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Adventures of an Expat Kiwi – Part 5 – Time to Leave London?

Sawyers Arms Pub in Paddington, the upstairs restaurant looks pretty much the same after all these years. This photo is from Tripadvisor in 2020 so go figure

Time for an Expat Kiwi to leave London?

In case you’ve missed any of the growing number of posts on this blog, you can check out the Contents post to find them in some sort of order or chronology and/or organisation by topic or location.

London – June 1997

The pub job in Paddington was going well enough, I was slowly building up my basic waiting and bartending skills, I was making friends and a little money, perhaps I had a shot at being employable after all!

However, after about 6 weeks the boss had turned out to be a bit stranger than I first suspected. 

You may recall my boss was a heavyset Irish woman who had a passionate hate for Fitbas, more commonly called Football Fans, or more accurately, Football Hooligans!

At the end of each week, it was a designated person’s job to divide up all of the tips between the waiting staff, the restaurant staff and the office. Why the office got a share of our tips I’ll never know, but one of the chefs suggested that it might be the boss’s drinking fund.

This was the same week I served a table of Swedish ladies holidaying in London, and because I’m so nice, and because I seem to have a thing for Swedish ladies, (or they for me?) they gave me a £15 tip! That was the single biggest tip I had ever received and I believe that it still stands to this day!

But since I’m such a nice guy, I put that £15 tip (that I earned with my very own niceness!) into the tip jar… And by the end of the week, the tips were only about £1 more than usual!

Another member of staff pointed out that certain members of the waiting team didn’t like to serve tables but were very keen to clear them, and the tips… So this might have been why the tips weren’t significantly higher than in other weeks…

This week it was my turn to count and divvy up the tips. So I dutifully divided the funds fairly and equally between the different staff members and the office.

It was a decent enough week and came to something like £8.26

The next day the boss asked me how much I had given everyone for tips. Off the top of my head, I said ‘Something like £9.26′

In a Gotcha! Moment, she said ‘Ah! You shortchanged the office by a pound!’

Crazy Boss Lady Makes Expat Kiwi Want to Leave London
My crazy boss looked a little bit like this…

A Pound? A Pound, really?

To be honest, I was taken off guard, not expecting to be accused of such a petty and insignificant trifle of shorting the office of the tips that we had earned, not least that it wasn’t true… I don’t think I even defended myself. I was shocked, literally speechless.

The job felt sour after that, I didn’t trust that the boss wouldn’t turn on me or another staff member for no reason. I decided perhaps it was time to find gainful employment elsewhere. I decided that I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my time in the UK just seeing London…

It was time for an Expat Kiwi to explore the country and find my perfect little spot to get set up for more adventures!

It was around this time that I met a Canadian guy who was staying in the Hostel after returning from a trip home to see his family and was on his way back to his chosen place in the UK. A magical and mystical city of fun and adventure, off the beaten track, far more affordable than London, just a stone’s throw away… in Birmingham!

Sounded great, count me in!

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Part Six of The Adventures of an Expat Kiwi is coming soon…

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