Since my son, Stonch, bought the lease of a pub in London, I have been idly considering whether to get into the business myself - after all, it could be a bit of an adventure (a late mid-life crisis?).
But I am appalled at the bum deals being offered by the big brewers who have a stranglehold on pub ownership in this benighted and too-docile country.
For instance, The Allison Arms, a pub well off the beaten track in Jarrow, where you'd have to work really hard to build up any kind of regular business, is being offered at over £18,000 for a 5-year occupancy. Not even a lease, mark you! And the mug who took this on would have to pay them rent for the premises, besides giving them a cut of the takings by being tied to buying their beer at their inflated prices!
But they are running out of mugs and all over the country, good pubs are closing down because of the big brewers' greed.
We are losing a precious aspect of our heritage. Can nothing be done to reverse the decline before it is too late?
It may be time for people to start petitioning the Government to begin issuing new licenses en masse, sanctioning a new wave of public houses, leaving the big brewers with dead assets on their hands.
That would fettle the greedy buggers.