So Christmas is not my time of year by any stretch of the imagination but decorating the pub is obligatory. The decorations arrived some time ago but didn’t get put up last week because I had a cold and wasn’t in the mood for much more than opening up and trading.
After trading on Sunday I took to the task with all due vigour and so it was that I could be found at 1 am surrounded by tinsel and the other accoutrements of the season. It was at this early hour that I discovered something that I had no previous knowledge of. Apparently in the global financial crisis they laid off the small Chinese children who tied the string onto Christmas baubles. This harsh move means that the things now come flat packed for self assembly, I know it’s just crazy right?
They don’t , of course, pack them with string because this would be too expensive, oh no they pack them with angel hair. I am not kidding this stuff is finer than human hair and how do they keep it together? they tie it in a bloody knot!! it took me half an hour to untangle the knot and god knows how long to thread the first decoration. By 01:30 I had solved the conundrum and knotted a string only to discover that I had tied it to my finger.
By 02:00 all decorations were safely compressed (stamped on) for disposal and the tree bedecked in tinsel. I have to reserve praise for Jo who, upon hearing the story at 10:00, mentioned that they sell metal clips not that I needed them then !!!
To understand the Plough you have to understand the good natured spangled that is our way. When faced with a young blonde baby faced lad the other day one of my locals was keen to speak to him but kept addressing him as ‘sweetheart’. Eventually the lad succumbed and when I next walked past they were in a discussion over beards. That story would end there if there were anywhere else but this is the Plough. So our local legend actually wanted to call matey in to explain that he may need a shave, think this is odd? Well our local had decided that this was probably a “gay lesbian” (god only know what that entails) and in an effort to be PC thought it was best that he pointed out that the glimmer of stubble was ruining the ‘girl look’.
Please don’t take offence when you read this, this was a wonderfully enlightened transgender moment unfortunately it was directed at a straight guy but hey we can’t win them all right? many drinks, cuddles and explanations later all was good and best friends ensued. It may all seem odd but that is how we roll. Don’t expect us to be enlightened, modern or PC but we will always be nice you just may need to to take a breath and count to ten before your realise!
I will close by sharing with you what I do when I am stressed. Christmas is a horrid stress of trying to balance stock and double guess the future. I have no idea what I need, how quickly I can get out of stock or just what to do in general. So you stress, well I do, about these things and all the time try to keep a smiley front of house face but you are still stressed. So this week has been a chair in the back bar week but you guessed that , there is more. I paced the pub tonight and compared my trading space to my peers and friends.
These are the moments, as a single man with no staff, that you realise the enormity of what you are doing. For those who live in Walton my ‘little’ pubs trading space is easily three times the Bathhouse, double the Tavern and I could fit the Vic in half a bar. This is no small pub, this a huge and intimidating venture and there remains only me here and I am writing this. The Plough is most definitely home but don’t be fooled for a minute she scares me to death most of the time.