Boring stuff

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Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Blooming marvellous!

This week we've I've been busy with floral displays at both pubs,I like to make a big effort.The gardens at the Inn are stunning,though every year I seem to forget the inordinate amount of extra time (which I can ill afford to spare) spent with the ritual watering.
Did I mention we're on a water meter?
Further evidence of excessive water expenditure

The gardens at the New Pub are looking reasonable but not quite up to the extent of the required floral impact.I returned to the garden centre to source yet more blooms(Id exceeded the budget already but Chefs recent motor vehicle expenditure has afforded me a degree of flexibility...)
Id spotted a flat roof at the back of the pub which was crying out for some colour.
Last Thursday evening just before service I nipped out to place the final touches in situ.
Please note a lightweight garden chair such as this one does not, I repeat does not, make a suitable ladder.
Inappropriate ladder showing impact damage

Just as Id lifted the second box into position I lost my balance.I endeavoured to jump clear of the chair but friends,unfortunately my chunky kitchen clog had become trapped in the slatted seat.As I sprang clear like some latent gazelle( I know an optimistic picture),the chair flew into the air still attached to my foot.I rolled to the ground (at last my Pony Club training proves invaluable)with the chair still clinging on for grim death, feet skyward,flailing on the pavement,sited conveniently directly next to the now busy road awash with teatime traffic.
A number of cars slowed down to help enjoy the spectacle,I even solicited a couple of jovial toots of the horn.Adrenalin hauled me back to my feet as quickly as Id fallen, projecting a nonchalant image fiddling with the blooms and standing back in feigned admiration, stoically keeping my back to the traffic until I was absolutely sure no driver remained who had witnessed the debacle.
But actually Ive cracked my elbow..
The offending window boxes

I seem to be spending an increasing percentage of time on my backside lately.

Continuing synchronistically on with the bottom theme ( all will be *revealed* later),I've been meaning to treat myself to a new camera.
The extent of my photographic skills verge from mildly unflattering to downright offensive,unsurprising given that in the main  most pictures(including all on this blog) are taken on my mobile phone.Recently I sought the advice of the good folk of Twitter, the consensus confirmed a Panasonic Lumix  would indeed ideally meet my requirements.I've been admiring the functionality and practicality of the product on line and dropping subtle hints in favour of an early purchase.
The other day I happened to notice a camera case lying next to the bookings diary at the Inn.
I was informed that a customer had left it over a week ago.
'Has no one rang for it?' I say.
Apparently not.
You would not believe the quantity and diversity of personal items that people discard at the pub.As a general rule I store items for a couple of weeks then any that remain unclaimed are offloaded at one of the many charity shops in our local town. Me and Oxfam are *like that* .
Sadly, valuable items are generally claimed within a couple of days.
As an afterthought I casually picked up the camera case and opened it.
Would you believe it dear readers?An actual PANASONIC LUMIX camera ,the very object of my desire,was fortuitously contained therein.
Mahoosive dilemma.
Conscience wrestled me momentarily, then bade me surrender the camera to our local police station.
I was advised that should the item remain unclaimed,within a specified timescale it would be returned to my personal possession.Huzzah!
I'm tentatively sitting out the qualification period with nervous anticipation.
This afternoon I was regaling the tortuous nature of the camera situation to a couple of the girls and was met with an uncharacteristical stunned silence, followed shortly afterwards by three panic stricken faces.
It transpires that the contents of the camera had been viewed on many occasions over the course of the last week and had been disparagingly noted to contain photos solely of train stations and varying train and engineering parts.
Working on the premise that the owner of the camera would no doubt return to claim his prize at some point very soon,certain parties had deemed it appropriate, nay even a favour, to supplement the interest and indeed the variety of the existing portfolio by taking photos of a certain persons bottom.
I'm reluctant to disclose whose posterior in particular was captured on film but it seems Only Daughter was central to the plot.Clearly,the possibility of m'self handing in the evidence to our local Plod had not been factored in to the equation.
Ive been feigning absolute disgust and have suggested that the resultant investigations may culminate in a 'bottom identity parade'.
(This conjured up a mental image of a Toulouse-Lautrec painting featuring a row of Moulin Rouge Can Can  bottoms ,I tried to source this picture but I'm afraid I must have imagined it).

