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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

How to make a few words count

Working within any service industry acquiring the ability to deal with difficult customers is a required skill.
Throw some alcohol into the mix and workers within the hospitality industry experience uniquely challenging situations.
Last Friday night we welcomed a particularly unpleasant example.
Quite early on he was flagged up as a potential problem.As the wine flowed his voice increased in volume  until eventually his conversation was conducted in permanent UPPER CASE
Being moderately offensive to the waitress throughout the meal the behaviour peaked as The Blonde accidentally spilled a glass of red wine on to the lap of a diner seated at an adjacent table.Though not entirely to blame ,the diner having failed to notice her approach knocked the drinks tray from her grip in a particularly extravagant hand gesture(no doubt in an effort to make himself heard over the continual din from the next table).
The problem customer witnessed the whole incident.Quick as a flash he gestured The Blonde over.

(Legs splayed and pointing at his crotch)
His wife muttered quietly 'I cant believe you just did that'.Then sat with the tired look of someone who is resigned to witnessing a lifetime of similar tastelessly lairy displays.
The Blonde reiterated the conversation to the kitchen.Including the information that he had undone his trousers to allow his swollen stomach to escape the grip of his ill fitting raspberry corduroys.
'Do you want me to go out and slap him?'said Chef helpfully.

'No' said the Blonde 'I feel sorry for his wife she looks very sad...'

Later he diverted his attention over to the bar area,leaving his companions contentedly alone at the table.

I'm not sure where he was from,but he was calling everyone 'John' in a misplaced attempt at feigned familiarity.
It transpired they were all en route to a village around ten miles away.
As he had by this time consumed copious amounts of alcohol and was incapable of driving the party to their lodgings,he was soliciting directions to enable the wife to assume driving duties.No doubt a regular occurrence.
At this point he turned his attention to myself asking if it would be possible to arrange a taxi if need be.
Great.He wants to go.
'Yes of course what time shall I ask them to come for you?'(soon please)
'Well it is Friday I will need to give them notice or you might have a long wait'
In your dreams mate.
I moved behind the bar in order to put a substantive obstacle between us.
A regular at the bar,a man of few words, witnessed the unfolding drama,glanced at me and raised his eyebrows in disdain.
Another local directed the stranger over to the man of few words advising him that he could give him good directions coming in fact from the particular village he intended to travel to.
The stranger made the mistake of adding the tagline 'John' to the end of his request for help.

'How did you know my name was John?' said the regular thoughtfully.(His name wasn't John BTW)
'Well I tell you what' said the man of few words...'Why don't you just guess your way over to the village'

With that, he necked the remnants of his pint,turned and strode purposefully to the door without even giving the stranger a cursory glance.
In the background I'm sure I heard a ripple of applause but it may have just been in my head.

Familiarity does breed contempt...

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Uncommonly serious post

The Good Pub Guide came out recently.

Last year,for the first time in its 28 year history,the guide introduced a charge for featured pubs.
At the time we hummed and hahed over whether we should stay in the guide,then a twitter friend commented that  if we thought it was good PR for the pub we should just stump up the cash and stay in.
So we did.
This year we didn't really give it much thought,the invitation to be included arrived  and we sent off the payment.
This weekend I saw a copy of the 2013 guide for the first time.
I was surprised to see last years County Dining Pub of the Year demoted to a 'worth a visit' entry.
 'worth a visit' pubs are:
' pubs that have been recommended by readers in the year before the guide goes to print and that we feel are worthy of inclusion-many of them,indeed as good in their way as the featured pubs'
There has to be a reason why last years County Dining pub of the year is given only a worth a visit entry at the end of the county chapter.
Is it under new ownership?
Has the Chef changed?
Has its entry in other notable guides lapsed?

Could it be perhaps that they decided against forking out the dosh?thus warranting only a minor mention?
I see also that the guide reports a record number of new entries(a bumper crop of 252-the most ever) this in a time when we are told 12 pubs a week continue to close.Call me a cynic but Id like to see this figure offset by the number of pubs which have disappeared from the guide.

Fast forward a couple of years.
Lets imagine that a significant number of the pubs that would previously have achieved a full entry status decide against paying the annual fee.(I think it was around £200 this year).
Its unlikely that all of these pubs would be included as 'worth a visit' pubs otherwise valuable space for paying entries might be lost(lets not be so naive as to think they don't have a financial target).
Therefore its probable to assume that good pubs might disappear from the guide,whilst less notable pubs that may previously have achieved only a worth a visit mention might have featured status.
Not really a Guide any more is it?More a guide to the best of those willing to pay.

