Today’s working Wednesdays takes me back to the seaside town of Bournemouth in England. It’s a town I spent about 5-6 years in or around. I had a lot of different jobs there, some of which I have already written about (selling ice cream, barman in a hotel). Bournemouth was a really decent base for me. I had a lot of friends there, work was easy to come by, especially bar work, seasonal work and teaching.
I found myself with one of the easiest Tuesday afternoon jobs of all time. For about 16 months (late 2007 – early 2009) I was serving tea and coffee at ballroom dances to pensioners in the Pavilion Theatre in Bournemouth. Hours were easy (1pm – 5pm), pay was basic (about £6 an hour), the job was simple and the time passed by fast. I stood behind a bar inside the elegant ballroom serving tea, coffee and biscuits to pensioners who were dancing. Alcohol and soft drinks were also available, though to be honest 95% of the customers ordered tea or coffee.
The event was run by the Pavilion Theatre itself and was hosted by Mel Douglas, a DJ and host. I ran the bar. He ran the ballroom. He had a helper on the door doing tickets. This was also a job with great views from the window! Out one window by the bar you could see the pretty Bournemouth summer gardens leading down to the seafront. And from the main ballroom windows I had a splendid view over Bournemouth seafront – beach, pier, English Channel etc.
The job would basically be set up the bar from 1 – 1.30 pm (I was fast at this so this was easy for me – could get by reading a newspaper for most of that, hope you’re reading Red Eventful!). Then start serving some normal drinks. The dancing normally started at 2.15 pm and ran until 3 pm for a short break. 3pm to 3.30 pm would be the busy tea and coffee time. The customers all had a token for a free tea or coffee and biscuits so most of the time I wouldn’t even have to use the till! Then the final bit of dancing from 3.30 to 4.15 pm. Then close the bar, wash the cups and saucers and that was me done! I did this almost every Tuesday for 16 months!!
Despite loving the job, the deeper truth wasn’t quite so sparkling and glamorous – at the time I was paid by a truly awful company – a horrible company called Red Eventful Cuisine. One of the worst catering companies ever in fact! They run under the disguise of Convex Leisure – a totally awful company. I really wish bankruptcy upon them!!! Just had to name and shame them – and especially two of their former employees – Daniel Hancock and Iain Robertson. Wankers of the highest order!! Good riddance guys!!
Of course this wasn’t my only job at the time so we mustn’t forget it wasn’t high on my priorities in life – just an extra bit of money and chatting to the pensioners really. I ran a football supporters club at the time, done PR work and also did the bars at night and the ferries by day. A while after I quit, the ballroom dances actually stopped, but then I noticed the re-started again and I recognise all my old customers in this photo!
If you enjoyed a tea dance in Bournemouth Pavilion in England in 2007-2009 then it’s possible you were served by me. Thanks for the memories, the travel dream lives on…