Never believe your own publicity: I got carried away with a previous article I had written and began to believe I was a craftsman.

While visiting John Waterfield to steal more good ideas, I met Albert Waterfield and, as bold as brass, I went up to him, stuck out my hand and said confidently: "Now tell me Albert, as one craftsman to another..." To which he looked at me in amazement and burst out laughing. Well, that was not the reception I was expecting, so I guess we are not fellow craftsmen.

when in germany...

While in Germany on a study tour we visited a baker in Munich. Although he did not speak English and my German was learned from war movies, with the aid of an interpreter I managed to learn that traditional German bakers are very worried about the large companies opening shops, mainly doing bake-off and undercutting them.

One could assume they were just beginning to meet the competition we did some 10 years ago. While I am wary of commenting on another culture, it did look to me that they will have to change - as we have had to do - and perhaps utilise their space more profitably.

Although we all admire their beautiful shops and superb patisserie, I did notice they had a 10-foot window filled with china and a four-foot cabinet with only four filled rolls in at midday. While there may not be as much demand for filled rolls as in England, I did see many shops concentrating on and selling filled rolls, so I can only assume there is a demand.

This could be a perfect example of how we should not to rely on traditional trade but constantly look for new avenues of sale. Recently I read an article on business and thought the advice of the writer - focus, simplicity and reality when considering any new ideas or looking to put right any failings in the company - was extremely accurate and worth considering.

one good idea at a time

One of my many failings is that I seem incapable of learning the lesson of never making more than one major change at a time.

Ideas come into my head and, as they all appear so good, at the time, I try to get them implemented all at once, forgetting that the availability and time of both managers and staff is limited. Hence there is a grave risk they will all fail, whereas, if I had exercised more self-control, there could possibly have been a winner among the ideas, which only needed more time and effort to have made us money.

be wary of fads

The latest craze appears to be to cut down on rich food and take more exercise. Well, I have bought all the books and one said, "swimming is great for you" - have they never seen a whale? Another said: "Exercise kills germs", but how do you persuade germs to exercise? My wife has the perfect way to exercise: she just shops faster and then has the nerve to tell me to do more, saying, "The only exercise you get is raising your eyebrows."

The above I mention to prove a point. Be wary of jumping on every latest fad you read about; the old ones are often still the best.n