I have written, many times, on the fire that drives me to my next pub. I realised this morning that it is normally the last thing that I think about at night and the first thing that enters my mind in the morning. When I see the weekly bad press surrounding the trade I wonder why so many people entered a trade that they clearly didn’t have the passion or experience for. New taxes and the continuing vilification of alcohol do nothing to subdue my desire; to me these are expected in the UK and are just a part of the trade.
Two weeks of banking for a good friend whilst he is on holiday does not erode my enthusiasm. I understand that the licensed trade is not the route to financial riches. The thing is that it is the social riches that I seek and not the financial ones. My trips to and from work or the store invariably involve passing pubs and they form a singular focus for me. In the morning I look at these, often imposing, buildings and consider the quiet solitude of the cellar at 5 am. In the evening I count heads in bars and recall the desperate loneliness that occurs when you seem to face a shift behind an empty bar.
These thoughts are the thoughts of a publican and not just the thoughts of somebody that likes being in pubs. When the industry was in boom and the tied estate considered early retirement and redundancy payments as revenue streams this was not something that they looked for. Most people presented with a busy trading bar will consider that it is an improvement over their industrial or commercial work place. If the ‘happy place’ that you see in the trade is a bar full of people on a Saturday night and a pint in your hand then this is not the trade for you. The true magic of the trade is the sore sticky feet, the aroma of stale beer as you drink your morning coffee. Spending a morning reorganising your cellar to cope with so many empties is proud labour.
There’s not so many that think this way. There are still those that see every pint served or keg emptied as a financial entry. Like a human calculator they ring every credit through their mental register, they don’t feel the soul of the trade. But there are some, both within and outside of the trade that know the true sweet spots that are in touch with the soul of the trade. Sometimes you come across these people at odd times; my boss is a prime example. I would never have placed him in that group but a conversation about cleaning and restocking after a busy night makes his eyes gleam like a kid at Christmas.
So to those that awake to see me staring up at their windows. To those that see me counting heads as I walk past their afternoon trade. And to those that notice me checking every price and product location as they serve my pint. I would just like to say that I am not HMRC, not a competitor or a brewery rep but I do love a sticky bar floor with my morning coffee.
A health update follows for those of you that follow the subject. I am still impressed with the marvellous Dermatix which has reduced the topology of the scars significantly. It does seem that we have come to somewhat of an impasse at the moment because the scars seem to spend a lot of their time irritated but the cream stops them rising. I guess we see what happens when I run out of the product. In summary of the other areas ‘they hurt’. Something seems to reset in my wrists overnight because when I awake I struggle to support my own weight and tipping a kettle is a two handed affair. The background ache seems to have slowly stepped up and is often quite unpleasant but it is interrupted by spells of more significant pain to break the monotony.
Irritatingly I can no longer spend extended periods typing on the computer because this results in a slow seizure of the wrists. The seizure itself is not such a concern but it results in increased rotation of the forearms and this brings its own pain. I have now perfected a technique for rotating lefty to the point that I can rotate the radius head outside of its ‘track’ in the ulna and lock it. I wouldn’t say this was a party trick just yet but if I can transfer the resulting clunk to a handshake then it has some potential.
The newcomer to the game is the left shoulder which we now understand to have some form of trapped nerve. Sleeping on it results in the entire thing going dead and taking some time to awaken, interestingly the Engineer in me always wants to stab it just to see if its pretending. It has also decided to take a more active role in the day and is getting quite adept at throwing random pain in at inopportune moments. Whist it is little more than an annoyance I do find that it aches a lot at the end of the day and is increasing my time in a hot shower.