Special Report

A wee dram and some thoughts

With the UK still on lockdown, Jas Purba, managing director of ETC Supplies, takes the time to reflect from his armchair about the current situation in the UK and what the future may hold.


itting in my favourite chair after dinner with my friends Whyte and Mackay just half watching a programme on TV and thinking about things. Nearly 30 years I have been in the embroidery business with my wife, who is also my business partner, with me all the way. Yes, it has been hard. But would I have it any other way? Of course not.

Another sip, slowly tasting the aroma and depth of this beautiful crafted drink, this is not a drink but something else.

I see the news and it is depressing with so many people losing loved ones. Then the impact on people's jobs and businesses facing closure through no fault of their own. I think about the many people I have had the pleasure of meeting in my business career. Thousands of miles travelled and many doors knocked on, not always opened. ‘Go away we do not see reps without an appointment’, was sometimes the response.

Another sip in my favourite glass. I have become very attached to this crystal glass over the years. It seems to hold just the right amount of whisky and water to my liking. The taste grows and becomes smoother with a comforting after taste.

Yes, it has not been easy over 30 years. I have seen some hard times, not as bad as today though, and as the current situation has an impact on us all. I remember I was in Leicester one week and on the Friday I got a call to say my younger brother was very seriously ill in hospital. I made it back to Glasgow and when I got to his bed side in hospital he just passed away.

Another sip and life goes on, never the same as we are all experiencing now.

My business has been closed and staff told to stay at home. But our trade has many different sectors to service. The office phones have been diverted to my wife's mobile phone (I have very bad hearing as you will know). Some of our customers who make NHS and frontline staff PPE want backing and other products sent out urgently. I have no reason to let these people down and off I go to open up and deal with the orders on my own.

Another sip and how the flavours develop and linger to a smooth finish.

Working in the factory was not easy. I have not done this type of work for a long time, but as they say it’s like riding a bike, you never forget it.

Jas Purba, MD of ETC Supplies, takes a sip of Whyte and Mackay from his favourite glass

This brings me back to where it all started. An idea on how to do things better. I remember building my first cutting table and borrowing a cutting machine from customer who had a clothing factory, only to burn it out in a few days. He was OK about it and did not ask me to replace it.

Another sip and I am enjoying this whisky. I am fortunate to have a large collection and people ask me what my favourite whisky is? I find that very difficult to answer as it all depends on the mood and company I am in.

I start thinking about all the people I have met over the last 30 years. I suppose you would call them customers, but to me, honestly, they are friends of mine. Spending so much time on the road and covering the miles would not be possible if I did not enjoy this job and look forward to meeting my friends (customers). I only wish I had time to have a drink with them after work as we have so much to talk about. My business is not only in the UK but also Europe and international. In recent weeks I have sent orders to Finland, Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark, Iceland and Latvia. I only wish I had the time to visit all these customers. I have been to Denmark several times as we have a few customers over there. It's a wonderful country and home of Lego.

Is this my last sip of whisky or shall I have a wee dram more? I will just wet the glass before I end the day.

I get thinking, we live in a wonderful country. I consider myself British and do not want to break away from the rest of the UK. The current virus problems show us how much stronger we are together. I hope we can get through the current difficulties with our health and business in good state. As Captain Tom says: "Tomorrow will be a better day than today."

I hope to see you all very soon and I raise my glass to you and ask for God to look after us all. Best wishes.

June 2020 |55 |

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