You won't know it, but your wine merchant is now 60 and the wine industry has begun offering "Lifetime Achievement" awards. I'm chuffed, please don't misunderstand, but reminds a little of the sort of award they give old movie actors who never got an Oscar (provided they live long enough).
I've got three of these so far yet don't anyone for a moment think I'm about to climb out of the saddle. In fact planning another ten years - at least! Maybe less globetrotting, but I have exciting plans to share with you soon. Including a new cellar by the quayside in Bordeaux. And a whole team of talented people I'd like to find the time to tell you about. Including the Laithwaites co-Chairman, Barbara, my wife!
Latest award was presented at a dinner at The Dorchester on Park Lane, by the kind people at OLN - full name Off-Licence News, which perhaps sounds like it should be used on Have I Got News For You. In fact, it is the biggest selling paper in the wine sector.
Anyway, while recognition of the efforts we put in for our customers is really pleasing, we got to be successful by a very long (40 years) route of just convincing people and winning their trust, one by one, with our wines and service.
Sleepless nights help ... fear of losing you!
I had to make an acceptance speech. Which was not written so can't be sure what I said. And had had a couple. But I think I said this award could offer hope to anyone who feels they are always being told they are doing the wrong thing the wrong way. If you just somehow manage to keep stumbling, blindly on (thanks really to your real mates who support you no matter what) then this can happen. However it's vital never to let awards stop you fretting and worrying because that's when it all goes wrong. I have seen it happen.
Thanks again to everyone at OLN, and most of all to you, our customer.