Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A New Venture

Story contd

Mary and I agreed a date to go down to Worthing to visit her old friend Ellie. They had known one another for years and Ellie, whose husband was a master at a renowned public school, had made a nice little earner for herself over the last few years. She had started a shop with a partner, based on the old thrift shops out in Germany, where I think the partner had been an army wife. The idea was you had a shop and accepted children’s outgrown clothes and sold them for the client who then received payment - with a percentage going to Ellie and partner. Basically it was school uniform but as time went on they included all children’s clothes especially ski and riding attire.

Ellie took us to see the shop which was bustling with mothers and children and was obviously providing a deep felt need. Like us they had many schools in the area from prep schools, grammar schools and public schools all of which demanded a uniform. No way was it an old clothes shop – the key was quality and the clothes should be in perfect order and dry cleaned. At half the original price customers realised what a good deal it was and, as I already had discovered, many of them were struggling to pay the fees to educate their children privately.

Over coffee I told Ellie that as both of us had large houses we could have the shop at home and cut out the expense of premises. Ellie was horrified.

‘Are you serious about running a business or are you just playing at it? You have to have premises and run it as a business. And are you sure you can run it together? You are working happily together now but you Mary are working for Pat. Are you planning on being equal partners?’

We assured her we were.

‘Well get yourselves a partnership agreement then.’

It seemed that Ellie and her partner of a good few years were now having difficulties which were beginning to seem insurmountable.

‘It’s when you start being really successful the trouble starts.’

Back at her house she showed us some of the lovely things she had bought recently but she was nervous and worried and I thought what a pity that success had brought two friends to the point of litigation.

It was time to leave as we both had to pick up our children from school. Another thing Ellie had pointed out was that she and her partner were older, with their children off their hands.

‘You need a third partner who has no children. Your business needs to be open normal shop hours and she can do the hours when you have to pick up your children.’

Somewhat chastened we contemplated running a business form 9.30am to 5.30pm, six days a week with a complete stranger. A bit daunting but I could see Mary was as excited as I was. I knew we could do it and couldn’t wait to get started but Ellie had given us excellent advice and we needed to give the whole project a lot of thought.

I picked the boys up from school and after I had given them tea and bathed them there was just time to have supper with William and give him a brief outline of what we planned. He wasn’t sure how I would be able to manage but it was a rehearsal night at the theatre club so we postponed the discussion.

Pete the director worked in television and was often late for rehearsal and I was deputed to be acting director. I really enjoyed this and had bought a whistle to get the cast to quieten down when I wanted to give direction. Much more fun than props and I determined to learn as much as possible about putting on a play. The leading actor Alan Burns was a solicitor and during a break I asked him if he had much dealing with partnership agreements.

‘All the time - in fact if more people had them from the beginning half my work would be cut out.’

I told him what we were contemplating and asked if he would be prepared to act for us and he agreed.

That’s the solicitor sorted now all we needed were premises, a third partner, a name, stock… oh and some capital. No problemo!


Dr Maroon said...

Pat. Your voice. Sounds familiar. Very familiar.
Have we met?
I did wonder, when I first saw you on your blog.
“I know your name, but I’ve forgotten your face” was what I wanted to say. You looked familiar. Very familiar.
But then I’m like that with my own family so I let it rest.
Haven’t had time but the Maroon Voice Analyser [me] has thrown up some intriguing cross references.
If I were to say “Grey Gables” to you, would that ring any bells? No? What about snakes, Alzheimer’s, Remembrance Sunday in St Stephen’s?
Nothing yet?
I may be wrong then.
Then there’s all those acting clues in your story. A story that’s sort of come to a stop I notice, perhaps while you decide whether or not to come clean with your adoring public. And you seem so well connected. Eryl’s taking a writing course, so did you, but you had a proper author on yours. And Eileen Atkins. And the Heinz Baby! Yes, the pieces of this complex jigsaw are falling slowly but surely...onto the floor, behind the sideboard in the kitchen perhaps...doubts remain…MICROPHONE USAGE! Must be a clincher. You’ve used a microphone before methinks and read for an audience too, but…doubts still…
Or am I right?
If I am, can I have Lillian’s phone number?
Steady, Tiger!

