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On the road part one - plenty of horses up north

While the tail end of the buying season may mean a sun-drenched bream for some, the Drapers editorial team finds itself packing its most comfortable walking shoes (or not) and brushing up on its map reading skills (no budget for Tomtom, strictly old-school cartography) in an attempt to steer a course around the nation’s finest fashion emporiums, all shortlisted in the Drapers Awards for 2008.

The team’s collective responsibility is to analyse each hopeful entrant’s businesses at first hand and to compile detailed reports overflowing with number-crunching data and enough critical ammo to help this year’s panel of judges decide whcih of this year’s crack contestants will be delivering back to their stores a coveted Drapers trophy come Awards night in November.

Today, I had the immense pleasure of visiting one of the most impressive independently owned fashion players in the country, whose owner’s unswerving passion for fine clothing is matched rather uncharacteristically by his accountant-like zeal for bean-counting - sell-through is this man’s mantra. If my further visits this week continue to such a passionate order the judges will indeed have their work cut out.

It’s also that time of the year when the associate fashion editor Laura Jackson and I visit a mystery city for our seasonal High Street Hit Or Miss report. As to where I am for the autumn 08 analysis there is a clue somewhere at the start of the blog. So, tomorrow I’ll be braving the predicted rain and pounding the high street in my battered plimsolls to work out who’s making the biggest impact of the high street multiples.

After you have passed York the number of horses grazing pockets of random wasteland pocketed between unkempt housing estates increases exponentially. Who owns these horses and what is their purpose? Answers on a postcard please.

Whoever sold cladding to the homeowners of said unkempt houses evidently made an absolute killing - much to the aesthetic detriment of said houses

How is it that there are still hotels without functioning internet access. Thankyou to The Living Room restaurant, and its pint swilling punters for turning a blind eye towards my furious keyboard pummeling and my wanton abuse of your free wi-fi access.

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