Everyone knows there are guides which charge for inclusion,the problem with the Good Pub Guide is its reputation as being one of the independent guides(eg Michelin and Good Food Guide) .
Whilst a pub cant approach the guide and ask to pay to be included(they invite you),there is no denying that the introduction of charges for main entries totally alters the dynamic of the book as witnessed above.

Of course all of the above is supposition.

What do you think?Shall we pay for inclusion next year?(Assuming of course we're invited..)

Chow for now.

Mrs Marples.

NB The Good Beer Guide also published recently and compiled by Camra remains impartial,there is no charge for inclusion in this guide.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Jonny Fartpants comes to lunch

At lunchtime today as I was clearing some plates from a table in the conservatory,an elderly gentleman on sticks was struggling to his feet.As I turned he let off the most massive fart.
Reader,it was so loud it almost blew the tiles off the roof.
How I managed to get to the kitchen without exploding I do not know.However, once there I was creased up for several minutes in fits of laughter,tears streaming down me face,laughed like a drain so much so that me stomach was in spasm.
At this point The Cynical One appeared.
'What's going on? Everyone can hear you out there..'
'Did the couple from the conservatory hear? I say feeling momentarily stricken with guilt.
'Yes,the woman was paying the bill and commented that the kitchen sounded very jolly..'
I gave a brief run down of the events leading up to the raucous laughter,including the fact that Jonny Fartpants didn't bat an eyelid ,completely failing even to acknowledge the incident.

'Perhaps he didn't hear it' said the Cynical One
'What?Well he MUST have at least felt it' I say..
'Well... better an empty house than an angry tenant' said the Cynical One..
This prompted a ten minute exchange of similar proverbs resulting in yet more hilarity. I'm afraid I'm unable to reproduce the vast majority of these here.Suffice to say there's nowt like a bit of toilet humour to raise the mood.
Stand clear for the blast

On a more serious note,there's been something really annoying me lately which I must share with you. I've noticed certain parties using twitter adding an 'X' to the end of every farking tweet.And its not just to people they are particularly friendly with-its to EVERYONE they tweet to without exception.
This devalues the X. No one likes a X more than I do but to get one from a complete stranger feels a bit..well ..creepy.In the right context,you know after you've spoken to someone for a while or indeed at least exchanged a few pleasantries or perhaps if you've done them a favour,than I would be made up to be rewarded with a special X,otherwise no.
An occasional X is good, but showing yourself to be a serial Xer totally smacks of wanton insincerity..
Lets put X back where it belongs as a special occasion treat to be anticipated and earned,not dished out indiscriminatingly much like a groupon coupon.
In a similar vein I've also noticed a strange phenomena in the incorrect usage of the word 'lovely'.In its most common form the tweet is ended 'thanks lovely'.On the first occasion I saw this I was slightly puzzled,I presumed there was a word or two missing from the end of the tweet,lovely what?? Was it a lovely avatar,lovely comment or even a lovely outfit? As time went on I realised the word lovely was being used in the context of an attributive adjective to describe the actual person but in its own right with the omission of the word  'person' or 'girl' or perhaps 'friend',much as sweetheart,chuck or pet might be used depending or your point of reference.
This is a new one on me.Does anyone ever use this turn of phrase in real life?? Correct me if I'm wrong but I think not.
The only thing worse than the use of the phrase 'thanks lovely' is  its plural form 'thanks lovelies'
That really gets my goat.

Finally,I noticed a really odd statistic the other day.I wrote this blog post a while back,its not particularly noteworthy but for some reason it is getting *a lot* of hits.This has been bothering me somewhat,given that its only been on the blog for a short period of time and has already almost made it onto the front page as a most popular post.
Further investigation revealed the true nature of its popularity.
*Lightbulb moment*
It seems the search word 'noose' has brought an infeasible volume of traffic to visit me l'il ole blog.
What a load of weirdos there are trawling the interwebs.Personally, I blame 50 Shades of.
So if perhaps you're the author of a blog and you want to boost your site traffic a wee bit, may I suggest you incorporate a few carefully chosen words into your next post?
Me? I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing.

Dog Collars..Handcuffs..Chains..Blindfolds.. Bums! Spanking!

Thanks lovelies.

Biff xxx

PS I note in the time its taken me to write this the post in question has actually made it onto the front page,547 views and this rate Marcus Wareings infeasibly hirsute arms are going to be kicked into touch pretty darn soon


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