I remember it as if it was yesterday, I was chatting with two regular customers, doing what I have done for the past 12 years of my life pulling pints, it is like an everyday part of my life actions, I have done it for that long, guess you could say I’m a pro at it; I was chatting to Janet and Pete about my holiday to Belgium alone and that I was going alone, like I had done for the past years of my single life and that I was looking forward to some peace and quiet. It’s very odd, how I had worked the same mundane every day life in my busy city life, getting the bus from my suburban Birmingham to the city centre working 12 hour shifts of 50 + hours a week, I craved adventure, visiting places like Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Belgium alone as a single woman, many women in the mid to late twenties at that point where looking at house prices with their significant other, or what colour schemes would match the nursery of their soon to born child; not me though, 28 and I worked being the under boss of a city centre pub, selling the finest home brewed and local ales you could find to business clients, young chavs, stag parties (to which I had used a fire extinguisher to defend myself to the once.) Back then my week and life revolved around the pub, I knew exactly where I was going there was people (some unsavoury characters that like to hassle you for 20p or bag of smack) as I would leave work and go on the bus back to my shared flat. My routine was very samey, go to work, 12pm until midnight and then come home have a couple of ciders and indulge in a cigarette before bed.
Once upon this was, and I’d give anything to have that routine back in my life, after being a holding manager of this pub and stepping up, I dreamt of my own pub and a pay rise, after 2 years of long hours on my feet, the day came, the whole company got called into a meeting saying they’re happy to announce some big changes. My heart was pounding at this point, I thought well after doing two general manager pub holdings on Assistant Manager wage now’s the time they notice my efforts, I’m getting a rise or my own pub even…? I was full of excitement and anticipation at this point, thinking I can get a mortgage at 28 on that 3 bedroom flat in Moseley or Edgbaston after all. Well…..I couldn’t be anymore wrong, I had received news alright, the news was the CEO had sold up all three pubs to retire and the new company were bringing their own staff and management in from within, meaning I had lost my job or had to reapply for a job I was able to do in my sleep or had been doing. I returned home thinking, how am I going to pay my rent? How am I going to pay my bills? I told my boyfriend, our chance of a dream home getting out of this building is a no go as we need every penny we’ve got at the moment, as I had lost my job. First thing I went into panic thought, of how am I going to survive? Then anger of how dare these people come in and turn my world upside down? To well maybe I needed it to seek out other opportunities and see what’s lying ahead for me for the future? The anxiety of the future that lay ahead was daunting. I worked so hard for many years to get a management salaried job, from working late nights, early mornings, for many years, so surely I don’t deserve this? So I woke up one day and thought don’t be defeated, so I got back on my wagon, spending 8 hours a day posting CVs and attending interviews. I was offered highly paid salary managerial jobs, some that I turned down due to me having a bad feel about the place or the job wasn’t what I wanted. However, I went back to one of my old jobs temporarily and then to boost my income I took a bar job in a night club to boost the income on my hourly wage temporarily; this lasted for 8 months working two jobs 40 hours a week on 0 hour contracts, however things took a turn for the better after 3 interviews, 2 trials and a maths test I was offered a General Managers job in a beautiful Jewellery Quarter coffee shop, where I could develop my management skills and also get the opportunity to run the show myself, however working 9 – 5 was beneficial, but did find the job wasn’t 9 – 5 as I was taking a lot of the job home with me and had pressure on me to save staffing costs, and also receiving phone calls and texts over little things, it cost me almost my relationship, my mental health and well being was suffering and financially I wasn’t actually better off, I lived breathed and slept my working life filled with anxiety.
