Tag Archives: Friends

Confessions of the Golf Club Bar Staff #2

This feature is just for laughs! We will aim to share some of the funnier stories from years gone by for your amusement. If you recognise the story and are one of the main protagonists, don’t worry we won’t name and shame!

The Round Dodger

round dodger

The scene: It’s a relatively busy summer evening when a golf party staying with us in the hotel come to the bar no doubt thirsty from their golfing endeavors.

The personable group of four gents approach the bar in good spirits informing me that I am unlikely to see much of the fifth member of their group through muffled laughter.

I didn’t think much of that comment until their order came in, four pints of lager and two bottles of non alcoholic lager poured into a pint glass.

Around 15-20 minutes later one of the group comes to the bar and orders the same round again. At this point my curiosity gets the better of me:

‘Who is on the non-alcoholic beer then?’ I asked tentatively.

‘Our mate, he never buys a round so we are teaching him a lesson and waiting to see how long it is before he catches on’. My customer responds with a wicked smile from ear to ear.

One by one all four order the same round of drinks, just as the customer had suggested, with no sign of the fifth member. This carried on well into the evening before I heard a roar of laughter from the next room.

Moments later a somewhat disgruntled gentleman came to bar and asked for a pint of lager and a whisky chaser.

As he returned to his scheming friends I hear one of them shout ‘Look, after all that he STILL hasn’t bought us a beer!’

Choose your friends carefully folks!

To see what we can offer your golf party/society please visit www.bells-hotel.co.uk

Too old for a kick-about?

Near the end of the Christmas break I was sat thinking about how I’ve spent previous holidays over the years. With the Premier League providing a footballing feast that could rival mum’s Christmas dinner there can be no doubt that football enthusiasts are provided with everything they could have wished for over the festive period.

As I sat in a local pub taking in the second half of Watford vs Man City through the reflection in well placed picture I couldn’t help but think that in years gone by, no matter what the weather was doing, I’d have been out with mates with a ball at my feet and the cliched jumpers for goalposts.

There are plenty of ways a man in his late twenties can get his footballing dose of exercise; there’s five-a-side and weekend teams a plenty but all of this means money and commitment. This begs the question: What happened to the days of being able to contact a few friends, stick some old rags on and kick a ball around in the nearest field or park? Is there a specific age where it is no longer acceptable to have a game of headers and volleys or Wembley with your pals?

I can remember vividly being given a France 98 Adidas replica football and taking it in turns with my friends, desperately trying to perfect the Roberto Carlos free kick technique as a kid. Would such an activity really be so childish and a waste of time nowadays? Ok so it isn’t the most productive use of anyones time but it’s cheaper than a gym membership or hiring a 3G pitch to play on for an hour.

There is of course the matter of adult responsibilities getting in the way but part of me is a bit gutted that at some point over the holidays I didn’t get my hands, and more importantly feet, on a ball and have a good kick about up the rec.

It amazes me that so much time is given up to the gogglebox and social media as we get older. Perhaps if I had spent more time kicking a ball about with mates rather than binging on the latest must watch TV series I wouldn’t have so many people asking me, in a not so subtle way, what my new years resolution is this time round.

Why a flat out refusal to learn anything from history makes me so angry.

I’ve been putting off writing this post for a good while now as the subject matter is both sensitive and infuriating. I have used this blog as a form of therapy in the past but can’t see how putting my worries, thoughts and concerns on this subject matter into writing will help this time. That being said I can hold off no longer and I have learned from past experience that bottling things up only makes things worse.

On the November 13 of this year something truly terrible happened in Paris. I need not go into any detail on who, what, where and why as the fallout and exposure to this story has been intensive and at times divisive. As a result of what happened in France on that Friday night the public, politicians and media have been whipped into a frenzy about what this country should do to protect itself against such attacks and how big a part we should play in other countries foreign policy.

