It’s been a while, but it’s good to be writing another newsletter. It’s good that the weather has cooled down. It was hell here trying to cope with the heat, especially when you are not allowed to have the door open! So even with 5 fans on we were still melting, but at least it brought the cigars smokers out! TRADE SHOWS It was wonderful to attend the IGNITE Conference & Show this year (we couldn’t make it last year) and to be in a new location. We used to go the Swallow Hotel in Solihull when I was much younger, but there was another show in Solihull that unfortunately Dad can’t remember the name of, but I was about 5yrs old and a lovely old boy Louie Glass (that was also the name of his company) took me round, and that is where I got my first ballerina musical jewellery box from. He had a rep working for him, Tommy Tomlinson, who lived in a beautiful old cottage in Redditch with his wife Mary, and they were best friends with my grandparents, and we would visit them every Boxing Day without fail. When Louie Glass died (not long after I met him), his son John took over and for whatever reason he folded up the company and started up Hadson lighters. He had a rep working for him, John Punchen, who used to work for Ronson. He was initially a relief rep for Ronson and had taken over from Mr. Mathews who always insisted on wearing a bowler hat (apparently that was more important than selling the lighters). So maybe for future shows we could have more jewellery boxes and bowler hats? COMMONWEALTH GAMES As wonderful as they were to watch on TV, they have been a nightmare to local businesses and locals alike. On the first Saturday there was a run which closed a lot of the roads around us. We were able to stay open (many others had to close) but we were very quiet as it was difficult to get to us. Many of our customers live on the other side of the city centre, and the diversions were very lengthy, so they stayed away during the whole of the games. But we did make money out of the Games. We sold 3 packets of Backwoods to a Canadian whose sister was participating in a wheelchair race, so all was not lost! ANTIQUE SHOPPING Gemma and I do like a really good mooch around antique shops. We are always seeing old pipes but last year we spotted an unusual pipe rack, (well not like the ones you get these days), and we just had to have it for the shop, it was described as 'Antique German, The Black Forest'. The lady behind the counter thought it was strange that we wanted to buy it until I explained why, then she got rather excited about where it was going. I absolutely adore it but what do you guys think? About two weeks after Christmas this lovely elderly gentleman bought it. I was happy, as he collected antiques and believe it or not had only just started out as a pipe smoker, so it has gone to a good home (I was very picky about who I was willing to sell it to). We have since been round more antique shops, and come back with a nice selection of ashtrays, (I won’t bore you with the pictures). A BAG FOR LIFE How have you all been getting on with the Gawith’s bags situation? Panic was our first response, then a plan of action was put in place. We started asking customers to bring them back, and to be fair it's been working rather well, and something we shall continue to do. What makes me laugh is that when they hand me their bags and I tell the how pleased I am that they have remembered, you should see their faces - it’s as if they have been given a gold star from their teacher (yes, they are now in my good books). Anyway, this week we have finally received the long-awaited bags, but I will warn those of you who have not had any yet, they appear to have shrunk in the wash! So that’s that for this time and hopefully we shall chat again before Christmas. I do hope you all had a lovely Bank Holiday at the end of August, and a good rest. I know I did.