Monday, July 30, 2012

crunch

Back to school.

I've been sent back to school to study the finer points of running a pub.

It just so happens that the landlord/lady who runs the pub where I have achieved some form of employment, has been awarded a free place on a training course courtesy of the pub company from whom they rent their pub, and "tig, you're it!" or should that be "I'M it"?

So there's a pub which seems to think it's in Morley which is really more like in Dewsbury, and for the next five days I'm trying to explain to a guy who only understands "swot analyses" and the "5 P's of marketing" that his theoretical marketing and promotional strategies hold very little water when you're confronted with five guys in banana costumes who are on the "ale trail".

It doesn't take me very long to come to the conclusion that life would be much simpler if I kept my mouth shut.

On the plus side, the landlady/lord do keep stressing to me that they do eventually want me to manage their pub for them when they step slightly to the side in September or thereabouts.

It could, as George Formby predicted, all turn out nice again.

Employment Law tomorrow - hooray!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

light

Out of the darkness into the light.....

It's Wednesday and this week that could only mean one thing.....

The landlord/lady (depending who you speak to) - return from their holiday and my grip over their public house reverts back to one of being a casual employee.  I have only one more evening shift to do and everything goes back to "normal".

It's been a tough week running the pub and I've probably clocked up around sixty hours - which doesn't sound like a frightening amount in a week until you realise that there have been two other people also working at the pub - the lad who has done the daytime shift will have done thirty six hours and my partner in crime, who works some evenings and weekends with me will have done perhaps thirty five or more hours.

It all adds up to a rather large wage bill, some tired bar staff, and a couple of sun-tanned publicans!

Despite my  fear and nervousness at the THOUGHT of dealing with the week.... it's turned out to be quite rewarding and relatively straight forward.  I have a methodical way of working and it's stood me in good stead this week.

Highlight of the week was surviving the "Ale Trail" on Saturday with the help of Antonia, Dawn and Mandy.

Lowlight of the week is probably the dripping tap that I've hammered into the barrel of Kelham Island's Easy Rider! (Which I don't think is my fault).

Highlight - Managing to deal with real ale for the first time (at a cellar level).

Lowlight - finding out that I have to be at the pub for the beer delivery with no warning.

Highlight - Putting three new barrels of real ale on during a busy Saturday shift.

Lowlight - A light-bulb exploding and tripping the fuse......  (a real head scratching moment).

Highlight - Managed to get a whole day off fishing yesterday.

Lowlight - Several times, when climbing into bed, late at night, I've remembered something I have to go back to the pub for!!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

not

Not dead, just in a fuggy haze of Carling and Jagerbombs!

Ale Trail Saturday came and went, and yes, it was manic at times....... we're all alive though..... not sure about some of the punters that bought silly drinks though!

One day soon I'll be free to come and read and write ..... for now...... I have one hour before I am back behind the bar.....

Time for some food.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gnu

It's a new moon.  Happy new moon everyone!

As for my state of mind at the moment, I'm all over the place.

Opened the pub yesterday...... closed the pub yesterday...... worked a shift at the pub yesterday...... couldn't sleep.....  Dawn started snoring..... the rain started pouring........ my back started hurting.......  restless night to the power of ten.

Today I have to open the pub..... close the pub, and make sure the new real ales are all tapped and ready to go for the weekend.... I think I'll tap the Martson's Pedigree tonight to put on the bar tomorrow and tap the Kelham Island on Friday night so it's ready to replace something at the weekend.  The new Copper Dragon will arrive Friday and that'll just follow itself on the bar when it runs off and the Leeds Pale, well, unless I get some stillage space, it'll have to wait.  I need a Bateman's XB drinker to walk through the door!

It's enough to keep me awake at night!

I eventually got round to making a lovely salad yesterday to take to the pub for my tea.....  I julienned carrots, diced peppers, boiled eggs, tore lettuce, chopped spring onions, sliced radishes, deseeded cucumber, and generally mixed it all together........ then promptly dropped it all on the kitchen floor!

