Monday, 6 May 2013
At last the holidaymakers came in their droves and this weekend has truly been like the summer!! Our staff were amazing - we had the one obligatory disaster with a 'runner' and a tray full of food parting company but hopefully that's the one done for the entire season now! By the way - the young person was ok - just a dented pride as much as anything!
The picture above is of Jade - she's the newest recruit to our team and is the epitome of all that we look for when we're recruiting potential staff.
Jade is 19 and is actually a qualified hairdresser - but didn't like the competitive environment. Obtaining a clutch of GCSE's her best being a B in Science she is by no means a slouch in the education department, and yet like so many young people she has found it hard to get employment. She doesn't yet have a driving license, so already she's at a bit of a disadvantage down here where buses run once a lifetime!
Unemployed for 7 months she applied for plenty of jobs, but its the old story of little experience means its hard to get someone to take you on. She got employment for a while in a care home but again, it just wasn't quite what she wanted to do. She did eventually get work at another pub in town, but there were not the hours available that she really needed, so she applied to us. Crikey - am I glad she did!!
If there was ever the blue print for a perfect new recruit into our business then Jade pretty much fits it........ She's enthusiastic, (that's nine tenths of what we need!) a very fast learner, can communicate well with customers and now that she's relaxing into her role she's developed a natural smile! She didn't know I could hear her the other day when she was speaking to a customer taking a booking on a face to face basis and she was absolutely perfect! She has the intelligence to look for things to do in the quiet moments and the ability to prioritise when there's a dozen things to do. Mind you, she's only dinky and looks quite lost in her long waitress apron!!!!
So our challenge now is nurturing her, keeping her enthusiasm at a good level and continuing to train her so that she becomes that invaluable member of our team who may well get a career from this chance application to us rather than just a 'job'.
As I say its been a hugely busy couple of days (thankfully) and our garden has at last rung to the sound of happy giggling children and parents grateful for the opportunity of good weather so that those said children can let off steam in the play area. Let off steam they did as we had the usual trail of grazed knees and tears and tantrums!
SOH and I went to our hugely posh Restaurateurs Dinner at The Savoy where I am not ashamed to say, I got incredibly merry!! In fact some might say rather too merry..........
I screeched like a banshee when said SOH bid (well, with a little help from me!) during the evening successfully on 4 tickets for a Michael Buble concert at the 02 arena in London in July, completely forgetting I was in such a posh place! We also won a case of wine and a dinner for 2............ so all in all it was a very good evening!! We finished off the evening in the American Bar at the Savoy where cocktails cost from £15 to £5k - yes, really £5k!!!
Do you think that would catch on at the Vic????
Sunday, 28 April 2013
Oh I say - look at where the girl from Pompey is going tomorrow night!! We're (SOH & I) are going to the Savoy for dinner......... Well flip me sideways - who'd have thought THOSE words would ever come out of my mouth!!! Am I excited?? Hell yes........... New long dress hanging up (Purple again!) but 3/4 sleeves and plain - but classy! I am excited but ever so slightly nervous about being out of my depth with the sorts of people that are likely to be there - the Dinner is for the National Restauraters of which we are a part of, and its a fund raising event. The likes of Rocco Forte will be there as well as top chefs from around the country.
There is a 'silent' auction, which means SOH won't have to sit on my hands to stop me leaping up to bet on items like 4 tickets for Mr Buble's concert.................. which I'm sure will attract many thousands of pounds!! The menu looks amazing (with matching wines) and has been devised by the Chefs at Claridges. but starting with a Champagne reception with Savoy Canapes......!!
I'm sure that come 11'ish the evening will be a bit of a blur but I'm really looking forward to yet another fantastic evening to remember.
The weather here in Salcombe continues to be grim but we continue to draw the customers with our fire still burning and attracting very cold visitors....... Will we ever get a proper spring or are we going to hit a heatwave??
