Monday, September 17, 2007

So last night I raised a glass for Niva down my local. The smoking ban means that as all my friends in Walsingham smoke we have to sit outside - the patio heaters have now arrived so despite being a windy day, sitting outside the pub last night was fairly pleasant. I guess it was a typical Sunday evening with the usual familiar faces sitting round the table - I'm always the last to arrive and the first to leave. Much of the conversation centred around the running of a bakery as one of the gathering comes from a local family of bakers - rated one of the top 100 in the country by the Guardian. The business is clearly very successful with a large retail and wholesale market, but it was clear that it achieves this with little business plan and no obvious budget. It is highly cash rich though with products only having 1-2 days shelf life. They certainly produce the best tea cakes I have come across at the various tea and coffee shops that I frequent. My accountancy brain could see lots of ways to change the way the business was run but I think they like it just the way it is. They probably own one of the most desirable bits of real estate in Norfolk so I guess one day someone might make them an offer they cannot refuse - especially if they have no idea what it is worth in the first place.

The afternoon was spent over at Titchwell, the biggest RSPB place in the country which is home to about 50,000 geese over the winter. Helen spent most of the time going round saying "he's got a big one hasn't he". She was referring to the size of binoculars of course which ranged from large to gi-normous. These birdwatchers take life very seriously dressed in their identicle twitching outfits. I think we lowered the tone a bit as we sat in the cafe and I discussed whether we should be eating the remains of the duck later. Anyway, it was a good afternoon and we did our usual stop and stare into the distance routine, forcing all the birdwatchers to hurriedly get out their binoculars and check out what we had seen - well nothing really but its fun to watch!

Currently sitting on the train on my way to work. I had expected rain this morning but it doesn't seem to have arrived yet. The 40 minute drive to the station is fine except when it rains or is snowing. I usually only have a margin of about 2 minutes in catching my train so potential disruptions are not welcome. First week back in the office and it will be busy. I've been monitoring my work emails whilst on holiday, but not responded to any. It is clear that I will spend much of my time over the coming months working on the bus side. I've also been asked to do work on the next rail bid although this will not be for a while yet. Being a large company there is always something new happening so I expect things to be added to my workload over the next couple of months.

This week work also starts on the new house so I will need to get over there a few times to check everything is OK. The sash windows are all being double glazed and draught proofed and I hope the Polish builders turn up to start digging out the front garden concrete lawn. We have worked out how to convert the undertsairs cupboard without the enormous expense of having to move the electricity meter. It will be the smallest cloakroom in history but will still have a certain "wow" factor about it when finished. Now all we need to do is find a decorator who is good, cheap, and available at short notice. My brother-in-law stays there during the week so I will have to ensure paint brushes and tins of paint are left invitingly around the house. Being an Evertonian though he seems to be fixated with the idea of painting it all blue. The sooner we get the front door painted red the better.

I say trust your tenant's judgement....
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