In the second quarter of 2020, Place North West’s Thing of the Week saw property professionals reacting in a variety of admirable ways to the altered circumstances of lockdown work and life.

In April, we heard about what people were doing to keep their spirits up during lockdown, chatted to the industry’s snappiest dresser and a marvelled at a feat of backyard endurance.

Martin Lucass

GETTING SHIRTY…News of natty dresser Martin Lucass’ appointment at GeoSmart was met with warm congratulations in readers’ comments but the conversation quickly turned from his new role at the environmental consultancy to his collection of extravagant shirts. Love them or loathe them, they make Martin happy as he revealed to THING that, even in these isolated times, where most of us are conducting business in slippers and not showering for days at a time, “I’m still wearing suit trousers and a shirt at home just to get in the work mindset”. Maybe we should all take a leaf out of his sartorial pages.

Euan Kellie 2018

KELL OF AN EFFORT…Euan Kellie, founding director of Euan Kellie Property Solutions, had planned to run the San Francisco half-marathon a couple of weeks ago, but, for obvious reasons, that race is no longer going ahead. Instead, the planner has thought up a way to honour his commitment and raise money for the NHS at the same time. Inspired by the backyard heroics of Captain Tom Moore, Kellie will be covering the 13.1 miles by doing 600 laps of his garden. At the time of writing, he had raised more than £1,000 as preparations for tomorrow’s event were being stepped up, with Kellie recruiting his dogs Ted and Ronald to carry out meticulous inspections of the course.

In May, a famous Altrincham face revealed his secret hobby, while a cut-price farm hit the market.

Nick Johnson

ALTY-ROCK…When Place North West got in touch with Nick Johnson to ask about the 480% business rates increase inflicted upon his Altrincham Market venture we anticipated he may be in a prickly mood. Logical, right? But no. Instead of pacing the room drawing up his most impressive plan yet – revenge – Johnson apologised and asked if he could call back once his guitar lesson was over. It turns out that rather than brooding over the injustice of the rates hike, he was focusing his attention on mastering his scales and arpeggios. Although whether or not he will be performing a live lounge spot at one of his three markets post-lockdown is up for debate: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” he said.

Trice Barn Farm

STRONG FARM TACTICS…A Bacup farm comprising 80 acres, a farmhouse and a cattle shed is set to go under the hammer with a guide price of, wait for it…£50,000. “Why so cheap?” I hear you ask. Could it be the result of an economic downturn? Has the cattle shed been colonised by a herd of rabid Friesians? The answer to the mystery lies in the farm’s current tenant who, despite being asked to vacate the farm last year, refuses to budge and has been putting up quite a fight. Trice Barn Farm’s weary landlord has decided to put the farm up for sale at a slashed price rather than challenging the errant tenant, and who could blame him. Andy Thompson, head of auctions North West at SDL Auctions, told THING: The farm and its occupant have been causing problems for the owner for many years, which is why they are willing to accept a price way below its market value. This makes it an excellent investment opportunity because, from my experience, auction buyers are rarely put off by a property’s disreputable past or current problems.”

In June, a boat was the cause of a councilman’s consternation and we bid a fond farewell to a popular Deansgate haunt.

Stephen Young THING Boat

SLIPPED MOORINGS…There was an almost audible sigh of frustration from Stephen Young, executive director of environment at Lancashire County Council, as he shared a picture of a boat discarded by a flytipper on a bridleway. Council workers “have better things to do right now”. Quite.

Lunya Deansgate

Of its three sites, Lunya’s Deansgate branch was the most expensive to run

ADÉU…Deansgate’s Catalan restaurant Lunya has closed permanently. Owners Peter and Elaine Kinsella said the decision was taken so that their two other restaurants in Liverpool and an online delicatessen could remain open. In March, Peter, who opened the restaurant in Barton Arcade in 2015 with his wife, wrote a heart-breaking letter to Government outlining his concerns for the future of the business. Channelling his inner George Orwell, career socialist and author of Homage to Catalunya, Peter said he would not use a support loan to pay his “uber-rich landlords”. He added: “The only thing I ask you is that whatever decisions you make, never allow the significantly wealthy to gain from this.”

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