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Published: March 16th 2006
Sorry about not having put up a blog for a while, a lot has happened with me getting settled and starting work.
I have found a new home. It's called Olney and I had never heard of it untill a day before I arrived. It's a nice little town that is stereotypically english. Quaint, quiet, beautiful, cold, grey and raining. In fact it was raining as I typed this. The whole town has more of a little village feel to it as everyone knows everyone and the township is hidden away in the midst of large rural areas. I have heard population estimates of 2000 - 11000 people but I think 9000 is more realistic. The main street, High Street (bet ya didn't see that one coming), is a beautiful small road with cobblestone walkways flanked with little shops, restaurants and 4 pubs. I'm in the The Two Brewers. This is my new job and my new home. It's a very out of the way town which I had to find my way to so let me back up back a bit.
There was a combination of planes, trains and automobiles involved as always. Olney isn't exactly a major
city so it's rather complicated but simple enough to get to. Plane to Heathrow, train to Leicester Square change lines. Train to Euston, change lines. Train to Milton Keynes. Bus to Olney. 3 hours, 15 minutes and bloody hard work when your carrying over 30kg's of luggage on your shoulders which takes up entirely too much room for any of those modes of transport. After a phone call from Heathrow, Matt, the assistant manager here, had to fill me in on a fair bit of the instructions to get to the pub as the company didn't give me clear instructions. Maybe I'm still too far ahead, I'll go back futher.
For those who don't know, I signed up with a company called London Pubs. I give them $600 and in return they find a place for me to live, work to earn money and a chance immerse myself in the english lifestyle all from the bubble of one pub. They were going to let me know where I was going to be situated a week from my arrival date but I wasn't informed untill the day before. In my original interview with the Aussie office I gave three preferences.
First was Central London, second was Guilford in Surrey (where my cousin Tracey lives), and three was closest to Central London as possible. Somehow the London office got word that I was after a rural pub so I was placed on the edge of nowhere in the county of Buckinghamshire in this little out of the way town. At first I wasn't happy about it. I had the option of not taking it but also paying out exorbitant London accommodation fees while twiddling my thumbs as they find a new place that most likely won't be any better. If I'd had big boobs, great legs and blonde hair I probably would've got a place in Central London as it seems only people fitting that discription were being places there. "Any job you want" the man said to me originally. Bollocks!
Always trying to put the best face on everything, I spent the first night getting aquainted with the staff, the locals and the area. After a day wandering around and getting myself settled, I felt pretty good about it all. There is more to Olney than initially meets the eye. There is pretty much any shop for any need
At the end of High Street
and a busy little market in the town square on thursdays. A famous annual pancake race, a few churchs, a pond and a lake are some of the "attractions" of Olney. I'm glad I got my job here as I absolutely would never have come here otherwise. This is real England and London is only an hour away.
My job has a lot of perks. The hours are short and flexible and I get two days off a week. No rent or bills, all meals included (either prepared by cooks if working or I can help myself to anything I like 24 hours a day), any drinks I like (non-alcoholic) free laundry (done myself of course) and given cash in hand at the end of week which means no bank fees (it's not "under the table" cash in hand, I still pay taxes) The only major downside to all this is that I'm only on 100 pound a week (for 39 hours, anything more is 5 pound an hour) However, the staff are nice, the customers are friendly and it's very laid back. I'm not exactly working my fingers to the bone in this job as it seems we
Olney is in a large rural area
all have time for a bit of a chat when it's not busy. A far cry from my previous job. I'm so used to working that I feel stupid standing around behind the bar doing nothing for 10 minutes or so but it's the way it's done here. Pub work is pub work anywhere you go but there are obvious nuances involved. For the people wondering, 'cause I know there are, yes! they drink their beer at room temperture 8 - 10 degrees is the norm. It's flat, warm, bloody horrible and extracted from the cellar by the old large pump handle. However, when someone asks for a Foster's (Yes they drink that crap like it's going out of style) or a Guinness, we ask if they want it extra cold or not as we have both. The warm version is considered already cold.... go figure. One thing I love here, or at least in this pub, closing time is closing time and everybody respects it. The bell is rung 15 minutes to closing then again once service has ceased. 20 minutes later everybody has left. No arguments or back chat, they just finnish their drinks and go. About time
I can work in a civilised place such as this. However the thing I love the most, intoxication is the responsibility of the individual not the premises. We are responsible to an extent but for the most part if someone gets drunk, walks outside and gets hit by a car, it's their fault.
I stood there and watched a man drink a a pint of water filled with about 10 cigarettes. He had that much Guinness that his eyes were barely open and if his mate wasn't holdong him up, he would be on the floor. The whole group of big burley rugby boys had been drinking hard and because the man was about to get married, they were trying to force so much alcohol into him that it would make him sick. I was standing there with my mouth open like Edvard Munch's Screamer while all the other staff thought it was hillarious. The only warning the group got from Matt was that if he threw up, he would have to clean it and it would a 50 pound fine. However I did manage to score a 10 quid tip for the trouble.
Life is definately different
Bloody horrible looking building in Milton Keynes
here but I like it. It's bloody cold, in fact it was so cold here the other day that it snowed, but I still prefer that to the blistering summer heat of Australia. So that's about my life at the moment. It feels strange and almost a backward step going from a job that paid really well to having to count every pound but I consider it a foreward step as a great experience that I wont forget.
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