I had the opportunity to write about this subject matter for a university assignment but have declined to do so as I find it next to impossible to write on this subject completely objectively although this hasn’t stopped anyone in the press or media from doing so. The line between opinion and news has not so much been blurred in recent weeks but breached so heavily one wonders whether the flood can be stopped. The biggest and worst example of this was the poll ran in the Sun newspaper which was tantamount to inciting racial hatred.

Spending the last couple of weeks measuring arguments put forward both for and against UK involvement in bombing Syria I have noticed tribal politics getting in the way of level headed thinking and a complete lack of empathy from many for anyone who lives further away than western Europe.

Despite the fact that western interference in the middle east for more than a century is directly responsible for the mess we currently find ourselves in, colonial attitudes and habits die hard. ISIS, ISIL, Daesh whatever you want to call them are the love child of Bush and Blair’s embarrassing failure in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The idea that you can drop bombs and stop these people is insane. I use that word very deliberately because the west has been dropping bombs for a hundred years and yet terrorism is blossoming.

The argument from those who want to see the UK bomb Syria seem to be broken down into three camps: Those who want to see something done as an act of revenge. These people are either ignorant to the fact that innocent people will be killed and this will have consequences or they merely don’t care as long as those who die are not British. The second group are those trying to make political capital from a complex situation. These people are pushing for borders to be closed and for refugees to be abandoned on the premise that this will keep our citizens safe. They also fail to recognise that any terrorist attack in this country is likely to come from those born here and have been manipulated by terrorist propaganda and hate speech. The third group is the military elite who are desperate for the armed forces to remain relevant and give Britain a presence abroad. These people are trying to keep themselves in work and believe the military should have a voice beyond protecting people on these shores. Theirs is the most honest and straightforward argument of all even if it does lend itself to accusations of warmongering.

As the son of an immigrant I find a lot of what I hear from people around me and those online fairly hard to stomach at times. I have had family displaced, threatened and shot at as a result of past misadventures from western forces in the middle east and yet I am supposed to believe that dropping bombs on people living in the region is the best solution to a complex problem caused by prolonged military and political interference there.

Britain has propped up and helped dictatorships and family dynasties in the region with financial help and the selling of weapons since before anyone who is reading this was born. They have encouraged and whipped up revolutions in countries where the leadership was not to western taste only to withdraw support in these countries leaving innocent people to be butchered and gassed by blood thirsty dictators. They have placed incompetent puppets in charge of countries and watched as they go to ruin. This country has befriended others who behave in much the same way as the terrorists we fear so much in this country for financial gain . All of this and more is why I cannot understand why dropping indiscriminate bombs on an already war torn, desperate country will help to keep our citizens safe.

There will  be those of you who know me (and some who don’t) who will read this and think it is an opinionated and biased view but with a bit of research you will see that all I have said is the truth. I actively encourage people who think bombing Syria is a good idea to look at the background and history of the middle east before deciding that the innocent people who are being killed by air strikes are just collateral damage. Just because they speak a different language and have a different culture to you and me doesn’t make them any less human. There is no way to bomb the terrorists without killing innocent people. That’s wrong not just on a moral basis but because it will turn more and more people against us here in Britain making us far less safe.

 

Long absence and missed callings

In my quest to earn money over the summer months I have neglected this blog somewhat and this post is the start of me trying to get my writing back on track. Getting various aspects of my life on track seems to be a bit of a theme at the moment with many drifting off course. Sometimes I think that’s all life is; a constant journey where all roads lead to a similar place but the challenge is to take the most simple route. At times it is easy and the path from A to B is clear and obvious. At other times it seems to be more of a battle with several obstacles that need to be negotiated. These problems don’t have to be alarmingly large but the accumulation of lots of different issues can lead to a road block in an area of life. There is something to be said for the negotiation of these road blocks and the satisfaction getting back on the right path can give you. I apologise if all of the above sounds like a lot of waffle but like I said I am out of practice and small steps are needed right now.

