Archives Month: June 2015

Last Saturday was one of those special days that you can put in the memory bank, knowing that whenever you take it out it will put a smile on your face.

With family staying for the weekend, daughter, son-in-law and lively 9 year old grandson, as soon as breakfast was cleared away it was off to Topsham for a little light shopping.

Pink String, in the main street, is a shop made for me. Full of Tuscan pots and lamps, plates and cushions, all whites and greys, where every item is calling out to be picked up and carried home.

Enough already, we have a lunch date at The River Exe Café. A short drive to Exmouth Harbour and a seat on the Puffin Water Taxi that will take us out to the “café”, moored in the middle of the River Exe.

On the 25 minute trip we saw seals sunbathing on the sandbanks and cormorants flying alongside. A warm welcome awaited us and we were soon into the garlic bread, olives and prawns, while we took stock of the restaurant and our surroundings. On the port side you look across to the seaside town of Exmouth and on the starboard side is Starcross and its famous Atmospheric Railway, built by Brunel. A smidgen further up river is Powderham Castle and Estate, the ancestral home of the Earls of Devon.

Back to business, yours truly ordered fish soup followed by monkfish wrapped in pancetta, accompanied by mussels in a light curry broth. Other family members had fish & chips, moules mariniere and for the unsophisticated taste of a nine year old, catch of the day with samphire!

The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly and the food was delicious, hence “café” would be misleading. Perhaps we were a little too laid back as we drank our coffees on the boat returning us to dry land.

So, for good health and a lasting memory, take some family or close friends, a large portion of good food and a bottle of Macon Villages, add a sprinkling of warm weather and sun and you have a perfect recipe. Does being at Topsham get any better?

Followers of the Armada Blog will know how supportive we are of the vast numbers of small and medium sized businesses in the UK.

For over 40 years we have specialised in funding this sector by means of asset finance. Since the recession we have continued to receive significant numbers of proposals every day from entrepreneurs who are starting new businesses.

Whether it is a new gym, beauty salon, coffee shop or restaurant or corner shop etc, these adventurous and hardworking people commit their savings, time and hard work to offering their services to the public – often with very little help and encouragement from anyone.

Through the efforts of our SMEs we see new investment being made in the economy, new jobs created and new contributions to the Exchequer.

Contrast the scenario in the UK with that in Continental Europe. In Spain 50% of all young people are unemployed and a quarter of all employable men and women are without work. Likewise, in France, also 25% of working age people are unemployed.

In the UK we frequently see large corporations shedding staff. Today HSBC announced the cutting of 8,000 jobs and last week Boots decided to reduce their numbers by 700.

With unemployment in the UK running at very low levels and increasing talk of insufficient numbers of job applicants, ask yourself why this country is hugely out-performing our competitors in Europe and most of the World.

At Armada we shall continue to support and encourage our SMEs and in our small way help them to drive the economy forward.

Our local baker or gift shop may seem insignificant in isolation but together the impact of these small businesses is powering the nation.