely fictitious and any similarity to real people is not intended, but it might just prick a conscience or two.

It was 11.30 pm Christmas Eve 2010, a foul night, freezing with sleet and snow,  gale force winds roaring across the West Country.

The M5 was blocked and a few diversions were in place, the North Coast Road was the only one open to Cornwall and that was blocked on Countisbury Hill.

Two cars were pushing along, one following the other and the one in front kept going because the other was behind.

The driver of the first car, thought this is bizarre, this happened last year, it can’t possibly happen again.

The diversion from the M5 had taken them through Minehead from Taunton, not an easy drive, Porlock Hill was just manageable with loads of salt and grit.

Just before Culbone Stables another diversion to the left, down into the Doone Valley where there was very little snow and some icy roads, by- passing Countisbury Hill.

The driver of the first car began to feel shivers running up and down his spine, he instinctively locked the doors.

The two cars picked their way carefully down the narrow lane, one a dark grey Aston Martin and the other a silver BMW.

It had taken ten hours to get this far from the Midlands, both drivers hoping to get to Cornwall for Christmas.

Both cars were slipping on patchy ice along the lanes, their speeds far slower than the speeds that they were built for, stupid driving was not on the agenda. They passed through a hamlet and up an incline beside the East Lyn River, which was in full flood and not a place to skid into on a dark night.

The incline flattened and then descended down, both cars slowed to a crawl and inched down the hill to a pub with a car park beside the river.

The road immediately started to rise on the other side of the pub and they realised that neither would be going anywhere with the snow and ice on the road and gently reversed into the pub car park overlooking the river.

The lights were on and it looked like a haven in the wilderness with a big fire flickering through the windows, the time was 11.30 pm, it had been a long day.

The driver of the first car was now in a cold sweat, he had stopped here last year and somehow the world had walked across his grave. He knew the pub, when he had arrived the lights were on with a jovial landlord a blazing fire a warming drink and when he left it, there were no lights and it looked derelict.

Somebody had obviously bought the pub and reopened it.

There were no cars in either car park, the second car was pulling into the other car park.

They both climbed out of their cars with hats pulled down and collars up and dashed for the pub door, they stepped in and shut the door quickly.

A large jovial man dressed as Father Christmas, behind the bar chortled “Happy Christmas”, both drivers grunted about how foul the weather was and made a beeline for the seats on either side of the fire, removing their coats as they sat down.

The bar was decorated with holly and festive decorations, carols were playing quietly in the background, the subtleties of Christmas celebration were wasted on the two exhausted drivers.

The jovial Father Christmas brought over some mince pies and said that they were on the house, since all his usual customers were long gone.

The first driver looked at the second driver and realised that it was his colleague from Titanic Inns, Obadiah Townshend. He said “What are you doing here? This is miles out of your way.”

He replied that he had followed the diversion and thought he recognised the car in front and kept following.

The landlord asked them both if they would like to try some mulled ale, producing two halves of a very dark beer and plunging a hot poker out of the blazing fire into the glasses with a loud hiss.

They both drank the warming ale and lapsed into a near totally relaxed state, in fact any movement was an effort, they both looked at the glasses which had a logo saying “The Devils Brew”, fresh from the Devils Brewery on Dartmoor.

Both men felt a gentle squeeze on their shoulders and came to.

The large jovial Father Christmas said to them “I am the Ghost of Christmas Past, come and join me.”

The door opened, the wind had stopped blowing and all three stepped outside.

They were both bemused but in a fuddled state and the jovial giant picked them up and they all three zoomed upwards and Eastwards.

Neither felt cold or terrified as they sped back across Exmoor, Taunton with the lights flickering, the M5 snaking Northwards covered in snow with lines of stationary cars with twinkling lights.

Swinging East along the A303, over Andover, Basingstoke, the River Thames was shimmering in the moonlight meandering through the white countryside.

They finally floated down on to the car park of a pub in a small village called Laleham on Thames.

Ebenezer though, “I’ve done this before it’s all very familiar.” Obadiah was lost for words and looked terrified.

The pub was called “The Ash Tree”, it didn’t look inspiring, there were some very old cars parked outside, all covered in snow and not a place that either would frequent.

All three walked into the pub, nobody even noticed them, the pub was packed, everyone was singing carols and having a fabulous time, the staff were all working like mad, the landlord Frank was everywhere, the two had never seen a pub as busy as this for years.

The Ghost of Christmas Past eased them out of the door for a short walk towards the centre of the village and the “Saracens Head”, this was a much smaller pub, but again, this was packed with people enjoying themselves and celebrating Christmas Eve, they were all local people, the same as those in “The Ash Tree”.

The Ghost eased them once again out of the door, they appeared to be invisible, nobody noticed.

They walked round the corner by the village church and a hundred yards further on was the “Five Horse Shoes”, there were some wonderful old sports cars parked outside, again covered in snow.

They walked in, again the pub was packed with young people and a few older ones all enjoying themselves celebrating Christmas, it was a beautiful pub with genuine beams, polished brass and a big fire.