R. Sherman said...

'All the time - in fact if more people had them from the beginning half my work would be cut out.’

Too true. Fortunately, nobody listens to lawyers until its too late. That's how I afford to send my kids to Lutheran Schools.

Maroon seems to have hit upon something. I've always wondered if you were famous. Your story reminds me of "As Time Goes By" with you being Judi Dench.


PI said...

Doc: now how would I know if we have met? You are far more anonymous than I am.
If you had read fifties magazines - perhaps in a run down dentist's waiting room - then I would look familiar. Not sure about the voice; the first time I heard it I also thought it sounded familiar - still haven't worked that out.
Alzheimer's leaps out because my dear brother died with it and it is one of my top charities but the other clues don't go anywhere.
Now lookit here young man the story had never stopped - maybe only one episode a week but at least once a week there is a 'story continued''

I have spoken, in the past on TV, and for years have used a mike reading to the blind. And who in God's name is Lillian. Hope this is helpful:) I'd love the hear your voice. Couldn't you do a story - Kim would help I'm sure.

PI said...

Randall: we did listen - and lived to be thankful.
MTL says I'm nothing like Judi Dench. I'm just me - what you see is what you get.

Z said...

Pat, it has never struck me that you could be the voice of Peggy Woolley - or does the Doctor mean Jill Archer (aka Patricia Greene)?

Nea said...

I like your positive attitude. It comes through in all your stories of past and present. Whatever obstacles are put in your path, you always find a way through them.

Somebody once said I looked like Judi Dench. I don't, I look like me, too.

moon said...

I am really looking forward to more installments ...about this business venture and how it went.

PI said...

Nea: I'm always being told to wait before rushing in but once I get the bit between my teeth I'm impatient to get on. I am learning to slow down and if my interest isn't engaged I'm positively torpid.
How about a photo?

Z: Thanks for shedding some light. I gave up the Archers when Grace died in the fifties so it went over my head. When I do hear it, by accident, there is someone who speaks with such a phoney NE accent I switch off.

Moon: all will be revealed.

Guyana-Gyal said...

'...Oh and some capital, no problemo'? I can't wait.

It's true, your go-for-it attitude really comes through! Especially with that last bit!

kenju said...

I'm looking forward to it too! You always seem to cut it off right when I am getting interested...LOL

PI said...

GG: there are times in life when you realise there is ho point in dithering - you just have to give it a go. But I can dither with the best of them.

Judy: I asked # 1 son yesterday, 'Is it boring' Fortunately he gave the right answer.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

It is anything BUT boring, I am always impatient for the next episode from the moment I finish reading the current one.

PI said...

Zinnia: muchos gracias!

sablonneuse said...

I think your blog is paying me back. My last comment seems to have been swallowed up and that's not the first time. Heaven help us if we ever get computers that think for themselves and they start taking a dislike to certain people - or feel like playing tricks deliberately.

Dr Maroon said...

Z or ZED, if that is your real name, you have it EXACT EXACTEMENT!. It was Peggy, Jack's wife I was thinking of. After some research though, i think Pat is way too young.

PI said...

Sablonneuse: I think it did get through but sometimes they go to the top of the comments instead of the order they come in.

Doc: Just talk amongst yourselves. I'm saying nowt!

Marian said...

This story gets better and better. But I'm itching to find out how MTL comes back into your life!!

PI said...

Marian: thank you - I'd love to tell you but then I'd have to kill you:)

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Lillian? Peggy? I have absolutely no %*%&# (loud train whistle)-ing idea what anyone's on about today.

PI said...

Sam: the dear knows who Lilian is but the other, I believe is a character in the radio programme - 'The Archers' I must give it a listen.

Dr Maroon said...

Lillian is your charachter's flighty daughter. She is quite a girl.

PI said...

Doc: seems there's some big do tonight at 7pm. I'm gonna be listening.