In keeping with my policy of never standing still this week has seen the planning application go in for the next project while the paint is barely dry in the ladies! Two relative ‘simple’ changes will see the addition of a door to the garden from the bar and the removal of a ‘lean to’ arrangement in favour of something more permanent.
Of course there is no such thing as simple in a pub and on top of that we have to actually create a usable space from the wilds that are the garden and protect the building from further damp issues (in that area at least). The garden work can start in advance of planning so, as the weather improves, we should be starting shortly. Hopefully there is not too much for me in this project although the garden will need improved CCTV and some lighting and the extension itself will need electrics and fitting out.
I very much doubt that we will have the garden operational by the Summer, although I hope we will snatch the end of it so at least during the Winter months people know what they are missing! The ladies toilets have been well received and I am now, hopefully, down to the occasional person feeling the need to tell me how good they are. Walking back to the pub today I was pleasantly struck by how good she is starting to look outside compared to what I purchased but, as ever, it was only a fleeting smile. Almost as soon as I thought how good she looked my mind was filled with the unfinished tasks, the things that are yet to complete, and I felt guilty that we have so far to go.
Thanks to all the visitors for reminding me that year on year this pub looks better and improved, sometimes its hard to see when you are submerged in ‘to do’ lists but just occasionally when the sun catches her right….
After some serious effort I am now fully installed in the pub although I am currently enjoying a weekend with friends before the final move. Heartfelt thanks, as always, to Andrew who worked like a trooper alongside me as we completed various loading and unloading of the hire van.
For those that are always want to know I can say that there is still not excitement as such. There is some trepidation and, of course, I will miss the people and the area that I live in, as I miss my colleagues. Mostly there is frustration with myself for not completing jobs at the rate at which I need to, I seem to be permanently chastising myself for poor performance at the moment. Moving my kit in just means that the bar looks full and untidy and that, once again, the job list is growing. I have no doubt that excitement will come and expect it to grow as opening day looms nearer.
I took the opportunity to visit Sandown for lunch during the move and it was interesting to see that Andrew was as devastated as me at the loss of Wight City, a local amusement/apartment/pub complex. It strikes me that when the government review the current ACV legislation which is supposed to protect ‘Assets of Community Value’ they wouldn’t go far wrong making funds available to people like us who fall in love with these old rough diamonds.
The stonemason explained that there was some delay installing quoins due to a void discovered behind one which he just couldn’t understand. Those that have ever been involved in a pub will appreciate that my answer was that it’s a pub, that one line acts a catch-all answer. It is nice to see some of the new stone going in and I also managed to remove the planters to make way for the new windbreaks which I have yet to arrange. I have yet to see the sign-writer who is now on the chase list for next week as I want to see the Plough & Barleycorn name back where it belongs. The plumber is set for Tuesday so it wont be long before I have some civility in the residential accommodation although there is the question as to why the shower/bath drains so slowly still to address.
The pub for her part continues to drive interest on both islands and, in so doing, reminds me that it is all on me to enable her and provide what is needed to let her trade successfully. Regardless of excitement I remain convinced that this was the right decision.
Well as we enter June the panic is setting in again. I am very concerned that I still can’t take a step in the pub without seeing another job to do. This weekend I worked like a dog but, once again, I can’t really recall what I completed. The safe is now rebuilt and operational and the server case is up on the office wall so I now have somewhere to run the cables that I am putting in.
Bar lighting is fixed now and I took the opportunity to remove the flammable rubbish from around the lights. I now have a plan for pool table and machines and have sent one of the licence fees in for this. Further exploration has added to my understanding of the internal water features, it hasn’t helped just added to my knowledge. About three meter cubed of nature’s toughest ivy and brambles were hauled out of the newly discovered void before I realised that I had no means of disposing of them! Luckily my weed grenade* has cleared the adjacent plot so I have piled it there to dry out, next on the list is a garden incinerator.
Plumber tried to commission the heating system this weekend and it has turned into a significantly more expensive exercise than I had hoped. I guess there is no surprise there really, nothing in a pub is simple or cheap. This week’s commercial calls now include plumber and brewery before I get wound into accounts. One minor success was measuring up and gaining an understanding of what I need in terms of furniture. A good job done and, of course, entertaining for those watching me and Andrew pacing out space in his bar.
I picked up the old deeds from the solicitor this weekend and they are a delight. I have deeds back to 1875 when the pub was leased to a couple, well actually a widow and a chap. I know that the pub was in place before that and need to chase the history further back, one day. It does seem rather sad that my purchase is witnessed by a simple entry on land registry website, no italic script, wax seals or tapes in sight.
See what I mean? Doesn’t sound like much does it? But it has been non-stop and even after all of the physical work there was the weekly pile of paperwork to get through.
I did manage to take a break whilst on the little island and it was nice to enjoy the anonymity that I still have. I can sit and observe as Gav in a way that Gav from the Plough won’t find as easy.
