Well I guess that you can deduce from the sparsity of my posts that the pub is getting busier, if you did then congratulations you are correct. It is not that the pub is bursting at the seams rather the periods when nobody is in have significantly reduced.
I guess that the first thing to update you all on is that I remain immensely proud of the old lady. The pub has developed a sensible crowd who make for a great atmosphere and ensure that everybody feels welcome and has a great time. As always the proudest moments that I have are when people thank me for the good time that they have had or when I see people who have ‘popped in for one’ leaving at the end of the night.
In physical terms the building continues to present new challenges at a rate that would be considered alarming elsewhere. I am currently waiting on a fencer, builder and structural engineer which gives you some idea of the scale of just the immediate task. For those who know the island this is the flip side of the relaxed and laid back environment, it takes forever to get trades on site!
Six months after I was told that a power flush was not required on the central heating system it has now been completed with the plumber telling me that it was the worst that he has ever seen. The three radiators in the bar have now been replaced with twin wall models and the pub actually feels warm. I am still burning gas at a rate that means that I can negotiate wholesale prices directly with Russia but at least I can do so without shivering. The plan remains to remove the wall and fit a log burner which I will progress just as soon as I can engage the structural engineer…..
I still have no staff although I am acutely aware that this is a situation that I need to resolve. I have attempted to address this thorny issue a number of times but the sheer complexity means that it ends up being pushed back down the list of jobs. I have discussed this with a couple of friends and, when faced with the reality, they have all agreed that it is a far bigger challenge than it first appears.
For me the 130 hr working week is still great. I love the pub and the people and I remain content and happy to be here. Despite the theories I am living proof that you can do this and stay reasonably healthy and also testament to the nutritional value of a glass of stout. Restarting physio means the wrists are behaving somewhat better now but the shoulders are taking turns at reminding me that my body is more ‘cut and shut’ than showroom condition!
I often hear from ex colleagues who marvel at how I cope in an absence of any technical challenges, I think this must be a result of my calm unflappable appearance. In truth there are many technical challenges involved in the structure of a 220+ year old pub but also in the products that I retail. This week, as an example, I changed keg to find that a lager would not hold head, ‘glasses’ I can hear you yell but you are wrong. The physics involved in generating and maintaining a head are complex and the fault finding process is more complex than you would think. The beer was regenerating and the introduction of sugar confirmed that the beer was adequately gassed and, by corollary, that the correct as mix was being used.
Having used alternate glassware and tested other beer in this brands glass I moved to the cellar to withdraw product directly from the cellar buoy. Only when this didn’t resolve the issue did I move to the second keg which also demonstrated the same issue. The fault in the end was the kegs which had not been rinsed properly at the brewery, with the trace of rinse actively destroying the head.If you think that this seems simple remember that the analysis was performed at 21:00 whilst serving customers and whilst the original customer was left waiting.
If the technical challenges were not enough on their own I suffer nightly from a small wheeled teenager. Without a doubt the best vacuum cleaner for the pub is one of those small ones with the idiot facial features drawn on (I refuse to name the brand) unfortunately mine must be the product of a broken home. Every time I pull that cleaner along it has a tantrum and turns upside down, taking small children through a department store is a breeze by comparison. Why they bother putting wheels on the bottom of these things is beyond me since they spend most of their life being dragged along on their ‘head’.
Seriously if anybody has any training techniques for these recalcitrant devices then please let me know, alternatively a set of ‘bumpers’ may save my paintwork when the stroppy thing finally submits to my demands and comes at me like a cork out of a bottle!