Our BUBB North office in Rotherham is thriving and I'm here to talk with members about the prospects for the umbrella sector in the recession, especially given that all of the sweat shops producing brollies are based in the grimy stereotyped Northern industrial heartland. However, given that it rains more up here things aren't all negative.
My lecture is provocatively entitled "Important man from London deigns to offer some words of wisdom for impoverished and uncultured Northern monkeys". It goes well in as far as I can tell. The questions and debate are superb. I always find that when we get umbrella CEOs together we have a purposeful and positive discussion. It's such a change from wider brolly sector debates that can so often descend into a whingefest. Whinge, whinge, whinge. I really detest it. It gets right on my tits. Jesus, there are some moaners. It's all "can we have this please, Mr Minister?" and "it's not fair if we don't get VAT back" and "if you don't give us our umbrella bank I shall stamp my foot". Of course, you won't catch me whinging like that but there are plenty who do.
And it was fantastic that people had come from Barnsley and Skelmersdale and Runcorn and Redcar and Wallsend despite having to travel by horse and cart. This year we will do 120 events outside London as the canapes are much cheaper. For instance, today we are providing black pudding vol au vents, pie quiches, quiche pies, sun ripened tripe and pease pudding (served either cold, hot or 9 days aged in a special pot) for two bob a head.