Sunday, 7 September 2014

"How cool is that?" (The President of the United States of America)

video

I began this week with such good intentions, and I began this month with good intentions as well. I had intended to go for an Autumn mushroom hunt, but H.I. is still fast asleep and it has gone midday; and I had intended to book a trip to Venice, but this has not yet been done either.

But still, I feel as though I have really achieved something this weekend. I think I have effected an introduction between some people which - in a small way - could be a life-changing one, but not in the way police describe certain accidents as 'life-changing', which is usually a euphemism for the loss of one or more limbs. More about that later, and - if all goes well - not just from me, either.

I have been spending quite a bit of time with the new General Manager of our community-owned pub, because he has just arrived from running a similar establishment in Oxford, and has landed in the deep-end of the job, knowing no people at all, let alone their mini-histories - knowledge which is essential for efficient decision-making in a tight little community, especially when there is alcohol on offer.

Someone must have pointed me out to him as a Village Elder, because he sees me sitting at one end of the bar and comes over to plonk himself beside me as if I were an older boy at a dormitory school - which I suppose I effectively am - and the ice is being broken quite nicely.

He knows that his appointment was somewhat contentious, because a handful of regular bar-staff had applied for the position, but he won the post for his previous experience. All of the staff are treating him with great respect and kindness though as he learns the ropes, and he is quite correctly asking all of them for their help without overly imposing his authority on them from the start. That's not only a wise thing to do - it is essential.

I am almost proud to say that the only person to mention his ginger hair and strong Birmingham accent was me, so his initiation has not been further complicated by the only two virtues which British people (of a certain age) think it is acceptable to display stereotypical prejudices towards. He has enough on his plate already.

When I was younger, I worked in some pubs. The first job I ever had was as barmen at a pub close to where I was brought up. I was fourteen at the time, but being very tall I could get away with pretending to be 18.

When I first arrived in Bath, I had a job as a barman at the most notorious pub in the area, but after a year or so of watching people become more and more stupid and unpleasant as the evenings wore on, I decided that I could stand it no longer and left.

It was then I joined the ranks on the other side of the bar, and as the evenings wore on, I cared less and less about what my former colleagues thought about me.

These days I am home before 'The Archers' begins, so it is only H.I. who has to suffer the stupidity and unpleasantness. The new Manager then has to find a late-night advisor to take my place, but he has plenty to choose from.

President Obama visited Stonehenge this week. How incongruous is that?

18 comments:

  1. I just had to watch that wheel changing video again, it is mesmerizing.

    I used to work in the most notorious pub in Norwich in the early 1980s, also a Bell, and did so on and off for four years. I loved it and the control I had over some of the roughest, hardest men and boys of the area. Eventually I left because I thought I had better get a serious job and became a stockbroker.

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    1. Yes - I have watched that video many times already. There's something mesmerising about the music, too.

      The pub here had a fight at least once a week, and it was usually left for little me to sort out.

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    2. I love the music too.

      My pub used to have fights Friday and Saturday nights although any night was possible. My friends would shrink back in awe as I a threw people out and then calmly came back and carried on the conversation where we left off. Those were the days.

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    3. Women are usually much better at that than men.

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  2. Darling Tom,

    Well, your intentions are good and that is a start!

    The mother of our good friend, Richard, who is alive and well in Palm Beach ( his mother, that is, not Richard), has a splendid phrase that we now use all the time. It is perfect for the occasions ( which seem to be ever increasing) when one has every good intention of doing something and then, for whatever reason ( usually lethargy) does not manage to carry it out.

    " Let us not do it, darling, and say that we did"

    We are sure that the mushrooms were divine and were served up in bed to H. I. For a late breakfast!

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    1. I usually get caught out with lies like that. I am still having to answer questions about a casual comment made about 40 years ago which included a lie, albeit a white one.

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  3. I loved seeing Obama smiling and walking around there - it made me happy!

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    1. I haven't seen the pictures, but I did see police from all over Europe, driving around Bath with sirens blaring and lights flashing. Bath is about 40 miles from both Stonehenge and Newport.

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    2. Wow, that is a little overkill, I think.

      I was thinking of John and wondering how much noise he got from the summit in Cardiff.

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    3. A lot of people this side of the estuary had to curtail their plans for a holiday in the Brecon Beacons, I think.

      Cardiff Bay had four warships on permanent stand-by, and our Hilton Hotel had a load of NATO bosses staying there - best not to keep them all in the same place, I suppose.

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  4. No mushrooms here; too bloody hot and dry. But Cepes and September go together, so I'm praying for a deluge. I've only ever been on one side of the bar; the paying side.

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    1. I think we are in for a good season - the first in about 5 years.

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  5. Blogger has started telling me that I am not following any other blogs than my own again. Maybe I don't pay them enough money.

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    1. Sounds about right. I note you haven't left me a comment today.

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    2. I did read your post, but I don't really have much to say about Formula One.

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  6. Oh, I am really getting fed up with Blogger crashing constantly for me. I wonder what I would do if I had to pay for the maintenance? You would probably hear a lot less from me. No, DEFINITELY hear a lot less from me.

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  7. Oh would that Blogger fail for me.

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    1. Like that gadget that you can fit to your car that sniffs your breath and refuses to start the ignition?

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