Tuesday, 29 September 2009

A breath of hot air...

I picked up a copy of Vernon Coleman's 'England our England - a Nation in jeopardy' the other day.

It's not much more than a powerful set of blog posts, often turning into a prolonged rant as well, but it lifts several lids on the EU disaster waiting to happen. Naturally, our spineless administrations - and those as far back as Heath's as well, get a lambasting on every page. I just can't help thinking how much taxpayer's hard earned dosh is wasted by such enormous 'public' organisations, staffed by such incompetent but power-hungry people.

Which is what my point is all about.

As some old friends here might have established some time ago, my business is developing property - mainly hotels. ('Nasty, greedy old Git in a sheepskin coat' come some comments from those who think I drive a Hummer, and live behind electric gates...)! Wrong I can assure you, the 'Scrobmobile' is well qualified for scrappage - by three years - I just love driving it; and the gates have been non-existent for twenty years as I keep hitting them when I get home...

So my company takes enormous risks to get something built. There are no contentious issues with hotels, mainly because they have to be on big roads to be seen, or town centres, to attract business and tourism, and hardly anyone wants to live near those sorts of place anyway.

We search everywhere to find sites, and meeting as many people as possible to achieve our goal is the norm, which is why I usually go to big events like 'The Thames Gateway' exhibition. (see November posts passim, especially recalling the lovely lady, who still keeps in touch...). We definitely cannot afford to go to MIPIM, (big property bash in Cannes), which is good if you have several thousand quid to spread around, and end up so alcoholically re-adjusted, that you've forgotten who you met..), so I make sure I get around here in London mainly, but on a strict budget. (The bus pass even works for me too)!

I've just been informed by email that I 'should' consider going to yet another 'Local Authority talking shop'. Most of the delegates are from local councils and boroughs, but also hundreds of quangoes like SEEDA, BURA, and the like which control/degrade/interfere with every aspect of trying to get a simple building built for business. You'll count the commercial ability points on one hand...

This year, the Thames Gateway organisers are charging four times as much (£400) for private individuals (i.e. the tax paying companies which provide the wealth they fritter away), and even giving discounts to public services staff who don't create anything, except prolonged chaos in this weak, drowning government's task of ruining UK inc.

The latest one wants me to pay something similar, but for what?

This...

...A chance to hear the views and learned discussion of various councils, unelected spenders of the public purse, dead-handed planners in sink boroughs, lessons from bankers (for Chrissakes), wise words from 'Learning and Skills Councils', regeneration experts - perhaps the sort of person which prepares the budget for the Olympics..., a smattering of MPs on expenses of course, loads more 'government' employees of a day out, someone in a pullover from the LDA, and a handful of bemused students who like to collect all the biros, sweeties and scratch pads from every stand!

These exhibitions are usually sponsored by private concerns, and they put up much of the money. The big names are there, but they can afford to, because they've got an ongoing project worth zillions lurking in the planning system, and anyway, I hardly ever come across them in our business, they're far too big. There are also a few housebuilders, who are hanging in too. Don't knock them, many of the good guys have gone now, and love 'em or hate 'em, they at least take huge risks, and bring something to the prosperity of a crap area, while councils wouldn't have a clue how to do it themselves.

So your correspondent will not be gracing any of these big events to meet nobodies, instead, he'll be doing what he normally does; wake up early, start thinking what to do next to earn a crust, get going on the phone early, email like crazy, get up to town the cheapest way possible, take a few Ryvita and a bottle of tap water for lunch on a bus between meetings, get excited rarely - but, when something goes well, you know it's despite government spouting rubbish, not because of it.

Oh yes; for one day, I will be at my monthly business meeting bash; (no public faces there, we don't want them), this Thursday, and I should know it works, because I started it over ten years ago!

And it costs nothing to arrange, you buy your own drinks, and it's free!

18 comments:

Philipa said...

I'm sure you have thought about this, Scrobs but I'll be the brave lady who voices the annoying bleedin' obvious you've already considered - have you thought about doing something else? I saw, on one of these daytime property progs at a friends (they're developing their own), a chap who, with his own small gang of trusted workers, finds land, builds a new house, takes 8 weeks, makes 10K per week average profit.

Is it time to rethink the scale of the projects and do something smaller?

Scrobs... said...

Pips, we can't now!

I know you're a brave lady, but Scrobs is past all the shenanigans needed to do what you saw on TV. (Lucky - and clever, guy him)!

I've not got the years to do these things now - so I 'up the stakes'. Bigger schemes mean bigger profits for our pension; that's the reality.

Can't stop now anyway, I actually thrive on this sort of adversity, and can beat most oncomers... perhaps with a bit of paternal kindness if they're younger than me ;0)

Philipa said...

Ah, right. Bigger projects can indeed mean bigger profits but also bigger overheads and longer deferred rewards. But I guessed you'd considered all options. Said so. Not averse to a little light spanking, me.

