Bad week at the offie

03 October, 2008

Festivals, injuries, unruly employees and Sunday trading all gets a bit too much ...

My goodness, what a couple of weeks it's been. The European Beer Festival in Copenhagen was a lot of fun, although whenever I mentioned that I was going, it seemed that half of the UK brewing industry hadn't heard of it. All the more strange, then, to find myself at the British ambassador's residence in Copenhagen, along with the other half of the UK brewing industry (I exaggerate slightly). It was a pre-festival event to promote the UK's finest export to the Scandinavians, and by and large it seemed to be a success.

The weekend took a turn for the worse when I twisted my ankle on the way back from the beer festival. I'm sure that no amount of protest

will convince you of my sobriety, but I certainly wasn't drunk. Not having the luxury of time to rest, ice, compress and elevate the injury (the RICE model of treatment), I had to resort to strapping, walking, eating and drinking (I'm snappily calling it the SWED model of treatment); I was only there for three days

and had a lot of ground to cover. Happily, I found that if you don't let the ankle seize up, it heals remarkably quickly.

Just as well, because it was straight back to work on Monday (long day of paperwork and other logistic-style drudgery) before whizzing off to the Liberty Wines tasting in London on Tuesday. Six hours of travelling for four hours of wine tasting.

It's impossible to convince anyone who hasn't done it that trying over a hundred wines in a short afternoon is exhausting . It is, but it always throws up some surprises, good and bad.

Wednesday was a regular delivery day (by which I mean a couple of pallets of beer), before holding a beer tasting at a local pub on Thursday. For corporate events, you can count on a 20% drop -out rate, so although

60 people were invited, we knew that having a room that could only seat 50 wasn't a problem. Unexpectedly, 72 people arrived, creating a raucous Oktoberfest-like atmosphere, and all the beer was gone in no time. I barely kept control, but it went off OK in the end.

Friday was a day off, spent in a knackered haze where I was too tired to do anything efficiently, but not tired enough just to lay on the sofa and watch some movies. I finally decided to get some serious relaxing in after a tetchy call with an employee led me to realise that I was actually going to have to go to work on Saturday, take his keys off him

and sack him. It had been a long time coming.

Sunday was taken up working again . Remember, I'd just sacked the person who normally works

and no

one else was available. On Monday, fortune reminds me that I haven't been getting enough rest, and I sideswipe the car into a plastic bollard. Quotes for repair are about a quarter of what I paid for the car. Sod it, I'll have a dented car. On Tuesday I get a call from the London office of the solicitors for whom I did last week's beer tasting event. The Leeds office ha d such a good time that the London team want me to do the same for them. Wednesday again, and a couple more pallets of beer arrive. Thursday

and it's off to Beer Exposed, to talk about " extreme


As if all of that wasn't enough, on Monday morning I notice that the cash and carry now has a Christmas display. I need a week off.

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English wine: a happy harvest for Christmas

All across England and Wales, vineyards are being harvested. Down winding country lanes come armies of welly-wearing conscripts wielding secateurs and buckets, ready to reap the rewards of our vines. Happily they come, their cheeks ruddy with pride. Half an hour later they’re crawling over muddy clods with lacerated hands, drenched in claggy juice and cold sweat, as if ploughing through an endurance race.

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