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Friday, 20 March 2009

Bed and breakfast

Monday March 9th

Well, this is the day that I should have been flying out to the island for the start of a weeks holiday, the same day that the island manager returns to hopefully discuss whether I am suitable to work here returns. Will this be the day that changes my life? I am trying to get the mind out of the way and have no expectations. One of the ladies who works in the kitchen said to me yesterday that I should not be disappointed if I do not get the job, since it will not necessarily mean that I am in my own words "crap", just that there are more suitable applicants.

When I stop to think about it, I do have a lot going for me. For one thing, I would be prepared to do almost anything to be here, despite the hard work and the challenges that I now know that this will bring. Yesterday I worked in the Tavern from 12 noon until 9pm, and by the time I walked back home I was absolutely cream crackered and that's no lie. They showed me how to use the till which wasn't too bad, although I did make one mistake. Nothing however that could not be rectified. I then cleaned and sanitised the games, and the tables before setting to work cleaning the kitchen itself. This really was hard work, not helped by the fact that I am so short in height and was unable to reach a lot of it. I did the best I could though, which I think was pretty good.

I had a half hour break around 1.30pm when I had the obligatory jacket spud, and then around 45 minutes between 5.15 and 6pm (it was supposed to be an hour but we had to all be back by 6pm, when we start to serve food). During this time, because the weather was so foul, with hail and storm force winds, I sat in the Tavern and ate some of the food that I had wisely brought with me - two rice cakes with cheese, an apple and a packet of crisps.

Four of us were on duty for the busiest night of the week - plus one at the bar and of course the chef. Each of us was assigned to a different task - one on the till, one on the servery, one clearing and taking out the plates, and myself on the dishwasher. For three hours then I loaded and unloaded the dishwasher, drying the stuff as it came out, just in time for another lot to be done. In between I scraped and collected plates, and took the occasional plate out to the diners as well. Then at the end of the night we had to clean and mop the floor and empty all the bins - after three hours of this I was fit to drop and by the time I walked back home battling against the wind (thankfully it was a relatively clear night), I rang my partner and went straight to bed.

It was a fitful nights sleep due to the high winds that continued to battle the walls all night long, and a mind that has not yet switched off. It is interesting how working here this time, there seems to be a different quality to the way in which my mind has been working. I have been doing things work wise that I would never normally have considered - hands plunged into a sink of mucky water fishing out bits and bobs of leftover food, scraping bones off plates, watching the chef cook slabs of cold, hard flesh and folding so many towels and sheets that I have doing them in my sleep. Despite the initial reluctance (and a lot of it is me just being so tired and stressed to have got here and done this, and yes, I admit, my own shattered expectations), I think I would prefer to do housekeeping full time rather than the Tavern. It seems to me that this is easier work, less manual, and more regular hours. One of the seasonal workers who has been here for five months during the winter, says that she has put on loads of weight due to eating such huge amounts of junk, because of her own irregular hours. I would have to order half my stuff from as you cannot get wheat free food in the shop. Such is life.

Yes coming to work and live on the island would be challenging and would also be hard work. But can you imagine a better way to forget your troubles and strifes than good old fashioned work coupled with such wondrous surroundings. Try as I might, I can't.

So perhaps, or maybe despite of these things, it has not put me off wanting to be here, but strengthened my resolve all the more. Of course I may change my mind at the end of the day after I have helped with changeover. For the moment though, a hot shower and a breakfast in the Tavern calls.

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