Me and my Shop

Uptons of Bassett has taken up most of my time over the past 15 years and I have gone from working on my own with the help of one part-time employee to a small team of five full-time and eight part-time employees, all of them as loyal and trustworthy as Robin Hood's own band of merry men.

I am very proud of the shop and love the whole butchery business. Last week I attended a competition, where I had about four hours to kill while waiting for the results. My initial plan had been to catch up on some well-deserved sleep in the van, but there were so many other interesting butchers to talk to about the meat trade, I forwent the 40 winks and learnt many new ideas for the shop. One of them was from the man who won the Supreme Sausage Champion award that day; pork, seaweed and chive. That's got to be worth a go in my shop. Just last week, we had a push on our pork with wild garlic. The best part of this sausage is that you can pick the wild garlic for free. At one time, Britain was exporting half a ton of this gourmet food to the US every week.

The best money I ever spent was having the shop refitted. It lifted our profile and, although we had always sold the finest meats possible, they are now encased in this lovely warm-looking outlet. But the biggest mistake I made was not being ready when we re-opened the shop just before Christmas; my bones ache with the thought of that one.

I know that, as butchers, we are all guilty of working too hard, but it is good to get outside the shop and talk to your peers sometimes.