Just over 6 weeks to go
I’m finding life quite tough at the moment. This time last year Babette had just over 6 weeks to live. And this, you won’t be surprised to hear, is weighing quite heavily on my mind. In fact, it would be fair to say that I am looking forward to the first anniversary of her death like a hole in the head. Admittedly, I won’t be the only one with these feelings, as my three children and close friends of hers will be in similar positions I know. And much of the time there is great comfort to be had in this. In fact, at a low point the other day I was able to quite cheer myself up with the thought that I know people who have had to go through what I’m going through, without the sort of support that I have, which is huge. And you know, without that support, I’m not really sure I’d still be here, or not in one piece at least, or if I was, probably drugged up to the eyeballs or in the looney bin! So my thought, when rather down, is to just imagine what it would be like without everyone and often that does the trick. And sure enough it did earlier this week, when Jeanne, Em and I went to what is now the major trade show of the year, Exclusively Housewares, up at the Camden business Centre (rather like a mini Earls Court) in Camden Town. It's set in a very civilised and picturesque part of London and despite its small size, deserves a pretty full-on two days there.
Many of our suppliers have become friends over the years, and of course they all knew Babette as well, so as we walked round I was often asked how I was. And this was very touching (and supportive), to see, dare I say, the love and concern that was so evident. I also got complimented on how well I looked, three, four or even more (I lost count…maths never being a strong point !) times and in the end I actually began to believe them…they can’t all be wrong can they!?
So, my point here is that this catharsis is support. My friends in the trade asking me either directly or obliquely just how I was doing. Really very nice, kind and thoughtful of them, and it's life affirming. Leaving me feeling that I am actually a lucky fella really.
So, on top of this lovely experience it was a very good show, the outcome of which I shall regale you with on another occasion. But I will tell you about my friend Nick (Squire, he who drives an X5) and his long suffering wife Laura. Long suffering, because (she has to ride around in the ugliest car in the world?), well actually I’m not sure, he can be a bit chauvinistic on the outside (he refers to her as his “bird”, but it's accompanied with a definite and mischievous twinkle in his eye) and I get the impression that he’s very much in love with her and vice versa. But this email wouldn’t have the ”edge” that it does if everything was always rosy in the garden would it?
So, Nick was trying to sell me a new line in cookware (saucepans, frying pans etc.) that he is having made in Portugal (Europe rather than China, and so reduce the carbon footprint) and wanted my opinion, although you can probably see from the photo what I thought.
But to be fair to him, I am pretty demanding and there was nothing wrong with the basic construction, from memory the pan in the photo had 5.5mm base (that’s pretty good for heat spread), a 0.4mm body (also ok) and this size has a helper handle (nice touch), he’d even gone to the trouble of not using cast stainless handles (that for some reason are only made in China = large carbon footprint) and was using a folded steel handle instead, made in the same Portuguese factory ( again, smaller carbon footprint!).
But my feel is that it doesn’t offer anything better than our current Dexam’s Swift range (which admittedly isn’t made in this neck of the woods).
Besides, as I said to Nick, “you haven’t got to face the look on Bryony’s face (Bryony Dyer is Dexam's MD) if I told her we were going to replace Swift with George East’s products”. He did in fact persuade me to buy an offer of a lesser range, which comes from the same factory, that is a good basic, uncoated three piece stainless steel saucepan set that we can sell for well under a hundred pounds, and when these arrive I’ll let you know.
Ok, that’s enough meandering for this week. Down to business.
Banstead Shop Lease:
I am very sorry to have to tell you that the lease on the Banstead shop comes to an end in a week or so’s time and that I have decided that it isn’t viable to keep it open any longer. It’s a big shop, with rent and rates alone of around £70k and I’ve gradually come to the conclusion that, for our type of business with our sort of margins, it’s just too high a price for us to pay. We are also very short of people, so Sally and Janice, who have done a sterling job since we reopened late last year, are going to join Jeanne in Cobham.
I am very sorry if you are a Banstead customer, because it means you having to go to either Reigate or Cobham if you want to continue to buy your cookware from us. Other than buying from the website I have no answer to this and the inconvenience it’ll cause you. Please accept my apologies.
At long last to Product
I was wondering what to put in this week’s email to entrance and delight you, and in speaking to Jeanne, she suggested that we had an over stock on a Le Creuset special offer square dish. The dish in question is an old stoneware design from the early 90’s, which they obviously still have the moulds for, and bring out as an offer from time to time. Its offer price is £32 and I see we have it on our website variously at around £25 to £26 depending on the colour and who we are price matching.
It’s a 23cm shallow-ish dish (too shallow for Lasagne or Macaroni Cheese) but is good for,
- Pasta Bakes,
- Cauliflower Cheese
- Pies with a Pastry Crust
And it’s available in 6 colours
My offer to you this week is :
Buy One for £22.50!
Buy Two (or more) for £19.95 each.
Please say who you are if coming into the shops or use code LCSQU20.
That’s it for this week, I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful weekend.