Stanley the licensee was dispensing hospitality to everyone.

The two looked at each other, their thoughts were the same what incredible businesses.

The Ghost once again eased them out of the door again and said that they must get back because time was limited, they flew West to Exmoor and back to their seats in front of the pub fire.

They both immediately started to doze, the door flew open and a lady in a long white cloak with fur trimming came in clutching a book, in fact she looked just like Bridget Jones with her Diary from the Beer and Pub Association.

She looked at our two weary travellers and said, “I am the Ghost of Christmas Present, come and join me.”

She took them both up and over Exmoor, in exactly the same way as the Ghost of Christmas Past, finally landing in “The Ash Tree” car park, there was one car in the car park and a fairly old one with two flat tyres and no tax disc.

The pub was boarded up and sign saying possible redevelopment, all offers considered.

All three moved out very quickly the whole thing was totally depressing, the “Saracens Head” further down the road towards the village centre was boarded up, with a tired business agents sign hanging off the wall saying business opportunity, and looked as though it had been there for a long time.

Once again they walked round the church and could see the illuminated sign of the “Five Horse Shoes”.

Three cars were in the car park, the door opened and a scruffily dressed man walked past them.

They entered the bar that had been so vibrant and fun, the air was subdued, piped pop music was blaring out with about three customers and a tired barman.

All three walked into the pub it was looking tired, there were three customers and a manager from the Management Company running the place, the pub that had been so vibrant was like a morgue.

They were discussing  how many people had failed in the pub, because the rent was too high, the discounts were non existent and people couldn’t make a fair living.

The conversation once again was about greedy landlords or Pub Co’s, the difference was the same, nothing had been invested in the pub, a succession of inexperienced people who had all failed miserably because the landlords draconian demands had been too much for any to survive.

All the time the Ghost of Christmas Present was scribbling in her Diary, she finally took them outside much to their relief and transported them back to the West and the comfortable chair by the fire side in the Exmoor pub.

They sank into the chairs almost exhausted, she gently opened the door and departed.

It seemed no time at all when the pub door opened a large man in a strange Garb came in, he looked familiar and could easily have been mistaken for the Chairman of the Select Committee who both our weary travellers had managed to incur some scathing comments from.

He approached our two very weary travellers and said, “I am the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, please come and join me”.

They both pleaded that they had driven miles and been transported miles and their systems had reached breaking point and they had no desire to see the final ignominy of what had been three brilliant pubs.

He said, “You won’t, you are going into the future in another direction and have no option.”

They staggered to their feet and walked outside the Ghost whisked them upwards and Westwards, across Barnstaple, Okehampton.

Tavistock was away to the right, they were crossing the centre of Dartmoor, the prison loomed up, with Princetown beside it.

The prison was not as Ebenezer had seen it last year, the walls and the security had gone, much to his relief, a large battered sign saying the Dartmoor Devil’s Brewery, steam was rising and people were shuffling in and out moving beer barrels, it was like the last place on earth.

They floated down through the prison wall into the corridors of the old jail, two grey haired and bearded figures were shuffling along pushing some beer barrels, they looked familiar, their hands were gnarled and callused, they appeared to stoop with premature old age.

The terrible premonition that these two sub normal beings could have been them, sent shivers down both their spines, the Ghost looked at them both and shook his head having read their minds, they are just a couple of over zealous BDM’s.

Ebenezer was dreading what might come next, Obadiah was grey with terror, it was nightmare that didn’t stop.

They moved on through the steam laden gloom into where the beer was brewed, there was a very large open topped circular tank with Barrel-Dregs over the top, numerous shambling bodies were emptying the dregs out of every barrel, to their horror, at least twenty of these shambling creatures were up to their necks in the tank trying to walk round with the aim of agitating this foul mess of ullage.

There was a nauseating smell of rotting meat and activated ullage, they thought that they recognised the faces of several colleagues, including themselves though neither dare admit it, but it was the Devil’s Cauldron, the odd carcase rose to the surface to roll and vanish again.

The Ghost smiled at them at their obvious horror and nausea, the added thought that the mulled ale that they had drunk earlier must have come through this disgusting mess.

They both looked at the ghost dressed in his strange garb and mentally asked the same question, “What happened?”

“It’s a long story, the Select Committee were furious that nothing was done and got the new Government to bring in legislation to outlaw increasing rents and over valuing the freehold without considering true business viability and declared it a Ponzi Scheme, since so many people had lost billions of pounds buying leases that were not viable. Every Pub Owning company that followed that method, at least one director, accountant or valuer whose idea to follow suit was held liable.

The Government directed that all people with a justifiable claim against the company even retrospectively could do so, this caused the total collapse of the majority of large Pub Co’s, the directors were held personally liable because it was deemed a criminal act, consequently you both lost everything and were sentenced to fifty years hard labour without reprieve.”

