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….
This weekend marks my penultimate visit to the pub, the next trip is moving day. To the oft repeated question of “is it getting there” the best answer that I can give is ‘apparently’. By that I mean I am paying people and they are doing stuff but progress is difficult to measure.
I have adopted a new term ‘there or thereabouts’ which seems particularly apt for the pub. I can tell you that the beer supply is now there or thereabouts which leaves the rest of the back bar to resolve. Roofer is there or thereabouts in terms of cost now need to nail availability and slot around the stonemason (Monday’s call).
CCTV is work in progress as is the ever entertaining plumbing. Great to see a competent plumber in the building this time, more quotes to follow. Having reviewed the installation and noted that the 15 mm was too small for all the rads and definitely wouldn’t meet hot water demand; the end conclusion can be surmised as ‘well it shouldn’t work’. I guess the pub companies years of penny pinching and bodging have taught them something after all!
I am frankly overwhelmed by what I have to achieve in such a short space of time. This is not a gentle, fluffy overwhelmed but a sat on the floor in the early hours shaking my head overwhelmed. I remain convinced that necessity is the mother of invention and that my hit rate will increase when everything is on site, being wrong is not an option.
In other news it is wonderful to see crowds queueing to reach the gorgeous little island for festival. Is it a shame that they won’t explore the island more? Well of course it would be good to see more exploration but perhaps just knowing that the island is here and associating it with good experiences is a start.
Next week marks my last week in Derby, although not my last week with BT before any suppliers start celebrating! A recent trip on the Vic line reminded me of the enormity of what we do. As those trains come thundering into the station one after another you can’t help but to be impressed. From the creaking days of crawling through the network in the middle of the night on T1 to the remarkable record of performance that is the line today, it’s been a journey. Watching the early sets of Electrostar returning to the works for half life reminds me of meetings with clients threatening to pull contracts. The same clients run the biggest platform in the UK today and are clamouring to buy more!
I am struggling to step back from my engineering heritage but equally know that I need to. Every subcontractor will attest to the fact that I pester and challenge, sorry guys but I’m doing my best! As much as people have told me that they ‘would love to be more practical’ it is also a curse. There is no job that I am not prepared to tackle and so my work list grows continuously whilst available time diminishes.
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
I knew that the enforced curfew of Christmas had got too much this morning when I found myself idly checking that I wasn’t on the FBI’s most wanted list*. Backache meant a run was out of the question so I opted for a walk along the seafront on a chilly December morning. This is a stroll that I do quite regularly and I will rarely see more than half a dozen people, today was busier than an August bank holiday, well almost. There were people everywhere but these were no ordinary people they were festive ones, is one day not enough?
When I say that they were festive I don’t mean that they were wearing red hats and tinsel, oh no they were in disguise. They couldn’t hide from me though I spotted their strange groupings, like adults ever voluntarily go for walks with parents. And again the over formality, it was like somebody waved a wand that converted all the hoodies into formal coats! The strangest thing happened when passing these groups, they tried some form of communication! I know, in England and in a public place way to blend in losers. Luckily I had deployed my standard defence against such tactics, an MP3 player and a slightly psychotic expression** that few would try to engage with.
Having overcome my shock at the masses I happened upon one of those things that brilliantly captures the special breed that is coastal residents. Sitting in plastic chairs against the sea wall were a family indulging in the perfect seaside treat for a freezing December day, ice cream. This was no mere supermarket purchase though, at the coast we plan this stuff out way better than that. The family was eating Mr Whippy from the local kiosk which was not only open but had its obligatory 4 ft high plastic cone out to let people know. We breed em tough round here.
I can share an interesting development from the continues battle with Ms Nature. I seem to have some nerve conflict going on which is making my hands go ice-cold and numb from time to time. There seems to be no logic for this it just happens and then eventually goes away again, go figure. The entertaining thing about this latest assault is the futility of it, my wrists hurt so making them numb is a relief. That’s the great thing about Ms Nature, she’s determined but dumb and that is why I will win.
*Google is supposed to surround me with relevant advertisements and amongst all the plumbing supplies was a link to the FBI most wanted list, I figured Google may have known something that I didn’t…..
**The former is available from all good stores but the latter takes a special blend of parents I am afraid
I ordered groceries for home delivery this week and this presented two points for the blog. The first is that I am English, I know that we knew that but this was true proof. The government need to forget any residency texts or history of the UK there are far easier tests. They have started of course with the queues at immigration in all of our airports, you think that is because they are short-staffed? think again. English queue patiently and that my friends is the test, those that jostle, push and shove are immediately marked as ‘not English’. There is another test, as I concluded yesterday, and that is the ‘being a nuisance test’. When my delivery driver advised me that there had been substitutions to my order he gave me a printed list and the option to reject or accept. There is no point in the exercise because I am English, when faced with this task I quickly scan the paperwork and agree to accept. In truth I did see familiar items on the list and checked that the brand hadn’t changed to something that I didn’t use. Putting my shopping away I discovered that the substitutions were not as expected. Of course I could have gone through the list line by line but that is just not the English way.
The second thing that I learnt from this experience is that the ‘shoppers’ at Asda are as mad as a box of frogs. My face wash was substituted for moisturising sun block, where is the similarity? The leave in conditioner had been replaced with shampoo, it is just as well I read the bottle or I would have foamed up in the rain. They appeared to generally substitute with products that had the same colour. There was no rational or logical argument for the substitutions many of which went straight in the trash as no use to me whatsoever. Speaking to Andrew last night I discovered that he had also suffered at the hands of the substitute loons and that in the past he had challenged them. Apparently he was told that there were no substitution rules as such it was just what the picker decided. I can now imagine a 50-year-old picker looking at the list that says “men’s face wash” and finding the shelf empty. A natural reaction would be to think “tart it wasn’t like that in my day” and throw in some moisturiser, it’s all too personal. I have to share Andrew’s older substitution though as an example of dogged determination. He had ordered a deep fat fryer and they were out of stock, the substitution offered was a frying pan, maybe that little human touch does serve a purpose, even if it is only comedy.