If Jesus wept, he couldn't hold a candle to what I did!!

As we all know, the 8 second rule doth verily apply, and I scooped it up quickly, leaving the last few dog hair coated pieces for the sweeping brush.

Once I'd tipped some bacon bits (vegetarian ones of course) and Italian dressing over the top, you'd never know of the salad's close encounter of the linoleum kind!

And Lord, the salad was good!

Right.... time to get ready and get down the boozer for some opening up type antics..... a barsteward's work is never done!

(just got time to pay tribute to Brian at Tannu Tuva for reminding me how good Squeeze are - in homage, I've changed my music - go on have a go on the music player over there on the right hand side)


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Confused

Confused from Huddersfield!

I am working some crazy stints at the pub this week..... I mean crazy!

Some days I'm opening up the pub, other days I'm closing up the pub..... and all the twiddly little bits that go inbetween.

A good number of years ago, I worked as a Mainframe Operator - the computer was so old and grey that it filled a whole, enormous, air-conditioned room.

The disk drives (whose capacity was tiny) needed two people to lift them, and the tape drives were like those that you might see in a mad scientist's laboratory in an episode of Thunderbirds.

I say "a good number of years ago" but it might surprise that this was still in operation around the time of the millennium switch-over, by which I mean the twentieth to twenty first centuries!

Well, that job was a split-shift pattern, and one week I would be working 6:30am to 2pm (including Saturday morning) while the following week I'd be working 2pm to 9pm (or until you'd achieved the workstream - sometimes early hours, others you might get a half hour earlier) and that week there'd be no weekend working.

I shared the shifts with a clever young chap called Sean and we did ok..... we actually ran things quite well.

The ONLY problem I had with those split shifts was that you sometimes get disoriented.......

It's wasn't uncommon for me to wake up at silly o' clock in a cold sweat thinking I'd forgotten to go to work, or that I'd missed a shift, or that I didn't know which way was up and what day of the year it was.

It's the only time in my life that I've had irregular working patterns and hours..... and it did strange things to me.

Well.....

I'm sure the more astute readers have already guessed where this is heading.....

Day one of my hectic schedule and I'm already waking up in that familiar cold sweat!

Right now I'm typing so fast so that I can get this down..... get to the pub to open up..... go to the supermarket to get some food...... cook myself some food and head back to the pub for the evening shift (I need to make myself some decent food because once I'm in the pub tonight I will be there until closing time).

Roll out the barrel on next week!


Monday, July 16, 2012

When Sunday

When Sundays go bad.

I looked, yesterday, for a series of searches of which I could select my usual eclectic mix, and expand upon them, in order to assist lost surfers in finding their perfect internet shaped wave.

Alas and alack.... in actual fact, a severe lack of searches have been completed in the last week, and for the first time in living history (or at least the last couple of weeks) there was not enough material for a Super Sunday Search blog entry.

Shame on you search engines of the interweb.  You know who you are!

So my weekend highlights have included:

A garlic pizza, which when opened (in the comfort of my own home/pyjamas) was revealed to be a combination of garlic and pineapple.

Line cleaning at the pub on Sunday morning - completed all on my own.... no help, no assistance..... no troubles.... everything tip top, ship shape and Bristol fashion.

Somebody ordered 11 pints of Leeds Pale Ale..... and the barrel ran empty after six!  Placated them with a further five pints of Batemans XB.

A bag full of new polo shirts (suitable for lounging and getting covered in beer) bought for me by the lovely Dawn.

My mum questioning the answers I supplied to her for her crossword..... on the basis that she couldn't understand how or why I would know that another name for a werewolf is a lycanthrope or that  "hydra" begins with an "H" and not with a" T"!

An order for twelve jagerbombs!
An order for twenty two raspberry sambucas!

A suitable (and cheap) lunch at Dirty Dicks in Halifax on Sunday afternoon with a couple of pints of rather nice ale.

