Ned’s latest witterings

Dear Maugan, Kim, Todd, Jess

I won’t start with my customary apologies for missing a bunch of weeks –  I have been a very busy man doing important things like this:

and this:

More about that later…

The big picture is that we are still doing pretty well. On the week end of April the 1st we sold 19.5 cheeses which is damn good. The next two week-ends we sold 16 or so each week end which is pretty good.

I’m particularly pleased because I was away one week-end and we tend not to do so well when I’m not around. I think the threats of extreme violence mingled with tearful  entreaties not to mess up seem to have worked. Actually I think it’s because I’ve got good people and I wrote out a painfully detailed e-mail saying exactly what needs to be done, how and in what order.

Easter week-end we opened Thursday as well. There were high hopes among the stall holders for a record week-end. It was good, for sure. Very busy. Friday was a record day in fact; we sold more than 11 cheeses. Which was nice. Saturday was also very good; we shifted around 11 again. So in all we did sell a lot of cheese. 26 over the 3 days.

However I would have liked to sell more considering that we were open for 3 days and that we worked damn hard for it. Also we gave away a horrendous amount: about 5 cheeses in total. Ouch.

It’s hard to know what to do about this. I notice very clearly that if we try to hold back a bit on the sample, the sales go down. Ideally we would interact with every person who tastes the cheese. That’s a bit hard when you’ve got a heaving mass in front of the stall, or it’s so busy that people are dragged past the stall by the current of the crowd. It’s also knackering.

Then there are the people who just stand there eating from the sample tray. I have various ideas about how to deal with that, but they would involve heavy claims on the personal liability insurance…

One thing I will say is that a lot of people come back at the end of the day, who I don’t remember talking to, saying

‘I’ve tried every cheese and yours is the best. I would like to buy some.’

That is reassuring

Notwithstanding (what a wonderful word!) my enthusiasm for the big pink softies, we seem to be into a run of real classic Gorwydds – early to mid February cheeses. They are fat clean tasting ones with the grey felt pets that I love so much. People are really loving them. My quote of the week is this:

“My tongue wants to marry your cheese.”

“Try the rind. It’s nice.”

“Mmm. My tongue wants to have an affair with the rind. But it wants to marry the cheese.”

I was away in Porto for my Mum’s birthday the other weekend. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There is a faded grandeur about it, the people are lovely and the vino verde is cold, crispy and cheap. Go there.

They have invented a work of culinary genius called the Francesina, which you can see me attempting to eat above. It is to the cheese toastie as a cruise missile is to a stick: a sandwich with sausage, smoked sausage, ham and steak inside it. Then they cover the entire thing in melted cheese and float it in spicy sauce. Only the Portuguese could have come up with such a thing. They also have the ‘Especial’ which is the same thing. With a fried egg. And chips. They are a nation to be treated with awed respect.

I’m going for a run now. Carry on!

N

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