People who work in pubs have families too

Related tags Wedding anniversary Birthday

People who work in pubs have families too
A couple of Christmas Eves ago a family came in to our pub for lunch. The young lad was an ambulance driver enjoying a Christmas meal with his girlfriend and parents before embarking on a long shift rescuing families from turkey-related incidents, and he and I had been getting on like a house on fire.

Then I happened to empathise with him about having to work over Christmas and not see our families and his mother piped up that yes, “but he’s an ambulance driver and you’re just a publican.”

I’ve never forgotten that. I have the greatest of respect for anybody who works in any service that involves you being away from your families for long periods of time, especially over this time of year, but so often it seems that it’s simply expected of people who work in the hospitality trade to just lump it and get serving, serf.

Although I knew what it would mean for my private life at this time of year when I took on my pub, I always find the six days preceding Christmas the toughest. It starts with my wedding anniversary and then heads on to my Dad’s birthday, before the main event itself, and somewhere in the midst of all that Ali and I have got to get the pub open and entertain two young children on holiday from school.

It all usually means that the wedding anniversary gets forgotten (good excuse, eh…?) and my dad gets the birthday card I bought last year and forgot to send.

This year, after seven years in the pub, I got lucky. Ali surprised me with a two-day break to Oxford before the Christmas rush starts (great fun, lots of pubs, and even in the £5-a-pint hotel we stayed in the staff struggled to serve a full measure in a pint-to-brim glass…) and I got to take my dad out to lunch the day before his birthday (which is today, happy birthday, dad!) but so rarely does it happen!

And, before we know it, we’ll be doing it all over again. 2011 seems to have gone in the blink of an eye, so no doubt the next twelve months will too. There’s also been the usual twelve months of ruckus within the industry, with factions, sides being taken and battles fought.

But, for the next two weeks, we’ll be working our staff’s behinds off during one of the busiest periods of the year and those of us at the coalface will be looking forward to the first week of January, when we can finally catch up with our families.

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank those of you who have read my blog this year; it’s been fun writing the pieces and watching the debates that have followed, and thank you to the PMA for inviting me to write for them when The Publican went.

And I’d like to say a Merry Christmas to everybody in the trade. Wherever you may sit, whatever your view, I hope the holidays are great for you, and I hope that 2012 is a prosperous year for us all.

But let’s especially raise a glass to everybody who will be working or away from family this Christmas. Pub staff, ambulance drivers, and those further afield for their country.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year… see you in 2012!

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