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Phlegm Update

I don't do posts like this very often, so possibly people don't know what I'm up to.

Clare Associates is pretty busy at the moment, with work booked until well into the new year. Which is nice. In an ideal world, the balance between web development work and everything else would be more even, but you can't have everything. We're going to exhibit at a trade fair later this month (not a big one, but a local one), which will be a first for us.

The Shop on the Borderlands is doing well. In fact, it's doing considerably better than I thought it would. We're making enough sales that recently I've been going to the Post Office to post parcels on more days than I haven't. We've had orders from France, the US, Germany and Canada as well as the UK. When the author of 'The Traveller Bibliography' discovered the Shop, he placed an order for £600 of obscure Traveller stuff. (My definition of "obscure Traveller stuff": the writer of 'The Traveller Bibliography' doesn't own it.)

We have been acquiring new stock (well, old stock, but new to us). eBay is the most obvious way to acquire stock of out-of-print roleplaying games. I've set up a postal address in New Hampshire so that I can get American purchases shipped there and consolidated into one package before shipping over to the UK. (If anyone here ever wants to buy stuff in the US that can't normally be shipped to the UK, or you want to save a bit on shipping, let me know.) Other sources of stock for us are facebook groups, and divorcees. (It's amazing how favourable the price is when the seller has moved into a small flat and has been told by his ex-wife (who got the family home in the divorce) to get rid of his three large boxes of roleplaying games. The small flat in question was unfortunately in east London, but by an amazing coincidence was literally around the corner from the launch event for a startup that I had been invited to (one of the directors of the startup was a You're Hired! finalist this year). Still, it took me far too long to get there because of London traffic. Worth it though. Some genuine rarities in those three boxes plus lots of stuff that was in pure mint condition.

We've also dipped a toe into the waters of selling brand new roleplaying games, and now have an account with the UK's only major wholesaler of RPGs and hobby board games. I don't plan on shifting the focus of the shop away from the out-of-print and secondhand stuff, but I would like to stock a selection of the hottest new RPGs. At the moment, we have brand new 5th edition D&D, Numenera and the new Firefly RPG which only came out last week. If there are any RPGs, new or old, that you or your friends are looking for, let me know. Similarly, although we won't generally be stocking them, I'm happy to order boardgames if anyone here wants any. I can be pretty competitive on price.

Something a little different that I will be doing starting later this month is university lecturing. The University of St Mark and St John (aka 'Marjon', Plymouth's "other university", even though it's older than it's bigger neighbour, dating back to 1840) is setting up a business school for the first time. The first undergraduate management students start any day now (all twelve of them, spread across three different degrees) and yours truly is going to be taking them through their Accounting & Finance module every Friday afternoon. (Don't worry - I insisted on the week off for Butteller.) After Christmas, I'll be teaching the same subject (but at a rather higher level, or at least you'd hope so...) on the executive MBA course for a series of Wednesday evening lectures. In the Sunday Times Good University Guide for 2014, Marjon came 4th highest in the country for standard of teaching (ahead of both Oxford and Cambridge), so there is a certain amount of pressure to perform. On the other hand since the business school is essentially one person plus an assortment of pros like me, there shouldn't be the faculty politics that I know many academics get annoyed by.

Other events coming up in the near future. Well, there's the aforementioned annual Butteller (that's my Traveller campaign) in October. And I am once again the quizmaster at a quiz for Launceston Chamber of Commerce. I really need to start writing the questions.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 7th, 2014 10:53 pm (UTC)
Sounds like things are generally going really well!

And I have intermittently wondered - you've been pretty quiet recently.
Sep. 8th, 2014 08:46 am (UTC)
Probably a combination of being busy and too much Football Manager...
Sep. 7th, 2014 11:43 pm (UTC)
It is absolutely years since i last played a D&D RPG.
Sep. 8th, 2014 08:46 am (UTC)
With 5th edition being released, there's never been a better time to get back into it...
Sep. 8th, 2014 08:10 am (UTC)
I misread the end of the sentence outside the cut ("...possibly people don't know what's up," rather than "what I'm up to") which gave it a doom-laden, portentous feel, so I clicked on the link with trepidation, fearing that I'd read about some hitherto-unreported awfulness that the two of you were contending with. So it was good to read a post full of good news. I was just wondering this morning how the Shop on the Borderlands was getting on. Thanks for the offer of cheaper American shipping and board game sourcing. We recently spent several years (on and off) looking out for a copy of particular out-of-print and seldom-available board game that could be obtained without prohibitive US postage charges. We've found it now, but next time a similar issue comes up, we may well come to you for help.
Sep. 8th, 2014 08:44 am (UTC)
Maybe I should try to be more upworthy in future:

"You thought Philmo Phlegm was happy enough pottering about in deepest, darkest Cornwall. What he did next will blow your mind!"
Sep. 8th, 2014 10:56 am (UTC)
How are you fixed for shipping over big(gish) bags of mail rings? I have an order I need to put in soon, but the shipping always puts me off a bit.
Sep. 8th, 2014 08:56 pm (UTC)
What happens is that my postal address in New Hampshire receives deliveries, holds them for up to 45 days for free, consolidates them into one package (or as many packages as I want) and then ships them over as cheaply as possible.

This makes lots of sense if:
1. The seller just won't ship to the UK.
2. The seller insists on quick and expensive shipping options when you'd prefer slow and cheap(er).
3. You have lots of small items that you can combine into one shipment.

The advantages are probably smaller for an amalgamation of say six smallish light packages (with a couple of paperback RPG supplements in each) and one very heavy package with mail rings. Unless your supplier always ships with very expensive services, I doubt there would be much in the way of savings for you since the bulk of the combined shipping costs would be attributable to the mail rings.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )