Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Disaster averted

Today is beer line cleaning day, and while I was waiting for the guests to come down for breakfast, I decided to disconnect the various beer lines from their respective kegs, and couple them to the cleaning line.

There are an awful lot of different connectors, depending on which beer you're talking about, and each requires a slightly different technique when coupling/uncoupling the keg. Some are 'lift-and-slide' (Guinness), some are 'lift-and-twist' with a three-point connection (Tennents), and quite a few are 'lift-and-twist' with a modified bayonet connection like this.

There are a few things which can go wrong with these.

The simplest is what's called a stuck spear. That's when the valve on the pipe which goes down into the beer inside the keg fails to close when you remove the connector. The result is a beer shampoo, or at worst, bath, as the entire pressurised keg empties itself all over you, the ceiling, and the rest of the cellar. In our experience, Guinness kegs are worst for this.

Slightly more dangerous is when one of the bayonet-style connectors gets stuck, and instead of the connector coming off, the spear starts to unscrew. If you don't notice, there is the possibility of a beer shampoo. Far worse, however, is if the spear actually comes uncoupled and flies out of the keg under pressure. That can do you serious mischief.

Today, the Belhaven Best connector got stuck. It's happened before, and generally all you need to do is tighten the connector again, give it an extra hard twist to lock the spear in place, and take the connector off.

Not this morning. Ominous hissing noises ensued, and after three goes, I phoned the Technical Services people at Belhaven. This is not something I wish to have to deal with.

So, today the beer line cleaning will be one line short. Not great, as the only way to keep your beer in top condition is to sterilise the lines weekly - and doing that twice over will not be fun.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

When you're tired

past tired, in fact, the sight of a cleaner (especially mine, who does a very good job) coming through the door is a wonderful thing!

It's basically been a good morning. I had four guests in last night (a family), and after they'd had breakfast they asked if they could stay another night. Yippee! My head doesn't hurt (yes, this is an unusual state of affairs), and I've managed to get out and do the grocery shopping for the next day or so.

Today I'm on my own in the pub for 11 hours, with a big football match to round it off (Celtic v. FC Copenhagen if anyone cares) when I'll be offering pints at £2. I've put posters up, but frankly doubt that anyone will notice....

Blog reading.

I don't read Rabbitch very often, but this morning I wandered past and spotted her post on a few differences she's noticed between the way men & women think/act. Why don't they teach these things in 'lifeskills' at school? Actually, why don't they teach lifeskills at all?

Sample curriculum:

# how to make (and stick to) a realistic budget
# healthy eating on a budget (most advice assumes that you've ready access to all manner of fresh fruit & veg which, frankly, small supermarkets simply do not carry, or if they do, charge way over the odds for nasty old stuff)
# how to read a bank statement (and what to do if something's wrong)
# how to write a letter of complaint that might just get results
# basic food (and other) hygiene
# the care and feeding of basic power tools
# translation from boy-speak to girl-speak
# how to work out what your priorities are ('cos time management isn't much use if you can't decide what to start with)
# how to take notes in a lecture/meeting
# an honest discussion of the risks/pleasures of intoxicants (legal and illegal)
# graphic discussion of STIs (trust me, the pictures are quite enough to make you think twice)
# an honest discussion of relationships, childrearing etc (difficult I know)
# basic tenets of major religions, morality & the avoidance of chauvinism in any form
# your country's political system, how to vote, and a discussion of the techniques used by politicians and their ilk

any other ideas?

Celtic beat FC Copenhagen tonight. More happiness!

I'll leave the discussion of the Ryder Cup victory to Jean.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Late Opening

Sadly, today the pub will not be opening on time at 12 noon. I have fed 6 hungry guests, started the dishes, cleared & cleaned the breakfast room, cleaned the pub & loos, stripped six beds and remade them completely (including two clean duvets and four clean pillows), started the laundry, ....

And now I'm sitting down before I start cleaning the four bathrooms.


J is away to Arran and Ardrossan on a business trip, so I'm on my own until 6pm tonight.

Edited to add:
I managed to open at 14.45, after a quick bite of lunch, then just sat for a while! I really ought to be a lot fitter than I am with all this climbing stairs and scrubbing bathrooms....

Total takings today £35. Not unusual for a Monday.

Oh, and before anyone jumps to conclusions: J does more than his fair share on the cleaning front on a normal day! The trip is all about providing 'added value' in your food service, and as he's the expert on that, he's away to find out what he can.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


hours plus that I've worked this week. I'm knackered!

