Five days after Christmas and despite my blood / alcohol level, I’m feeling bloody marvellous.

There’s no doubt it’s my favourite part of the year. A time for indulgence, family and friends.

Here I am, just before Christmas Eve, sinking a few (12%!) ales in ‘Friends Of Ham’ with my oldest friend Pete, over from Amsterdam for the festive season.


Apart from the fabulous selection of beers, quality fare and wonderful ambience, the thing that impresses me most is the service.

I love the way you are warmly greeted, escorted to your table, served with a smile by people who are clearly proud and knowledgeable about what’s on offer, and upon leaving, thanked for coming.

It puts a smile on my face and I love being a part of what is simply a very class act. In my book, service is everything.

In the photo above, I’m wearing a little pre-Christmas treat to myself, bought whilst down in London for a long lunch with college friends.

It’s a new trilby from Bates hatters on Jermyn Street in St James.

I used to buy my head candy from Lock & Co, but after receiving a very disappointing level of service (despite having bought half a dozen hats from them including three Borsalinos) I voted with my feet and looked elsewhere.

I’m so glad I did.

Here I am with Bates’s General Manager, Tom Williams, who was kindly giving my new hat a good steam.


He also took the time to show me some of their finest grade Panama hats, and educated me on their provenance and rarity.

One such grade was so fine (with a beautiful even colour and unbelievably light in weight) there are only a handful of people in Ecuador who can weave it, and it takes eight months of a persons life to produce the blank.

This has then to be hand-blocked and finished and again, the number of craftsmen who are able to do this are few and far between.


It was fascinating stuff, he was a genuine pleasure to deal with and the experience was truly memorable.

It staggers me how so many businesses seem to get away with poor service. Even more so if they are selling a luxury product.

Snooty shop assistants should be feathered and tarred and almost provide an argument for online shopping.

Personally, I find the whole online thing frustrating, vacuous and mildy depressing, although I suppose it’s convenient if you’re buying a basic service, or commodity.

Baked beans and car tax are all very well, but to me it is the people you deal with, and the surroundings where you make the purchase, that can be a source of the utmost pleasure and inspiration.

Only yesterday I sat in The Magpie Cafe in Whitby with my family and raised a cup of tea to toast the wonderful service we received.

They were warm, engaging, lovely with the kids, and that made my fish and chips with Yorkshire caviar (mushy peas) slip down all the better.

Providing a quality service, like those companies mentioned above, will always be at the top of the list at Michelsberg Tailoring.

As New Year’s Eve approaches, I wish you all a wonderful few more days ‘on the cod’ (tailoring talk for ‘on the lash’) and all the best for 2017.