Thought Leadership

The happy ending

By Colin Walls

I always think that a good story should begin with “Once upon a time …” and end with “… and they all lived happily ever after.” Life is not always like that, but sometimes things do work out for the best.

I would like to share a little story with you, which had a surprisingly happy ending …

Once upon a time – well, actually about 4 years ago – my daughter and I decided to visit a cheese festival at a nearby town. I am very keen on cheese and like just about every kind that you can imagine – with the notable exception of cottage cheese, which I believe should be declared an illegal substance. I had visited this event the previous year, so I knew it would be a good chance to chat with cheese makers, try a few samples and go home with the ingredients for a tasty supper.

As is so common with plans to do anything in England, the weather intervened. It had been pouring with rain for several days – it was late summer, what should we expect? When we arrived at the site, we found that the festival had been closed, as the tents were waterlogged and it was unsafe. We were disappointed and went for a stroll around the town.

Later, we were heading back to the car, when we spotted a white van, with “Lincolnshire Poacher” painted on the side and a long line of people queuing behind it. They were obviously selling cheese. This being one of my favorite cheeses, we joined the line. We eventually got to the front and made our purchases. It was very relaxed, with no formalities – like weighing. I congratulated the guy on their initiative. He said that he could not take any credit. They had just been packing up the van, when someone came along and asked if they could buy some cheese. Of course, they agreed. When they had finished serving the customer, they realized that a line had formed. And that had been 2 hours earlier. He looked sad when he said “And now we are running out of cheese!”

So, the story has a happy ending. They sold their cheese, we had the wherewithal for our supper, and we all lived …


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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at