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Message in a Bottle - Bacardi

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Message in a Bottle - Bacardi
Bottle sorting. A smelly, sticky way to spend a few hours on weekend mornings and probably the dirtiest job I ever did in our pub. Depending on which bars we’d had open, there would be two or three huge bottle-skips to wheel into the yard and empty the contents into the correct crates ready for returning to Schweppes, Britvic, Guinness and many more. The sweet smells of Cherry B, Babycham, Zing and Pepsi mingled with Pale Ale, Newcastle Brown and assorted lagers and ciders. Tomato juice was popular, as was pineapple. The bottles were tacky with dribbles and spills and I had to beware of the wasps. The last part of the job was swilling the skips out with the hose and not soaking myself in the process.There was a message somewhere for me amongst those multi-coloured bottles. Probably along the lines of ‘earn your ice-skating money’. I hated doing that job at the time, but I look back on it with fondness now. I used to wish I was eighteen and worked behind the bar. I was fifteen collecting glasses, emptying ashtrays and wiping tables, and if rowdy young men came in, I got sent away to do the washing up instead.
I’ve mentioned before that most of my family ran pubs. None of them could be described as anything more than an occasional drinker and never touched it when they were working. My father and my grandfather were of the opinion that having a taste for the ale can be the downfall of a landlord. They had acquaintances in the business that had a different opinion, and some customers needed a gentle word as they were guided towards the door. From quite a young age I was aware of the negative effects of alcohol, though not fully understanding the consequences until I was much older. I’ll never forget the important lesson I learned from Bacardi and Coke when I was too young to be drinking it. Some things just stay with you. There was certainly a message for me in that Bacardi bottle.
I have Victorian bottles in ornamental clusters. Collecting them started off as a hobby but didn’t get very far. My favourites, the blue 'poison' bottles, are hard to find so I think I gave up actively searching, though I like any and tend to buy them. If anyone has a blue, green or brown bottle embossed with ‘Boots Cash Chemists’ that they would like to re-home, I’m your person.
One Reason Why I Don’t Drink
Oh pour me another Bacardi
And top it right up with some coke
I’d better have ice and fresh lemon,
No pips, though, I don’t want to choke.
It takes me right back to Majorca,
When fourteen was really grown up
And Pedro, that sweet Spanish waiter,
Brought me more Bacardi to sup.
I drank it until I felt funny
And something went wrong with my eyes
Walking was all of a wobble
Then being sick took me by surprise.
My dress was a sea of brown liquid
Warmed coke still bubbly and fizzy
And I was the worst ever mess,
Scratching the ground, feeling dizzy.
I don’t really want a Bacardi,
I don’t want to relive the pain.
I might have a Tia Maria
On the rocks, just now and again.
   PMW 2017
Thanks for reading, Pam x 
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