So…honesty is the best policy eh?

Lifetime LadderAhem – So it transpires that I may have occasionally slipped from the moral high ground when it comes to honesty….as was pointed out to me recently.

We were invited to Sam and Micks wedding in sunny Sunderland at an amazing hotel. The only problem was that the hotel was bloody massive. So massive, that when we went to the bar for the evening party…and I left the room card behind…they weren’t going to allow me to purchase alcohol unless I traipsed the 10 minutes (no lie) back to the room.

After much persuading (read: begging), the head barman agreed to run a manual tab, I would have to show the room key each time to prove who I was etc.

No problem says I. It’s not like I could lose the bloody room key, the thing was huge. So began a marathon session. Too many shots were consumed. At one point we were lining them up based on their colour and nothing else. Seems a little strange when I think back to it.. “Hi barman, what have you got that’s purple?”(cue Sid James laughter).room key

I recall dancing, badly. Seriously, I don’t think I would swing if you hung me. There may or may not have been an inappropriate approach to the Bride….groom. That Mick is a damnably attractive man, even to a raving hetero like me ;-)

The night ended late, as these things tend to do, and we staggered back the 25 minute trek to the room.

I would like to lay the blame squarely at the door of the alcohol and lack of sleep at this point. I don’t believe I can be held accountable for my actions as a result.

After staggering down to breakfast the next morning, we headed off to check out and pay the bill ( ?175 + the bar bill). I handed in my key and prepared for the small explosion somewhere on the edge of hearing…the sound of my bank managers head going supernova. Then something amazing happened, the woman behind the counter showed me my bill and asked if that looked OK. The bill showed ?175 only…no bar bill. Genius.

As she hadn’t asked if it was correct, only if it was ok, I took a quick pause before replying that it was indeed OK. I think I even said that it was better than I expected…. bad Dave, bad.

We had previously planned to head back to everyone for a bite to eat after checking out, but this became the worlds quickest goodbye and a sprint to the car before anyone noticed. I did take Mick to one side to make sure that he let me know if they stitched him up with the bill. They never did.

I felt bad about the barman, but as none of my drinks went through the cashdesk, I figured it would be written off under losses, and if the lad had any sense, he would have thrown the notepad in the bin.

Cheapest. Night. Ever

I recommend Sunderland for your wedding, oh…don’t forget to invite me :-D

Honesty is the best policy

A few years ago, the elder of my two younger brothers got married.

It was a fantastic day and everything that it should have been for the married couple.   Everything went superbly from the “Mad Professor” organist to me spinning my Nan around in her wheelchair because “she would love to dance with everyone, but can’t these days”*

My youngest brother gave the speech, and quite frankly blew everyone away.   Who  knew he could be so eloquent and funny….clearly he has my share.    I was trying to take photographs of the speeches, so I  can’t remember the entire speech, but the  opening was fantastic.

“Being asked to be best man is kind of like being asked to have sex with the queen…. It’s a great honour, but nobody really wants to do it”

I don’t know if that had been done before, but a lot of  photos came  out blurry just after that :-D  

Now, as has already been mentioned, my dad was in the RAF, so as such we led a pretty fantastic life.   I wouldn’t say that we were spoilt, but we certainly weren’t left wanting for anything.   Living in the security of the British Armed Forces, you have experiences that a lot of people may never get the opportunity to have.   You tend to have a very dry and sarcastic sense of humour.   You also get used to certain things.

One of those things is (in my case) RAF bars.   RAF bars (to the uninitiated) run at cost for the most part, and tend to be staffed by service personnel as part of their job.   Let me give you an example; A single shot of Smirnoff Vodka in a normal UK bar would set you back around ?2.00, in an RAF bar you would be expecting to pay around ?0.60

 To my family and I, this is perfectly normal.   To people that are close enough to my family and I to be invited to bases regularly, this is normal.   To most of the guests of my brothers wedding, most of whom have never been to an RAF base…let alone a bar, this is not normal at all.

 I recall buying a round of drinks for 10 people and getting change from a tenner…yes folks, it is THAT good.   I recommend applying to your nearest RAF recruitment center :-D

Now, to the title of the post.   After this happend the first time, I actually stayed at the bar so that I could watch the reactions of people when asked for payment.  

It was very easy to classify family and regular visitors, their behaviour is thus:

  1. Order
  2. Pay
  3. Thank barman/woman/person <— damn political correctness
  4. Make the statement “And one for yourself” to the barthingy <— this is how they earn a bit extra
  5. Take drinks
  6. Leave

It was also quite easy to classify those that have been to an RAF bar or two in their time:

  1. Order
  2. Pay
  3. Thank barthingy and laugh about how cheap it is
  4. Make  hysterical comment about how you  would never leave etc etc  
  5. Wait for polite laugh of embarassment from barthingy to confirm that you are indeed a comedy genius
  6. Take drinks
  7. Leave

It was also easy to spot those that were in an RAF bar for the very first time… However, they fell into two distinct categories:

Category 1 behaviour:

  1. Order
  2. Ask for price
  3. Show moderate disbelief and ask for price again
  4. Confirm that barthingy hasn’t forgotten to add the <insert multiple beverage here> to the bill
  5. Ask for price again
  6. Pay
  7. Thank barthingy and laugh about how cheap it is
  8. Take drinks
  9. Leave

Category 2 behaviour:

  1. Order
  2. Ask for price
  3. Raise eyebrows for a split nanosecond and fumble in wallet/purse for money quick
  4. Practically throw money at barthingy
  5. Whilst waiting for change, beckon friends to sprint over and get all the drinks
  6. Take change
  7. Smile to self and skulk away before someone notices that a ?30 round just cost you ?5

It was category 2 that kept me at the bar for the better part of an hour, that and the ?0.50 cost of the ApfelKorn :-D.   I guess what I found the most funny about this was that, their behaviour was repeated every time they came to the bar.   Although they would try and send someone else each time, I assume that this was just in case the barthingy realised that they had made a mistake and came after them.

What is the point of this?   None really, although observing this behaviour gave me an evil thought.   It may also have been the Apfelkorn, I can never be sure…

I waited a little longer until I saw a category 2 male heading to the toilets and followed.   When he was on his way back, I took him to one side and told him that the barmaid had been sent home (true, she had been working 8 hours and someone else came in to take over).   Apparently the till was around ?90 lighter than it should have been.   I also may have mentioned that, as the barmaid is a member of the RAF, she would not get fired, but she would be arrested by the Military Police on grounds of theft.   I couldn’t quite commit to, but recognise the possibility that, I may have also said that it is likely she would be courtmarshalled.   I also seem to recall a voice, not too dissimilar to mine, mentioning that this particular barmaid had already been questioned before about undercharging and possible theft, which is why it was so serious now.

My explanation for not turning him in, my dad was in the RAF and had vouched for every person on the base for the wedding, even if he didn’t know them, and he could get in trouble for this.

I told him that if I happened to “find” the missing money, I could claim that she had dropped it whilst counting the till (quite impressed he bought that tbh)…I said that people would believe me because of my dad, but that we only had about 15 minutes before the MPs arrived.

I waited for him to round up the money from his cohorts and told him I would go and “find it”**


People can be idiots

* How I didn’t make her throw up is beyond me…she always loved having fun  – RIP Nan, I am always thinking about you…

** I did give it back later. No honestly..I really did