Great Expectations by Grant C. RobinsonGreat Expectations by Grant C. Robinson

Great Expectations

byGrant C. Robinson

Paperback | May 15, 2000

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Thom and Sophie Penmaen are typical small-town Canadian entrepreneurs whose accustomed regimen... of diligent creditors, mind-numbing work days, negative cashflow, endless family feuds, quiet nights of looming deadlines, inopportune power failures and attendant local digital catastrophes ... is suddenly thrown into sharp relief by the unexpected arrival in Glendaele Village of Geoffrey Bowles, emissary of the reclusive financier Galen Nicholas Aldebaan, whose grand vision of a `horizontally-integrated communications company' apparently, for whatever bizarre reason, includes little Penmaen Lithography.

Thom and Sophie are forced to consider their future, to turn dreams into language, to talk to each other, to listen, to think and, not co-incidentally, to put a dollar value on Penmaen Lithography ... to put a price on their personal sense of pride.

Grant Robinson was born and educated in Guelph, Ontario, where he earned his degree in Chartered Accounting (CA) in 1976. A year in Bermuda under the auspices of Morris and Kempe convinced Grant and his doubles partner, Sheila, that Wellington County was actually a better place to raise a family than they had realized, just as the youn...
Title:Great ExpectationsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.66 × 5.55 × 0.81 inPublished:May 15, 2000Publisher:Porcupine's QuillLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:088984206x

ISBN - 13:9780889842069

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Read from the Book

June 1977. The summer after I completed my CA, my wife Sheila and I emigrated to Bermuda on the pretext that I would continue my studies under the tutelage of Morris & Kempe.The tennis was great, the Fuzzy Navels tolerable, but it wasn't long before Sheila and I came to the realization that living on an island could be idyllic -- provided one had the wherewithal to get off the island. And provided one had the wit to use the wherewithal, and was disposed to debit the wit and expense the wherewithal at least once each fiscal quarter.The tennis took a decided turn south towards the end of December when two of the natives were executed by hanging in Hamilton for the assassination of an ex-governor. There were riots in the streets. Breaking glass. And downdraft from Bell 212 helicopters on patrol over the doubles courts.Sheila and I beat a retreat to the safety of Southwestern Ontario at the first opportunity, but before we left Hamilton I did get to meet the very famous Galen Nicholas Aldebaan -- just the once, at a reception at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Aldebaan and his wife were both accomplished sailors who had more than twice loosed their stays in Chignecto Bay and found a slip in Hamilton Harbour. His wife, apparently, had graduated from high school in New Brunswick.Aldebaan and I talked about Canada.Investment opportunities.Aldebaan himself was a striking man. Tall, and tanned, and sartorially resplendent in military khakis, knee socks, tailored shorts and a safari shirt that sported button-down epaulets. The kind of man you would remember if you saw him a second time but I never did see him again in Bermuda, and I never met him once in Canada, though for a time in the mid-eighties Aldebaan's exploits animated the pages of the of the Globe and Mail virtually every second business day.Safely back in Wellington County the following summer, I rejoined an established accounting practice -- somewhat less than earnestly after my brief taste of international intrigue, and certainly very much on the lowermost rung. My first account was a small book-printing company in nearby Glendaele Village called Penmaen Lithography. The proprietors, Thom and Sophie, were in their late twenties and reputed to be both eccentric and penniless. Their fledgling enterprise had little to recommend it to my superiors, which may in part explain how Penmaen Lithography came to be my first professional responsibility.Accounting firms are hierarchical.The partners' job is to do lunch.The employees who do not do lunch are line staff.The line staff is expected to post the client's self-generated bookkeeping creatively enough to justify the partners' often-overstated elocution fees, added to the more legitimate expenses occasioned by burgers and fries; occasionally cucumber sandwiches and tofu, but this was Guelph, in the late seventies. The Penmaens were the first entrepreneurs I was permitted to advise directly, maybe because their business was deemed to be precarious at the best of times or maybe it was fate. Maybe it had something to do with the coincidence that my father's father had spent a lifetime at the Beacon Herald in Stratford. Maybe it was simply that not one of my new employers was willing to undertake any sort of a risk on behalf of Thom, Sophie or little Penmaen Lithography.I accepted the challenge.I didn't, in retrospect, have much of a choice.In researching this story I was surprised to learn from my grandmother, Lamotta Robinson, that her father at one time owned Weitzels' Bakery in Stratford. And that one of her father's brothers owned the Keystone Bakery shortly after the turn of the century, and yet another brother owned the Stratford Bakery, which was eventually acquired by the Westons. The wealth created by these family businesses and by their eventual sale has not, unfortunately, trickled down to this present generation of Robinsons -- which leads me directly back to my story about Thom and Sophie.Penmaen Lithography, this tiny little printing company in Glendaele Village, became something of a mission for this Robinson -- this was my one chance to make a real difference to someone else's financial future -- the opportunity to put into practice any number of theories scavenged from thousands of pages of accounting texts -- the responsibility to ensure, first and foremost, that Penmaen Lithography, though it may never flourish, at the very least never founders. Each passing year brings new trauma. Sometimes it's cash flow. More often than not it's the lack of cash that does not flow, though I have tried, more than twice, to convince Thom that the management of wealth can often be more onerous than the management of debt.I don't think Thom beli

From Our Editors

Thom and Sophie Penmaen are small-town Canadian entrepreneurs with big time dreams. However, their dreams for Penmaen Lithography are turning into a reality of negative cashflow, unhappy creditors and lengthy arguments. Their life is about to change forever when financier Galen Nicholas Aldebaan takes an interest in their small company. In Great Expectations, the Penmaen’s must decide if it’s time to give up their dreams and sell the company. If it is, they must decide what price their dreams are worth.

Editorial Reviews

`One of the keys to the success of this narrative is its reality, its vibrancy of setting and character portrayal, and, in particular, the consistently deft handling of the dialogue which does so much to draw the reader into the motives and emotions of the characters.'