Imagine a row of these
Chef makes a far more convincing bottom via this Fentimans drip mat.


Secretly though I'm  moderately concerned and am keen to know what the craic(snort) is with this?

Is it a criminal offence to photograph ones derrière for the personal perusal and delectation of ones diners??
I sought Chefs' expert advice:
'Well..' (scratches chin thoughtfully)'that depends...'
Self:'On what??????'
'on the individual attributes of the bum in question......'

Obviously...

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Car Wars and Nee Bloody Craic

Things have been a tad hectic.In fact last week was our busiest week ever at the Inn.
The Apprentice made a return to the kitchen a couple of months back..I decided to keep this piece of information under wraps for a while for fear of another disastrous outcome but thankfully he seems to have learned his lesson.To be frank I'm afraid he and Chef may have been spending too much unsupervised time alone together.Last week they went halfers on this:
I call this 'Ironic parking'

Its a *classic* [sic] old wreck car. Note the backdrop, I'm sure the irony of the parking location escaped Chef.
A 'project' for the winter months during which time it will undoubtedly be restored to its former glory.
The fact that the Apprentice has yet to obtain a driving license nor a competitive insurance quotation has not deterred his enthusiasm.A constant stream of equally impressed mates have relaxed contentedly in the capacious leather seats whilst simultaneously admiring the smooth up/down action of the electric aerial.The discovery of the Valet Park button was a particular high point,an invaluable feature which allows one to lock ones valuables in the trunk prior to passing over ones keys for polite parking.Now all we need is a valet to park it...preferably as far away as possible from our in demand parking spots.
The purchase of a new set of tyres has already incurred an investment far in excess of  the value of the car itself.
Yesterday morning I was awoken at 6.45am to the sound of a strange squeaking noise,now there is undoubtedly an abundance of varied wildlife round these parts, in fact last week we played host to  an uninvited squirrel in our kitchen, but this repeated eee eeee eeee eeee sound was a new one on  me.I  squinted sleepily through the early morning sun to  observe Chef and The Apprentice out in the car park with soapy sponges and buckets in hand,lovingly washing their new acquisition PRIOR TO STARTING WORK.
To be fair I've never seen either of them so happy.
In Chefs own words :'I've never been this excited since the day I met you..'
Quite.
I happened to mention that Id need to sort out my own transport arrangements for the winter months,mindful of the daily drive up the hill to the New Pub.
Then today this arrived:

Corrrrect.
A pick up.
Which will be perfect for me during the inclement winter conditions 'when the dray cant make it up the hill and I have to go and collect the kegs myself..'
How thoughtful.
And all I had in mind was a new set of snow tyres...


Come the end of the week we were both exhausted, but only Sunday night behind the bar to go prior to a well earned early finish and rest.
You know when people are asked what they like best about running a pub, invariably they will  respond 'the craic'?
This 'craic' mullarkey is mentioned on nearly every pub web site( come down and enjoy a pint and some craic with the locals),in fact we are actually guilty of propagating this myth ourselves.Admittedly the craic can be brilliantly entertaining but what every web site fails to mention is that not all craic is good craic.
In fact lots of it is mind numbingly boring.
There's a chap that comes into the bar on a weekend.He's known as 'nee craic'(pronounced  knee) and not to be confused with the similar Scots equine 'nae craic' which can be heard just over the border.
Why is he known as Nee Craic? Because he has Nee bloody craic...
Now here's the strange thing.If the bar is packed,Nee Craic goes home,but if the bar is empty he stays as late as he possibly can sipping his half pint of ale,each of which can last him 45 minutes at least.
Predictably Nee Craic turned up this Sunday.By 10.15 most had departed leaving Moi,Chef and Nee Craic.
Chef was having trouble keeping his peepers open so retired to the comfortable bench seating in front of the fire.
I have a well rehearsed routine which I employ in this situation:

1 Find a task to relieve the monotony,usually polishing glasses.
2.Encourage Nee Craic to impart a  run down of his week(which is exactly the same every week) which keeps him going on his own then I can add the odd 'oh yes' or 'really' at appropriate intervals.Culminating in the Friday morning decadence of the sausage sarnie at Tebay services.All delivered with monosyllabic tedium.