Be it through work, family life or helping friends out I have come the conclusion that if I am good for nothing else I can set up a furniture removal company. Whilst I say this with an element of jest it does seem to be a part of my skill set that others find quite valuable. I made the decision a couple of days ago that if all else fails in life I should probably look into it!

MP-Grand-piano

At the back of my mind I have been thinking sporadically about what I would like to do for my final year project. I have an idea of where I’d like to go and have tentatively started making inroads into gaining contacts. My biggest fear for the idea is that, like most journalism, the idea is heavily reliant on getting the right contacts and enough of them. I think the rest of my week might well be spent trying to get a network set up and as much information I can use as possible.

On top of this I have spent time trying to get some more work experience. It hasn’t been an easy process which has led me to question my cover writing and CV writing skills. I do have some time lined up at a newspaper but would definitely like to spend some more time gaining practical skills. I think this is going to be another important item to add to the ‘to do’ list.

As well as the work I have been doing I have tried to make the most of my summer so far and have spent plenty of it with friends and family. It is good to have a strong set of people around you for advice and down time and in that respect I am very lucky.

Final thought, would you rather be chased by 1000 duck sized horses or ten horse sized ducks?

Freedom and what comes next

Finally it is all over, I can stop complaining about university work and start thinking about the summer and what lies ahead. In all honesty I am still working out what that is. I have some work experience lined up and would like to get some more before the start of my final year. No doubt there will be some much needed paid graft for me over the summer months as well. Just as well really as my current physical state is more reminiscent of a whale than of a human male in their late twenties!

Horsing around.
Horsing around.

Thoughts now turn to filling the void left by the absence of uni work. I’m not complaining but it is a strange feeling to go from having little else to think about to a time of planning and forward thinking. Speaking of voids I will need to fill another as one of my favorite ever television series ‘Mad Men’ has come to an end. Many of my friends have asked me in the past what the show is about and my inability to articulate an appropriate response has led to not many of them giving it a go. All I will say is if you are looking for box set to watch and keep you entertained you could do a lot worse than AMC’s amazing show. The character development of some of those involved is incredible and keeps you hooked on every story line whilst others just exude ‘cool’. I won’t bleat on about it any longer but it paints the American dream in a frank and honest light and is worth the hours you will have to commit to it.

As I was saying before the freedom of completing my uni work is pretty liberating. I’m able to sit and write this post not because I feel I should but because I want to. On top of this I can make plans to do things I will never get around to due to monetary or time restrictions but it’s still fun to try and shape your summer and have something to look forward to. I have a ‘stag do’ (sic) to look forward to and more along the way. It seems amazing to me (and also some kind of sick joke) that in my time at university I seem to have been invited on more holidays and breaks that at any other time in my life. As if some unkindly being deems it necessary to torment me during my least stable financial period of life.

In another cruel twist of fate I have thus far been unable to find anyone to celebrate my newly found freedom with. As a result I extend an open invitation to anyone reading this to join me in a beverage of their choice. I wish everyone a happy summer and hope the sun graces us all with its presence. Until next time folks.

Beginnings and ends

The last couple of weeks have been frustrating due to a lack of Internet but there has been an almost uncanny and constant theme. It feels as though there are a continual stream of new things happening and for every one of these events there is an end to something else.

My parents returned from what my dad likes to call a couple of ‘geriatric gap years’. It is easy to see they are both a little apprehensive about returning home despite being pleased to see friends and family. After taking the plunge and living abroad I know from personal experience that it can be really tough coming home. It’s not that you don’t miss people it is just a sense of what you have left behind in a foreign land after building a new life for yourself.

The weather has been outstanding during the holiday and this has made the time I have shared with my friends at home all the more happy. As I returned to uni today I couldn’t help feel a twinge of regret that I wasn’t going to see certain people for while.

With regards to uni it is the beginning of the end of year two. This means a lot of assignment work, volunteer work and work experience to come in a very short space of time. It is amazing to think that I am nearly two thirds of the way through my time in higher education. I know it is a cliche but the time really has flown by and this time next year I will be feverishly looking for fulltime work whilst finishing off my final pieces of university work.

