This closed pub game is nowhere near as easy as it looks and on some days it is harder than that.
Today was part 2 of scrubbing the cellar out, among other tasks obviously. Since the drain is in the middle of the floor this involves shifting everything to one end of the cellar, cleaning the other half and then swapping.
The first issue was snapping the cellar scrubbing brush half way through. I have other stiff brooms but this is small and particularly suited to the task so I figured it was worth a trip to the local store (Hursts for the locals) to replace it.
Of course its corona season so the trip wasn’t as easy as I had planned. I waited patiently (see I can do it) in the queue as they operated a strict one out on in system before being granted access. It was only when I was allowed in that I realised that they had counted a woman with a baby and a toddler as 3 of their maximum of 4 customers at a time!
I headed straight for the brooms and was met with a multitude of coloured heads and different appendages. The assortment left me feeling not unlike a woman having her first visit to Ann Summers but I had an easy way to cut through the array. A quick brush of the various bristles determined that the required stiffness was not available (stop laughing at the back) and I turned tail and headed out.
The look on the faces of the staff, behind their full face visors and masks, tells me that it was not just me that realised that I had just queued to enter a store, fondle some brooms and then leave.
Now I really could do with a squeegee (I still struggle to believe that is a real word) for the cellar so this presented a good opportunity to purchase online. One of my suppliers ticked all of the boxes and I found scrubbing head and squeegee but then a dilemma struck, what handles do they need?
With no apparent guidance I spotted the ‘live chat’ winking at me and seized upon it. I asked the friendly ‘Pete T’ whether handle x was suitable and he scurried away virtually to check. No Tiggy I didn’t realise until later that ‘Pete T’ was probably ‘Petey’ moonlighting or I would have made it all much more challenging.
Fresh back from the virtual storeroom Pete T informed me that it looked like ‘it might’ be suitable. Well I bloody well know that, that is why I selected it you idiot! I should point out that none of the images were adequate to identify if the sockets were plain, tapered or threaded. Could the virtual genius suggest a suitable device? well apparently he ‘just tries to look for the same manufacturer’ . Helpful? Not really after all Mitsubishi make trucks and ships but I wouldn’t want to sail the Atlantic in an L200!
Random purchase made I headed back to the cellar and cleaned the rest before leaving it to dry. As a side note it is odd having cellar cooling running, it makes it feel like I am back in an actual operating pub. Last job of the day is to unstack the kegs ready for their eventual disposal, this is where my day took a further turn.
Amongst the kegs are four real ale casks, all of which have sat there, sealed, for 12 weeks. Little did I know that one of those tubs of HSB had been plotting. As I innocently lifted it from its lofty position, in my clean and dry cellar, it seized the opportunity and struck. The shive popped out with an ease that would make any mother jealous. For those unaware the shive is a bung about 2.5″ in the centre of the cask.
What followed the shive, instantly, was anything but easy. A fountain of stale beer shot out so hard that it was almost solid, hitting the ceiling (via my face) and raining down from above. Rather than anger the beast further I placed it on the floor whilst spluttering through the relentless torrent of beer. Oh but the beer had planned this, they probably all discussed it, and placing it on the floor was not to be the end of my issues.
With my head, thankfully, removed from the fountain it hit the ceiling with renewed vigour, the room darkening as the lights were doused in HSB. The additional force set the cask spinning not unlike some heinous WW2 weapon. Two days it took to clean the cellar, that cask managed to cover every surface with, at a guess, half of its contents.
Having wreaked its havoc the cask then lay still, contented, burping a steady stream of foam like that drunk who has just vomited on your carpet at a party. And then the greatest insult as I paddled through the lake of rotten beer, picked up the angel of death and held it while it slowly vomited the remainder of its contents down the drain. Like holding your dates hair back at the toilet when she has had too many shots, its just something you do, despite knowing your night is ruined.
And that my lovely people is pub life.