Several people have said to me recently that they either “don’t know how I do it” or that they “couldn’t do it”. We all hear these statements at various times in our lives and my most recent ones have been against both the current and planned workload. My working day at the moment starts no later than 6 am and ends no earlier than 1 am, that has been the way for the last week and will be the way for the next 4, after that the hard work starts. This workload is fuelled by copious cups of tea, a sandwich and a bag of crisps unless it is one of those days when I remembered to make toast for breakfast.
In the interests of furthering the debate I thought that I would give you an insight into my psychology. I must say in advance that I am not offering this in a Richard Branson ‘what you need to succeed’ style far from it, if anything I am showing the unhealthy aspects of my personality. I have been called ‘driven’ but I don’t think that’s accurate, I may be determined but I am not sure that translates into driven. I am incredibly stubborn which is both good and bad. It was stubbornness that left my hands where they are and sees me using them today, it was also stubbornness that led me to my pub, I don’t give in that’s just not for me. There is an old saying that winners don’t quit and quitters don’t win, well I don’t quit, ever. The unhealthy side of my stubborn streak can be seen in the raw and bleeding patch on my right arm where I have literally worn through the paper thin skin from the failed graft. There is no sensation in that area so I rarely notice that I have damaged it and I have no time to stop and pander to it, far more important things to do.
Nature bears the brunt of a lot of my stubbornness as you would see if you watched me getting up in the morning. I have to roll out of bed onto my knees at the moment, luckily I have a low bed. When I first wake up I am missing a shoulder and two wrists, well not missing since the pain assure me that they are there! Once I get upright I have to work my limbs into submission before I can lift a kettle, in truth this is before I leave the bedroom since I am not convinced that tripping over would end well. So to answer the question of physicaly how can I spend 18 hours on hard physical labour, the answer is simply how could I not?I am a practical person and things need doing, besides I still have a grudge against Ms Nature to settle. Does it hurt? Yes, a lot. Would it be easier not to do it? Without doubt. Is it wise? Well there’s a question, my recovery is littered with experts agreeing that me doing what wasn’t recommended was, in fact, the right thing to do so who knows. The questions are academic anyway, it is simply who I am.
I have never needed a lot of sleep, although conversely I can normally sleep on demand, so that allows for the long hours. Rather than being driven to succeed I am furiously critical of my failures. Today’s plan was to stain the decking, amongst other things, I had the material, the weather and the time. It transpires that the deck oil was incredibly over optimistic in its coverage information and the two tins that equated to two coats actually didn’t even cover half of the decking for first coat! Now my plan had involved getting the deck done and then strolling along the coast to either Sandown or Ventnor, kind of like a weekend treat reminding me of the majestic splendour that I live in. I may have even stopped for something to eat although, in truth, that’s unlikely since I loathe eating out alone. Because I took a step back on the decking, through no real fault of my own, I have gone nowhere, I have filled holes, wired networks and stripped plumbing and will continue well into the night. This is not as simple as some form of self flagellation it is driven by an internal rage at the failure to achieve it is not as if I am punishing myself for failure but rather that the failure pushes me on. Hey I never said I was normal.
On a lighter note I had the pleasure of meeting one of the four daughters who worked in the pub when their Dad had it from the early 50s. She was delighted that the old name is returning and dated the extensions earlier than we had thought since they were there when they moved in. It was a great chat and I look forward to showing her around soon, the look in her eyes spoke of 25 years of happy memories. This, for me, is one of the wonderful things about pubs, they are like a public repository of memories. Sure somebody lived in your house before you but it’s unlikely that you will ever meet them and if you did they would just say “oh that was my room at the front” pubs are not like that, they are formative in people’s lives. Over the last 200+ years this old lady has had an impact on thousands of lives and its my job to keep her at it. I remember being devastated to see pubs that I had a connection with close forever and I wouldn’t want anybody to feel that loss over this old girl, I take the challenge of guardianship incredibly seriously and am proud to keep her going.