Clean Monday

Another Bank Holiday and the kitchen cried out for cleaning. Dishes, floor, cupboard doors, vases and recycling-done. Now for the DIY, lawn mowing….nah, it will keep. The bees are on my side I’m sure. Not because they are anti DIY, I have no idea what their opinions are on that subject, but our front and back mini jungles are replete with wild flowers (weeds to most people).

If the sun keeps shining, my thoughts might turn to burning garden waste and christmas trees. I love the whoosh you get from a well dried out pine tree. I suppose meat will have to be bought. Ribs and steaks or chicken? This question should be an easy one to answer if I was sticking to a diet. Unfortunately I lack commitment and keep putting off the start date.

Saturday was a bit of a boozy occasion. I had gone to Lavery’s to watch the Ospreys vs Ulster game and fell in with a fellow rugby fan and front row forward. Peter is a Tigers fan and plays for Bournville in the English midlands. He’s working in Northern Ireland for an aerospace company on a short contract. The Guinness went down easily, the conversation was relaxed and I suggested we try a couple of bars on the Ormeau Road. This had been a pleasant departure from my usual Saturday slothfulness. Making sure that Peter had the number for a taxi, I made my excuses and headed home for tv and a chinese takeaway.

Ulster fans, where were you?

I am paying nearly £100 every month for cable TV, phone and Internet – that’s without Sky Sports. So I headed for the pub to watch Ulster vs Glasgow because Sky were the only people broadcasting the match.

That’s when I discovered they had closed the King’s Head for renovations. Luckily I was in a taxi and moved on to the Bot. The game was on in the front bar with no sound. I asked the bar staff to turn up the volume. After fiddling about with the channels and setting the main bar’s TV to the GAA football for a customer who came in after me, we finally had sound. It was so low I moved closer and craned my neck to see the TV.

I was the only person interested in the game. Where were all the Ulster fans? Were they put off by the less than friendly service in the Bot? Maybe they went elsewhere for service with a smile. The Pavilion bar is close to the Ulster rugby ground and has a great post match atmosphere. Cutters Wharf and Lavery’s would normally have more than a few Ulster fans in to watch the games.

The Bot used to be a very popular bar with students. It was where I first drank a hot whisky in a bar. A great drink on a cold day and a roaring open fire added to the welcome. On a recent trip to Glasgow, a woman behind the bar put on her best sarcastic performance to tell me that they didn’t have the recipe for a hot whisky, as she poured boiling water into her mug of tea.

The Bot might not be in business too long if they don’t offer a welcome to their dwindling customers. It might be worth getting Sky Sports if I have to endure poor bar service. £4 a pint in gloom or three pints for £5 from the supermarket to drink in your own living room with self-service catering only a kitchen away.