Thoughts from August 2006

what should we write a book about?

Recently we've been getting confused. We've been talking to some people about writing a book, and we have an idea for what it should be about but a) we're not sure it's the right idea, and b) we're finding it hard to sum up our idea.

So it would be good to hear what you reckon we should write a book about, seeing as you might possibly be the people who would buy it. Seems sensible to check with you first.

We just did a recipe book, so we don't really want another one of those just yet. What we're thinking is something more about the company - the stuff we've learned since we started up seven years ago and so on. A bit of the history, a bit of stuff about how we run the business, and a few pages about camping and all of the other things that we like doing.

Here's some stuff that I wrote in an email to try to describe it further:

"...we don't believe that we have all of the answers. We've done things well (which we'd like to share), we've done some things badly (we'll share these too) and we once went to the Natural History Museum on school trip (a visit that still inspires us to this day and which we'd definitely like to share).

...we don't believe that there is a single foolproof code for running good businesses - we don't believe in business books that promise 'the answer'. However, we do believe that if we share all of the things that have worked for us and that have inspired us, perhaps others will feel inspired to to do something more rewarding as well. Maybe they'll find a nugget that helps them. Or maybe they'll just look at the pictures."

It's all a bit vague at the moment. Perhaps you can let us know what you'd actually like to read and we can take it from there. Comments please...

no massages today

Every few weeks someone comes in and gives us a quick neck rub here in the office. But this week there will be no massages, as announced in this email from Mills, sent round the whole office:

"If you were due to have a massage today they have been cancelled as the lady who was coming in to treat us has put her back out."

You've got to laugh (whilst obviously wishing the masseuse a speedy recovery).

joby's bike


Joby's bike is getting famous. It's on the howies blog and now it's on ours. That's because it looks special.

NB Joby is a friend who designs stuff for us from time to time i.e. when he's not messing with his bike. He did our recent recipe book and he can be found here.

VAT is rubbish - discuss

Here's the question: is it right for smoothies and juices to be taxed, when most other food isn't?

Obviously, as makers of fresh fruit drinks, we're a little biased. At present, we're trying to work out how a government that encourages people to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day can still charge 17.5% tax on 100% pure fruit juices. It doesn't make sense.

Go to the supermarket today and you don't need to pay VAT on the vast majority of food and drink (for the benefit of non-UK readers, VAT = sales tax). That means a 0% VAT rate is applied to all "essential" foods whether it's doughnuts, frozen chips, meat pies or beefburgers. Yet all "beverages" are taxed at 17.5% - classed as non-essential, beverages are exceptions to the zero-rate that's applied to food.

More here in our Guardian column, but the question remains - should you have to pay VAT on our drinks? Are beverages non-essential? Feel free to comment...