Apologies to those of you who've been emailing me to find out where I'd got to. I'm here, but email hasn't been anywhere near the top of my list of things-to-do.

Two interviews today. Both turned up!

A poster in the pub window has already had more of a response than advertising in the newspaper. Lesson learned. Next step - advertising on the notice board at the local FE College.

You must be joking.

Other stuff
I've been doing my own version of "What not to wear" over the past month or so with catalogue shopping and a digital camera. Once I get over the horror of some of the photos, I may share.... In the meantime, it's back to the old staples of black trous and a white/light blouse.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Answering the wrong questions

So, I emailed the Commission for Racial Equality here in the UK to ask for advice over and above the standard 'ask them to stop, then ask them to leave' response to racist behaviour.

Here is the response I received:
Thank you for your email to the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE).

In addition to informing customers that you find their comments offensive you may find it helpful to draw up a race equality policy statement and communicate this to staff, customers and suppliers. You may also decide to ask customers to leave your establishment if they are causing offence to others as you have obligations under the race relations act. I would refer you to the Racial Equality and the Smaller Business Guide for guidance on the law and for details on what to include in a race equality statement.

You may find it useful to view the CRE website as it contains further information on the law and other material that may be of interest to you.

This was followed by 18 lines of disclaimers, security and privacy statements etc.

My reply was, I admit, fairly short, not to say pointed:
Unfortunately, providing customers in the pub with a written policy
statement will simply result in an increase in the number of paper
darts in the pub.

I don't think you've quite understood the nature of the licensed trade!

I will continue as I have been.

Strangely, no-one from the CRE has responded to that email yet....

As I suspected, I ran out of yarn about 6cm above the hem of the jacket I was designing, and my supplier appears to have gone out of business. Drat.

I have remade the jacket using some white acrylic I happened to have, and am now working on the matching hat. Then comes the fun of writing up the pattern, submitting it to The Knitting Vault and waiting to see if anyone likes it as much as I do.

Pictures will follow once it's done.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


I failed to notice that the last posting was my 100th - rather surprising really.

Dez & Carlarey: thanks for your encouragement. I was thanked privately by one of my regulars who had witnessed the rant for standing up to the man. Sadly they didn't feel able to back me up in public, but it's a start. The local code for an area without cultural diversity is 'a nice place to bring up children'.... I'm composing a letter to the local paper in response to someone who wrote in to complain that we'd fought two world wars to keep immigrants out, and there wasn't a single country where multicultural, multi-religious society worked. I'd be interested to know of any where a monotheistic monoculture has been part of anything other than a completely repressive regime (China, US under McCarthy, Burma...?).

TK: Thanks for your thoughts on that blouse. I've not had time to do anything to it since my strop last month, but I think that taking in the seams at the top of the sleeves is most definitely worth a try.

Dad: Yes of course I'm being over-critical. I want a blouse that's as close to perfect as I can get it. What do you mean you're not surprised?

I'm working on a design for a matinee jacket. I've a very bad feeling about the amount of yarn left at this stage (King Cole 'soft as silk' appears to be discontinued) but we shall see. I'm working from stash at the moment, and as I made the decision to Freecycle all the basic acrylic yarn I hadn't used in years, I'm having a bit of trouble finding enough in baby-friendly yarns.

The baby surprise is finished, but not yet photographed. I'm reasonably pleased, although the buttons aren't quite perfect.

The lace stole is stalled. I seem to have misplaced a YO somewhere in the last few rows, and I'm going to have to wait until I can a)focus and b)sit down and concentrate before I can carry on. Perhaps while listening to this.

I went on a walkabout and took notes on all the things which still need to be fixed or finished in the bedrooms and on the main staircase. Areas which the workmen appear to think are done. The list comes to six pages....

Other stuff
It seems our Prime Minister is about to do a Maggie Thatcher. He's said he won't stand for election again, and won't serve a full term, but he refuses to set a date for his leaving. The constant debate about when/if he will go is getting very tired indeed.

I'm looking forward to seeing the results of the crash of Smart 1 onto the lunar surface. As I didn't get to bed until about 2am, and it was raining, I didn't get up early to try and see the flash myself.... It seems that the experimental ion drive, and a few other clever bits of miniaturised kit, have worked well enough to be incorporated into standard design.

Light relief
I've been enjoying Dilbert a great deal recently. If you want to know why I haven't provided a pictorial link, click here.