Well the Spain trip was an experience! I learnt that...
1. It actually takes 6 & a half hours to drive from Barcelona to Alicante – Google maps said 5 hours, I said “I always beat google maps”… I was wrong!
2. Spanish roads have no cats-eyes so, late at night, on mountainous roads, in pouring rain, overtaking artic lorries is REAAALLY scary!
3. Easyjet should be re-named “not-so-Easyjet” (this after a 2 hour coach transfer from Alicante to Valencia & finally arriving back at Bristol 6 hours late!)
However, I also visited some of our fabric factories for the first time and was AMAZED! It was really incredible to see the processes that are involved in making our fabulous fur fabrics. From the fibres to the yarns, then the knitting & finishing – it was a fantastic process to see and I am proud to be working with one of the few remaining mills left in Europe. On the negative side I was also shown all the empty industrial buildings which used to be part of the Spanish textile industry. Sadly, they have vanished in their hundreds, unable to compete with the cheaper versions from China and the Far East. We have received samples from there but they are never as good as our fabric – they get close, but end up “squeaky” instead of lush! I have to admit that we have looked into doing production out there, because costs in Europe are increasing all the time and our competitors produce there, but I still feel strongly that we should support European mills and factories because once they are gone they won’t return.