Lesley Brown is a protected species; and so she should be. The high-profile Barnstaple retailer (Frank Marsh Stores) wrote to have a moan about her supplies (or lack of same) of Warburtons’ bread.

Lesley said that 2015 started with the same supplier issues as last year. “We keep having an issue with our deliveries from Warburtons in that they reduce our standing orders. When you query it with their rep you are told it’s a breakdown at the bakery and everyone has had their amounts cut.

“That is fine for the big guys who have deliveries from several companies, but for small shops like myself if you have three loaves cut back out of 20 with only one supplier it becomes an issue. Perhaps you can find out why this keeps happening.”

So that was my beginning to my new year of earning my crust (sorry, couldn’t resist). I rang Warburtons and the spokeswoman promised to look into it. When I chased her, she said she had spoken to the team at Bristol (Lesley’s closest depot) and assured me someone would visit. And while she couldn’t provide me with any specific reason for the shortage, she acknowledged that it did sometimes happen. She added that they had also now flagged Lesley up as a small retailer who required supply protection. From now on there should never be shortages.

Apparently, it is policy to support the little guys. None of us is going to argue with that. And so far, Lesley hasn’t gone short .