am going to share a story that happened back in February. Those that know me will probably twig what event I am about to describe, if nothing else based on how much I wittered about it since. I think there is also a small chance that this post may potentially become a confession. But we're all friends on the blog aren't we? We can share....
One night in February I had ended up in the Bath Hotel and they had made me drink beer. Obviously, every single action I perform thereafter is their fault. And the Ball on Crookes. And the Sportsman at Crosspool. Just so we know I'm innocent...
Anyhoo, in the good old days there was an N52 night bus which, for a small fee, would magically transport me from West Street to near my home (or much further on than my home depending on snoozing) around 20 past the hour, and having just missed such a chariot, I opted to wander into the....pub which is part of a group, and opens late, the name of which you can never ever guess.
It was rammed as it usually is around midnight on a Friday and since I needed my real money for the ale tractor set up a tab and purchased a delicious pint of Bradfield Stout. Having failed to find a seat and being in urgent need of a trip to the facilities, in desperation, I placed my full pint of real ale in, erm... a rather large pot. Containing a small tree or similar.
Now, I realise this sounds daft. It was. So to ensure that even if the location of my pint seemed perplexing, said drink could be identified as belonging to someone, I wrapped my scarf round it, and placed the other end in the top of my work bag, and asked the youngsters on the nearest table to watch my drink. And there is no way you can guess what happened....
For those unused to the vociferous enthusiasm of glass collectors, and/or random ale thieves, someone unwrapped the scarf and waltzed off with my pint in the 90 seconds it was out of my sight. I asked the people nearby if they had seen what happened and they suggested someone had probably collected it, and it didn't seem like they'd nicked it. So I went to the bar to pay my tab, even though I had in essence purchased nothing more than the concept of a pint. This was a deliberate set up on my part to prompt them to tell me I was below the limit for a card payment, so that I could then moan endlessly that someone, possibly a member of their staff, had snaffled my ale. It worked a treat.
Except it was very loud and I had to raise my voice. This alerted the staff to my perhaps being pissed and so the manager stepped in to have the same conversation all over again. If I'm honest, this wasn't making me feel any better, especially when he suggested that I simply buy another pint. A quick chat with a colleague meant he turned his back on me for a while and my limbic brain was quick to note that I was now being ignored. So I raised my voice. A lot. In a Yorkshire accent that I don't possess.
I have worked behind a bar so I know that there is nobody who enjoys being shouted at by drunks but the response was (and I quote) "No-one screams at me. Take your card and get the fuck out of my pub". Now, that's quite rude. And it is owned by a large company, so if we want to be factual it is also not his pub. However, the shock brought me back into a more sensible state and on being passed my card back having not paid for my stolen pint I said "oh brilliant! and smiled, before a very large person ( a professionally trained very large person) gently escorted me to the street outside.
On my ale tractor home I thought about my experience and decided this wasn't me. I don't scream and shout and I don't say Naaaa-then unless I am having a laugh. Well, apart from that night, obviously. So upon returning home more or less sober, I emailed the "pub in question" with some precise details and caveats and apologised. I also pointed out I'd like to pop in the next night to do so in person and to draw a line under the matter. Inevitably the very large person on the door had been pre-warned about me and refused me entry. I explained about the email which I considered quite a polite manner of behavior but to no avail. I was told I had to wait for the manager to tell me I wasn't barred.
And this is where I'm confused. You may, having become used to my bleary and inaccurate recollections, think that I mis-remembered an important slice of discourse but I assure you I was never told I was barred. Not only that, but I never received a reply to my impeccably drafted email. Nor any written, verbal or otherwise communicated disbarring notice. So I boycotted them. For like, months. And then gave up and went in the other night to find that no-one cared.
The point of this is - does this sound like your experience (not that I dare to suggest you've had any) of being barred? Only I spoke to a few upstanding citizens in the months after and found some who had been barred twice in the same night from said establishment. So with all this being new to me I couldn't figure out if this was normal?
Oh, and of course the other perhaps more important point is that this serves as a cathartic exploration of my errant ways one night. So I consider the whole episode, having enjoyed a lovely pint of dark ale in there last night, closed.
And I also reckon I win....