An interesting headline, designed to grab attention, so let me explain. We are only a very small hotel, located in a very quiet residential area. On occasion, we do have, mostly near neighbours and locals pop in for just a drink- we love to see them, but what we don’t encourage are people who have been to the local pub, had too much to drink there, have been asked to leave and then wend their way to our door, in this instance still carrying a half drunk pint of beer… But for the first time in TerraVina’s short history, (five years), this is exactly what happened on Saturday evening.
Three lads arrived, one of them very inebriated, another not quite so, but with beer glass in hand and a third who seemed on the face of it to be the only sober(ish) one of the three- it turned out they were mates of one of our very part-time bar men and when Gerard and I hastily requested that they leave and refused to serve them, (on the grounds that the hotel was full of diners and hotel residents and that at least one of them had obviously had far too much to drink already and under the terms of our liquor license we had the right to refuse to serve them any more alcohol). However, they were not in a hurry to leave, swearing ensued and two of them became argumentative, abusive and generally a nuisance to our guests. We repeatedly asked them to leave; eventually we called the police to ask for help in moving them out of the hotel and off the premises.
The police incident room answered swiftly, were very friendly and helpful and took down all the details including a description of the three lads in question, my details, the hotel details and my date of birth and home address (not quite sure why they were relevant?) and I was assured that answering all of the above was not impeding in any way, the dispatch of the information to a local police unit. I was given an incident number and it all looked promising and that there would be a local unit on the way to lend some support- at the end of the call we had eventually managed to get the three lads into the car park by coaxing them to the door, one of them swearing loudly all the way, but once in the car park they were jeering departing guests, standing in the middle of the entrance, thus blocking the way for cars leaving and taxis arriving and generally just being obnoxious and unwelcome.
A good twenty minutes passed with no sign of the police and Gerard, Sophie and I (and some of the chefs who had come out for moral support) trying to coax them out of the car park and down the road. Whilst we were occupied outside, the police chap I had spoken to called back to say all units were currently deployed and no one could come as yet. I didn’t take the call otherwise I would have had something to say about that! Now I know that due to wide ranging cuts the police force are stretched but having eventually managed to get them to weave their way unsteadily down the lane, (another twenty minutes later) swearing, shouting abuse and threatening all sorts of revenge, Gerard and I eventually left to go home… On our way, along the A35, just five minutes from the hotel were a group of patrol cars (at least three) with a number of police men and women, who were stopping cars for speeding and suspected drink driving offences – now of course this is very important but did it need so many of them to do so and couldn’t one of them have popped by to check we were sorted out with our louts? Seemingly not and I suspect that is the case in many places, on many busy Friday and Saturday nights when citizens are left to fend for themselves against louts, criminals and those who are being unsociable – no wonder people get so exasperated and take the law and it’s enforcement into their own hands.
Luckily no punches were thrown – actually one of them was so drunk he would have probably missed me if he had thrown a punch anyway. I faced them and “stood them down”, I am quite scary when I want to be and no damage was done, except that it left an unpleasant end to what was a busy and hectic evening. No guests were offended to the extent that they won’t return and hopefully not too many neighbours were disturbed either, but how much easier it would have been to remove them if we had had the help of a policeman on hand! The trouble is they are never to be found when you actually want or need one!
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a film that I was looking forward to watching, the Academy Award winning, Inside Job, which is all about the financial meltdown and of the collapse of Lehmann Brothers, Freddie Mac and sub prime mortgages in the US and the general global downturn. It is eye opening in its condemnation of not only Wall Street and the banking systems, but also of the US Government and their failure to regulate, check and ensure such fraudulent and sloppy, greedy activities were allowed to take place (but make no mistake if a similar film was made looking into the UK’s financial systems, we would undoubtedly come out just as tarnished). The film is well made and at the end of it I was sickened by the greed and avarice that the bankers displaye; as thousands of people were losing their homes, they were making millions of dollars in bonuses, and the Government was allowing them to do, so not only that, but since Obama has been President many of these men, who are accountable for the global financial mess that we still all face today are advisors on treasury and economic policy matters in Obama’s administration- unbelievable and how audacious for the US to now turn around and blame the Euro-zone crisis for all that is wrong in today’s economic mess- everyone should watch Inside Job and be warned that the very same things are still happening with the very same men growing still richer on the back of others misery and seemingly, no one in authority is doing anything about it.
Till next week! Thank you for reading.