• Iona

My Friday Last Week

Ever wondered what cheese makers do when they are not making cheese?

Friday was a busy day: I had yesterday (Thursday, this was written real time) off as the vet came to see Snouter and was a little late because he had to perform two emergency caesarians on two cows so Stu has today off, so I am alone today, just me, the ipod and Radio 4 in the office (minus Woman’s Hour which you all know I can’t deal with.)

First thing, without even a quick brew, I rustled up three orders, two to be picked up on Monday and one to be Parcelforced on Monday.  I had the iPod on and spent a happy time shuffling to music whilst putting the cheese through the scales.  Favourite track of this week is Fool in Love by Tina Turner.  No, I am not trying to say anything!

Then I checked the bank, did the bank rec which was a bit overdue as I had not run it for ten days; important this, as it allows me to chase people who have not paid and inevitably there are rather a few….so that meant rattling off a few faxes with statements and polite requests for payment.  Yes, really, I am very polite, but it can be so time consuming and annoying to have to continually chase the same people.  It happens to us all.

Then printed off some labels as the latest batch of Blue Goat is rather tricky to cut.  A couple of weeks back, I broke a cheese wire on one which is very unusual, to break a wire, so I prepared some labels saying ‘please score first with a sharp knife before cutting’, just to let our customers know, otherwise we will be getting complaints.  The cheese is lovely, just a little hard to cut!  I put the Blue Goat away that Stu had waxed yesterday and surveyed the empty shelves.  We will have to do some mad waxing next Tuesday, even though Stu did some emergency waxing yesterday, that has all gone out.

Then I did the invoicing for the three orders and popped them into envelopes along with the advice notes, taped to the boxes.  Found another picking list I knew I hadn’t invoiced, so did that too.  Totted up the April total, so far so good and about time too as Easter was a total flop.

Then I spoke to our old pest control people to beg them to come back, but they say we are a little far from their normal route, now that we are based in Hawes as opposed to Horton in Ribblesdale.  But I know that they go to my local, as I recommended Assured to them, and they are only 10 miles away from Hawes, so here is hoping.  This was sparked off by receiving an invoice for two pest control visits from our current suppliers, for rather a lot and a month apart when they should be every six weeks.  Ggggrrr.  A telephone call to our current pest control people elicited the usual, ‘there’s no-one here’.

Next, I completed the Dairy Co levy on milk form and faxed it across to them, writing when I faxed it as they occasionally say I have not faxed it, which I have.  This is a monthly thing, along with the MQ12 which has to be completed for the Rural Payments Agency saying how much cow’s milk we have purchased in the month.

Then I entered some purchase invoices that had accumulated through the week and set them up as payments in advance on the on-line banking system and recorded them in Sage.  We had a quarterly water bill for £141 + VAT which I thought was not too bad, but then we have been quiet making due to the conspicuous lack of goat milk.  We are extremely careful with our water as it is fairly expensive. We recycle it until the last lot can be used for the floors.  Yep, mean Yorkshire folk, though Stu isn’t, he can be an honorary Yorkshire person as he has lived here for so long.

Then at 12.30 I had my first brew, only I left it and had to make another one.  So I flicked through The Grocer.  There is a supplement with The Grocer that ranks Britain’s top brands.  I thought I would look for cheesey things.   It says that Cathedral City ranks as no 15, up from 21st place in 2012.  Coca Cola and Walkers Crisps are no 1 and 2 if you are interested.  The next cheese entry was Philadelphia in at no 65, but hey, that’s not really cheese, not in my book it isn’t.  Wiseman milk is no 71, Dairlea no 73 (ditto).  Reading about Cathedral City, The Grocer says that a constant stream of NPD has propelled Cathedral City through the £250m sales barrier and growth includes new kids’ sub brand Chedds (what?) and adult snacking option Cathedral City.  Cathedral City is owned by Dairy Crest.  As for Philadelphia, their growth is attributed to mixing Cadbury chocolate with Philadelphia cheese.  I am shuddering now and will stop, it will only upset me.

Back to the main Grocer magazine.  There is an small article on page 5 titled, ‘Negative consumer ‘buzz’ over horse meat wearing off’.  No surprise there.  I sometimes help my friend Pat out on her tea van at the Ribblehead junction over the weekend and I have to say that she has seen absolutely no decrease in the amount of burgers she sells there and also that no-one has ever asked about horse meat burgers; they cost more.  Back to The Grocer.  I usually get as far as the dairy section, then the weekly shopping basket that compares about 30 random items and compares prices from the big 5 supermarkets.  I don’t know why I look, Asda always wins and Waitrose is always around £15 more expensive for the same items.  Then I flick to the back for the bogof page for some light reading.

Ha. I have found an unopened Fine Food Digest.  I enjoy reading Bob Farrand’s Opinion column.  Ah, we have an honourable mention in a small piece paying tribute to Bob Kitching.  I am quoted, goodness me!  Poor Bob, but good to know that his daughter Faye is continuing to run the dairy.  I have just found the latest unopened Grocer which calls for a second cup of coffee, though I feel guilty that I am not properly working.

Seems like when we all thought it was safe, re salt, it’s back.  It seems that the government lowered the threshold for a red light for salt by 25%, imposing a 1.8g per portion limit, down from the previous FSA guideline of 2.4g.  Our salt levels per 100g are a lot lower, but my goodness, why…..and when is this going to stop?  Aren’t we regulated enough?  In the case of the cheese industry, there are very good reasons why we use salt and for some cheese types why it would be very difficult to reduce salt levels.  Mind you, if shoppers are no long concerned about horse meat  will they be concerned about a red traffic light on their favourite cheese?  And then there is a quote from a spokeswoman who says that Kellogg’s Corn Flakes tastes like a different product today from 10 years ago, yes, and I bet the management team would love to meet you to discuss.

Interrupted by the phone ringing, good news, a customer order when I forgot that I had put the blue cloths in the dryer and on Stu’s instructions, they need to come out and the whites dried too.  So I have put that on.  Stu only gave me a list of two things to do and I must do them!  Right, off to do a stocktake now, pure SALSA avoidance tactic.

Stocktake done, adjusted for sales since 31st March and written up in Excel; this prompted me to look at the accounts in Sage and print off a P&L and  Balance Sheet for the year ended 31st March 2013.  In between, the cloths were dried and put away, whites out and in the dryer and another two orders and a little chat with both customers ordering.  Goodness, is the world picking up a little?  Back to looking at our year end accounts when Phil and Amanda, our landlords arrived; it is always good to see them, so we had another cup of coffee and a good old chat and catch up and then it was time to go home.

Next blog post is poor old Snouter’s latest encounter with the V.E.T………..but the pub beckons first.

#AdayinthelifeofRibblesdaleCheese #cheeseblog

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