David Parkin on not mixing well

I’M a snob.

I’ve always suspected it, but got full confirmation last week.

We had spent a lovely few days on the Greek island of Paxos in the shimmering Ionian Sea.

It is a small island, the main port town, Gaios, is the size of a fishing village and there are only five taxi drivers on the entire island.

One of the taxi drivers told us to pay him for a trip when he came back to pick us up later in the day and the chap who rented us a quad bike told me he didn’t need to check the condition or fuel level when I returned it “because I trust your face”.

Returning to Greece for the first time in four years, it reminded me of how warm the people are and spectacular its plethora of islands and coastlines.

But of course the price of staying in a corner of paradise is perdition.

Better known as Corfu Airport late on a Friday night full of holidaymakers preparing to fly back to the UK.

As soon as I emerged from airport security into the departure hall I realised I hadn’t got the memo on dress code: sportswear and tattoos were de rigueur.

I surveyed the throngs of passengers waiting for flights to destinations such as Birmingham, Aberdeen, Stansted and Manchester.

You must always look for the positives in every situation and I surmised that here was a perfect ‘people watching’ opportunity.

There was a group of young men surreptitiously gulping down a bottle of Metaxa Greek brandy while sitting cross legged on the terminal floor.

A family using their young children as ‘sherpas’ in the queue for duty free to enable them to transport enough booze and cigarettes to the till.

And a couple sitting opposite each other in a cafe who barely spoke to each other and when they did the wife treated the husband with such disdain that it was easy to see that their time on Corfu had not been pure bliss.

My eyes were drawn to a skinny, shaven headed man leaning against a pillar and struggling to stay awake.

He was dressed in sportswear, was probably in his early 60s and could have been Albert Steptoe’s lovechild.

As I walked past him towards the queue to board our flight to Leeds, I had a closer look.

He was wearing a T shirt with some words on it.

It said: ‘Weekend Offender’.

And below it: ‘Admit nothing’.

I quickened my pace as I headed towards the gate.

We boarded the flight and sat in two seats closest to the window next to the empty aisle seat.

It probably won’t surprise you to know who came to sit in that seat.

Yes, it was Albert Steptoe’s lad, who, once we were in the air, curled himself up into the foetal position and proceeded to shiver and shudder on a regular basis for the next three hours.

To be honest, I didn’t let it interfere with me.

I put my headphones on and played Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp minor while reading Milton’s Paradise Lost and nibbling a kale and flaxseed macaron.


I BUMPED into someone the other day who recounted a conversation with a senior figure at Leeds City Council.

The council boss freely admitted that he had not had face-to-face meetings with some colleagues for three-and-a-half years because they are working from home full-time.

That dates from the start of the Covid pandemic.

The council has several very large – and very empty – office buildings in Leeds but is fearful of applying anything more than gentle persuasion to encourage staff back into the office to work.

Apparently there is a fear that if they are forced to return to the office they might object and go looking for roles in the private sector.

Two things strike me here.

Firstly, I don’t know one private sector employer who actively goes out looking to recruit people from the public sector.

And secondly, should we really trust an organisation with encouraging business people, shoppers and tourists into the city centre if it can’t even persuade its own employees to come back into their offices in the city?


READING a business news story the other day, my eye was drawn to an unusual sight in the accompanying photograph.

The story was about property group Eddisons and independent insolvency practitioner Begbies Traynor relocating their Leeds offices to Wellington Place.

The photo was of staff gathered outside the shiny new office building and what had caught my eye was that only one person of the many in the picture was wearing a tie.

It was Julian Pitts, the regional managing partner of Begbies Traynor in Yorkshire and a man with exacting sartorial standards.

I would go further and describe him as a ‘bon vivant’.

Although having looked up the meaning – “a dashing man of high fashion and culture who disarms both lovers and enemies with charm, intellect, and refined tastes” – perhaps I’ve gone a bit far.

What I can say is that Julian is one of the very few people working in professional services in Leeds who French restaurateur Guy Martin-Laval – of the lauded former dining spot La Grillade – speaks well of.

And there can be no greater compliment than that.


SOMEONE popped up on my Linkedin feed the other day as a suggestion to connect with.

I didn’t recognise the name so I glanced at the person’s job title.

It said: “Change Management”.

OK, fine.

But then in his job description it read: “Chief Chaos Tamer. Sherpa of Shifting Paradigms. Lover of all things cheese.”

You can say that again son.

Cheese in abundance.

Have a great weekend.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog please feel free to like it and leave a comment.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top