15 Aug 2013

Well, eventful for me anyway. Went shopping Tuesday, the delights of Tesco. It is though one of the very very few times I can just be me and forget all about the stroke issues. Believe it or not using a trolley acts pretty much the same as a wheeled walker and so it enables me to mooch around the store without a need to concentrate on staying upright. Yes the idiot brigade can cause a bit of stress in that they just see someone with a trolley instead of a disabled person, my walking stick tends to go into the base of the trolley so not easily seen by other shoppers. And being that it was fairly busy I did get a couple of small shunts and shoves via trolley dodgems, but nothing serious. I’m not the sort to keep my mouth shut if they cause me distress. But no, pretty much uneventful. I so wish there was something of interest to report. I find the supermarkets usually to be a place full of amusement, but not on Tuesday. Just a nondescript trip out with Mother. Ah, She did have to go to customer services to complain that She had not been given the tokens for the Fissler saucepan offer. There, an event.

Been offered a job this week. I nearly fell off the chair when it came through, just so out of the blue it was almost unbelievable. It’s only an hour a day for five days a week, and it’s on my laptop from home. Simple. More than interested to have a go and see if I can do what is required. Never know it may teach me something for later in my progress. Ever since the stroke I have been a little worried about what I will do work wise once I get to next June. That is when my current benefits claim ends, and I’m hoping to get back to work rather than be reassessed to carry on claiming. It would be lovely to think I will once again be fit enough to go back into managing pubs, but somehow I don’t think it’s going to happen. Plus the fact I have been all over the Midlands for 20 years carrying out that job, and as much as I love it, I’m not sure that I want to leave my home area again. Not that bothered about being in the town of my birth, but would be nice to be in Somerset or Devon from now on. The problem with the troubleshooting angle of the pub trade is that the work is more prolific in the Midlands, and actually seems to be creeping Northwards as well. The West Country has always had pubs that trade well. Yes there will inevitably be some that have shut, same as most areas, but the next phase is that the building will then morph into something else. In the Midlands they tend to stay shuttered up, looking awful.

I noticed the very first pub I ever managed popped up on Facebook the other week. A friend of mine who happens to be from the town it is in had tagged it. That is shuttered, while they argue about the demolition/remodeling of the building. Seems they want to keep something there but pretty much knock it down and start again. Wow that pub brings back memories. November 1992, the very first pub I held licence on, aged 22, a very rare event for someone so young to get a licence back then. The town was, and still is, a strange place. It’s held the usual claim to fame of having most pubs, pretty much all average sized towns seem to have held that accolade at some point in its history, but a lesser known fact is that it was in the Guinness book of records for having the highest amount of incest per capita of people. Wow, and couldn’t you see it with the people that walked around the town.

My biggest memory is the Brothers, one who had a hatred for red cars and would kick and lash out at them as they drove past him in the street, and the other one, and this is as true as I sit here, used to believe he was a truck. He would shuffle around the streets, park up in empty spaces next to the kerbs, stop at traffic lights, and make noises of a lorry. Hmmmmm. (I’m sure I can get someone to back this truth up if needed, haha). Maybe that was when they started the big push for “Care in the Community”? Not sure, but with hindsight it’s easy to see now that why shouldn’t they have had a life they could enjoy, instead of being locked up, out of sight, out of mind?

But I was so green. Yes I had been trained as far as working behind a bar, changing kegs of beer, bottles of spirits, taking the end of night till reads, etc, but nothing can prepare you for the rude awakening of doing it with the full responsibility of being a manager. My first experience of real ale. The pub I had been working in didn’t keep it, so when I come across my first cask of Pedigree, notorious back then for being one of the hardest ales to keep, I had no idea. It was what had been left after the day of take over, so for a start I had no clue as to its age or condition. Neither it would seem did my then boss. I have no recollection of anybody pointing out the cask in the cellar. Something I know full well now I would never have taken on as it was a breached container and nobody had a clue what may have been inside. The complaints I had about it tasting “vinegary”, with good reason. My how much I have learned since then.

I also learned how to not trust people there as well. A bloke called Mick, seemed ok, decent enough, always had a good chat when he came in. Used to only see him once a fortnight as he was “on the book”. Again I had no idea but I think it was disability, meaning he had a book to draw money from the post office rather than having to cash a giro. The first time he asked me to lend him a “tenner” and gave me his book as assurance, I had no issue with doing it. Same with the second time. He would leave his book and then 2 weeks later he would return, collect his book, go and cash it then come straight back to the pub to give me the tenner he owed. I had gained a trust in him as a person. So the third time I told him I didn’t need the book and would see him in a fortnight. To this day I have never seen Mick again. And likewise never have I loaned out any cash to people that I knew nothing about. We live, we learn.

But anyway, work. It’s not as simple as one would think. Being that I am registered as disabled and am using the general public’s taxes to survive on, I cannot just find a job and start doing it. Indeed not. I have to inform the relevant Government Department in writing about the job, what it entails, if it in any way affects my disability, and if the Employers are ensuring a safe workplace for me to be able to carry out my tasks. Of course its all pretty much straight forward, I will be working from home, so that’s the safety issues covered, its already “set up” for me, and it’s for an hour a day sat at my laptop, not commuting daily to a building site.