Ebenezer had a frightening thought, his colleague of last year, Silas had retired prematurely and vanished, whereas, he in the cold light of day, thought it was only a nightmare caused through tiredness and exhaustion, and had laughed the whole thing off, lightening doesn’t strike twice or maybe it does.

Silas’ rapid retirement left his successors with the unenviable task of disposing of thousands of pubs worth a fraction of the company debts or their book value, Ebenezer knew that the knock on effect of these problems could or would cause Titanic Inns, massive problems of confidence or even an exposure of how fragile their position had become.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come continued,”Since Dartmoor was closed as a prison last year, a wealthy Russian brewer offered to set up a brewery in the old prison, provided all the inmates of Dartmoor with experience in the pub industry would be allowed to serve the remainder of their time there, which you all agreed.”

They both said, “What happened to our families?”

“They are still living in high rise Council Flats in the Midlands on Social Security with many other prisoners families.”

The Ghost said, “ Have a look at some of your fellow convicts and the ex guards”

Again the terrible realization that there were loads of corporate Pub Co Directors shambling round and the supervisors were all ex licensees, they actually made more money as brewery supervisors than running pubs.

They were both in total shock, much to their relief the Ghost whisked them away from that awful scene and dropped them back in their chairs in front of the fire on Exmoor.

They were woken by the jovial Father Christmas saying the gritter had been through, the weather had warmed up and they could continue their journey.

They both looked at each other and said that they had had the most dreadful dreams and realised that they were both exactly the same, both were in a state of shock.

They put their coats on and walked out of the door thanking the licensee for his generosity and walked to the railings around the car park overlooking the river.

They both said, “Were we really that bad?” and sadly they agreed, “What can we do to make amends?”

Ebenezer said I was going to do that last year and I thought it was a spooky dream, but it doesn’t happen twice or I might just end up in the ullage.

“We can do an awful lot if we really try, we need some people that really understand the industry and licensees, we also need to listen to licensees.”

They had just had a “Whistleblower” expose all the scams that the Pub Co’s had been enforcing for years, the majority were just legal, but morally unacceptable, a BDM had tried to intimidate a lessee in front of two people, who it turned out were influential people in the industry, it was not a good week to be a Pub Co Boss, they were all being tarred with the same brush.

“Let’s see if we can put the clock back, I would prefer to have pubs like those in the past and make honest money for everyone. My shareholders wouldn’t have blocked all our perks if we’d focussed on profitability instead of false property values, hindsight and a prod from the unexplainable might just get our integrity back, if it’s not too late.”

The lights had been turned out on the pub and it was very dark as they climbed into their cars.

They started their engines and the lights came on, showing a boarded up pub with a sagging sign with a faded Titanic Inns Freehouse sign and a sagging banner acquired by the Devil’s Brewery, closed until next Christmas.

They both felt a cold shiver run through their bodies as though someone had just walked over their graves.

It must have happened they still had the after taste of the mulled ale in their mouths.

Looking at the dashboard clocks in their cars it said 11.30 pm????

———–o———–

Please email this to anyone that may appreciate the story and every BDM and Pub Co Director that might benefit, it would be nice if it happened but I think it unlikely and a very Happy Christmas to all our readers.

Barfly

If you would like to Advertise on the Site, please email us at info@buyingapub.com.

“This site is a privately funded website and growing in readership every day. To achieve a wider recognition the Editor would welcome cross referencing back to Barrel Dregs postings through other Blog or Websites. Information about our industry has so much greater power if more people are kept informed. Many thanks if you would be good enough to do this”.

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and www.buyingapub.com accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.

 

Festive enforcement action?

Festive enforcement action?

13 December 2013

We know that the season of goodwill is also not uncommonly a time for increased enforcement activity by the authorities.  You – and your staff – should be aware and alert and ensure that due diligence systems are ‘dusted off’ and briefed out as a timely reminder.

By way of example of such possible pro-activity, please see below just issued by our local South Yorkshire police:

“Please check your premise licence with regards to conditions and times relating to licensable activities (including plans of the premises) to ensure that you are covered for any activities that you wish to provide. This includes both internal and external areas.   If you intend to provide any licensable activity that falls within your premise licence times and conditions, then a TEN is not required.  However, if you are not covered by your licence and intend to submit a Temporary Event Notice (TEN), please make sure you allow enough time for the application to be processed…

Test Purchasing

 

As you will be aware, test purchases are carried out throughout the year with an average 90% pass rate. However, the latest test purchase held on 10.12.13 showed only a 28% pass rate. This is obviously disappointing and further test purchases have been planned in the coming weeks as a result of this. Please remind your staff to be vigilant and adopt the relevant Challenge 21/25 procedures.”

Revised Gambling Codes of Practice

Revised Gambling Codes of Practice

Posted: 27 Mar 2013 05:00 PM PDT

 

The Gambling Commission has recently issued revised consolidated codes of practice, the Commission issue codes of practice under section 24 of the Gambling Act 2005, about the manner in which facilities for gambling are provided to ensure that:

  • gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
  • children and other vulnerable people are protected from being harmed or exploited by gambling
  • assistance is made available to people who are, or may be, affected by problems related to gambling.

