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Not Happy With Your Life? Change it!

Not Happy With Your Life? Change it!

SpainThe wind and rain rattled the warped windows of the old pub making the weather forecast hard to hear. “Good news” the forecaster said optimistically, “there’s going to be less rain than yesterday.”

I thought of my sparkling, new pride and joy motorcycle stood untouched in the garage. I say new, I’d bought it nine months ago, and the speedo still only read 16 miles.  Tomorrow it’ll be sunny, I kept telling myself, and then I can go for a proper blast.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Of course the weather is bad in England. Everyone knows that and to keep banging on about it is tedious.

Did we move to Spain entirely because of the weather?

No, of course not.

Since 2010 my wife and I had owned three leased pubs in Surrey. They all had brewery ties, meaning I bought everything from the breweries. The rents were high and the pubs in need of refurbishment.  The wholesale drinks prices increased on a seemingly weekly basis and the customers couldn’t be asked to fork out anymore for their after work pint. Profits were squeezed to a point where there weren’t any. We were working longer hours for less money.

I suppose we were waiting for that straw to land on the camel in the car park. We didn’t have long to wait.

The following day, March 20th 2013, the front page of the London Evening Standard emblazoned, “Chancellor takes 1p off a pint!”

The chancellor, George Osborne, gawd bless him, had taken 1p off the price of a pint. Not much, but at least beer wasn’t to go up in price.

At least that’s what we thought.

On the same day, and bizarrely, almost at the same time, Fullers brewery sent an email to all of it’s tenants.

“Wholesale beer prices to increase by 2p a pint as of today”

What? That would mean an extra 5p a pint at the taps.

“Yeah” the clueless lady at the Fullers explained, “the price of er… not barley, er… the price of er… well anyway it’s gone up”

I put the phone down in stunned disbelief and pulled out a large file from my desk. I was checking my medical insurance policy. I knew if I told my, shall we say, no nonsense, customers that not  only had we not taken 1p off a pint but that we had put 5p on, I would be needing more than just a sticking plaster.

The breweries had, and still do have, scant regard for their tenants and for that matter their customers. We were the ones on the frontline taking the flak. But we were also the ones who could change things. Not for the breweries, they will learn one day, possibly when it’s too late.  No for us I mean.

So, we sat and decided to change things. Where to go? Somewhere warm. Spain? When? How about…now?

Four weeks later we had an offer accepted on a closed bar in Moraira, just 45 minutes drive from Alicante airport, on the Costa Blanca.

Six weeks later, on June 7th 2013, we opened the doors of The Red Lion for the first time. The bar, ideally located on the main street, was an instant success and continues to trade very successfully and make a healthy profit

“Mr Robin,” the man from San Miguel said looking up from a spreadsheet of our first full year’s trading figures, “this is very good. I give you a big discount from today, 15th July 2014”

Spot the difference.

We weren’t happy in Surrey. My wife and I knew we could do better and improve our lifestyle.

So we did.

If you are thinking of making the move and need some helpful, positive advice contact me.

Robin Wheeler