What a difference a year makes they say, I tell you something they are not wrong. This time last year I was exhausted not just from the workload but from the huge effort to get the Plough open. I was immensely proud of the old girl though and had every faith that she could cut her own path.
So a year later… I have just done the payroll for the two superb staff that I have been lucky enough to find. When I say staff it sounds so impersonal and, to be fair, pretty mundane I don’t think it reflects the reality of the situation. I now share my home and my life with two people, one shortly returns to university, it is a big deal and an important milestone.
When you think of staff you tend to think of colleagues, after all you are all employed aren’t you? Employing people in this trade is more than that though so much more. The Plough is my entire life, I know every corner, every item of stock, price and date. I know the people, their foibles and their tells. This is my home, downstairs more so than upstairs; when I eat I eat in the office I actually live this business.
The hallways, lobbies and cellars that the staff use to carry out the trade are my personal space and the oddities that I have left on shelves all have some purpose, some memory to jog. Staff asking if I want a brew is as personal as my relationships get and neither of them hesitate to shout up to the flat if they can’t find me in the office, Gav is the Plough after all.
So when you see my eyes watching something it is not because I am checking up on my staff, I trust them implicitly, it is because I may not have told them that he has a different glass or that the large one is charged differently. So this year I am running payroll, bidding farewell to university break staff and juggling hours as we slip out of the summer season but otherwise not much has changed. I remain immensely proud of the Plough, more so than words can express, and I remain convinced that she is carving out her own unique position.
I am never one to avoid manual labour, as most of you know, so last night was project drain. This was a task that has been outstanding for some time to replace an old cellar gully. I had assembled the requisite parts and with Nick behind the bar the opportunity arose to tackle the task. A couple of hours later the old gully was removed and the new one installed and cemented in place, no big deal right?
Ah but it is you see because the task was carried out by me, and Ms Nature has never been my greatest fan, I awoke this morning in agony from two wrists complaining about unexpected movements. Apparently there is some clause in my ‘keep your hands’ contract that says the nefarious Ms Nature needs a month’s warning for unusual activities. Lefty, who took the brunt of the effort, had swollen to the size of a small country and was simply refusing to perform. In the face of such insubordination from my own body parts I did as I always do and carried on in blind ignorance dropping the kettle on the way.
I am still in pain now from a job that was nothing, insignificant, just a basic DIY task. Lefty is reminding me that it’s not all injury and that he can swell at will to remind me what arthritis is but I promise you he only got a couple of blows from the hammer (all obviously misses). So I have considered the proposition from Ms Nature and, once again, I reject the daft tart because I am better than her right up until the last day and then (and only then) can she laugh because I wont be able to hear her.