Codes of practice are either:

  • Social responsibility code provisions – which must be adhered to by all licence holders
  • Ordinary code provisions – these do not have the status of licence conditions but failure to take account of them can be used as evidence in criminal or civil proceedings.

LCCP were first introduced on the 1st January 2009 as the Gambling Act 2005 went live and was last published in March 2011. Since then three supplements have been issued and licence holders notified of the changes.

The information in these supplements has now been incorporated into this consolidated edition.

The Gambling Commission state on their website:

“a revised copy will be sent to licence holders. This will be sent out before the revised conditions and codes of practice come into effect. This gives licence holders time to learn about how any changes will affect their business. We only make changes to the LCCP where necessary and based on our experience of implementing the conditions and codes. Changes are only made following consultation.”

 

Latest Sky Warranty Scam (Barrel Dregs 271)

Sky Warranty Scam

I have had two phone calls in the last two weeks, supposedly from Sky saying that my warranty had expired.

The first was an Asian voice, who could tell me absolutely nothing about when the warranty expired and had no details whatsoever.

I put the phone down.

The second was much more slick, an English voice with a Southern Accent told me that my Sky warranty had expired last week.

It appears my wife had originally paid £200.00 for two years using her Debit Card, I pointed out that I paid the Sky account and would not use a Debit Card, only a Credit Card, since most Debit Cards have no come back.

He was adamant that she had, I then pointed out that we had not had Sky for a number of years and three hours ago we had reinstalled Sky, so we had no need for a warranty.

He was very politely persuasive with the sole aim of getting my Wife’s Debit Card Details, I said that we would check her account to see whether £200.00 had been taken from her account and I would call him back, he gave me a bona fide Sky number.

My Wife checked her account and no money had been paid, I phoned Sky who said it was the latest con, the aim was to get my Wife’s Debit Card Details.

A warning to everyone, check with Sky Warranty Department 08442 41 41 41, do not renew your warranty over the phone unless you know you are talking to Sky direct, this conman would have convinced me if I had not kicked Sky out several years ago.

We actually wished each other a Happy Christmas, he was so convincing, definitely a smooth talker.

Barfly

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and www.buyingapub.com accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.

 

 

Levels of participation in Gambling in England

Survey showing participation levels in gambling for England

 

The Gambling Commission has today issued a press release which refers to the results of a survey into the levels of participation in Gambling in England.

The press release can be found here, which will in turn lead you to the full survey itself. The survey is called the ‘Health Survey for England (2012)’.

The Commission states that the “findings on data published today suggest an overall decline in gambling participation and a reduction in the level of problem gambling in the population.”

This survey questions in relation to gambling were aimed to be “broadly comparable” to the 2010 British Gambling Prevalence Survey.

The 2010 report showed 73% participation in gambling in the adult population (56% when the National Lottery is excluded) as compared with 65% (43%) in the Health survey 2012.

So far as problem gambling is concerned the 2010 survey shows 0.9 % and 0.7% on the corresponding measures whilst the 2012 Health survey shows these figures have dropped to 0.5% and 0.4% respectively.

A word of caution is that we need to see the next Health survey to ascertain trends on a truly like for like basis but the Gambling Commission intends to publish its own “in depth analysis” next Spring so we shall see what the Commission’s conclusions are!

“A Pub Co Christmas Carol” (Barrel-Dregs 270)

“A Pub Co Christmas Carol”

By popular request, yet again, but it is that time of year.

It was 11.30 pm Christmas Eve 2012, a foul night, freezing with sleet and snow,  gale force winds roaring across the West Country.

The M5 was blocked and a few diversions were in place, the North Coast Road was the only one open to Cornwall and that was blocked on Countisbury Hill.

Two cars were pushing along, one following the other and the one in front kept going because the other was behind.

The diversion from the M5 had taken them through Minehead from Taunton, not an easy drive, Porlock Hill was just manageable with loads of salt and grit.

Just before Culbone Stables another diversion to the left, down into the Doone Valley where there was very little snow and some icy roads, by- passing Countisbury Hill.

The two cars picked their way carefully down the narrow lane, one a dark grey Aston Martin and the other a silver Mercedes.

It had taken ten hours to get this far from the Midlands, both drivers hoping to get to Cornwall for Christmas.

Both cars were slipping on patchy ice along the lanes, their speeds far slower than the speeds that they were built for, stupid driving was not on the agenda. They passed through a hamlet and up an incline beside the East Lyn River, which was in full flood and not a place to skid into on a dark night.

The incline flattened and then descended down, both cars slowed to a crawl and inched down the hill to a pub with a car park beside the river.

The road immediately started to rise on the other side of the pub and they realised that neither would be going anywhere with the ice on the road and gently reversed into the pub car park overlooking the river.

The lights were on and it looked like a haven in the wilderness with a big fire flickering through the windows.