*nature is no match for my belligerent incompetence when it comes to weed control
Some of you will recall that I am a massive fan of the urban explorer website http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/ for those that do not know these guys photograph abandoned buildings. The photographs provide a fantastic journey through a past that is often only the other side of a door. These guys were brought to the fore of my mind recently when a fire occurred in an old building in town. These decrepit structure sits on an old industrial site that has gradually been squeezed by residential development. The building harks back to a day when there was actual industry in town so that gives you an idea of its age. When the fire services attended the blaze they had to call on bomb disposal experts because the building was actually full of unexploded mines and associated ordnance. Nobody that I have spoken to knew that this stuff was stored there or what the building was currently used for. Like so many old buildings it had been forgotten and perhaps there is a lesson there.
As I was looking through pictures of derelict and abandoned industrial sites it struck me how hopelessly slow the human race is to adapt. When you look at these factories that would have employed thousands and now stand idle you wonder what future we see that keeps us breeding. The insanity that these hubs of employment are listed for demolition to make way for more housing seems to be lost on us. Where we used to live in small terraces adjoining an industrial site we now have much better housing stock which seems to lead us to believe that we are improving. Like a slow-moving ocean liner facing an iceberg we plough on with any slight reduction in birth rate more than backfilled by immigration. There can never be a return to full employment in the west until and unless we adjust our birth rate to match our labor needs and , since nobody can see a reversal of the industrial revolution, that means fewer children.
I have said several times that I believe state sponsored or supported child-birth is a disaster that results in the wasted generations that we are now seeing. It is interesting to read that the, ever logical, Germans are now facing labour shortages because they saw a massive decline in birth rates when the wall came down. The German’s reaction to uncertainty over the future was not to bring children into the world, can you fault their logic? The government will tell you that we need more young, working age people to fund the pensions of an aging population. Firstly they are wrong what they mean is that they need more income to pay the pension bill because they failed to invest the pension contributions. The reason that they failed to invest is because they predicted eternal growth, in short they are morons. The logic that more working age people = more tax receipts is as flawed as the eternal growth. It is like going to the brewery and ordering four times your normal order because you need to make more money. The truth is that more working age people in a shrinking employment market means more welfare which in turn means higher taxes which depresses the jobs market, again the politics of morons.
This year, in the UK, welfare is predicted to be 16% of the governments spend, education is 12% so in laymen terms we are spending more money supporting those that don’t work than we are educating the next generation. This can only mean that each successive generation will be less unemployable and hence welfare spending will rise. Of course as a percentage it will rise even faster because GDP will also be dropping and remember welfare at 16p in the pound does not include pensions.
The final argument that I wanted to address was the argument of ‘build it and they will come’ which says that as an ingenious race we will naturally find new employment opportunities for the masses. I read a line in a book recently that caused me to do some research and I can say that this principle has been proven to be wrong. Have you ever wondered why there are so many Romanians and why they are so adept at begging? Ceausescu had a vision for the country, he wanted to make it the industrial power house of Europe. To achieve this vision he needed a large working age population but the country was in a dire state and, like the Germans, having families was well done the average mans list. On the principle that if you ‘build it they will come’ he set about a regime of mandatory annual pregnancy tests from the age of 14. These tests were monitored and enforced by the securitate and there were severe penalties for terminations. This is absolutely true, please feel free to research the subject. For my purposes though it proves definitively that simply making a workforce will not change the world in a positive way.
I don’t know the answer to this problem but I like to think that I have been reasonably sensible in having two children in marriage and then a vasectomy. I firmly believe that more important than your ‘right’ to have children is your children’s right to have a future, I didn’t need a vasectomy as it turns out but the principle was sound, it readily defeats any arguments for more children. As to the rest of it perhaps the next time we ‘oo’ and ‘ah’ over a baby or congratulate a couple on their ‘good news’ we should address the elephant in the room and ask “what will they do with their life”. I know it sounds cold and well a little Germanic but they are the leading economy in the west after all……..
I am sorry but I have to comment on the news cast that I awoke to this morning which had an item on the risks of Britain leaving Europe. Ignore the long running debate about whether we should have a referendum, I long ago concluded that its nothing to do with us what happens that’s for the politicians to decide, my concern was with the phrasing of the debate.
It was clear apparently that being within Europe meant that costs to export were predictable and lower and this helped ours small businesses trade into Europe. Several small business owners were trotted out who told us how they would suffer outside of Europe and that this had a potential to affect jobs. Now I was brought up in an era of privatisation and somehow I am sensing that I am being hoodwinked.
Privatisation never made any sense to me, the government declare that whilst they are clearly the best people to run the massive finances of the country they are not capable of running a company, so they sell it on. The company that is sold goes on to be hugely successful and profitable whilst the government continues to lose money paying acres** of civil servants to ‘monitor perfromance’.
So what relevance does privatisation have to the Europe debate? well I was in a generation that was taught that jobs could not be bought or subsidised, well at least not in this country, everyone would have to stand on their own two feet so to speak. Given that we are a net importer from Europe we are essentially subsidising any and all jobs that are reliant on our membership of the union, our subsidy to these jobs is E13.8Bn! Where does this fit with the politicians grand ideals and determined drive for independent jobs? why is it OK to pay Europe and not British Coal/Gas/telecom?
The answer? anything is OK as long as a politician can get a free ride on a gravy train.
*A cross between b***ocks and politics
**The only suitable measure for something so stationary