Southern Cross, the bankrupt care home provider, confirmed it was close to finalising a deal that could see many of its 30,000 residents looked after 'in the best possible way for the remainder of their lives', by farming them out to 'local old folk and beer specialists'.
"This doctor bloke came in and offered me a grand for watching some old geezer for a couple of days " said Mike Grant of the Moon under Water, Sutton. "I didn't realise he meant overnight as well, but what the hell - we've got a 24 hour licence. Besides, he died on day two during breakfast, without touching so much as a sausage"
Southern cross bosses spotted Wetherspoons pubs as rivals in the lucrative over 70s daycare market some years ago, even considering a takeover bid in 2008. It was only last month that they realised the beer chain offered 'free overnight accommodation' and could give them the perfect way to slash their full time support operating deficit.
"The J.D business model is genius" said a southern cross spokesman, "and we're happy to admit their package of care might be more appropriate for some of our client base. Wetherspoons provides its clients free 24 hour access to a bench seat and 999 calls, in return for exclusivity on booze and snacks supply. They haven't even got any nurses, apart from the occasional stripper passing through . Why didn't we think of that?"
The care home operator initially sought to compete, experimenting with beer taps and optics in their sheltered accommodation, but made no savings when it failed to persuade medical and care staff to resign in favour of 'cynical ex-servicemen and students prepared to work for peanuts'. It is now committed to a policy of co-operation.
"Yes the old geezer smelt of piss, felt up the barmaid and solved the immigration problem before he died" continued Mr Grant. "But he paid up and didn't light up. I've already called Southern Cross to send the next one over, and hope Mrs Thatcher from Dulwich will fit right in."