A Chinese takeaway on Friday night that went a bit wrong by virtue of them not having what I ordered and then getting a free replacement dish instead.  Then similarly on Saturday lunch time, Dawn's ordered dish was not available and she was given a slightly inflated refund over her alternative choice.

I've just realised that I've eaten out all weekend.... and when I haven't eaten out, I've eaten takeaway.  Bad diet indeed!  A week of salads will surely be the penance.

Slurp, now for some Tour De France.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Trail

The butterfly effect is kicking in....

I don't know why, but when I am getting ready to do the afternoon and early evening shift at the pub on a Saturday, I start to get nervous.

As soon as I pour the first drink and my eyes get accustomed to the gloom over the till and the fine print on the keys thereof, I'm fine......

It's the "Ale Trail" that does it!

It's a bit like the feeling of jumping out of a plane and hoping that you have a parachute strapped to your back but without being able to check until you're falling to earth.

It's unpredictable and a bit wild.....  you could crash in a heap on the floor with Carling lager all around you or you could float majestically to earth, landing on the big red cross amid raptures of applause with a finely poured pint of real ale clutched in your hand.

Who knows what the afternoon will bring....

I only hope it isn't a series of requests for "shooters" and "jagerbombs" and that everyone just wants Guinness and Carling - it would make life much simpler for us humble serving agents!

So there you go..... I'm up to date with the Tour De France..... nonplussed over the latest events in the Big Brother house...... and if I don't pour a drink for someone soon, well I might just break into a cold sweat!

See you all tomorrow for a Sunday Search perhaps?


Thursday, July 12, 2012

where?

Where on earth does the time go?

Seems like one minute I'm doing the Sunday Searches, and the next minute I've got headache and it's Thursday lunch time.

Perhaps it's the cause of the headache that's responsible for these missing days?  A few beers at the pub last evening in order to lend some support to a trial run of an "unplugged" jam session - the pub was quite busy for a Wednesday evening and although the musicians were not out in force, they did manage to put on quite a good show.... and of course the beer was nice!

But that only accounts for one single evening, and I can't blame THAT for the rest of the week.

The Tour De France is taking up a fair bit of my time - I am only watching the highlight shows this year...... I'd be more than happy to fall into the trap of watching endless hours of the live show but it DOES take up so much time.  It's a fascinating sporting spectacle, and one which I look forward to every year.  For those unfamiliar with it, it's a very tactical and complicated game.... it's not just riding round France on bikes... oh no..... much more complicated than that, and I'm not even going to start explaining it here.

But that's only an hour a day or a middle of the night viewing experience when the heat/humidity/sound of rain are keeping me awake.

Big Brother is merrily marching towards its conclusion in a few weeks time - I'm always up for an episode of Big Brother - car crash TV which simultaneously manages to be at its best and worse.  This year has not been a "classic" by any stretch of the imagination, and I wonder whether the best days are a long time behind it, but I still watch the spectacle.  This year has been most notable for its unashamed game playing and general lack of "love"!  Everyone hates each other, and I in turn, hate them all!

That's another hour out of my day accounted for..... and sometimes I watch Big Brother's Bit on the Side - the companion forum show..... but not religiously.

Pogo - Online gaming accounts for a few hours of my week.

Lego Batman 2 on the Wii - that's eaten a fair old chunk out of my days this week..... if it didn't crash quite so much it would probably have had more!!

Facebook - countless hours - but usually while I am doing something else as well.

Work - did a couple hours Sunday and a few hours on Monday.

Music - I've been collecting a load of "pub friendly" tunes that I can stick on an iPod and play on a random cycle.... there's nothing worse than being stuck in a musical loop at work - ask any shop worker during the christmas period!!  Once collected - from various sources..... I have "cleaned" them up - discarded any that were faulty (for whatever reason) and "equalised" their volumes (whereby they go through some software that matches the volumes together so that you don't suddenly blow up your speakers with a really loud song).

The music thing, in fairness, has taken bloody ages!!

