I became interested in watching the butchers chopping meat and sweet-talking the ladies. Sadly, the shop I first worked at had been earmarked for closure, but on the same day, I heard a of a job going at Leachman's butcher's, a shop in the heart of Lincoln's Bailgate.
So I went straight there. At the heart of the old-fashioned shop, with its hanging carcases and liberal scattering of sawdust on the floor, was the owner, Mr Leachman, a giant of a man. Daunted, I asked him about the vacancy. He looked me up and down, then said. "You start next week 7 o'clock, and don't be late lad." I was over the moon.
At 16 years old, Mr Leachman took me on full-time on a youth training scheme and I loved it.
On his retirement, Mr Leachman sold his business to Mr Dickens, another good old-fashioned butcher, who showed me new ways of cutting meat and serving the public with charm and expertise, and I was soon entrusted with the shop, which I later purchased.
Twenty years have passed since then and I still enjoy it. I source my produce as locally as possible, including a Lincoln red herd for my beef, along with free-roaming pigs and lamb. Poultry is from a village just outside Lincoln. I also stock exotic meats something I started when no-one else was doing so.
I've also started a campaign, along with the Lincolnshire sausage society, to keep the Lincolnshire sausages local and unique to Lincolnshire.