There were no cars in either car park.

Both drivers climbed out of their cars with hats pulled down and collars up and dashed for the pub door, they stepped in and shut the door quickly.

A large jovial man dressed as Father Christmas, behind the bar chortled “Happy Christmas”, both drivers grunted about how foul the weather was and made a beeline for the seats on either side of the fire, removing their coats as they sat down.

The bar was decorated with holly and festive decorations, carols were playing quietly in the background, the subtleties of Christmas celebration were wasted on the two exhausted drivers.

The jovial Father Christmas brought over two large glasses of mulled wine and several mince pies and said that they were on the house, since all his usual customers were long gone.

The two drivers looked at each other and one said “You’re Ebenezer Tuppense from Titanic Inns”, the other said “You’re Silas Morley fron Judy Taverns, we haven’t talked since that disaster at the Select Committee.”

Ebenezer said “I think we will drink the mulled wine and forget that episode”.

They both drank the warming wine and lapsed into a near totally relaxed state, in fact any movement was an effort.

Both men felt a gentle squeeze on their shoulders and came to.

The large jovial Father Christmas said to them “I am the Ghost of Christmas Past, come and join me.”

The door opened, the wind had stopped blowing and all three stepped outside.

They were both bemused but in a fuddled state and the jovial giant picked them up and they all three zoomed upwards and Eastwards.

Neither felt cold or terrified as they sped back across Exmoor, Taunton with the lights flickering, the M5 snaking Northwards covered in snow with lines of stationary cars with twinkling lights.

Swinging West along the A303, over Andover, Basingstoke, the River Thames was shimmering in the moonlight meandering through the white countryside.

They finally floated down on to the car park of a pub in a small village called Laleham on Thames.

The pub was called “The Ash Tree”, it didn’t look inspiring, there were some very old cars parked outside, all covered in snow and not a place that either would frequent.

All three walked into the pub, nobody even noticed them, the pub was packed, everyone was singing carols and having a fabulous time, the staff were all working like mad, the landlord Frank was everywhere, the two had never seen a pub as busy as this for years.

The Ghost of Christmas Past eased them out of the door for a short walk towards the centre of the village and the “Saracens Head”, this was a much smaller pub, but again, this was packed with people enjoying themselves and celebrating Christmas Eve, they were all local people, the same as those in “The Ash Tree”.

The Ghost eased them once again out of the door, they appeared to be invisible, nobody noticed.

They walked round the corner by the village church and a hundred yards further on was the “Five Horse Shoes”, there were some wonderful old sports cars parked outside, again covered in snow.

They walked in, again the pub was packed with young people and a few older ones all enjoying themselves celebrating Christmas, it was a beautiful pub with genuine beams, polished brass and a big fire.

Stanley the licensee was dispensing hospitality to everyone.

The two looked at each other, their thoughts were the same what incredible businesses.

The Ghost once again eased them out of the door again and said that they must get back because time was limited, they flew West to Exmoor and back to their seats in front of the pub fire.

They both immediately started to doze, the door flew open and a lady in a long white cloak with fur trimming came in clutching a book, in fact she looked just like Bridget Jones with her Diary from the Beer and Pub Association.

She looked at our two weary travellers and said, “I am the Ghost of Christmas Present, come and join me.”

She took them both up and over Exmoor, in exactly the same way as the Ghost of Christmas Past, finally landing in “The Ash Tree” car park, there was one car in the car park and a fairly old one at that.

All three walked into the pub it was looking tired, there were three customers and a manager from the Management Company running the place.

They were discussing how many people had failed in the pub, because the rent was too high, the discounts were non existent and people couldn’t make a fair living.

All three moved out very quickly the whole thing was totally depressing, the “Saracens Head” further down the road towards the village centre was boarded up, with a tired business agents sign hanging off the wall saying business opportunity, and looked as though it had been there for a long time.

Once again they walked round the church and could see the illuminated sign of the “Five Horse Shoes”.

Three cars were in the car park, the door opened and a scruffily dressed man walked past them.

They entered the bar that had been so vibrant and fun, the air was subdued, piped pop music was blaring out with about six customers and a tired barman.

The conversation once again was about greedy landlords or Pub Co’s, the difference was the same, nothing had been invested in the pub, a succession of inexperienced people who had all failed miserably because the landlords draconian demands had been too much for any to survive.

All the time the Ghost of Christmas Present was scribbling in her Diary, she finally took them outside much to their relief and transported them back to the West and the comfortable chair by the fire side in the Exmoor pub.

They sank into the chairs almost exhausted, she gently opened the door and departed.

It seemed no time at all when the pub door opened a large man in Prison Warders Garb came in, he looked familiar and could easily have been mistaken for the Chairman of the Select Committee who both our weary travellers had managed to incur some scathing comments from.

He approached our two very weary travellers and said, “I am the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, please come and join me”.

They both pleaded that they had driven miles and been transported miles and their systems had reached breaking point and they had no desire to see the final ignominy of what had been three brilliant pubs.

