The painting day has now come to an end as indicated by a little tell tale sign. It is still light enough to paint, there is still painting to do and I am not yet so tired as to start making silly mistakes, there is another more subtle clue that the day has ended. When I have covered myself in enough paint that I am leaving marks of one colour on surfaces whilst painting a different colour then its time to quit for the day.
I am seeing some progress in project paint and that, coupled with concerns about getting the deep clean done, is keeping me motivated. As predicted (wasn’t ever really a question) locking me down has not broken the workaholic in me and I am still managing 12 hour days albeit with some additional tea breaks.
I had to shoot to the shop today and all this crazy hopscotch is not helping me. I had to purchase three items, all of which were in the store and in my mind. By the time I had completed the shuffle pass twice and rolled a 6 to get to the fridges I found myself at the new snakes and ladders for the till. Feeling like I had scored some victory to get to this level I carried on, completed the slalom and left with two of the three items!
Of course in the new world you can’t go back to the shop for that item can you? Its embarrassing apart from anything else. You go out for your essential trip to the store, play the game and just deal with what you bring back, that’s just how it is. Now has anyone got a recipe for butter and mustard?
It would appear that Terry duck’s sniggering was not an indication of responsibility for the arrival of Gav duck. It was probably still aimed at sausage ducks enforced abstinence although, judging by the rocking on the bar stool, I think the abstinence is not being fully complied with.
Responsibility for Gav duck has been claimed by Tiggy and Pete who felt that he would add something to the menagerie which he certainly has done. Not only is Gav duck a great addition but he has opened up the world of duckshop a previously unknown emporium of drinking buddies so thanks guys.
Wow how the world has changed in a few short days! With some emotion I took a step that I never thought I would have to and closed the Plough on Friday night for the foreseeable future.
Obviously I am not alone in this situation with all pubs and bars in the country being ordered to close. These are indeed unprecedented times and there are some very tough times heading our way, to help alleviate (hopefully) your boredom I will try and improve my blogging skills and let you know how planet Plough is coping.
So this is day 2 in the pub and I have already learnt that it is very weird. So we closed as normal on Friday night and I didn’t do my normal clean because I figured I would have some time to do that. I am now running spreadsheets to monitor not only the fiscal status but also the myriad tasks associated with shutting down dispense systems for extended periods. To be honest the jobs seem to spring up in my mind as quickly as I start one and I know that restarting will be a test of memory without records.
Saturday felt very odd, not being open is not something that has occurred since I first opened with the exception of building works. Those of you who know me will know that I cannot abide half completed tasks, even as I type this I am annoyed with the state of the pub. I am extremely conscious that we have gone from rushing to open to several months of closure and, for the first time, I am having to ration the tasks in order to fill the time as best as I can!
Again those who know me will know that I have done little, if anything, to make upstairs habitable and also that I do not drink at home (upstairs). I have now pretty much moved into the bar which is both more comfortable and also allows me to continue to drink the stock that is live.
Obviously isolation in a pub is not the worse situation for any of us but I do have to note that whilst many have had a boring weekend they will be heading to work tomorrow, for those of us in hospitality there will not be this relief. These will definitely be testing times for those of us who are used to working all of the time, slowing a workaholic is an interesting challenge even for the workaholic I can assure you!
As I sit at the bar with my pint I am faced with another social rule which I have had to address, that of drinking alone. I have now named a number of bar stools and they are keeping me company. I have carefully selected the names to assure myself that I am highly unlikely to fall out with all of them, after all I need my drinking buddies or I might go stir crazy…
I was idly flicking through some social media postings from friends working abroad this morning and reminiscing about travelling when the first customer came in. I served the pint and was handed a rather wet ten pound note extricated from an equally wet wallet. As I walked to the till the words I least wanted, or expected, to hear came over my shoulder “sorry that’s piss”. As I washed my hands, thoroughly, I couldn’t help but think how different life has become in such a short space of time.
This is just one of the day-to-day challenges of a publican. Last night I acted as mediator between a customer and the local kebab shop. In trying to correct an order error made by his girlfriend my customer became frustrated and annoyed on the phone but it was ok because “they know me”. After pointing out that he had used his girlfriend’s cell and not mentioned his name at any point I could just see realisation dawning before the spark was extinguished with “Ah but they will recognise me when I collect it”. It took a further debate to confirm that it was better that they recognised you before they had cooked and wrapped your food and the tone of the resultant call was, I hope, far more conducive to a healthy meal.
I had a strange conversation with a customer this week initiated, as many are, by the long hours I work. Firstly I had to point out that ‘it’s great because you are a workaholic’ is not a line that any partner has ever used as far as I recall but then we got onto the ‘what ifs’. Most of you will be familiar with the what ifs, they are a series of internal challenges whose purpose is to prevent you ever doing anything. If you ask the question ‘what if’ enough times about any given challenge you will convince yourself that the risk is too high and the task should not be commenced.
This guy’s particular ‘what ifs’ were about my personal availability since the business is inextricably linked to me. As an inveterate single person there is no partner or family to step in if I am unwell and this challenge seemed to perplex this guy. What would happen if I were to break my leg or become incapacitated in some other way? The answer, which he just couldn’t grasp, was “I don’t know”. I don’t have a contingency manual planning for every eventuality, I pretty much just wing it.
The other ‘what if’ that our man had can be condensed into return on investment (ROI) and more specifically the ROI on the various tasks planned. Would opening up the main bar pay for itself in the long run? was the second bar viable? would a very limited food offer recoup the costs of the kitchen? Again the answer of “I have no idea” perplexed him. In this trade, as with so many, there is no simple ROI calculation or business case, the business is like an all-consuming boulder hurtling along. The business cannot stand still, investment is essential both to turnaround past neglect and to build capability and develop the offer. In a lot of cases you cannot simply look at a task and calculate the pay back period for that investment, it doesn’t work like that the value is in the whole rather than the part.
So next time you ask yourself ‘what if’ just remember that it isn’t having the answer that gets things moving its simply not asking the question.