Can't understand why any hotel would put in whirlpool baths. Harbinger of germs. I wouldn't use one in a hotel.

rvi said...

As I know sweet fanny about hotel developing I really have nothing to contribute here except to say that if you can't develop new ones, have you thought about:

(a) refurbishing older ones? Given that more folks are likely to be spending their holidays in the UK rather than travelling overseas for the time being, there might be mileage in doing up some existing properties which could do with a face-lift? I imagine that the skills required would be similar for both building and refurbishing. This could be applied of course to both home and abroad locations.

or

(b) sub-contracting your expertise to/from one or more of the "big boys"? That might lead to loss of independence, but will at least pay the bills.

Failing which I am afraid you will have to take your place in the queue for the soup kitchen! Good hunting.

F Dipstick Jnr Esq., Bar and Twiglet
Propertiz Iz Us
Poole
Dorset.

Scrobs... said...

Pips - Hi!

Agree about whirlpools, I'm not 100% sure what gets whirling either...

Scrobs... said...

Morning Reevers,

You're right on both counts, but the brands we deal with are so strict, that an existing building almost certainly won't meet their standards, like room sizes etc.

The cost often comes out about the same too - surprisingly! You'd think it would be cheaper.

We do actually work for others where we can and the bills can be covered too!

I'm interested to see that there's a small possibility of your sign off address as Poole. Without betraing any confidences, we're always looking at sites in Bournemouth, and if you know the big roundabout where Wessex Way joins Poole Road, (where Liverpool Victoria had a huge office block until a couple of years ago), then you may see still spots of blood sweat and tears in the car park, where we tried our damndest to put up a big scheme!

We also met the people at the BICC, and spent ages talking to a site owner in Priory Road, who sadly died just as it was getting interesting!

Of course, (no confidences again), if you don't hail from that area, then all this twaddle I'm rattling off is boring and superfluous...;0)

rvi said...

Scrobs : OK you got me! I have only been to Poole once in my entire life, passing through, en route to the west country, to have tea and crumpets with some friends (with whom regrettably I lost touch when they moved away leaving no forwarding address) from a previous incarnation.

Dipstick Jnr used to inhabit a place called Snottie Pinkie or something which I understand is quite nearby..

Sorry my suggestions were of not much use to you, but good luck in your future endeavours.

Scrobs... said...

Reevers...

I'm wearing my Hemlock Shears underpants as I write this next astounding statement...

YOU DON'T MEAN SCOTTON PINKNEY DO YOU...?

If so there's a whole new ball game there, and one which we all miss terribly...

Philipa said...

*moves away slowly*

Scrobs... said...

Ooooooh...

Pips...

Did you ever get there - Scotton Pinkney I mean...?

Come back this instant...;0)

rvi said...

Yes Scrobs, that's the place, a completely different world indeed. I even considered applying for the vacant resident village idiot post there, but was considered over-qualified. Life is tough at the top you know...

Naughty you, frightening Pip like that. I hope you did not spoil her breakfast. Good job our resident white witch is away building sand castles at the moment or I am sure she would cast a spell making your elastic go all droopy. Now there's a vision to really frighten the horses (and probably Pip too!).

Philipa said...

It might, Reevers, it might. I'm sure it isn't polite to mention that I'd like sexual contact in the morning; to be woken up with a loving cuddle, that sort of thing. Of course being single that sort of attention is impossible and presenting me with a happily married man and his loose elastic is not only shocking but a cruel tease, Reevers.

rvi said...

Pip, I assure you it was not my intention to tease you, but to warn our host what might happen to his undergarments (he gives some trade name I have never heard of - probably a cover for that famous Lucy Lastic brand one finds in Tesco's) if he does not behave properly and with due respect towards the ladies who visit.

Philipa said...

Thank you for your kind reply, Reevers. I have to say the image was a little disconcerting. I wonder how many camels the white witch is being offered? I do hope she brings back some frankincense and hope they are having a marvellous time :-)

Scrobs... said...

Pips!

Aaaah... now I see what you mean...!

'Hemlock Shears' is an awful anagram of - wait for it -

'Sherlock Holmes'!

My Dad often called him that, and now, any time there's a little detective work to be done, out comes the name!

(The underpants bit was my idea, and is not very funny obviously...)

Scrobs... said...

Reevers, Scotton Pinkney was a great place for completely zany humour, unrealistic ambitions, and also a place where anyone could be someone else!

I found it really very funny, and with such characters as 'Fruning Graplecard', 'Modo' etc, there was always an interesting chat going on.

Did you know 'Doris' by chance?

Philipa said...

The underpants bit was very funny, Scrobs but I didn't want you to think I was laughing at you as I could never do that, was laughing along with the wit and humour.

rvi said...

Did I know Doris?

No.