|Now that's what I call hair|
It was a long day yesterday, a very long day, some thirteen hours at work which is too many for somebody of my age, thankfully it was a one-off.
I spent part of last evening giving my annual 'speech' to members of the local Conservative club about the club's finances and the economy generally. You can always tell when the economy is struggling because clients ask more questions about what they should be doing to improve their fortunes (or even start a fortune) and they are keen to pick your brains about which other businesses are doing well, when things are going well you are just there to help them fulfill their statutory obligations.
Clubs are having a tough time of it, people have less disposable income and whilst the social side is a diversion from day to day problems, or even an opportunity to meet people and discuss those problems, there is less money to go around, particularly for pensioners. The committee members who run clubs do a sterling, unpaid for the most part, job, they look after what are essentially small businesses rich in heritage and, possibly, land and buildings, but ever watchful of their finances. One of the first things I was told in accountancy, by a former boss, is that in business you should never apologise for what you charge a customer or client, they are paying for your time and expertise, the product of accumulated knowledge, with members clubs the approach is different.The club derives its income purely from its members and therefore has to strike a balance between making a small surplus, to finance any unforeseen emergencies and not exploiting its only source of income. In my experience all clubs have what I call a 'hardcore' of members, usually one-third of the total membership who will support the club on a weekly basis whilst the other two-thirds have joined for other benefits such as access to free car parking or a once a year subsidised trip to the races, by raising bar and food prices to meet increased costs you are penalising the only people who are supporting you in the first place.
The other problem clubs experience from time to time, and one area that more and more businesses are coming to terms with, is the 'half a person' syndrome, not a reference to a track by The Smiths, but the fact that there is too much work for one person but not enough for two, however circumstances (such as holiday and sickness cover) dictate that you need a second person (other multiples are available) but you don't generate nearly enough income to cover the cost of that additional staff member and so you actually end up making a loss from taking somebody else on.
It's a tough old world out there, but I'm sure this club will survive even though others in the area, both politically affiliated or not, have closed.
It was well received, well I got a round of applause, and then it was time to make my way home, scraping ice off the car before journeying on gritted roads through fog, a glimpse of the full moon appearing occasionally over the tops of the pine trees lining the dual carriageway.
Having been working for so long the period of 'coming down' took longer than usual, I was like a kid who had drunk too many glasses of ribena before bedtime. When I did eventually get to sleep I had a really bizarre dream, now I know other peoples dreams are like other peoples holidays in that you really have to have been there to enjoy it, but last night I dreamed that I was Rula Lenska, Now according to the book '10,000 Dreams Explained' (no, don't ask) this dream may be because Rula is an ideal person on whom I wish to project my fantasies and wishes or it may be because in real life I am shy and withdrawn but need to be admired. Of course it could simply be because I was talking in a meeting room which had a picture of Mrs Thatcher on one of the walls but I've always preferred redheads to blondes.