I’m turning in to Basil Fawlty…

Basil FawltyWe’ve all had those moments, when everything just seems to have gone hopelessly wrong and we can identify with the furious tantrums of Basil Fawlty.

Those of us who work in the pub and hotel trade can probably empathise most with some of John Cleese’s character’s views, but today I was reminded of his many tantrums as I descended in to a blathering, shouting wreck of a man this morning.

Last night, whilst out with the pub’s petanque team (oh, my life is so exciting), Ali called to tell me that the glass washer had stopped working.  I told her I’d have a look at it when I got back, and indeed I did.  Only to discover that she was not doing anything stupid that would allow me to tut at her and have it working in a jiffy, but instead had to commit myself to a morning of taking it apart to find out what was wrong.

This annoyed me greatly as, after such a busy seven days with the World Cup and sunshine, I had promised myself a day off today to do, well, nothing.  My plan had been simple: have a lie in, eventually get up and go for a bike ride, then return home, shower and settle down on the sofa to watch Sunday’s Grand Prix, which I hadn’t been able to really get in to on the day itself because the pub was busy with people getting ready to watch football instead.

After the grand prix I would probably just vegetate on the sofa and play games on the PlayStation 3.

Instead, I found myself groping around behind the glass washer trying to find out what was wrong with it.  I was guessing the pipe that feeds water had become crimped.  After all, on Saturday night the stand that has supported the machine for the better part of the last thirty years had collapsed, dumping water everywhere that had eventually leaked in to the cellar and blown up my Coca Cola dispensing unit.

Having built a new stand and put it all back in place on Sunday morning, there was every chance that I’d simply got the pipe stuck.  Except I couldn’t find anything out of place.  After emptying the salt tank and refilling it and switching the unit and listening to the pump buzz, I came to the conclusion that the pump itself had gone so rang my local service man who, after a verbal description of what had happened, agreed with me.

He gave me a price for repairing the unit, which amazingly added up to exactly the same amount of money I’d managed to make in the past week.  “Poppycock,” I said, or something very similar to it.

I went back to the machine to push it back in to place and, glancing in the small gap between machine and work surface, found the culprit.  The water feed pipe had indeed become crimped, but it was in a place I hadn’t been able to reach and therefore hadn’t spotted.  Joyously, I rang my engineer back and told him there was no need to come out, I’d solved the problem myself.

Wishing that at some point in the past I’d taken up Yoga, I positioned myself in the small gap afforded to me between the washer and the secondary cooler for the Kronenbourg and Foster’s pumps, and got hold of the pipe.  As I unbent it, I heard water start to rush in to the machine: hey presto, it was working!

I worked my way further in to the gap and pulled the pipe hard to straighten it out.


The pipe connected to the washer came loose and, under pressure, was now spraying me with very cold water.

Switching off the main water supply I stood up, looked at the flooded bar floor, and suffered a Basil Fawlty meltdown of apoplectic proportions.

“Is it too hard to want a f***ing day off with nothing going wrong?!”  I shouted at the washer.  “Can you not go a p***ing day without breaking down!?”

The rant went on for a little while and I was on the verge of getting a tree branch and thrashing a car when I realised that I probably looked very silly.  Thankfully, there was nobody about to see my tantrum and I calmed down enough to clean up the mess and set about resolving the problem sensibly.

By the time Ali returned home and Molly had come in to work I’d got the bar back in to some semblance of order and Ali told me to go upstairs, calm down and watch the European Grand Prix.

Settling down with a glass of milk and a bag of Galaxy Counters (the best chocolates from a Revels bag) I called up the Planner on my Sky Plus box and scrolled through the programs, only to discover that because the BBC had moved this weekend’s Formula One race to BBC2 to allow the England/Germany match to be shown on BBC1 the Series Link function hadn’t recorded the race.

Downstairs in the bar, everybody heard another Basil meltdown take place.  “I’m going for a bike ride!”  I shouted at Ali, storming out to the shed to get my bike and pump my aggression out.  In an effort to motivate myself in to a depressed frenzy of pedal power, I put Eminem’s Curtain Call album on my MP3 player and headed out on a hard ride.  Only for the batteries on my music player to fail at the farthest point from home.

It was all I could do to prevent myself from throwing the thing on the floor and jumping up and down on it.

Returning home, Ali suggested that I use iPlayer to watch the race.  It sounded like a great idea, but when your Internet is as poorly as mine (see the speed diagram below), there’s just no point.  I have now given up on what was supposed to be a relaxing day.

The Internet was faster in 1995...

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2 thoughts on “I’m turning in to Basil Fawlty…

  1. Sorry to hear it Mark. I’ve never thought of the Basil Fawlty link, but I’ve certainly been none to ‘have one’.

    On the plus side, I’ve now been reminded to put my mp3 player on charge before I go out tonight on the MTB 😀

    I can recommend Eminem’s new album by the way, great for stress release.

    Looking forward to your next day off?

  2. I’ve given up on the idea of “days off”, accepting my fate instead and acknowledging that, at best, I might get a couple of hours!

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