David Parkin on the positives of being negative

I THOUGHT I’d been to events in most parts of Rudding Park Hotel at Harrogate.

The only one I definitely haven’t been to is its luxury spa.

And that’s not for want of trying.

When I last visited I forgot my cossy and they didn’t deem a pair of off-white Y-fronts as acceptable swimwear.

I’ve boil washed them since, so I think I’ve got a chance of entry next time.

Anyway, I discovered a new venue at Rudding this week: The Kitchen Garden.

It’s quite an oasis of beauty and calm where guests can stroll the pathways of the walled garden and enjoy a drink on the lawn in front of a summer house surrounded by the vivid colours of rhododendrons.

Well known Yorkshire banker Caroline Pullich, who recently made the move from Barclays to become managing partner at NFU Mutual, held a drinks event for clients and contacts in the Kitchen Garden at Rudding on Tuesday.

It was a warm and pleasant spring evening which showed Rudding off at its best and allowed guests to mingle over drinks and canapes before Caroline gave a welcome speech which focused on the many positives of doing business which the pandemic had put on hold.

Meeting face-to-face, building relationships, sharing mutual opportunities and supporting others in business.

These are the important things about doing business and will endure despite Covid, technology and working from home.

Caroline introduced members of her team who were at the event and made it clear that NFU Mutual is not just an insurer and financial services provider for farmers and landowners, but also for businesses too.

On that wave of positivity she then introduced Peter Banks, the managing director of Rudding Park.

I have known Peter a long time and like him immensely – he’s impressive, well connected and brilliant at what he does.

He’s also a realist who tells it like it is.

When I invited him to join a panel discussion on the business of leisure and hospitality at an event for financial recruitment firm Headstar a few years ago, Peter was searingly honest about the challenges businesses in his sector faced when it came to staff and costs.

And that was before the pandemic, Brexit and the dramatic rise in energy prices.

By the end of his speech at Rudding on Tuesday I was ready to organise a whip round to get Peter his bus fare home, until I remembered he is the managing director of one of Yorkshire’s most popular and splendid hotels.

It was actually fascinating to hear his stories about rising costs within his industryI’m thinking about stockpiling chicken and eggs now given his insight into how eggs have recently doubled in price and how chicken could soon be priced at a similar level as steak.

And when it comes to steak, Peter said that Rudding had recently taken fillet steak off the menu because the price had risen to such a level that in order to make a profit on it, the hotel would have to charge £50 for a fillet steak.

I don’t know how he got on to bricklayers, but apparently brickies are now commanding fees equivalent to £1 for every brick they lay.

And given a poor brickie can lay 400 bricks a day and a good one 600 bricks a day, it is no wonder that Peter said they are turning up for work on building sites in Porsche Panameras.

Well if it was good enough for Winston Churchill…(one of his hobbies was bricklaying).


ROYALTY, Prime Ministers, celebrities and sports stars have all been the “victims” of award-winning cartoonist Graeme Bandeira.

During a 23-year career at the Yorkshire Post, his cartoons made readers laugh and cry and his images held those in power to account.

He’ll be taking to the historic stage at the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds on June 29th for a one-off show called Carry On Cartooning!  – and I’ll be joining him to ask the questions for an evening of chat, fun and great stories.

Carry On Cartooning!: An Audience With Graeme Bandeira is at the City Varieties in Leeds on Wednesday June 29th at 7.30pm with tickets priced at £22 each.

To book tickets click here


FORMER Fleet Street columnist Charlie Catchpole died recently.

He started as a trainee reporter on weekly papers in Norfolk and ended up working on the London Evening Standard, the Daily Mail, the Daily Star, The Sun, the News of the World, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express and the Sunday People, via a job on a paper in Rhodesia in Africa.

Charlie, who died at the end of March aged 74, made his name writing columns about TV programmes and often took the mickey out of the stars who appeared in them.

I loved a quote I read from his son Christopher about his father: “He was always working. There was always a cigar in the mouth and a notepad on his knee.

“The two bits of advice he always gave me were: always be the last to leave the pub and always make friends with the travel editor. It’s hard to think of a world without him in it.”

I remember my Dad telling me when I left home for the first time to study for a degree that I should always buy the first round because there was nothing worse than having a reputation for being tight.

Sometimes the simplest advice is the best.


I’VE had another email requesting the services of a clown for a children’s party in the summer.

A couple of weeks ago I was shocked  (read about it here) when I received a similar request but now I’m starting to think it could be a viable career option.

They all laughed when I suggested I could start working as a clown.

Well, I can assure you they won’t be laughing when I do.


GIVEN my team, Derby County, has been relegated to League One, I’m not expecting to witness Premier League football for quite some time.

So an invitation to watch Leeds United’s match against Chelsea on Wednesday was a welcome opportunity to see elite level football live.

On an almost balmy spring evening the expectation was high as fans made their way towards Elland Road.

Inside the crowd were in fine voice with Marching on Together booming around the stadium.

Sadly this positive energy starting sapping away once Mason Mount slammed in Chelsea’s first goal after just four minutes and it continued when Dan James was sent off for Leeds 20 minutes later.

By the time Romelu Lukaku had rifled in Chelsea’s third goal after 83 minutes the fans, who had arrived with so much positivity, were streaming out of Elland Road.

Leeds are now the odd-on favourites for relegation from the Premier League and it is not something that any of us who live in the city – and plenty of neutral fans who were won over by Marcelo Bielsa’s frothy, flowing football – want to see.

Football is all about fine margins and ‘what ifs’.

What if Leeds United hadn’t sacked Bielsa?

Would they have gone down? Would they have a better chance of coming back up with him at the helm rather than his Gandhi-quoting successor Jesse Marsch?

Who knows, but what is certain is that a city the size of Leeds, so long deprived of Premier League football, really needs to keep its place at football’s top table.


I WAS invited to the match by Sir Gary Verity as a guest of Mark Dransfield, the owner of Sheffield-based retail property developer and owner Dransfield Properties.

Mark, who grew up in East Yorkshire, has been watching Leeds with his brother Paul since they were children taken to matches by their grandfather.

It was good to see familiar faces such as Edward Ziff of Town Centre Securities and Geoff Bloore of Global Autocare but with everyone I spoke to there was something of a gallows humour given Leeds United’s current plight.

As we dined on grilled hake and “jenga chips” in the Norman Hunter Suite, I chatted to Mark’s partner Florence, a former Miss France who runs a modelling agency in Paris with 1,200 models on its books.

She said the agency specialises in models for haute couture fashion shows so I gave her a card and informed her that I can cut quite a dash in a Michelsberg three-roll-two button sports jacket.

Well, you never know, there could be a demand for a sawn-off Chippendale to grace the catwalks of the French capital.

Have a great weekend.

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