Sunday, 22 June 2014

How to make friends and influence people


In all the excitement of the Summer Solstice, I almost forgot that the Bath Boules competition is on this weekend.

We go to Queen Square every year just to wander around amongst the in-crowd, occasionally chatting to friends we run into. Not having a garden and Bath being very short on decent outside venues, I enjoy lolling around people-watching whilst I have a couple of drinks. I only ever played the game one year, as the team were friends of mine and had lost a player to alcohol abuse. They start playing at about 10.00 am...

The event has never quite been the same since Miles Kington died. Being a pretty well-known, humorous journo, he was very well-connected and usually brought at least one of the Monty Python team with him. One year he brought Joanna Lumley and Terry Jones. See above photo for proof.

I never got to meet any of them because  - for some reason - Miles didn't like me very much. It's a long story, but I have known his wife for years before he married her, and she's still pretty friendly on the rare occasions I see her, as I probably will today.

I am sure it will be exactly the same as last year, with Jo shouting at the teams to 'Hurry up!' and J.P. shouting obscenities in his 'Allo Allo' accent. The Francis hotel on one side of the square, had to install double-glazing because of the little Frenchman's langauge. I once blanched to hear him shout out through the Tannoy speakers, "Ah! here comes Miss *****! The most fuckable woman in Bath! Just look at her boobies!"

He used to run the famous and now defunct Beaujolais restaurant - defunct because he wanted to retire and nobody wanted to pay the £1million asking price to keep it going. I cannot think of any kinder things to say about him, so let's move on.

Aside from raising money for charity, the Boules event is also a great opportunity for networking amongst the participating estate agents, restaurateurs, solicitors, bar owners, etc. and there is a tent dedicated to a well-known Champagne maker, but not so well known by me that I can remember its name. Oh, I just have - it's Veuve Clicquot. Lots of bright yellow involved.

Even I have done a little business there, when I have bumped into old clients who I only ever saw at this venue, once a year. I might have scuppered the last deal though, when I walked up to a famous clothes-shop owner who I had worked for a few years earlier.

He owns a large, country farmhouse near Bath which is also famous for being a dwelling of Sir Frances Drake (I think), and an equally famous exterior designer come gardener - a husband and wife team - had made a complete pig's arse of their formerly pleasant garden by building a mock ruined abbey and an inappropriate extension to the ancient walls of the original.

They asked me to come in and tone-down the glaringly bright, new stonework (I am also an expert at the application of colour to new stone, having spent so many years amongst antique dealers), and this I did quite successfully.

The owner said, "We must get you to come up and tone down some more stone for us."

"Yes," I said, "I would be happy to come round and chuck some shit at your walls."

"We can do that ourselves," was his response. He describes himself as a 'farmer' when being interviewed. I haven't seen him since.

The Bell Inn (which I believe I may have mentioned here before) used to field a team every year, but since the affable Donovan left for France, it has all fallen apart with regard to Boules. They are trying to resurrect the cricket team, though. Donovan, being Jamaican born, was very keen on cricket.

Anyway, I'm off to the Veuve Clicquot tent.

22 comments:

  1. Sounds like a nice event - here everybody is looking football (and race).
    Though telling your wannabe-clients what you told them is not what I would call "successful networking".

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    1. I didn't get where I am today through networking, Britta. In fact, I hardly got where I am today at all.

      We gave up watching football a couple of nights ago.

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  2. Ah, bocce by any other name would be as entertaining. Especially in the Veuve Clicquot tent of yellow labels. Have a wonderful afternoon.

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    1. Sorry to say it's all gone downhill.

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  3. The Veuve Clicquot tent would seem to be a good place to be on a sunny Summer's day in Bath ….. maybe just a couple of glasses would be a good idea ….. you might say something you regret. Maybe before you go, you could read a couple of chapters of ' How to Win Friends and Influence people ' !!!! { just kidding …… I'm sure you're lovely to chat to over a chilled glass of bubbly !! } XXXX

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    1. No more footbll for us either ……. it's two weeks of Wimbledon for me from tomorrow !! XXXX

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    2. More disappointment involving over-payed brats. At least there's strawberries with the next session.

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  4. Boules in Bath; how blissful.

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    1. Actually, not that blissful - report to follow.

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  5. Serves you jolly well right in losing that customer.
    You should know by now never to share the processes of work with folk because once they know how simple somethings are the job is gone.

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    1. There is a lot of truth in what you say, Heron, but - as you might have guessed - I have already thought about that particular way of protecting my livelihood.

      The best way to keep a secret is to tell absolutely everyone about it. That way, there is no need for it to be whispered.

      What I do contains an ingredient so personal and so obvious, that it just cannot be emulated.

      This is known as 'fairy dust' in the trade, and the only way of keeping it secure is to challenge everyone to copy it, without copyrighting it.

      People ask me what I use to colour fresh stonework, never believing I will tell them. I tell them - ordinary pigments bought from London.

      They try to do it, and most of them fail miserably. This is where my confidence lies.

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    2. "so personal and so obvious, that it just cannot be emulated"
      When we were weavers this happened. A sewer we had drifted away and began weaving--our stuff. It seemed threatening for a very short time. People would say have you opened a boutique; it sort of looks like you stuff. Eventually it became a joke. She called herself Janet Originals, and everyone spoke of her as Ja-not Originals. I wonder what became of her.
      Sorry the fun was spoiled. It would have been so nice.

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    3. I use Yoghurt (I hope I'm not giving away trade secrets).

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    5. Yes, Joanne - anything worth the protection usually protects itself.

      Cro - many people believe yoghurt to be the bee's-knees in reproducing an artificially aged patina, but this is just not true. I am surprised you don't know this.

      Yoghurt just promotes or ptopogates an ugly, black mould on everything - at least in this climate it does.

      You would be better off pissing on something if you want it to go green, but that will only last for about 2 months of any season.

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  6. Well, the Bath Boules event has gone horribly tacky.

    The highlight of my day was to ask a young father to stop his children from ripping the lower parts of the trees apart, and he agreed to - without the slightest bit of grace. He was most hostile.

    At least he listened to a village elder...

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  7. Love the photograph - now she really is a sexy woman (yes, I know, I am a woman so I really don't know what I am talking about)'
    Do I take it from your comment on my blog that you are still getting music when you visit my site - or am I reading you wrongly? PS Don't stop coming over, just wear ear plugs if you are.

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    1. No, I got the same BOODIST comment as you did, that's all - we are all vulnerable.

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    2. They cannot get in on mine because I am the moderator.

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    3. Doesn't that mean that you can chuck them out after they have got in, like the rest of us?

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    4. It means that they cannot post directly on to my blogs. Their mails go straight to Junk .

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    5. That's more money you have probably lost then.

      I know people who do not answer anonymous calls on their mobiles. Mainly drug-dealers, mind you.

      If I ignored anonymous calls, I would have lost many thousands already - most of my clients keep their numbers hidden.

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