I have a lot to look forward to between now and then and I am determined to make the most of the time I have left. It is all starting to seem very real now and I can only hope that with some more hard work and a little luck along the way all of this will have been worth it.

This next bit might seem more political than it is really meant to but really it is just a summary of how sad modern day society can be; Recently a local institution that has been around longer than myself announced it could no longer afford to compete with the likes of Amazon and has been forced to close its doors at the end of the month after decades of successful trading. I would like to use this opportunity to thank those who have worked so hard to make the Forest Bookshop the awesome shop it has been. There is nothing quite like the level of personal service you get from small business and it is a great shame to see it go. There are still some amazing deals to be had from the stock that remains so please do go and say your farewells if you live locally.

At the same time there have been a few people opening and starting new businesses in the area of late and I would like to wish Laura Pugh, Stuart Jenkins and Justine Jones all the best with their respective new ventures. I know a lot of hard work and sacrifice is made when starting up and hope all the local businesses in the Forest of Dean prosper in the coming years.

Technical hitches and shocks to the system

The back end of last week and the weekend saw the end of any self indulgence with regard to my time, at least for the time being. I have lots to think about and get on with in the coming weeks and months and I am looking forward to getting focused and producing good work and crossing the finish line that is the end of my second year at university.

That being said I was looking forward to Friday more than ever as I knew it would be the last time for a while that I would be able to do anything as extravagant as take time out for myself on weekends. They say all work and no play makes you a dull man but at the moment it is all I can focus on and to be honest I am really looking forward to it.

Friday took me on a trip down memory lane and to Bristol to see Less than Jake, an American ska band who I have enjoyed listening to since my early teenage years. There was lots of dancing and singing as you would expect and a huge amount of fun was had by all.

Saturday saw me catch up with a friend who I haven’t spent time with in years, he had been through a tough time and it was good to have been a helpful distraction. The weekend gave me a bit of an epiphany. As much as it is nice to be there for your friends and help them in any way you can you also have to make sure you take enough time for yourself. I am happy to take responsibility for my problems and I realise now that you can’t always get the help you are willing to give to others. Some people don’t have the time or inclination to help out as much as they may want to. It’s no ones fault it’s just life.

I have alluded to my workload in recent posts and many who are in full time employment might see that as a bit of a joke. University is fantastic. You acquire new skills, make great contacts and have the opportunity to meet important people. That said if you want a job relating to your degree when you graduate you have to be prepared to put in the hard yards and more often than not that means working for no pay.

The idea behind this blog is two fold. Firstly I can keep a collection of my thoughts and document them for myself and others to read. Secondly it gives potential employers an opportunity to read something written by me. I try and post at least once a week but I am aware that is not all that frequent. On top of this I contribute work to a couple of websites and this is something I really enjoy doing. I am also in the process of trying to obtain work experience which means filling out forms, tailoring my CV and sending out cover letters. Next on my list of things to do is provide coverage for the local hustings and work with a group of students on all things election based for the next few months. All of this before I have even mentioned anything to do with assignments. Whilst this workload might be daunting for some people I have a strange sense of excitement attached to the next few months and hope I can make the most of the opportunities available to me.

 

Tonight I am attending hustings at the cap n gown in Worcester and will be hoping to get some content for a story I need for an assignment whilst also seeing if any copy I get can be sent out to local outlets such as the Worcester News or BBC Hereford and Worcester. As with anything in life it is important to be well read on your subject and so I have been trawling the net for information on candidates and party policies. The subject for tonight’s debate is climate change and the environment, something that will be in the minds of many voters as Worcester regularly floods.

I am grateful for being back in Worcester and back with easy Internet access. Getting my head down for the next couple of weeks is a must as my parents get home from a couple of years abroad in early April and I hope to have something tangible to show off to them for my efforts.