Blogs - reading blogs.... it takes a      l     o     n    g    time to read all the blogs.  Some bloggers manage to post multiple items per day, while others might manage one shot a week..... they all take time.... and that is sometimes followed by a little research..... and the process of formulating a charming and witty response.  HOURS!!

Now, I'll be glad to go to work tonight, just for a rest!!


Sunday, July 08, 2012

You know the score...

... socks and shoes off at the door!

Cleaned the lines at the pub and can't tell the difference when water or Carling is coming through them!

Enough pub speak...... let's do the Sunday Search Shuffle.....

hearth slabbing scunthorpe
Sounds like a new extreme sport that's begun to show its face in the Scunthorpe area.  Now, I won't pretend to know what "hearth slabbing" is.....  but I will pretend to know that Scunthorpe was once renamed "sconethorpe" in the early days of internet parlance.... and the reason was that some offensive language filters wouldn't let you use Scunthorpe's original name.... figure it out for yourself and get back to me if you think that's true or not!  Anyway - if you want to know about "hearth slabbing" it's covered here!  As for that particular thing, based in Scunthorpe, well I'll leave you to find that out for yourselves.

arctic fox animations
Shall I go round and dance about on the webcam?

outlane grave yard
It's small, but it's perfectly formed.  See bottom of this page for a picture of it!

jimi hendrix hair
He had lots..... and it looked really cool.  Look at this!

a whole heap of: cow from huddersfield; arctic fox blog; um bongo lyrics; there's nothing in the garden spike milligans!
These have all been covered in previous weeks and I don't wish to go over them again...... move along now!  The problem is that every time I mention these search items, I am presuming that the "algorithms that be" on our various search engines, are shunting me up the rankings!  Catch 22!


Saturday, July 07, 2012

Ale to the Tsar!

I'm working again today.... from 3pm to 8pm.... it's what we call the "ale trail" shift, whereby a bunch of drunken drinking parties arrive in a series of villages to guzzle a drink or two before catching the next train out of there.

Between the drinking and train catching, they're usually urinating somewhere.....  the war memorial, the lamposts down the street.... etc etc.... you get the idea.... it's a drunken free-for-all that makes the cash registers sing in regular twenty minute bursts.

I can't complain..... I've got some work.

Anyway.... it means that you're not very likely to catch much of a blog update from me today, and I wanted to share the news that today.... is the local bowling club's "fun day".... which I am told will involve such frivolous activities as "target golf" and a "bouncy castle".........

In one previous "fun day" someone managed to throw something onto the roof of the extension at the back of my house and subsequently put their foot through several roof tiles in the process of retrieving it......

I give to you, today, the task of monitoring the "fun day" via the live(ish) webcam and email me any screen captures of the misdemeanours that may transpire throughout the course of another (expectedly) drunken day - you may also catch some gratuitous shots of someone grilling dead animals on an overturned oil drum.

Good luck with that..... I'll think about you while I am pouring a pint of Carling!

Live(ish) webcam (note: I've found that my Firefox prevents the auto-updating of this page so if yours does the same you can press F5 every ten seconds or so for the latest picture)


Friday, July 06, 2012

Tinker....

Tinkering with my widgets.

I know I shouldn't but I'll just do it until I need glasses!

After a rather late and stressful bar shift last night, I'm left feeling a little flat today.

I was hoping I might rise late, have a bite to eat, pack some fishing gear and head out to charm a fish or two out of a local fishing hole, known, rather imaginatively, as the "Duck Pond" at Lindley.

Of course the British summer has other ideas, and it's possibly the wettest morning I've seen since I lived in Outlane, some seven or eight years.

So, I've been tinkering.

I've changed the "chicken" tune to one the is more suited to our current situation, and I've uploaded a few couple more webcam highlights.  Don't forget to click on the arrow, on the right, under where it says "music player" to hear my latest selection.

There's a definite "weather" and "ducks" theme running through the air today!