Presently, out of the corner of my eye I noticed Chef nod off, and begin to emit soft snoring noises.As Nee Craic leaned over to feed the fire with yet another log(obviously in for the long haul tonight), I seized my opportunity deftly  launching a damp blue cleaning cloth in  Chef's direction which conveniently caught him full face.He looked momentarily disorientated then smirked  with obvious pleasure at his misdemeanour before snuggling back down.
I kept on with the polishing,making some effort to talk over the top of Chefs impolite punctuations.
11.15pm:
'I see two dogs got through on Britain's Got Talent'
(Slow and deliberate sip of half pint)

'One singing'
(Further definitely unpregnant pause.Further slow sip of the ale).

'One dancing'

Dear God.
As Chef says he could send a glass eye to sleep.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Show you my drains.

The drainage saga continues.
The kind chaps from Dynorod have kindly inserted an inspection camera into my drain and established the root cause of the persistant blockage.

Et voila:

A collapsed pipe.The carefree turds float along merrily until they arrive at said obstacle then,due to the volume of water not being high or forceful enough(due in some part to the modern day water saving flush trickle) some of the little buggers become trapped underneath, then gradually the solid mass increases with every new arriving turd failing to breach the dam:
Result:BLOCKED DRAINS.
Seemingly the only solution is to dig down under the pavement,a distance of 2.5 metres and carry out said repair.
Seemples.
Not quite.
a.We need permission from the council(cue deafening alarm bells) to dig up a public pathway.
b.There is some confusion over responsibility for the work ie us or the council.

Now a word of warning dear friends.
If you ever  experience a blockage such as this,never ever try to sort it out yourself first.Why?
Let me explain.
Over the past couple of weeks we've paid for various plumbers/Dynrod to jet/rod the drains ourselves.We have also rodded the drains ourselves on numerous occasions.See below:

On the occasion of the Bank Holiday blockage,Ems' Ma and Pa kindly helped out.Pa descended the manhole cover and vigorously rodded the drain.Presently the sludge spluttered and cleared and as the pit of the manhole was revealed it was duly noted to be littered with pebbles.
Pa was of the opinion that they needed to be painstakingly extracted to avoid an exacerbation of problems.
Due to the 'ole being a tad snug and Pa no longer being as svelte he used to be, bending over in the restricted space to pick said pebbles out was clearly not on the cards.
I love, nay ADORE my whites, they absolved me once more.
Pa's eyes alighted on Ems 'youre skinny you'll fit' Nodding enthusiastically.
Ems: Nooo, i cant.. (tears)
Ma:'Ill do it.' Raised eyebrows.
Ma strode over with purpose,starfished on the concrete, then dove head first into the manhole(stern farming stock)
Ma:'It stinks down here'
Pa:Well,it will do, people have been shitting down there.'
Moi:'What if she's overcome by fumes and falls in??'
Ems:'Dont breathe!!'
Ma:'EH what do you think I am ??A fish???'
Me:'Quick grab her legs!'
I'm no atrtist but I think this gives an idea of the scenario.



Folllowing the camera jobby (no pun intended) and report from Dynorod we contacted our local council for permission to carry out the repair.On their first visit they inferred that the work might in fact be their own responsibility despite the problem being in the private sewer prior meeting main drain, due to some caveat covering pre 1916 properties.
Great methinks-when can you sort it out??
Not that simple.
Why? because the council cant see any problem with the drains because they are clear.
'Yes' I say,' we've rodded them repeatedly ourselves'.Nodding overly enthusiastically.
'Ah' says council man.'Thats where you've gone wrong.You should have called us first then we could have logged(no further pun intended) the problem.'
Council man was an irritating little balding sort with blatantly obvious control issues.Hoisted by his own petard.And loving it.
'But I have the Dynorod report' I say.'See??' Pointing at the incriminating photo,'I've paid £175 for it'
Hopeful face.
'No' says smug council man 'you need to wait until the drain gets blocked again,then call us out.Then after two or three visits we will log a problem then we may well instigate further investigations,possibly even a camera to see what the bother is.'
'Eh?????'
Later I recounted the days events to Chef.
'Well you know what to do tomorrow dont you??Lift the cover and make sure the bleeper is blocked.'
Chef expressed a retrospective desire to shove the bleepers' baldy napper down the drain himself...

Beam me up Scottie, there's no intelligent life down here..

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