Well another year is over and we have survived, but it has been one of the most difficult years we’ve had for a very long time. While our year ends on 31 January, by the look of it we shall be lucky to have put on more than a 2-3% increase on last year on a like-for-like basis.

The sandwich vans appear to have been a good investment and our fifth should be on the road in January, but we only add to the number when each van is profitable, which takes about three to four months at present. And that will become more difficult as time goes by.

Our politicians do not make my life any easier. All I seem to hear about is how they intend to increase employee rights, but what about mine? Do these idiots really think we go to great trouble and expense to hire staff so that we can have the pleasure of firing them?

One thing I’ll bet is that, if I went around asking every employer what their hobby was, it would not be firing staff, so why do they need protection from us? How wonderful it would be if governments would only deliver on their promises of a better-educated young, an improved NHS and less crime. But no! The only thing they deliver on is more red tape to make my life difficult.


You can bet your last dollar that, were there more employers than employees, all the legislation would be on the side of the employers because MPs would think they would get more votes that way. The only thing politicians think about, once we have elected them, is getting re-elected, which does not leave them any time to think about doing something useful for us.

Always at this time of the year, I look back and think of what went wrong and wonder was it bad luck or poor judgment? We all have a friend who appears to be unlucky. One of mine spent years perfecting a rich man’s signature and, when he eventually got it perfect and took the cheque to the bank, it was returned "insufficient funds".


Now what I call good luck is marrying for love and finding out that your wife is a rich woman. With a new year dawning, we must be optimistic and dream a little: staff will not be sick too often and not keep getting pregnant; tills will balance regularly and my van drivers, who of course are never at fault, will not keep getting hit by other idiots on the road.

Sales will increase by at least 10% and costs will stay static. Bakers will not burn anything in the oven and will bake everything to perfection. And, the next time I am in London and see a restaurant in which I cannot afford to eat, I will go in, order oysters and pay the bill with the pearls I find inside. These things I expect to happen.

I hope you will all be successful and profitable this year. Thank you for your kind letters and phone calls over 2006; it is really appreciated, even if you do not always agree with my totally reasonable points of view. n