I remember telling my boss straight, ”I have worked my arse off every waking hour, bringing my work home, I need to book some time off, I haven’t had a proper break since before I started” so with that I put through my annual leave. One night after nearly being mugged after a standard night at the pub, and the anxiety and panic it caused me on top of the stress at work, I saw an advert for a live in job in Warwick, back in a pub, I looked at the advert, and being from Birmingham I have always had a love for the Warwickshire area, I loved visiting Stratford Upon Avon and all the historic places round there, so I thought a fresh start more money less hassle and a job I know I can do, so I submitted my application. I was interviewed and fell in love with the place, however, I did not get the job, I spoke to my mom one night about my current job, about nearly being mugged in the city centre, about nearly getting run over by a bus and how I was sick of getting harassed on my way to work, my mom says, ”Sweetheart, maybe you’re outgrowing working and living in the city” I then thought, actually yeah, I must be, I often in my twenties did love the countryside and always thought I could retire here. So then I began searching for work in Warwickshire, Derbyshire and Shropshire.
I had a phone call whilst I was baking one day at my parents house; unexpectedly out the blue, I was due to go back to work in four days which I was dreading and filled me with anxiety, I got a phone call from a Operations manager at a country pub in Warwick in a lovely little village. I got off the phone and googled the village, I then found I have no car and won’t be able long term to drive from there, I had a look and saw this pub and this lovely little postcard village surrounded by barges, rose gardens and acres of land all looking so English and peaceful, think the Vicar of Dibley credits it was bang on point of showing that kind of English green presence. I thought I can no way pass this opportunity up, but then I researched the job description, the village and the pub and it all seemed so perfect and charming. I thought if I get the job, I have to move? But wait would that be so bad, an area for where I can start a family and build a new life, I will lose my general manager title that I have now, but in return I get a step down but financially I can finally save for a mortgage, I can finally no longer take my work home with me all the time? I think I am going to take the gamble and go for it, if I don’t get the job at least I know I gave it a try. I remember the day of my interview I hadn’t rehearsed any interview questions, I didn’t buy a new dress specially I treated this interview very differently, I got a blouse and a pair of black jeans from my wardrobe and braved it to this interview. I came off the train and had no idea where I was going, so I caught an Uber to this derelict Warwickshire village, as soon as I come out my Uber, I was surprised how cheap this was; I went inside the pub and was as charming as looked in the pictures on instagram, everyone seemed so friendly and I fell in love with the place, I had my interview and was honest about everything, my long term dream of moving to the countryside and how I was miserable being a general manager on a poor water wage, living and breathing every miserable moment. I thought my honesty to both these successful landladies would definitely not employ me, but low on behold later that afternoon they did. I was shocked and then came my decision to start home hunting.
I handed my months notice to the coffee shop and started looking for a new home in Warwickshire. I was continuing my normal work at the coffee shop and thought it was ages away me moving away from the city, from my family and friends, and I’m not going to lie the closer it got to the time, the more scared, excited and anxious I had become. I have had ups and downs getting lost down country lanes and thinking I’m never going to find my way back, and I have had those moments where I have thought in the first week, what have I done? Have I made a mistake? I want to come home, but then after a week, making friends in the village, moving in with my new housemates in similar situations and the kindness and support all the country bumpkin folk have given me, I honestly have never been happier. It’s not the end it’s only the beginning, my life has turned upside down in a matter of two months, I have gone from going everywhere to work using public transport everyday, queuing up in Bohemian style coffee shops for my morning almond latte and reading a book on the bus, to enduring morning walks, reading, walking neighbours dogs. If anyone told me 6 months ago I would be leaving the city to be a cake baking, domestic rambling country bumpkin working back in a pub as a deputy manager, I’d have seriously laughed. But here I am living in a beautiful greenbelt Warwickshire market town and working in a village wood beamed country pub, my family and my boyfriend have been my rock and never doubted me.
My chapter will continue, as I will write upcoming chapters on my play rehearsals, Warwickshire life and adulting in general. Like I says I still have no mortgage, no car and yet with my settings I couldn’t be happier, I still live apart from lovely bunnies which I will bring down after Christmas and my relationship is still long distance but we make it work. My head is not in the past, I learnt a lot of skills and learnt a lot about being street smart working in the city all them years, it has made me a stronger person. If anyone has experienced any off the cuff plans or decisions recently? Or anything life changing please leave a comment.
Many thanks to my readers.