Pride is a funny thing, it catches you at the strangest moments and always unexpected. So today I was meant to see an old mate, one who is enjoying the wonderful festy here on the Isle of Wight. The logistical challenges of an island that has a population of less than 140,000 hosting 90,000 visitors for festy plus summer visitors (the population more than doubles for this weekend) has caught him out and we will catch up later in the weekend.
The special thing is that my mate Brod is not just a mate he is a brilliant engineer and one that I have always looked up to. There are few people in this world for who I have such unadulterated respect and that is in no small part because of the support that he gave the gobby tattoed idiot back in the day. I don’t know what he saw that made him support my weakly framed arguments or my angry rants but Andy (Brod) is, to me, the epitome of what we should all strive to be.
So I knew that he was visiting this weekend, it was planned, and was oddly concerned. Anybody who knows, or has even met, me knows that I don’t care about how I look but would my old mucker think I looked healthy or sickly? This stuff suddenly became important. I did a little tidy up and almost watched the clock hoping that he would arrive when I had time to show him the pile of bricks that forms my world now, I am sure that I will get the chance to give him the tour in due course.
I am a grown man, an old man no less, so why am I suddenly bothered by what somebody thinks of me? Well I have thought about this and the truth is that I have not changed, I still don’t care what people think about me but I care very much about what they think about my old lady. The Plough is my life and I want every person who sees her to feel the pure love that I have for my old lady, surely you can all see her beauty?
So where does pride come into this? Well I spent some time this evening speaking to a couple of friends of the pub and they reminded me. You see they wanted to tell me that they found the Plough comfortable, that they knew its history, they had never used it but now loved it. They, like everyone, were astounded at the investment and the love that follows every penny that I throw into this money pit. You see every investment here is carefully considered, deemed financially insane, considered again and changed to suit the building.
It was noted that I won’t ever take praise for where we are and always refer to the fact that she is a great pub that just needed some love. I stand by that and consider myself an enabler rather than the cause. The Plough is a beautiful and amazing pub that holds some 350 years of history in her fabric, it is only my job to steer her path for my tenure and ensure she shines as she deserves.
What do I feel when people speak highly of the decrepit old lady that is my business? When people feel the need to tell me how comfortable they feel here or what a great night that they have had? Yes I feel proud, I feel deeply and immensely proud of what a condemned old pub can be, how she can capture your heart for a moment as she has captured mine for life she is truly a great pub.
So when you feel moved to call me names or threaten me because you disagree with me please remember that my choices make you a small part of my day. When you chose to tell me that you love the Plough, you like what we are doing, you are proud of us or you want to support us then take a bow because you are what keeps us going.
I guess that’s the point, don’t let me proud on my own. Be as proud as I am or the rest of the Plough family, we all love this mad old lady unconditionally although as brilliant as that is it makes for a hell of an interview question!