A quick check this weekend revealed that my options on the island all still remain. Whilst this may not bode well for the businesses concerned it also reflects the poor state of the trade. In a recent survey of job satisfaction publicans were firmly at the bottom, not just low the trade was the very last entry. I spent some time reflecting on my chosen career and really can’t see why it scores so low.
The hours are long and the financial rewards are low but this, of itself, doesn’t make for unhappiness. I think this cloud of depression is the result of ‘up selling’ and it’s a legacy from the boom of pub companies. Even now the pub companies sell a dream, after all that is their business. In the golden days they would hand keys to anyone who had a redundancy or early retirement cheque and liked a beer. This marketing trapped people in the trade, not having the skills to cope with the business or the love to drive through the tough times they became commercial prisoners.
For the rest of us this is a great trade. Of course volumes have decreased and costs have increased, times seem perpetually tough. The licensed trade is not a road to financial riches, it hasn’t been for some years. It is a road to being part of a community, a place in people’s memories and it can support itself. Most importantly as my mate Andrew likes to remind me “once you’ve been bitten” for some of us it’s just in the blood.
And so it was that on Sunday I was looking at parking options for the, now landlocked, site in Ventnor. Then a couple of hours spent sketching the new bar arrangement which, I must say, looked rather good. Is it the site? Will it be available and achievable when I finally regain some traction and my life comes off ‘pause’? Who knows but it never hurts to be prepared does it. . . .
In other news a weekend of wearing sweat pants has given my knee a much needed chance to heal. Taking no chances I have protected the left knee with a piece of tubular bandage and was most gratified to find it looking good when I got to the hotel last night. I have to take my hat of to Helen for the insightful questioning on Friday. Having stated the obvious about planning and knowing I had to return to work I responded with “it was a long weekend”. Obviously she knows me too well because without a pause she asked which day I had carried out the work, the answer of “Sunday” didn’t help me!