Monday, 10 August 2015

The Challenges of Pub Life

I've been in charge of the pub for two days and the experience has been a catalogue of minor catastrophes. 

1. A smashed window. This happens a couple of times a year and boarding over the smashed pane is surprisingly therapeutic. I don't think I use a hammer enough. The glazier is coming today. But in the meantime I have fixed the problem with sufficient subtlety that most people probably wouldn't even notice the difference:

"I guess that's why they call it 'window pane'."

2. The unheralded return of Premiership football to Sky Sports. Why didn't they tell anyone the Premiership was restarting this weekend? Surely they must have an advertising budget for this sort of thing? Took me totally by surprise. Obviously some people had found out somehow as there were an awful lot of people in the pub on Saturday afternoon to watch the match and only one member of staff (me) to serve them. 

3. The mystery of the missing Breville. One of the few delights about staying above the pub is that I get to use the boss's toasted sandwich maker. I don't have a toasted sandwich maker of my own (and have no intention of buying one now as I am getting married next year). Straight after work I go out to buy cheddar and a loaf of cheap white sliced bread. I return hungry, my pulse quickened from the busy shift and the anticipation of the crunchy snack. The Breville is usually on the side in the kitchen by the hob, but it is nowhere to be seen. I frantically search the cupboards. No Breville. I spy something Breville-like on top of one of the high cupboards but closer examination reveals it to be a George Foreman Grill. Where is the damn Breville? Then it dawns on me. The Breville is not here. The boss has taken it with him on holiday. I make myself cheese on toast.

4. The churchbells on Sunday morning. It is 2am by the time I get the last revellers out of the pub. I cash up the till and decide to take a bath. Middle-of-the-night baths are another luxury I treat myself to when staying above the pub. I can't have them at home because I have been told it is anti-socially noisy to start running baths in the middle of the night. I stay up until about three reading the London Review of Books. I set my alarm for 11. Eight hours sleep. Perfect. Seven hours into my perfect eight the loud clanging of churchbells wakes me up.

5. The dead python in the cellar. This one is pretty self-explanatory. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Shelf Portrait

It is my last day off before I do my biannual stint living above the pub. Shortly after that, we're off to the Isle of Wight for a few days and when we get back I've got to move house. I thought I would spend the day packing up my old record collection, binning the scratched ones and taking a few that I don't listen to anymore to the charity shop. Turns out the records were the only thing holding up my cobbled together shelving unit and the moment I pulled them all out the thing basically cracked spilling coloured pegs from my Original Mastermind set everywhere:

If you weren't alive in the Seventies and Eighties, Mastermind was how people entertained themselves before Facebook was invented.
To add shame to shelf-destruction, in the cobwebby cave revealed by record removal what should I spy but the pair of nutcrackers that disappeared after a New Year's Eve party eighteen months ago and that my inner Poirot has accused practically everyone in attendance of stealing. Unlike Poirot, I had yet to acquire sufficient evidence to gather everybody into the library and make my suspicions public. For the last eighteen months, I have been happily cracking nuts in a pestle and mortar. A method that is so surprisingly satisfying that I may not go back to nutcrackers. The chimpanzees in this short clip have got the right idea.

Records are easy to pack at least. They weigh a ton, though. Everytime I move house I think 'I must digitise my music collection.' But I get distracted easily and I've changed today's project from sorting out music to seeing whether I can get Windows 10 to run on my old knackered laptop and thereby give it a new lease of life. It is so achingly slow to respond to anything that I can write this on my shiny new Chromebook at the same time as waiting for it to wheeze its way through the six months of updates necessary to lay the ground for its new Operating System. It is not looking hopeful. But I owe the old machine the chance to live a new life... possibly as a hard drive for the record collection that I will definitely digitise before I next move house.