2009年 10月 21日, 星期三 - 格林尼治标准时间11:39

Emmet's Student Diary 伦敦学生博客第四周

Emmet Conlon O'Reilly

Wednesday 21st October 2009 – Pub Work

Ye Olde White Horse pub, London

Ye Olde White Horse

Last Saturday, like every other Saturday for the past nine months, I got up early to scrub the street and polish wine glasses. I work part-time in a pub called 'Ye Old White Horse' in central London, the place I've called home for the past year. I must admit it felt strange walking to work from student halls now that I only do one shift every week rather than about fifty hours.

As you can imagine university in the UK is an expensive business. On top of university fees there is student accommodation, books, a laptop, and the cost of living in London; so I've kept my job to keep myself afloat. That's not the only reason; I truly love the work and it's a huge part of my life.

A man holding a pint of Guinness (stout)

A man with a pint of stout

Genuine traditional English pubs are few and far between but a real pub must have a few crucial features. First of all, at the heart of any good pub the service must be efficient and friendly. Of course there must be a wide selection of well-maintained lagers, ciders and traditional British ales as well as my own favourite: stout.

Fish and chips

Fish and chips

Traditional English pub food is delicious and indulgent: bangers and mash (pork sausages with mashed potatoes), and pies with various fillings such as steak and ale or chicken and mushroom. The classic fish and chips is always popular, washed down with a few beers.

The beauty of a great pub is that inside, everyone is equal. All differences are left at the door and lawyers mingle with manual labourers, while bankers chat away with council workers about the football results. There's a constant stream of good beer and better conversation. We'd call it 'good craic' in Ireland (pronounced crack). Craic is fun or banter, the back and forth of witty discussion.

Emmet and one of his customers in the pub

Emmet and one of his regular customers in the pub

I've worked in restaurants and pubs since I was 16 and I maintain that there can be no other line of work that provides as many laughs per minute as bar work.

Ye Olde White Horse pub

Ye Olde White Horse

I found it difficult to make the change from working full-time to returning to university, not just in terms of practical differences, but because I really enjoyed working in the Irish-run White Horse. I met some of my best friends there. I met my girlfriend there.

The work can be hard and alcohol can do funny things to some people. By midnight you definitely know you've done a day's work but that makes that pint of stout by the end of the night all the more inviting.

How about pubs in China's big cities; can you get a decent pint in Tianjin, Fuzhou and Nanjing? I'd love to hear about where you can go to unwind after a hard day's work. Have you ever had an interesting part-time job?

Until next week: cheers, sláinte (in Irish), gan bei! Emmet

scrub 用力地搓洗, polish 把(酒杯)擦得干净闪亮的, genuine 地道的, lagers 黄啤酒, ciders 苹果酒, ales 淡色浓啤酒, stout 黑啤酒, mingle 与人交谈, banter 朋友间的惬意谈笑, craic (爱尔兰人喜欢使用的), witty 机智的 朋友间的惬意谈笑, inviting 诱人的, pint 一品托, unwind 放松, cheers/ sláinte 干杯!

Emmet said he’s got a job to keep himself afloat. The literal meaning of this phrase is to stay above water but it can also mean that you have enough money to pay your bills. E.g. “I kept myself afloat this month by working extra hours.” Another phrase he used was few and far between, which means rare or infrequent. For example, “Good jobs are hard to find at the moment; they are few and far between.” The phrase at the heart of means at the centre, the focal point, or the most important thing. For example, “Food is at the heart of any good celebration.” Emmet said he likes eating fish and chips washed down with a few beers. In this sentence, washed down means having a drink with food, often to make it taste better. E.g. “Steak tastes best when washed down with red wine” or: “I don’t like taking my medicine, so I wash it down with fruit juice.” Emmet thinks working in pubs and restaurants is the best line of work, or type of work. Here’s another example: “I want to stay in the same line of work because I enjoy it so much.”

Question of the Week

Can you get a decent pint in Tianjin, Fuzhou and Nanjing? Where do you go to unwind after a hard day's work? Have you ever had an interesting part-time job?

Email me and you might see your answers at the bottom of this page.

Email Emmet at 按键 chinaelt@bbc.co.uk

Your Replies

Note: We do not correct the English in comments posted.

Hi Emmet, I'm Dora from Shanghai, just graduated from university this summer. Nice to meet you.

After reading your dairy this week, I just can't wait to tell you that there are so many great pubs here too, and stout is also my favorate! I used to grab a drink with my friends every few days. That is the happiest and the most relaxing time of a day, like you said before. However I guess there are still some differences. I mean the pubs. In China, pubs are mostly for young people. In other words, going to a pub is totally young people's business here. Haha. But it seems to be a very common thing in Europe and America.

I often see (in some American movies) there are middle-aged or old men gathering in a pub enjoying a good time... Oh, speaking of this, I'v been looking forward to go to an Irish-run pub, it is said to be really awesome. By the way, how's your language study going?

Here's a piece of good news for you - I have a friend which is Irish too, he came to Shanghai for work and started learning Chinese 8 months ago. Now his speaking and writing are both amazing. So I bet you can do it too (lol). Well, so much for this little message. Now I have to stop and go to bed.

Best wishes for you! Hope you can write me back.

Dora, Shanghai

Hi Emmet I first heard you from the BBC radio programme. And that was this morning! I am thrilled to know you not only because of the campus life you talked about on air, but also the Irish backgroud of you. I am really a big fan of Irish culture.

Do you know Damien Rice? I like him so much! Your Irish folk music truely appleas to me. Additionally the wild Irish sea I got known from the novels and songs is the most beautiful sea in my dream where I ever want to go. Especially the versatility and an air of melancholiness (maybe this word can not conclude my feeling pricesely, anyhow, I mean it in an approval way), I feel, are like features of Irishes. I can sense this more as I am getting closer with Irish culture. Is that true? I am eager to know everything about Irish culture as much as your interests in Chinese culture.

As for the topics you set for this week in your blog, we Chinese students seldom go to pubs like yours for relaxing. Instead we go to kind of singing pubs usually to be together with old friends. There some are singing, while others chatting, making it like a party. For getting to know new friends, those clubs and activities on campus are the oridary channels.

Oh - almost forget to introduce myself. 我叫许铌娜 pronunciation: Xu (falling-rising tone) Ni (rising tone) Na (falling tone). My English name is Lena.

I am now a post-graduate student in Beijing, majoring in English Linguistics (focus on translation between Chinese and English). Glad to help you with your Chinese learning. Wish you good luck! Looking forward to hearing from u!!!

我叫许铌娜 (Lena), Beijing

Hi Emmet, how are you?

I'm a Chinese girl and knew you from the bbc learning english. Your voice was so nice and I like it very much. My name is 杨鹏鹏 in Chinese and you also can call me Fransi which is my english name.

You said that your major is Mandarin Chinese and Linguistics, it was great. So, maybe i can give you some help in learning Chinese if you want, and i think i need your help in learning english if you never mind. And i want to make friends with you. (I'm so sorry that my english is not good, so i can't express my means exactly, but can you understand me). Yours best.

杨鹏鹏 (Fransi)


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