Because our trade is so incredibly seasonal, and because we are so wonderfully remote, we have no choice but to have seasonal staff. There is no reasonably priced housing in the valley and so generally, we have to accommodate staff. They are, by and large, foreign students wishing to improve their English. We had one turn up last night. I had expected her to arrive on Monday, but no, it was last night, Saturday, the main trading day of our week.
When we went on holiday in December, we had intended to turn the water off in the staff caravan. We forgot. It froze and bust some pipes. Yesterday I had to fix the pipes so our new member of staff had somewhere to live.
No problem. Plumbing is second nature to me. I'll have it fixed in an hour or so; there's probably only one or two leaks after all. I've got a shed full of spare pipe, fittings and everything needed. My biggest worry was that it would have split the heat exchanger in the water heater, if that doesn't leak then we're OK.
So, I set to, supposedly helped by Alfie. He was there while the easy bits were fixed. A couple of compression fittings blown off. New olives and that was that. An old plastic push fitting, underneath, but right by the door, that was easy. Oh, and then that pipe that runs right underneath is leaking in the middle, must have split. It's OK though, I can get at both ends without climbing underneath.
OK, that's the cold side done, now for the hot. That's when it dawned that things were going to take a while. The hot water was leaking where it went up into the bathroom and then I realised that the cold should have gone that way also, but I had managed to bypass this with my new bits of pipe - oh well done Dave.
So I had no choice but to crawl under the 'van, in the mud, and fix them lying in it. Alfie disappeared just as I needed important things passing to me. Every time I switched the water on to check, another leak showed itself, watering the mud a little bit more. Not only that my resplendent supply of fittings and pipe were depleting under my very nose.
The new member of staff turned up and had to wait to move in and I only had around 1 hour to get washed and changed before doing the evening food service. Oh the life of a publican, I wouldn't swap it for anything - every day is a barrel of laughs. Despite my efforts, all Ann could do was complain about my muddy clothes.
But, the heat exchanger in the water boiler was fine, so at least it isn't going to cost me £££. Oh, and our customers were top notch people. We even had two off the road, on spec, booked a room, had three courses each, beer and whisky. There, a happy ending after all.
My Saazy's Wiesse has matured very well indeed. At the Whitehaven Beer Festival it was a bit watery and unexciting. It's now got a lovely slightly sour taste similar to some continental beers. Not an unpleasant acetic sour, but a nice refreshing zing. It would be fantastic on a hot summers day. The trouble is it's February. Do you think we try and drink our beers too young sometimes?