He said, “You won’t, you are going into the future in another direction and have no option.”

They staggered to their feet and walked outside the Ghost whisked them upwards and Westwards, across Barnstaple, Okehampton.

Tavistock was away to the right, they were crossing the centre of Dartmoor, the prison loomed up, with Princetown beside it.

They floated down through the prison wall on to a walkway with rows of old cells in front of them.

Two grey haired and bearded figures were peering out of the cell, the doors were open, they looked familiar, their hands were gnarled and callused, they appeared to stoop with premature old age.

The terrible premonition that these two sub normal beings might be them, sent shivers down both their spines, the Ghost looked at them both and nodded having read their minds.

Their legs and hands were shackled, they shuffled out of the cell and joined a queue of other convicts, who were then chained into gangs.

All the gangs moved through the security gates and doors eventually getting on a flat top behind an engine on the narrow gauge rail track heading for the Prison Quarry.

Having arrived at the quarry the tools were handed out and they all started breaking rocks in their respective gangs.

Only one did not and he drove the engine, they realised that it was Sid Mayell the Chief Rent Negotiator for Titanic Inns, he always loved trains.

They both looked at the ghost dressed in his Prison Warders outfit and mentally asked the same question, “What happened?”

“It’s a long story, the Select Committee were furious that nothing was done and got the new Government to bring in legislation to outlaw increasing rents and over valuing the freehold without considering true business viability and declared it a Ponzi Scheme, since so many people had lost billions of pounds buying leases that were not viable. Every Pub Owning company that followed that method, at least one director, accountant or valuer whose idea to follow suit was held liable. The Government directed that all people with a justifiable claim against the company even retrospectively could do so, this caused the total collapse of the majority of large Pub Co’s, the directors were held personally liable because it was deemed a criminal act, consequently you both lost everything and were sentenced to fifty years hard labour without reprieve.”

They both said, “What happened to our families?”

“They are living in high rise Council Flats in the Midlands on Social Security with many other prisoners families.”

Silas said, “What happened to my house in the Caribbean?”

“That got flattened in a hurricane and your insurance had not been paid.”

The Ghost said, “ Have a look at some of your fellow convicts and the guards”

Again the terrible realization that there were loads of corporate Pub Co Directors breaking rocks and the guards were all ex licensees, they actually made more money as guards than running pubs.

They were both in total shock, much to their relief the Ghost whisked them away from that awful scene and dropped them back in their chairs in front of the fire on Exmoor.

They were woken by the jovial Father Christmas saying the gritter had been through, the weather had warmed up and they could continue their journey.

They both looked at each other and said that they had had the most dreadful dreams and realised that they were both exactly the same, both were in a state of shock.

They put their coats on and walked out of the door thanking the licensee for his generosity and walked to the railings around the car park over looking the river.

They both said, “Were we really that bad?” and sadly they agreed, “What can we do to make amends?”

“We can do an awful lot if we really try, we need some people that really understand the industry and licensees, we also need to listen to licensees.”

“Let’s see if we can put the clock back, I would prefer to have pubs like those in the past and make honest money for everyone. My shareholders wouldn’t have blocked all our perks if we’d focussed on profitablity in stead of false property values, hindsight and a prod from the unexplainable might just get our integrity back, if it’s not too late.”

The lights had been turned out on the pub and it was very dark as they climbed into their cars.

They started their engines and the lights came on, showing a boarded up pub with a sagging sign with a faded Titanic Inns Freehouse sign and a sagging banner acquired by Judy Taverns, closed until further notice.

They both felt a cold shiver run through their bodies as though someone had just walked over their graves.

It must have happened they still had the after taste of the mulled wine in their mouths.

Looking at the dashboard clocks in their cars it said 11.30 pm????

———–o———–

 

Please email this to anyone that may appreciate the story and every BDM and Pub Co Director that might benefit, it would be nice if it happened but I think it unlikely and a very Happy Christmas to all our readers.

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and www.buyingapub.com accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.

 

Alliance Online Catering Equipment – suppliers of Pub and Bar Equipment to the Licensed Industry

A Christmas “BARTENDER’s Prayer” (Barrel-Dregs 269)

A Christmas Ode from Alan at The Crown in Aldbourne

Its the time of the year when theirs good cheer and on Saturday night in my pub The Crown in Aldbourne we had one of our regular open mic sessions. When a local ukulele band did a turn of singing and playing some Christmas song and carols and finished with a song written by the players and dedicated to me.

But I believe this song (prayer) should be dedicated to all good bar and pub owner / mangers.

BARTENDER’s Prayer:

Bottles of red, bottles of white,

Barrels of brown and glasses so bright,

Keep the night peaceful and drinkers polite,

Don’t let a fight break out tonight.

 

Let the men drink til the girls look divine,

Make us all laugh, so we have a good time.

Keep drug dealers out, we don’t need them around.

Were happy enough here at The Crown!

