A Day of Many Parts

Whilst Stu and Andrew have been valiantly making a 1,900 litre vat of Superior Goat Gouda (105 pots) I have been having a bitty day.

First off, we received a possibly unintentionally funny letter from one of our customers about health and safety, reminding us of our duty not to jeopardise the safety of their delivery drivers.  It says, ‘several establishments are bring attended by our drivers where they may be at risk of injury to unsafe delivery requests.’  Both fascinated and horrified, I read on.  It says that it is our responsibility to ensure their drivers have a safe means of delivery.  Ok, they pick up from us and usually time it so that they can take their break with us and have a brew too, so hopefully they do not mean us as they can walk straight through our door, unsavaged.  Then it said that on occasion their drivers have been asked to clamber over walls, deliver down unlit, uneven pathways etc to deliver goods which is an obvious contravention of sections 3 and 4 of the H&S at Work Act 1974 which are quoted on the next page, in full.  (Ok, let me make it clear, I might be taking this in a humorous way, but in no way do I condone asking delivery drivers to do dangerous things in dropping off and picking up goods, or ever would; we do take both our own and people who come to see us’ safety very seriously.)This got Stu and I thinking of what dangerous deliveries their drivers could have been making.  We decided to ask all delivery drivers what their most dangerous mission was.  We haven’t had any exciting reports yet.  But I did confirm an order that they sent to us with the following:

Thank you for your order, it will be ready for collection tomorrow morning.  But you will have to hurdle razor wire and then a 10 ft wall and crawl under a series of polytunnels to collect.  The wildebeast aren’t too bad, once you get to know them.  The wild puma is the one you really have to watch out for.

I didn’t receive a response.

Andrew's very fetching piggie jumper which I liked

Andrew’s very fetching piggie jumper which I liked

Andrew walked in today wearing a piggie jumper, hand knitted by his Grandma.  Immediately, I wanted to take a picture, but he came over all bashful and refused.  Since when has that stopped me, I hear you ask?    I weasled and cajoled, but to no avail, this picture is of the aforementioned jumper taken off and placed on the chair in the office.

Stu said he thought that as Andrew had been playing doms the night before, had a few beers in the pub, someone had bet him to wear it into work today.  I chipped in and said that if that was the case, we should have photographic evidence to support Andrew’s case, but still no.  Andrew wears a special cheese polishing coat when he ventures into the maturing rooms and lovingly rubs and turns all of the cheese.  We have sold all of the matured natural rinded sheep cheese and the latest batches are not quite ready yet, so we have been caught out on that one.  The three of us discussed how many we should bandage each week to keep up with demand and ensure we do not let anyone down.  It’s a tricky one, trying to predict sales; we need enough and not too many.  And, Andrew very kindly bought Stu and I couple of bottles of beer from his holiday trip, which was very nice of him, thank you, so perhaps we should not have been so unkind about his piggie jumper, though I like it.

After reconciling the bank and paying a few invoices, I spent all morning preparing orders for Thursday and Monday pick ups, boxing cheese up and preparing the sales invoices and competing the batch book.  Stu helped me with a big one when he was renneting and before Andrew came in.  One of the orders involved our Tasty Yorkshire which we

Pacman cheese

Pacman cheese

make for one customer in particular.  This is also the cheese that we used to make the pumpkins.  We were just a little bit short when making pumpkins, so I cut a quarter out of a whole cheese and re-vac packed it.  It looked like a pumpkin eating pac man, so I took a photo of it because I am easily amused.  Or did the pumpkin nibble the cheese – who knows.

Then I finalised, numbered and identified the samples we need in order to get our cheeses tested for nutritional information – these are being picked up on Friday.  I am very pleased, that with Rosie Nolan’s help from York University, we have been able to obtain a grant to offset the cost of nutritional testing, which if anyone does this kind of thing, will know it is jolly expensive.  If anyone would like Rosie’s help with something similar or help with starter culture development etc. let me know and I will forward your e-mail to her.

I now also have all the samples I need to go and visit Booths with on Monday, which I am very excited about.  Fingers crossed!  Then a long (and very necessary) conversation took place between Steve, our Parcelforce man and I about Season 3 of Homelands.  Neither of are convinced.  And talking of Parcelforce, we sent out three deliveries with them last Thursday, one to arrive before 12 noon the next day, Friday and the other two any time next day and all three failed – no-one received their cheese until Monday.  So I completed and faxed off three sets of claim forms, not that I have ever been successful claiming anything from Parcelforce.

Ribblesdale Matured Natural Rinded Goat cheese, painted by Christian Furr, hot off the easel

Ribblesdale Matured Natural Rinded Goat cheese, painted by Christian Furr, hot off the easel

In between all this, we kept getting phone calls about our insurance renewal.  One man asked me to go through each step of cheese making so that he could assess what machinery and equipment we use.  He wrote vac pack as flat pack.  I kind of felt sorry for him, but then again…….  I am afraid I was less than gracious.  I then reconciled the petty cash which I have been meaning to do for ages; oh yes, my life really is this exciting.

Next I received an official document confirming Direct Fruit Supplies’ final demise.  For more info, e-mail me: ionahill@gmail.com.  It looked like there was an overall deficit of £890k and made for pretty grim reading.  So much for paying all of us trade creditors back.

And then at the end of the day, I received an e-mail from our new artist friend, Christian, the (youngest ever artist to paint the queen and currently painting burlesque artiste Dita von Teese – according to his website) artist to whom we had delivered a Natural Rinded Matured Goat cheese, with a picture of his picture, so here it is, newly painted.  Christian says that he uses his friend Pip Seymour’s pretty famous Furr Brown paint.  I am seriously impressed and think it looks fabulous, definitely one of ours and am very chuffed – wow!  Love it!  I wonder who will buy it?  Christian’s other cheese paintings sell for £2,995, but he has kindly offered us a giclee print of it which is very generous – thank you!  This is the cheese that won three gold stars at the Great Taste Awards 2013.  What do you think?  Click here to view Christian’s other cheese paintings.

And now, it is gone 6.30pm and I am going home as I have hungry piglets to feed, some stupendously expensive wallpaper samples to look at.  I might even do some work too. Pitch black outside now, wet and decidedly cold.  Don’t forget to enter our snow book competition – click here to have a look.   Good night!

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