The tune in question is dedicated to my late cousin Dan - It's a track by a band called Lemon Jelly and I'm pretty sure you'll be able to guess its name.  I remember the twinkle in Dan's eye when he told us about this track.  I'd heard it before but didn't know what the heck it was.  Anyway, this is an "unplugged" version of that tune and I'd give anything to be playing it to Dan and imagining him dragging out, not only this version, but every other version that has ever been released and quite a few that haven't as well.  He was an avid, obsessive compulsive, collector.

The stress at work was caused by a lack of customers......  between the hours of half past eight and ten o' clock, the pub was empty..... I cleaned and tidied, wiped and dried, mopped and stacked, rinsed and wrung..... until there wasn't a surface left that I could tackle.

Bored by the inactivity, I had a go on the quiz machine and was almost in "cash winning" mode when a single solitary customer walked in.....  rats!  I think he had half a lager and went to pick up some salt and pepper chips.  Lucky lad!

I got another seven or eight customers that came in and stayed until closing time.

I managed to clock up one complaint about my music choice in the pub (the trouble with "compilation" albums is that there's always one or two tracks that you don't like, and the landlandy happened to walk into the bar at one of those moments - even I don't like the track, but if you had a jukebox there'd always be someone who'd put the Wombles on or something right?).  I could write a bit more about this "music" thing.... perhaps another day?

At 2:30AM I woke up with more "window" fever!!  Did I check the windows?  Knowing full well that I did!


Thursday, July 05, 2012

Fingers crossed

I got a fortune cookie last night and the fortune said......

Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.

.... and I like that.

I know all fortunes and astrology and stuff are just ambiguous claptrap......

BUT.....

When I went to find the aforementioned piece of paper to take a photograph.... it wasn't there......

I found it tucked down the side of the sofa along with a twenty pence piece!

Cool!

Brief blog, but I'm working tonight and it will be verging on tomorrow by the time I get home, so you'll just have to make do with that!

 

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Arse!

Happy Full Moon to everyone!

It's a great time when the full moon's out.... I urge you all to take note.

I find the strangest things seem to happen, and although I recently watched a programme which dismissed the concept that alcohol related/fuelled crime increases at the full moon, I still firmly believe that people do act slightly oddly at this special time.

Recently watching a programme about alcohol related/fuelled behaviour does not constitute part of this mad cycle!

I can only begin to imagine the medium jinx that might appear on the "bowling cam" during the course of today!

I'd certainly be interested to hear from anyone who has an unexpected or genuinely uncharacteristic experience today.  I will have my eyes peeled for any such event..... and of course, in looking out for it, invariably this will be the reason I notice it, and probably nothing at all to do with the full moon, but it won't make it any less poignant.

Ok, full moon rant ..... done!

It's my mum's birthday, and of course, I'm totally unprepared for such an event.... i.e. I haven't bought a gift yet and I don't even have a decent card to present.  I am probably going to give her a call shortly and offer her a shopping trip to our local "cheap shop" Mecca, known as Pellon Lane.......

My mum has always been a "jumbler" - she can walk into the most innocuous looking shop and find hours of entertainment in the most unentertaining shelves.  As a child, and of the male persuasion, this is usually to be reciprocated with much showing of the bottom lip and standing around with a decidedly bored or grumpy expression.  Men are, after all, famed for being able to walk into a shop, pick up the first item inside the shop doorway, purchase it, and be back outside wearing said flip-flops, and be drinking a pint of lager, before the girls have put the car keys in their handbags. (Perhaps that's a trifle sexist?)

Dawn's love of them, and my self inflicted absence of money work, have forced me to become a connoisseur of the "bargain" shops - When I had a decent job, I can honestly say, I never had to shop around for anything.... but now I like a bargain as much as anyone.

So, mother's schedule permitting,  Pellon Lane it shall be..... Poundstretcher (which I very rarely visit - on account of it being quite expensive!); Pets at Home (which I sometimes visit for pink cat litter and any offers on fishy cat food); Halfords (What would I want to go there for?); Home Bargains (On a par with B&M - great bargain shopping); Aldi (the home of cheap).

I know mum appreciates a "run out" as the oldies like to call it!!