 

Let beer flow steady and wine pour out fast.

Make the cider fizz lightly, make cocktails last.

Drink what you like, by the pint or the gallon.

But please don’t make any more trouble for Alan

 

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and www.buyingapub.com accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.

 

Alliance Online Catering Equipment – suppliers of Pub and Bar Equipment to the Licensed Industry

 

BIS Committee urges Vince Cable to get on with introducing statutory code

Business, Innovation and Skills Committee re Pub Co’s

 

Select Committee Announcement No.37

Tuesday 17 December 2013

 

BIS Committee refuses to reopen pub companies inquiry and urges Vince Cable to get on with introducing statutory code

 

On Friday the BIS Department publishedthe responses to its consultation on a Statutory Code of Conduct for pub companies. The Department asked the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee for its views in light of the published responses.

 

In a letter to the Secretary of State, Adrian Bailey MP, Chair of the BIS Committee, makes clear that the Committee will not be reopening its inquiry into pubs and urges the Government to stop delaying and bring forward a Bill.

 

Commenting on the letter, Adrian Bailey MP said:

 

“We gave our views in our July 2013 Report–the latest in a long series of Reports on this matter–in which we called on the Government to bring forward legislation without delay. Asking the Committee for its views on the evidence appears to be just the sort of delay we warned against.

 

“It is for the Government to assess the evidence and legislate accordingly. However, despite the fact that it has had six months to consider the views of the industry, it has done neither.

 

“If the Government continues to drag its feet there is a serious risk that there will be insufficient parliamentary time left to establish a Statutory Code. At the beginning of the Parliament, the Secretary of State gave us an undertaking that he would act in the interest of the pub industry. If he doesn’t do so very soon, we will end the Parliament exactly where we started. This would be an unacceptable failure. The Government must act and act now.

 

 

The Committee published its Report, Consultation on a Statutory Code for Pub Companies, on 22 July 2013:http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/business-innovation-and-skills/news/pub-companies-report/

A brilliant complaint to the Police (Barrel-Dregs 268), serious but very funny.

 

 Allegedly a genuine complaint to Devon & Cornwall Police

 Subject: Police Complaint-

From an  angry member of the public A true email sent to the force, lengthy but brilliantly written..

 

Dear Sir/Madam/Automated telephone answering service,

Having spent the past twenty minutes waiting for someone at Bodmin police station to pick up a telephone

I  have decided to abandon the idea and try e-mailing you instead.

Perhaps you would be so kind as to pass this message on to your  colleagues in Bodmin,

by means of smoke signal, carrier pigeon or Ouija  board.

As I’m writing this e-mail there are eleven failed medical  experiments (I think you call them youths)

in St Mary’s Crescent ,  which is just off St Mary’s Road in Bodmin.

Six of them seem happy enough to play a game which involves kicking a football against an iron gate with the force of a meteorite. This causes an earth shattering CLANG! Which rings throughout the entire building. This game is now in its third week and as I am unsure how the scoring system works, I have no idea if it will end any time soon. The remaining five failed- abortions are happily rummaging through several bags of rubbish and items of furniture that someone has so thoughtfully dumped beside the wheelie bins. One of them has found a saw and is setting about a discarded chair like a beaver on ecstasy pills. I fear that it’s only a matter of time before they turn their limited attention to the caravan gas bottle that is lying on its side between the two bins. If they could be relied on to only blow their own arms and legs off then I would happily leave them to it. I would even go so far as to lend them the matches. Unfortunately they are far more likely to blow up half the street with them and I’ve just finished decorating the kitchen. What I suggest is this – after replying to this e-mai l with worthless assurances that the matter is being looked into and will be dealt with, why not leave it until the one night of the year (probably bath night) when there are no mutants around then drive up the street in a Panda car before doing a three point turn and disappearing again. This will of course serve no other purpose than to remind us what policemen actually look like. I trust that when I take a claw hammer to the skull of one of these throwbacks you’ll do me the same courtesy of giving me a four month head start before coming to arrest me. I remain your obedient servant

____________________________________________________________

RESPONSE FROM POLICE

Mr …….. I have read your e-mail and understand your frustration at the problems caused by youths playing in the area and the problems you have encountered in trying to contact the police. As the Community Beat Officer for your street I would like to extend an offer of discussing the matter fully with you. Should you wish to discuss the matter, please provide contact details (address / telephone number) and when may be suitable. Regards PC ??????? Community Beat Officer .

 

response from angry member of the public

 

Dear PC……..

First of all I would like to thank you for the speedy response to my original e-mail. 16 hours and 38 minutes must be a personal record for Bodmin Police Station, and rest assured that I will forward these details to Norris McWhirter for inclusion in his next Guinness book.

 

Secondly I was delighted to hear that our street has its own Community Beat Officer. May I be the first to congratulate you on your covert skills?

 

In the five or so years I have lived in St Mary’s  Crescent , I have never seen you.

Do you hide up a tree or have you  gone deep undercover and infiltrated the gang itself?

