I still work at The Warrington Hotel, a couple days a week. So naturally friends and neighbours and locals ask, confidingly, what my new boss, Gordon Ramsay is up to.
Life is conjecture, really. Most of it. After John Brandon stood up at his leaving drinks that October night and said good-bye, everyone about the Warrington became a sort of inane string of meaningliness rumour and hearsay.
Martin keeps the faith and tells everyone how wonderful it will be. The underlying implication of hope from him, naturally, is that he will be a part of it. The underlying implication of hope, from most everyone else, is that he will not.
The rest of staff: we tread water and smile. Life is conjecture. Life is full of hills and valleys we cannot see around. We make friends with John, the incoming chef, and Adam, the representative of Ramsay Holdings, who is around to manage in his hands-off way. Gordon, Georgina, Renee, Miriama, Julia and I: we soothe the souls of the regulars and the locals by being familiar. We know your names, or at very least, your face and the jug or the straight glass you like your pint of Young’s or Stella in. We are the bridge and the bandage.
Still, I am taking photos, now and then, of the things I believe won’t survive the Ramsay sledgehammer. It’s hard to hold onto a memory, I’ve found.
After enough time in the water, even the strongest bandages wear away.