In my late 20s I worked for my Father’s business, he was the founder of the Lurgashall Winery and the Lurgashall Winery shop which was also on site.
Starting out in the production department at 12 years old, I attended college to study wine and pursued a Higher National Diploma (HND) in it. When I started at Plumpton College I was the youngest person on the course at 20 years old. We explored making wine, growing grapes, tasting, marketing, importing/exporting and everything in between.
Despite all this experience at college and working in the wine merchants full-time whilst at college. Nothing prepared me for working at my Dad’s place in the production department. I learned some valuable lessons in life, diplomacy and some great people skills.
I have fond memories of working with all the great people my Dad had employed over the years. Like working in most family businesses it was not easy, your co-workers always knew one day you may be their boss and that wasn’t a good dynamic. You were a spy for their boss who was always their boss no matter how much they liked him and he liked them. Despite this we had a pretty good life at the Lurgashall Winery. How many samples did you actually need!! 🙂
Whilst working in the Lurgashall Winery Shop I had an idea to plant a Vegetable garden
I’m not sure why I suggested it, every time we had a tea break when I was working in the Lurgashall Winery Shop we would chat and the conversation would turn to food and I always said: “I really want a vegetable garden over the bridge there near the box shed.” The more I thought about it the more I liked the idea.
So I suggested the idea to Titch and Sheila. They both seemed as excited as I was.
I made an offer. “You know I will plant a vegetable garden over the bridge there if you guys can help me water it, we can have potatoes, runner beans, carrots and lots of other vegetables.”
Titch, the older one of the two said: “I’m up for it, grinning with a cheeky grin.”
Sheila smiled too and nodded her head. “Why not?” she replied.
I said “So I can get some compost from a man in Horsham who was going out of business. We even have an old wheelbarrow (mine) and will take turns planting and digging the ground. I even have a hoe.”
So I started thinking up what vegetables we might plant. Right away there was a plan in my mind on who was going to water the vegetable garden.
Whilst I was dreaming of spuds versus runner beans, potatoes, carrots and lots of other vegetables. Titch and Sheila were dreaming of how to stop the rather over-enthusiastic bosses son from roping them into growing food for him whilst he drove around the country selling booze and enjoying himself.
In my mind, I was thinking I didn’t have to worry about watering it as they would do that for me. After all they worked at Lurgashall Winery every day and mostly I was out on the road visiting customers.
They clearly knew how much hard work growing vegetables was and that is why they decided to not even engage in the conversation, but to just smile and nod.
The next day I received a delivery
I was really excited about the new vegetable garden. To my surprise instead, I received a rather interesting package the next morning at 9am.
When I was working in the Lurgashall Winery Shop I was based upstairs in the office until the bell used to ring, so heading upstairs I was excited about the package. Like anyone I was excited someone had sent me a package, I was used to receiving things to try out for the shop and opened the box with excitement.
The box on my desk contained a miniature wheelbarrow, a shovel, a fork and some seeds and a card signed by the famous gardener Alan Titchmarsh, it even had his picture on it. One of the funniest moments of my life at Lurgashall winery.
This was one of the funniest moments in my life at Lurgashall Winery. At that moment I realised they had played me nicely. And their message was clear I was on my own! I should go back into the Lurgashall Winery shop and never mention them helping me with the garden again!
And I suppose a big lesson in diplomacy and the use of humour to make someone realise they should think more before trying to get people to do things for them.
I will be writing a series of blogs from my life growing up at the winery and also working there and what I learned from the various life-changing experiences that occurred to me along the way.
We need to look back at our lives to remember the lessons we learnt sometimes. My father retired over 10 years ago now and clearly I am not in the business any more as it has ceased production as far as I know.
Feel free to checkout my other posts on the Lurgashall Winery and the Lurgashall Winery Shop Here:
Feel free to reach out to me via the contact form above if you want to reconnect after all this time.