Are you the one with the acne and the moustache on his forehead or the one 20with a chin like a wash hand basin?

 

It’s surely only a matter of time before you   are head-hunted by MI5 to look for Al Qaeda trainees.

Whilst I realise that there may be far more serious crimes taking place in Bodmin,

such as smoking  in a public place or being Christian without due care and attention, is it too much to ask for a policeman to explain (using words of no more than two syllables at a time) to these twats that they might want to play their strange football game elsewhere. The pitch on Fairpark Road , or the one at Priory Park

are both within spitting distance as is the  bottom of the Par Dock, the latter being the preferred option especially if the tide is in.

 

Should you wish to discuss these matters  further you should feel free to contact me on .

If after 25 minutes I have still failed to answer, I’ll buy you a large one in the Cat and Fiddle Pub. Regards ?????????

 

P.S If you think that this is sarcasm, think yourself lucky that you don’t work for the sewerage department with whom I am also in contact

Note:-Ironically many years ago I was driving across Bodmin Moor at around 11.00 pm on Good Friday night, when the minibus in front hit a horse and a lorry, causing a very messy accident, with one driver involved collapsing with a heart attack and subsequently died. My companion phoned the police and we eventually got a doctor and an ambulance.

The one Policeman that actually arrived, said he was the only one on duty in Bodmin and could we stay and help sort the mess out, which we did, taking around two to three hours, it appears that nothing has changed over the years.

After that fatal accident they fenced the moor.

Barfly

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and www.buyingapub.com accepts no responsibility for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made. They are written by concerned professionals in the industry who feel that these issues should be raised to ensure that all licensees are made fully aware of many hidden pitfalls.

 

 

Funding your business, advice from ASC Finance

Funding your business 

Setting up, or growing a business requires funding. Whether you are looking to purchase a pub or restaurant, looking to refurbish a retail outlet or simply expand your existing business, it can be difficult to get the necessary finance – especially with the banks’ unwillingness to lend to small businesses in the current climate.

Before you look for funding

Before you look for funding for your business there are several factors which you would want to take into consideration.

Identify what the funding is for

In some cases, the answer might be obvious – for example if you are looking to buy a pub, then it is likely that you are looking for finance to help with the purchase. There might be other costs which you wish to consider, such as additional refurbishment costs.

Decide how much funding you need

As well as the headline figure, you need to factor in contingency costs and think about how much of a cash contribution you may be able to put forward. Sometimes, you might need to be flexible – it is worth thinking of the minimum and maximum loan size that you would be after depending on your criteria.

Is the proposition viable?

This is the most important question to answer before you look to purchase a business, or carry out an expansion project with an existing one. You need to know all the necessary details of the proposed deal, including all the financial information, such as the total turnover, expenditure, and tax details, all the information about the property.

Ensure you have a plan in place

It is all very well to say that you will increase turnover, or that the refurbished premises will help to double business – but unless you have a plan in place then you won’t be able to achieve your goals. As the old saying goes “failing to plan, is planning to fail”. As well as the financial plan, you should also know how you are going to link this in with your marketing, and day to day activities to ensure that those projections can become a reality.

ASC Finance for Business

As mentioned, looking for business finance in the current climate can be difficult. Luckily, ASC are here to help.

ASC Finance for Business helps businesses and entrepreneurs, throughout the UK obtain finance. We specialise in arranging business finance for business people. Having been established for over 40 years our track record speaks for itself, with thousands of business owners and entrepreneurs having benefitted from our service.

We concentrate on raising business finance so you can concentrate on running and developing your business.

Why should you speak to ASC?

At ASC, we believe that small business owners want to have somebody to talk to about their business finance. While the traditional bank manager has disappeared, and been replaced with call centres, ASC have a network of over 20 regional offices nationwide. Each office is run by an experienced ASC Director who is dedicated to helping you achieve your goals, to obtain commercial finance or business loans which work for you.

ASC work closely with an extensive and trusted panel of lenders including high street banks and specialist finance houses; all of our lenders focus on commercial finance and business loans. We are able to access these decision makers on your behalf and know how to present your proposal for finance to ensure that your application will receive the highest level of consideration, and that you obtain the right finance for your business.

Want to find out more?

Contacting us is easy – you won’t be put through to a robot. Just call us, to speak to an experienced, and local ASC Director who with guide you through all the finance options available to you and your business.

We offer a no obligation face to face meeting with your local director, to discuss your business finance needs and how ASC can help you get the right finance for your business.

You can contact us by clicking on the link below. Please mention that you found us through UseNumberOne, as we have negotiated special discounted fees for their members.

http://www.asc.co.uk/contact.html#contact

You can also click on the links below to see some examples of how we have helped small businesses, and how we might be able to help your business grow:

Be Our Guest! – ASC helps couple achieve their dream of purchasing a B&B

ASC comes to rescue for Woodnook Lodges’ holiday park

Flying High! ASC helped a couple grow their leisure business