And if she's too busy, then at least it gives me chance to go and get a card and some bits and pieces.  The advantage of Dawn being at work today is that I wouldn't go with gifts until Dawn can come with me!!

(note: not sure that was very interesting reading for anyone at all..... it DOES however give you a small idea of how my mind thinks, or not as the case may be)

Oh yes, happy birthday mum!


Monday, July 02, 2012

More

More working at the bar.....

The day began with a list - I like lists because they are easy to follow.....

Sweep up outside....  check.
Polish tables...... check
Clean bar back and sink area..... check
Clean glass washer...... check
Take Euro 2012 decorations down..... check

A local chap's funeral was taking place at the church behind the pub today, so that brought a few punters through the door.....  managed to chat to a few of them, some making it much more difficult than others, and some even offering me little stories about the deceased..... 

I pulled some good pints today.  In fact I'd go as far as to say I pulled some bloody good pints today.

The nerves are settling.  I'm finding my way around the till a bit better.  I can enjoy it more now than at first and I'm starting to think I'll be quite good at this "pub" mallarkey after all.

So, I'm quite happy to offer up at this point..... I'm working in a pub in the village of Slaithwaite (That's pronounced "Slawit" - and don't forget it).

Was nice to see a pal drop in to the pub at tea-time and offer a little bit of support too..... always makes me feel better to serve someone I know..... and especially if they like what they get!!

I even stayed AFTER work to help my mate (who runs the pub) to try to fix up a new glass washing machine that we "acquired" - all to no avail unfortunately.

So, roll on Thursday, my next shift..... feel free to pop along for a snifter!


Sunday, July 01, 2012

Could have... would have.....

I could have used this blank space to tell you all my latest bar room anecdotes, like the one about the guy who orders a beer called "Easy Rider" and as I am about to pour it asks, to seek confirmation that it is indeed a cider..... which of course it isn't, it's a bitter...... he looked at me blankly and asked "what's it like then?".....  "It's a bitter" came my informed response....... he had one anyway..... and I bet he didn't like it!

I COULD tell you that..... but I won't.

I could tell you about cleaning the lines through, about pulling eight pretty good pints of Leeds Pale in one single order.... I COULD, but I won't..... and do you know why?  Or maybe I'd tell you about a young chap that ordered a double vodka and Red Bull for almost six pounds, and I later found it almost intact on the table outside, but you don't want to hear that.

BECAUSE IT'S SUNDAY!!

b and q tri wing screwdriver
There's a definite pattern to these searches at the moment, and this is another one that's made its way into the "recent" list.  All I can tell you on this is that if you want a tri-wing screwdriver for the purpose of "modding" a Wii or an xbox..... then you won't find it at B&Q..... but you will find it at DealExtreme - or, like a fiend of mine did..... by "googling" tri-wing screwdrivers, he arrived at my blog and got in touch to borrow mine!

arctic fox ring
I can find plenty of rings featuring "foxes" but none that specifically have an arctic fox on them..... this one is my favourite!

there's nothing in the garden Spike Milligan
Thanks to a fellow blogging pal, Katherine, I have finally uncovered the mystery of this search.  Seems it's a Spike poem that goes a little something like this:

There's nothing in the Garden,
and unless I'm losing my sight,
there was nothing again this morning.
It must have been there all night.

It's hard to see a nothing
or even where its been.
This was the longest nothing
That I have ever seen.

I locked all the drink in the cellar
so nothing could get at the gin,
but by skwonkle o'clock in the evening
nothing had got in!

So I bolted the doors and windows
so nothing escape,
I called for the local policeman
who was armed with a helmet and cape.

'I hear there's been a break in
and you have lost something of worth.
Can you describe the intruder?
Yes he looks like nothing on earth!

arctic fox blog
Hello!

there was a cow from Huddersfield
Yes there was, in fact there are several, but the one you're referring to is the one that had difficulty producing her daily quota of milk....
There was a cow of Huddersfield,
Who said that her milk would not yield,
Unless she 'ad 'er 'udders feeled!