Then there is the other Government Department. Us disabled people usually get paid twice. Once for actually being disabled (DLA) and again for the benefit akin to what an out of work person gets (ESA, as opposed to an able person getting JSA). Well this department have to send me a form to complete of which will then be looked at by a claimant adviser and a decision made as to if it comes into the rules of being allowed. So, as it stands, as much as I want to have a go at this job, I still don’t know if I can.

I seen, actually, not true, I caught snippets of, a programme the other night about benefits in 1949. From what little bits I caught it seemed pretty much like a disabled person was assessed on their ability and restrictions from their problems and then the Government adviser would match them up to a suitable job. (I think that’s the gist of what I caught, may have to try to find the programme “on demand” somewhere and watch it properly). Why can’t it still be like that? I personally would love to learn more about Excel, formulas, and all that goes with it. I am self learning to a degree, but its something that i could do as a job one day, if there are such jobs that need people knowledgeable in spreadsheets. I could do that no matter if I stay as I am or if I fully recover. The last thing I want is to be sat for the rest of my life on benefits. Hate the idea with a passion. But if it means that taking this job offer threatens my income as it is at the moment, then I’m afraid I wont be doing it. A perfect example of how the benefits system doesn’t work in this country. It should make me feel empowered, not stuck in a hole I cannot escape from. It is a massive vacuum that holds you in place, rendering you unable to escape its confines. If I take part time and/or minimum wage, I cannot earn as much as I would need to survive and pay a rent to someone, and so the vacuum ensures that you stay on benefits and get all costs covered. Its wrong enough that it works like that for able bodied people, but surely there is something that can be done for the likes of me who may not ever be able to earn the wages we need to survive?

I shall keep you posted of my progress on this aspect, I’m sure there is some interesting times ahead with it.

Coffee time I think, give my brain a rest, and let you get some breath from my incessant chatter.

Nearly the weekend again, my doesn’t time fly when you are having fun.

And weigh day tomorrow, another ear bashing to follow. 😉

Speak soon.



Me, 43 y/o of the male species, currently residing back in the town of my incarnation after spending 20 years running around the Midlands area troubleshooting run down and/or bankrupt pubs. Single and stuck at my parents while waiting for the local authority to be really kind and give me a flat to live in. Seems they are not as quick with their thoughtfulness as one would hope. With so much time running pubs I have many an experience, long and tall tales to tell, stories of wonderful people, as well as some not so wonderful people. I still have a passion for real ales, in the art of keeping them, serving them, making sure they are at optimum level for the customer, and yes maybe drinking them, although now it is to a somewhat lesser extent. But more about that if someone wishes to ask, or maybe some of it will come into my blogs? One can never tell. I had finally come home after so long when the company I worked for decided they no longer had a pub for me to run when the last one I was in got sold to a local property developer. 2 days notice I had of becoming jobless and homeless. The traits of being a Managing trouble-shooter I’m afraid. So home I came, stopped at my best mates for a few weeks, left there and went to my parents. Travelled many a mile for interviews with pub companies and agencies, including almost 900 miles in 2 days for 2 such opportunities. That’s the love I have for staying in the pub trade. Alas it would seem that I also have far to much experience, a few Area Managers and company owners having an obvious disdain for the fact I knew more than them about the trade. Not that I was one to rub it in their faces, but I think it must have come across as I talked of what my past history entailed. Sunday 26th February 2012, I walked into one of the village pubs for a drink that had only reopened a few days before. Got chatting to the chap that was leasing it and by Monday lunch time I was the Manager. Result. Managing a pub I had known since childhood, knew most of the customers, and had a family name well connected to the area. Wish I had of gone in sooner, would have saved me a fortune in petrol. Less than 3 weeks later, Thursday 15th March 2012, the pub was doing good, lots to sort out to get it trading properly but the signs were very positive. Approx 6.30 – 7am while having a coffee and watching the news on telly the stroke happened. Put me on the floor, took my mobility, killed my speech, blurred my vision completely. Had to crawl down the stairs to let the ambulance crew in. So here we are, present day, lost my job, again, so homeless, and now unable to work, have ended up back at my parents. For ANYBODY that has a job where your home comes with it, buy something, even a caravan, but something, you never know when you will need it. It's now a while since it happened and all I have been left with of any inconvenience is vertigo, both the severe and BPPV varieties. That created a massive lack of mobility which in turn had me balloon by over 3 and a half stone. So here I am, grateful to be living, but determined to beat the vertigo, and to lose the fat. Follow my blog and join me on a journey that is actually enjoyable, in that it gives me a focus while I’m left as one of this Governmen'ts horrible statistics that they can't force back to work (yet). (Ooops, dont think me political, I am not, in any way shape or form, just as I don’t believe in God, but I do read the news about the state of current affairs.) Thanks for reading.

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