It’s been a tense summer of coursework, deadlines, results and applications for many of our staff. Some have stepped up to college and realised that life only gets harder the older you are; others have disappeared off to uni to wreak havoc as the nights draw in; yet more are pursuing higher aspirations and further training, whilst some are finally out of academia at last and heading off as full time grown ups with ‘real jobs’.
What struck me as we waited with bated breath to see if our geniuses had got the grades they needed, was how entirely superfluous huge portions of their education are. I say this as someone who regularly disrupted classes to questions what relevance the chemistry or maths syllabus would have to my future life.
I am now 30 and have never once needed to work out cosine or remember the atomic number of a certain element. NEVER.
With that in mind, I idly started listing things that would have helped me out – as a business owner, a barmaid, and a bolshy millennial baby that doesn’t retain irrelevant information. I therefore present to you a new National Curriculum, based on life in a pub and some essential life skills…
Algebra will not help you figure out your tax return or park in a tight spot in a multi-storey car park or work out how many handfuls of spaghetti you need to boil for a meal for two.
- Spelling, punctuation and grammar lessons through the medium of writing Specials blackboards. See also: handwriting practice.
- Writing balanced, diplomatic responses to Tripadvisor reviews.
- Creating engaging marketing copy to make you stand out from every other pub in the county and encourage customers to come back time and time again.
- How to discount a bill (by percentages, fractions and sums).
- Associated subjects of how to add 10% gratuity off the top of your head and how to fight the fear of being given the exact change after you’ve already opened the till and don’t know how much money to give back to the customer.
- Understanding tax, your tax, your employees tax, corporation tax, value added tax, everyone else’s tax. Knowledge will be tested by memorisation of tax codes and submission deadlines.
- How to read, understand and create a profit and loss statement. If x = bankrupt and y = get a real job, how much money do you need to take to stay in business?
- The use of hydrogen, oxygen and water in the role of putting out fires when customers accidentally set fire to their menus with a candle.
- Fermentation and maintenance through the process of cellar training.
- In-depth understanding of the after effects of chemicals burning through your skin in the case of line cleaner & cleaning solutions.
- Explaining ‘The Cloud’ wifi system and demonstrating how to log on across a range of multimedia devices.
- Remaining calm in the face of a critical till crash. On a Sunday afternoon. In July. When there’s a heatwave.
- Using spreadsheets to plot an overbooked dinner service. And then ignoring it and seating everyone anywhere anyway.
- Explaining what custard is to a Spanish person.
- Calculating the distance between your current location and the nearest bank/shop/wholesaler/takeaway/church/telephone box/post box/point of local interest/house for sale on Rightmove/friend that hasn’t been seen for 40 years using any of the following methods of transport: car/bicycle/boat/on foot.
- The role meteorology plays on your customer, specifically relating to the increased incidence of craziness around full moons.
- Knowing how long every local walk takes, who will fall over, where it’s muddiest and how long it will take a walking group to return.
- In-depth knowledge of local history, including who is related to whom, where they come from, what they do, what they did yesterday.
- Origins of the pub, its many phases of life and, if relevant, and subsidiary paranormal information.
- Encyclopaedic knowledge of every landlord ever to have walked behind the bar (can also be extended to every visit a customer has made, every meal they’ve eaten, every memory they have).
- Rearranging furniture on a daily basis.
- Glass collecting in the summer.
- Restocking fire wood in the winter.
So there you have it. Stop sending your children to school and send them to the pub instead. Everything they need to know about life can be learnt from running a bar.
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Slowly but surely you helped to breathe life back into the place. You filled it up with love and laughter. You have dragged it back from obscurity to place it back into the heart of the community.
Like so many others, we got into this trade because we love sharing these little boltholes with others and watching you enjoy them and make memories to cherish between these walls. We do it because we like a bit of banter whilst pouring a beer. We’ve always believed in doing the best we can with the circumstances we’ve got.
Time to whip up a quick homemade soup with whatever veggies you’ve got in your fridge.