Foreigners

first_imgI like Belgium and I like Belgians. Not like-like, I mean, I don’t love any of them, but they are genuinely  nice people, and genuinely welcoming too. For example, I have just come back from taking my boots to  the cobbler. I used to take them to Bob the Cobbler on Turl Street and he’d spend his time mending them once ever three weeks. This time, I took this pair of boots to the cobbler’s and he inspected them  then said, ‘Amen, ils sont mort.’Then he giggled. He just wants to mend my boots, and he sees he cannot.And then the other day I went into a church and this old lady gave me a guided tour, and she knew tons  of things about each detail of the baptismal bucket (one of the seven wonders of Wallonia, the Walloons  are wonderful), and was happy to tell me about them. She kept waving her hand around it, setting off the alarm.My mum came to drop some stuff off for me, and though she means well she is not a directly amicable  person. Nevertheless she gets herself invited to a dinner at one of the other teacher’s houses with me,  she sits there, supercilious, but these are genuine people she has in front of her, and genuinely nice.That’s why I felt so bad about my discourse on the fun fair incidents. The girls I went with are genuine  and friendly people, and really open, and as hard as I try to be the cynical distanced intruder, I’ve given  up. May I? May I quote Gatsby? “Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope.”That doesn’t mean I’ve given up the blogging, it simply means I’m a little more – integrated.May I?  “I was a guide, a pathfinder, an original settler.”last_img read more

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Born and Bread: Walkers, Arberlour

first_imgWalkers, Arberlour1898: Joseph Walker opens the bakery, using a loan of £50. 1890: His shortbread recipe quickly gains a local reputation. The business moves to larger premises and invests in a horse and cart.1930s: His sons, James and Joseph, join the company. They expand the range and introduce the company’s first delivery van.1961: James’ children – Joseph, James and Marjorie – have joined the company. Walkers has six vans, shops in Grantown and Elgin, and a 100-strong workforce. 1975: Following investment in bakery machinery, Walkers moves to a custom-built factory in Elgin. Each month we profile a family business to see how the baking craft has passed down through the generations. This month, the story of Walkers, a business built on £50 and a single shortbread recipe.In 1898, 21-year-old Joseph Walker obtained a loan of £50 and used it to open his own bakery. His shortbread recipe became locally renowned, and shooting parties from local estates would make detours to try it. Word spread fast and demand increased. In response, Joseph moved to larger premises in the Speyside village of Aberlour after a mere two years in business, and invested in a horse and cart so he could deliver further afield.In the 1930s, two of his sons – James and Joseph – joined the company and, by 1936, the firm had introduced a range of cakes, a selection of confectionery and its first delivery van.Despite rationing during the Second World War, Walkers continued to supply its customers with bread and oatcakes, helping the firm to survive. After the war, many bakeries made the switch to cheaper margarine, but Joseph was adamant the shortbread recipe remain the same. Even after his death in 1954 his sons heeded his wishes, and the original recipe, still in use, contains four ingredients: flour, sugar, salt and pure creamery butter.By 1961, the third generation of Walkers – James’ children, Joseph, James and Marjorie – had joined the company and the workforce numbered almost 50, with a fleet of six vans, as well as shops in Grantown and Elgin. Local grocers began stocking Walkers’ products too, and the family had to invest in bakery machinery to meet demand. By the 1970s, Joseph’s grandchildren were also exporting shortbread to more than 20 countries.In 1975 Walkers outgrew its bakery and moved to a custom-built factory, still in Arberlour. As Jim Walker puts it, “This gave us the extra space and facilities needed to develop new products, such as chocolate chip shortbread and speciality biscuits. Since the 1990s, six members from four generations of the Walker family have joined the company and played a major part in its development.”Walkers now operates from six factories – four in Aberlour and two in Elgin – and exports to more than 100 countries, with overseas sales accounting for more than 40% of its turnover. To support global demand, the company has set up subsidiaries in Germany, its largest European market, and the US.But all the shortbread is still baked in Speyside. Now, just as it did over 100 years ago, Walkers tests every product on the people of Aberlour by selling it in the village shop first. “Our products are still given their first seal of approval by Aberlour,” says Jim. …last_img read more

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RMO Targets Niche Audiences to Boost Tourism

first_img“Green Thumbs in the Green Mountains” is a cultural tourism marketing campaign sponsored by the Southern Vermont Regional Marketing Organization. The idea behind the campaign is to celebrate Windham County culture and the splendor of the landscape as the summer tourism season heats up.In honor of award-winning gardens and world-renown gardeners, the festivities will include garden tours and workshops, Iris and Daylily festivals, farmers markets, musical events, craft shows, puppeteers and all things Vermont.Statistics prove that cultural tourism is an important niche market for Vermont. This campaign highlights the region as one of taste, quality and culture and encourages visitors to discover the “undiscovered jewel” of summer in Southern Vermont.The promotion that packages over 50 summer events and venues, includes a press release and CD mailing to over 400 top travel media across the country, a special insert and editorial coverage in Southern Vermont Adventures magazine and an invitation to key travel media to experience the area and write about it.In addition, the campaign features a travel brochure ad in a special Vermont section of Better Homes & Gardens magazine, along with a print co-op campaign with the Vermont Department of Marketing & Tourism targeting the New York metropolitan market in regional additions of publications such as Bon Appetit, House & Garden and the New York Times. A calendar of over 50 events is available and downloadable on the southernvermont.com Web site.Nationally known local designer Skip Morrow created the “Green Thumbs” logo that will be featured in advertising and promotional materials.Other RMO marketing activities include desk side visits to key media in New York, development of a cultural heritage summit, enhancements to the southernvermont.com Web site, a special events outreach program, and enhancements to local tourism booths.The 2004 grants enhancement program has been developed by the Regional Marketing Organization’s roundtable board made up of the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce, the Mount Snow Area Chamber of Commerce, the Londonderry Area Chamber of Commerce, the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, in addition to Brattleboro Development & Credit Corp, Windham Regional Commission, Bellows Falls Downtown Development Alliance, RAMP, Townshend Business Association, and the Holiday Inn Express. The grant is approved by the Vermont Department of Marketing & Tourism. The RMOs activities have been designed to leverage earned media and improve and enhance existing marketing tools.last_img read more

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