So firstly I need to thank Dave Blore for reminding me why I have a blog, you guys need to know what is happening here. So the Plough at nearly two years of trading, what is good and what is bad? Well firstly was it the right thing to do? this is an especially challenging question as I see my career best leaving the works in the form of Crossrail (well done you lot). The answer is, as you would expect from me, an unequivocal yes. I was always going to be a landlord and it as a life that I love and wouldn’t trade despite fond memories of lab cars in test trains …..
How is the Plough? well she is different, walls that have plagued generations are gone and my builder keeps shaking his head as I think of new ideas. Tomorrow (well later today) I have a meeting with the architect to discuss the next instalment of my lunacy because that is how I roll. Trade is ok, we are a steady and sensible pub with none of the terrifying silences that marked the first year. I am not always the busiest pub in town but I reach that level at least once a week which will do for me. The clientele that I do have are fiercely loyal to the pub and to what we are doing, they are truly engaged with the mad changes that I conjure up. I have always said that we have reached an era where investment in a pub is so insane as to be respected and that is certainly true here.
I still consider that I have no concept of time off but I also still consider that, since I spend all of my time in the pub, it is not such a bad deal. I enjoy being here most of the time and it still takes only a couple of minutes stroll into the comforting arms of culver bay to realise that I live in the most stunning of gems. Is a 130 hrs a week tough? well yes of course it is but it always has been the difference is now that we don’t have to add travelling time!
For those who think that this is the easy life then you neither know me or the trade. I am writing this at 1 am wearing blood stained joggers after a fight with a trifid and still concerned that I start painting at 7 am again but what is not to love?
In previous posts I have mentioned that I will never recreate the world that I was indoctrinated into by the old man* all of those years ago. Of course this is true since there will be no Mrs (god bless you Carol) and kids living upstairs, no family dinners to invite you to and no myriad of spare rooms (loved the Phoenix)but perhaps there are other angles by which to view the challenge. My first recruit to the Plough is considered family by my customers and certainly by me. Much coaxing, growling and pushing has created a full-time job and a home (neither at the Plough) for a lad that is (I hope) ready to grasp some amazing opportunities. Nick isn’t staff though he is a part of the Plough, our family and a part of the madness in every way. By hook and by crook we have found a good lad, taken a punt and given him a Lotto winners chance, that feels good and I am immensely proud to hear of every day that he spends as a grown up.
Then there is little legs, back this Easter for the third visit. Does she love bar work? I doubt it but she is here again because this is where she is looked after. From the timid little legs to the angry troll that I seem to bring out in her (no idea how) this is a young lady who has gained visible confidence from the pub and she is now as confident here as I am. I am now considering more staff and am slightly concerned that I have set the bar too high. You couldn’t imagine the loyalty of the staff that I have and I am scared for any staff that don’t meet that level, you don’t want to mess with the family Plough.
So what was I trying to recreate? That would be the old man* who helped me through all of the awkwardness of youth, so am I Terry? of course I am not but in some ways I am, he saw something in me and my loyalty remains retained by a love of the person who saw something in a broken child. It is not about what we offer apparently it is about how much faith we have in what is presented and what we can do for those around us. Without the old man I would not be here, at 1 am, writing random blog posts, but In the last life I would never have felt such pride for those who I employ. It is that old idea of a pub that keeps me going, from the wake in the Ship (cheers Marc) to Christmas at the Plough it is all about some mad society that looks after our own. I am so proud of what we have done, the three of us, and not just for the pub but for the people. I am looking forward to the next thirty years and thanks Bill for reminding me that they are still to come.
*this is not a paternal reference but the name of the guvnor in years (too many) gone by