Having done my chores for the day I thought that it was time for an update from the front, after all some of you don’t get to keep up with it all in person.
As we rush into the last weekend of February Christmas is, at long last, a distant memory and the Summer is approaching whilst my task list remains steadfastly long.
Cutting, splitting, stacking and rotating logs is a never-ending task at this time of year just to keep on top of consumption. The hope is that the Summer will allow me to get on top of this activity at least but I guess the realist in me knows that the Summer tasks will make this a struggle. There is still a mass of painting to do and I am horribly embarrassed that the stain block that I used in preparation for painting some of the ceilings is now over a year old and remains uncovered.
My builder has taken to picking up the small outstanding tasks that he left me rather than just keep nagging me (although I do think that he appreciates that it is not laziness). There is so little usable time in the day that it is quite scary. Gloss paint is a classic example of the publican dilemma in that I can paint gloss only at night, in order to allow it time to dry, so the soonest that I can get the paint out is midnight. Of course the corollary of painting at night is that I am later to sleep and in a worse condition in the morning.
For those who wonder what fills the canyon that is the hours between 07:00 and 11:30 (currently) allow me to share. Firstly there is the routine, orders to be placed, shelves filled, toilets cleaned and replenished. The preparation of the bar itself takes some time with beer mats and drip trays to lay out, seating to replace from last nights clean up and, of course, beer to pull through. The fire also needs cleaning out and rebuilding ready for the day and fuel stores replenished. After some accounting and invoice reconciliation we can get down to the additional task list unless, of course, we have a delivery due and there are at least 3 of those a week.
I would love to say that I have a schedule of additional tasks but sadly it is more a never-ending loop. The pub gets deep cleaned in sections as does the bar and toilets. The office gets vaguely tidied occasionally and I even manage to vacuum upstairs from time to time. Outside cameras need wiping, and floors need sweeping and of course we have to attend to the ashtrays. Whenever possible I try to also target a job from the list, today’s small success was the replacement of two emergency light fittings but within an hour I had replaced the task with a more pressing one to address on a flat roof.
In between all of this I am trying to plan some form of progress. I know that I need more staff for this season and I am regularly in some form of negotiation for fuel, phone, stock or some other service. Then there are the bigger jobs to schedule, the window and wall replacements, roofing issues, gardens and the elephant in the room that is the other bar.
As I have said before, if I look calm just think of the duck furiously paddling beneath the surface. I have always worked at 100 mph but this is something else, so all-consuming that there is not a thought that passes through my mind that does not, in some way, involve the Plough.
The key point remains that I love doing this. I am fiercely proud of the pub and remain privileged to be her custodian but don’t ever think that it is easy. Before writing this today I uncovered my sofa, it has been under a dust sheet since we started the building works in October. Think about that for a moment, my lounge has been empty for nearly 5 months, that is how much down time I get. My reward for this is to keep seeing the little pub grow into the friendly community pub that I knew it could and should be.
In another pub development I have finally, and somewhat reluctantly, declared the pub a child free zone. Having fought long and hard I have to concede that it is just too much trouble to try to regulate families. I am also acutely aware that there is no reason for children to be in an establishment that does not serve food, is not near the beach and has no facilities for children.
I am now considering branching out into medicine, as well as the obligatory counselling, since the swelling and pain are reducing in pinky and he is being cautiously welcomed back into the club. There is a way to go yet but I think I can confidently say that the resultant digit will be no worse than it was before it chose to take a different path to the rest of my hand.