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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Where's Basil Fawlty when you need him?

Last Sunday evening was very busy, unusually so. We had every table full which is different for a Sunday evening in Prawle, but I certainly wasn’t complaining. I found myself very busy at the bar and the time went by rather quickly. Two German visitors asked for a table and I managed to seat them although they requested a table that was nearer to the log fire. I explained that this particular table had already been reserved by another party and was unavailable. The man was not impressed, but I reiterated the reasons and he went back to his wife and sat where they had been placed. I can only imagine that log fires are a rarity in Deutschland because once they had placed their food order his wife went and pulled an easy chair over to the fire and sat there gazing at the flames. I continued to man the pumps and keep the beer flowing and food coming. At one point I was two deep at the bar and trying my best to keep everyone happy when I noticed my German guest sauntering over to me. I was half way through pouring a pint of IPA when he interrupted and said in a manner that made his request more akin to an order, “Excuse me, please you vill go and stoke ze fire now?” Well! I smiled pleasantly and through gritted teeth explained that, “No I won’t be stoking the fire, because as he may have noticed I am rather busy right now!” He returned muttering to his Fraulein.

The following evening they returned and enjoyed another of Karen’s top meals. I waited until they had finished their last spoonful and asked them, “haben Sie gut gegessen?” Meaning – Have you eaten well? They were somewhat taken aback and I only wish I could have remembered how to say “You shouldn’t mutter about people when they can hear and understand –ish you!”

As an aside, it was only after they had gone that I remembered that the pub walls are adorned with Shepherd Neame Spitfire posters!!! So much for political correctness.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

It’s been a while I know! I am reminded constantly by certain people, no names no pack drill – Mr. K! Anyway, since my last offering I have had some quality time with Helen and the little ones and even managed a decent coastal walk last Sunday morning with Helen’s mum. I have managed to chip a tooth. Now I could claim that it happened whilst evicting a seven foot tall axe wielding drunk from the bar, but that wouldn’t really be true. It actually happened biting into a sausage sandwich – can you believe that? I now whistle my way through conversations as well as looking like a reject extra from a medieval film scene.

I have been racking my brains for some time about who Mr. K. & Mr. B. remind me of when they are together. It has finally come to me – Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets. They are so alike it is scary. All I need is a balcony for them to sit in and everything would be perfect. I jest, they are a welcome addition to the pub and keep me interested and amused (and on my toes) at the same time.

It is local election time here and some of my locals are canvassing keenly for their respective candidates. I do not allow official canvassing within the confines of the pub, but it has been interesting listening to peoples’ comments at the bar regarding the politics of the area. I have noticed how different the concerns of country folk are to those of townies and I must admit to having had to be educated in rural matters. I am now on the electoral roll so I will exercise my right to vote, but in the absence of a Monster Raving Loony Party candidate I am not sure where my cross will be placed.

The Euchre team have had a major result. We are now in the final of the Brooking Plant Cup. I am going to go along on the night and provide support and also a few pints for the team. They are a great bunch and their custom has helped me through the quiet winter months. They have also been trying to teach me how to play the game; I think I’m a lost cause there.

On Monday this week I went to The Breakfast Club, this was held in the village cafĂ© and was a really nice way to start the day. A full English breakfast, coffee, good company and an abundance of Union flags as it was also St. George’s day. Chris and Viv the proprietors really made it the place to be. Chris looked the picture of sartorial elegance in his blazer and flannels. I maintained my standards by wearing old jeans and a scruffy t-shirt.

It has been suggested that I may like to join the village cricket team. It has been some years since I bowled a googly, but hey! I’m up for it. I just need to get some whites and well who knows what may happen, I am sure it will be worth it even if I do receive a healthy dose of sledging from certain quarters.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


No excuses apart from being very, very busy, very tired and totally flat after the Easter mayhem. Easter started in the week leading up to Good Friday. People started arriving in the village and the phone kept ringing with bookings for evening meals. I kept hearing the Ka-Ching of the cash register and realised that there is a God after all. My eldest son, Sam spent that first week with me and helped in the kitchen and also assisted me with glass washing duties. As a fourteen year old he has reached the stage of development where normal speech is replaced by an unintelligible series of grunts, but we managed to communicate sufficiently enough to get by. I also enjoyed a visit from my eldest brother Trevor who travelled from London to spend a couple of nights here. He gave me his seal of approval, which actually means a lot to me and he enjoyed walking the lanes and coast path during his stay. He also found the beer and food to his taste so all in all I think Prawle hit the mark once again.

Easter weekend came with a vengeance. Due to the busier than normal week we had been having my mind was all over the place and definitely not where it was meant to be. This manifested itself on Friday night. Helen and the boys had travelled down on the Thursday evening and having the family around had been great. Young children bring a sense of perspective to things and I must admit that I had been feeling slightly down of late, mainly through tiredness but having Max and Joe around lightened my mood. On Friday night I came down to the bar and started preparing tables for meals that had been booked. I made sure the bar was ready and shortly after opening people started to arrive. I was ready for the offensive. A steady trickle of customers took me through to seven o’clock when the first diners arrived. We were fully booked and my trusty barman Martin and I made sure that we met the demands being placed upon us. Things were running smoothly until-

David and Katie H-S came in and ordered drinks and Katie made a simple observation, “What no suit?” Now anyone who knows me also knows that I have a tradition of always wearing a suit on a Friday night. Obviously I blame Helen and the boys entirely for this oversight, inasmuch as they arrived on the Thursday when normally they turn up on a Friday. This caused me to lose track of the days. Lame excuse really isn’t it? As a result I have to suffer a self imposed penalty. I always said that should I fail to wear my suit on a Friday evening I would (at a date chosen by me) serve at the bar for one evening dressed as a woman. I will let you know the date in due course, but beware my dear imbibers, should you laugh at my discomfort you will be charged an additional five pence on your drink which will go to the Devon Air Ambulance Trust. The only ray of light during this highly embarrassing situation was the absence of Mr. K. He is sunning himself with his family in the West Indies whilst taking in the cricket World Cup, jealous! Moi? So at least I avoided the withering glance, the acerbic comment and the criticism of no blog posting, God bless ‘im.

More to follow very soon…