Sunday, August 27, 2006

I grew up a long way from here

both physically and culturally. Durban, South Africa, is a very different place to Jedburgh, Scotland.

Warning: grumpy posting follows!

That has been brought home to me rather forcibly over the past few weeks, as the number and nature of racist rants in the pub has increased. I won't stand for it - neither racist nor sexist behaviour has any place in a civilised country - but short of barring someone from the pub there doesn't seem to be much I can do.

The language used by our government appears to be making racists far more confident about spreading their filth. Suddenly, it seems, it's acceptable to call all Muslims terrorists, or claim that foreigners are taking over the country, or whatever other piece of nonsense you like. You're far more likely to receive agreement from your fellow (white male) drinkers than any argument.

Then, or course, there are the people who've come into the UK from the rest of Europe: Poland and Lithuania are the most recent countries to send us their young people to work in jobs that the Brits don't want. The locals, of course, don't quite see it that way, as they're quite sure that if it wasn't for all these nasty foreigners then we'd all have much better jobs, houses, schools, hospitals etc.

When I attempt to pull the ranter up, by reminding them that if they want to get rid of all the foreigners, they'd need to start with me, I'm informed that of course I don't count, as I'm white.

Filth is the right word. I'm starting to feel stained by association.

Hello people: the whole of the UK is made up of immigrants who arrived over the past 2000 years. Picts, Romans, Angles, ....

On a slightly more rediculous note
I've discovered that I'm unlikely to be served a pint in one of the places John and I go out for dinner. Apparently it's not ladylike - I'd have to settle for a half pint. Just as well that they don't sell any beer that I'd drink....

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Trouble generally comes in threes

So I'm waiting....

John has cut his finger while attempting to redesign his Cunning Cellar Cooler (TM).

One of the painters has sliced his knuckle open, I suspect while attempting to remove ancient papier mache using a razor scaper.
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Who's next?

Staffing woes
Anyone who runs a business and tells you that they have no problems with finding and/or retaining staff is either lying, deluded, or employing only members of their own family.

This time around, we tried advertising in the Southern Reporter, a newspaper which reaches most of the Borders. By the closing date, I'd received a grand total of three application forms. Five days later, I'd received another two.

Of these five:
One has already found a job
Two have chosen not to provide a telephone number, so I can't invite them for interview even if I wanted to
One has provided her parents' number in Edinburgh, as her mobile has stopped working. Her parents have no way to contact her....
One is coming for interview on Tuesday.

And people wonder why so much of the hospitality industry is staffed by workers from outwith the UK. Just as soon as I have living space for them, I'll be looking for a pair of friendly immigrants too!

Three days of empty pub + Minimal staffing = One baby surprise which needs buttons and sewing up.

So at least I've achieved something this week.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

You've got to laugh

So we've got plasterers in the building at the moment. Finally. Only about 2 months after we were expecting to be finished.

Now, the more observant of you may have noticed that this is a hotel. A working hotel, which means that we have guests. Breakfast is from 08.30 until 09.30, so at about 09.00 I'm generally under a fair bit of pressure to get everything ready and right and on time.

At 09.10 this morning, a plasterer, in work clothes, came into the kitchen and attempted to ask me a question. My response was to send him to find John (the other half) as he wasn't currently dealing with breakfast. The conversation went something like this.

Workman: Excuse me.
Lorna: I'm busy cooking breakfast, you're going to need to talk to John.
Workman: Excuse me.
Lorna: I'm busy cooking breakfast, you're going to need to talk to John.
Workman: Where is he?
Lorna: Well, you might try the office.

At this point, John came out of the office to deal with a full blown strop on the part of the plasterer - and came to find out what I'd said.

Just a wee bit precious, are our tradesmen here in the Borders. Coming into a kitchen in work clothes is bad enough. Doing so in the middle of breakfast is really daft.

One of them does it most mornings....

More cheery stuff
My pressie from Dez has arrived! Two balls of a wool blend called Dublin, all the way from the States, and some of her own patterns too.

Thanks Dez!

Ryanair has been responding to the heightened security at UK airports in the approved Irish manner - by making a joke about it. The Register has the best version I've seen.

Yesterday was dead in the pub. So much so that I managed to get half of a baby surprise jacket knitted. The lace has stalled - I simply can't work on it with the kind of distractions you get while serving - but I'm about 1/4 through the main body of the piece so there's hope of finishing some time this year.

And so to work
My barmaid/cleaner has phoned in to say that her son's been bitten by their dog which means a trip to the doctor for tetanus jags etc., so I'm off to deal with cleaning, laundry and other assorted bits of busy-ness.

Friday, August 18, 2006

This and that.

That dratted blouse is winning the battle at the moment. I have (so far) neither screamed nor sworn, but blood sweat and tears have definitely been involved.

Here it is in all its glory:
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As you can see, the shoulders are still too wide, the bust darts too shallow, and the armholes (I think) too tight. There's something odd going on around the hips, and something else weird around the shoulder blades. Apart from that, my dears, it's just perfect....

Otherwise, things are much quieter outside the hotel, as the brood of house martins has finally fledged. They are noisy little things.
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Thursday, August 17, 2006



Today was supposed to be the grand unveiling of the perfectly fitting blouse that I've been working on for some time. Instead, it is going to be the day of the grand unpicking.

I have measured, and modified, and pinned, and modified some more, and the blasted thing still isn't right. Despite increasing the bust darts to what appears to me to be rediculous proportions (I'm only a C-cup for goodness' sake), and mucking about with everything from shoulder slope to waist curve, I'm still not happy.

So, the sleeves are coming out again, and the armholes are to be enlarged. That will hopefully solve both the slight puffed sleeve effect of a too-large sleeve cap, and the draglines from under the arms.

Then I get to try and figure out what's making it get hung up on my rear (there's plenty of ease, so it can't be that it's too small) and possibly make those bust darts even bigger to stop it drooping in front.

And it's raining. Again.

John has suggested Jacaranda Rose and Doritos along with some music. I think I might just take him up on it.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Snap, Crackle, Pop

No, not these cheery chaps, but what appears to have been a wheelie-bin on fire. I was woken by what sounded very like distant fireworks, some time around 2am on Sunday. Not good, as we'd only made it to bed about an hour earlier.... Then I noticed the clouds of black smoke, and the lovely orange glow, emanating from the close across the street.

A quick 999 call later, and a brief discussion of the difference between Crailing (where the fire wasn't) and Crown Lane (where it was), and the fire engine turned up. Our plumber is a relief fireman, and he was on duty, so I hope he wasn't too peeved at being dragged out.

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Apologies to anyone who's left me a comment recently. I have read them all, and do eventually hope to respond. Summer holiday time is (for obvious reasons) not really a good time for extended correspondence!

Fibre Crafts Retreat
See recent post for basic idea....

However, we're starting to think about perhaps pushing it back to late May/early June to allow for folk to save up after SkipNorth and the Creative Crafts Show in Glasgow in March....

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Payday tomorrow

No, not for me - for the staff. My last payday was in January 2005!

That means that today has been taken up with the inevitable laundry along with doing the payroll and sorting out the staff rota for the next four weeks.

In between times, I had a moment or two for these:

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The book is on loan from the local library, who had no idea of just how valuable it was. The yarn is cashmere, for a lace project which I am not going to blog about as I suspect the recipient reads this....