We are in the process of moving house again. You know what it’s like; you have to start scrutinizing stuff.
Difficult decisions have to be made: Do we keep it? Do we throw it away/carboot it/Ebay it..?
What if you have something that you really should be getting rid of but can’t for sentimental reasons? Well this conundrum has got me thinking, and one thought led to another and I realised that there is a lot more to running a pub than most people think…
Sitting in the garden today, Nigel asked me, “what do you want to do about that chair?” I looked at the rather forlorn wooden chair that has spent its whole life outside, the varnish is peeling, the arms are rotten but its wide, solid and leans backwards, and every time I look at it, even in the winter, I think of Jim, a regular at The Railway. Lovely old Jim, gentle, well-mannered, unassuming and interested in people but never prying. Sometimes he came alone but could also came with his daughter and son-in-law and they would while away the hours drinking Worthington Creamflow, vodka and soda and Carlsberg. The round never changed. If the weather was nice he, or they, would take their drinks outside and Jim would take that chair, (if it was available of course), as it was so comfortable. I can still see him on sultry hot summer days, surrounded by pots of daisies and bees energetically hovering in and out, soaking up the sun and enjoying a few pints of Worthington and a good chat.
Jim didn’t drink anything other than Worthington, and would never touch real ale, and as far as I can remember, he was the only customer that drank it. Did Nigel consider taking off the beer that only one person drank? Not at all. I remember being very pleasantly surprised, along with his nephew, when we found that he kept it on for Jim. He could have replaced it with another real ale or cider, but I don’t think he could bring himself to. There was nowhere else in town Jim could have got that pint of Worthington.
It’s one of the privileges of being a landlord and one of the many difficult decisions he or she has to make, whether to sell a certain product is more lucrative or whether it is just the only thing you can do. That was the respect he deserved. I doubt if Jim knew any of this.
It was with great sadness that we learned just recently that Jim passed away. Nigel was asked why we didn’t go to his funeral, “mainly” he said, “we didn’t know when it was, and we probably would not have been able to take time off work”. I feel that everyone can show their affection and respect in their own way. We have lovely memories of him so a decision has been made. That scruffy garden chair can stay, for as long as it holds up against the elements, though as you can see, some TLC wouldn’t go amiss…