Did anyone watch the harrowing documentary a couple of night ago on the BBC, called ‘Drowning in Plastic?’

Most of it was gruesome and depressing stuff, although there were some moments of inspiration as we met the most ingenious of people, who were devoted to inventing ways to tackle the problem, from giant vacuum cleaners on the top of the sea, to replacing the use of plastic food sachets with ones made from seaweed!! They were also making edible cups and plates from similar products!

For 26 years, I have been designing, making and selling oil candles and nowadays I am mostly responsible for marketing them as well.

Wow!  I’ve been writing e-mails, articles, websites and blogs.  Somebody told me to write a book that would show the world that I was truly an expert in my field. 

And I’m thinking, a book… a book on oil candles…a book on…..a book…..  Yep.  If I drop off thinking about it, who the heck else is going to be interested!

But then I thought, if I just start a little bit at a time, and somehow make it REALLY interesting, by doing things like writing some words in CAPITALS, just to WAKE YOU UP ALREADY, it might just work!

Perhaps, inspired by the great works of Kurt Vonnegut Jnr., I can engage you in a subject that you would probably not read about even if it was the only book on your island, and you had just had your sight restored after being blind for thirty years.  I mean, if it was me, I’d go for Fifty Sheds Of Grey – it’s a book about sheds which are grey – there are 50 of them in the book – or some sort of pornography, but not a book on oil candles and oil lamps.

So don’t worry.  If I told you this was going to be about some hot stuff, and being covered in oil, and doing something that was going to get your wick going you know what I mean.  Flames, and oil candles.

Furthermore, the subject matter of oil candles could largely be summed up with a slightly wordy paragraph – not easy to stretch this into a book.

But this is no ordinary book. Read some more.  You never know, you might enjoy it AND be able to tell all your friends around the dinner table everything you will then know about oil lamps!!

I am interested to know what people in the industry think of the recent closures of many branches of chain restaurants that has been happening in the last few weeks. My own opinion is that it comes down to a simple case of supply and demand.  When the market is saturated with so much of the same kind of thing, its value reduces.  And when many of those restaurants cost too much to set up, and have agreed to excessive rents in a desperate clamour for expansion, they become unsustainable. Times may difficult at the moment because of a certain amount of uncertainty amongst the general public ( Will I be poisoned by Russia? Who will replace Ken Dodd? Am I still allowed to open a door for somebody?), is this not a time for concern, but a time for opportunity for the smaller operator.  Is this the time for them to gain market share by really highlighting their strengths?   I feel that it really is a time for hard work and a time to create a strong identity for independents. Thoughts anybody?