The Victoria Inn remains busy, with some new staff learning the ropes - but nice young people who are eager to learn and bring added value to the Vic, and ensure that our customers have a great time with us. Talking of which, we've had some amazing Trip Advisor reports - which is always heartening!!
Fish has been a bit low on the menu as the poor weather has meant that the boats have not been out so much, therefore, fish catch is a bit short and what there has been has not been anything too spectacular - but right now Monk Fish tails and Petite Plaice are hot on the menu and the Scallops we had in flew straight out off the menu again. Shouldn't expect to have Beef Stew on at this time of year but once again customers are loving it and it has to be said that the Dumplings Chef Tanya makes are the tastiest I've ever had. Whilst the Strawberry Pavlovas that Chef Stuart made are to die for............... So lucky to have such talented people working with us!
On that note, I'm off for my Sunday lunch of local Sirloin of Beef and gorgeous Roasties............... till next time darlings!
Tuesday, 23 April 2013
And here's a great sign that spring is here - well almost!! The South Sands Ferry resplendent with flags. Still lots of customers about as well........... thanks goodness!
At last we have been able to start using our garden, and all the jobs we needed to do are at last starting to get done. The Chicken fencing is being tightened, tidied up and in some cases re-newed. The wiring has been a bit mucked up (to put it mildly!) as of course children are on the whole fascinated by the Chickens - that's when they're not chucking things at them or trying to poke them with straws (!) so of course they try to climb up the fence to get as close to them as possible............ :) Bending it beautifully out of shape.
Then there is the painting of the fencing out in the garden, next will come some planting. I'll take a quick trip out to a local nursery tomorrow to get some plants to brighten up the front of the pub and also at the top of the pathway to the garden. The bigger plants for the front of the pub have been ordered and will be coming in at the end of May - lots of bright colours this year and the lovely trailing stuff we have that causes so many great comments AND great pictures.
All jobs that we've been unable to undertake because of the flipping weather.
The Dipping Camembert now £1 cheaper and studded with Rosemary & Garlic is absolutely flying out the door!! Amazing........... the thing I've learnt most about this business is generally if we have what we think is a good idea, then generally we get it right. But sometimes, it may need a little tweaking - like the Camembert! Is it the reduced cost or the Garlic?? Who knows - all I do know is that now its selling!
Saturday, 13 April 2013
Well the weather may be rotten, but here at the Victoria Inn we've been rocking it out!! Two gorgeous children (Madeleine and William) above enjoying our Hot Chocolates - and given the weather we've had here, we've been making an awful lot of these!!! I feel so sorry for all our holiday makers with so little to do at what traditionally should be the start of the seaside festivities!!
We turned our upstairs restaurant into an extension of the garden with some nice cheery music, blinds up (to get at least a view of the Estuary) and lots of great food!!
We had a couple of very good meetings this week - took a booking for a delightful Salcombe couple who will be celebrating their Golden Wedding with us. That's always a lovely thing to organise - any sort of celebration - always so lovely to make something like that so special for people. We always put our heart and soul into occasions like these as they only come round once in a lifetime (for the customer anyway!)
The other meeting was with St Austell Brewery representatives and some very exciting changes which we hope will happen early next year, but until they're cast in a bit more certainty I can't really talk about them as such yet - but suffice to say, it's incredibly encouraging to see the confidence and faith the Brwery have in us as a business and as individuals.
The Fishermen are unable to get out much in this weather so our fresh fish dishes are a bit depleted to what we normally expect at this time of the year and we can't even have Mussells at the moment as they are apparently spawning................ but we still have some great Hake, Mackerel, and Cajun Salmon today. The sharing platters and the pulled Pork have proved sooooooo popular!! But the Dipping Camaembert is trailing behind........ why I don't know?? So we've re-branded it studded with fresh Rosemary and Garlic, and dropped the price by a £1. Lets see if it moves any quicker.
We have our new Summer Polo shirts ready for a few weeks time - this time round we've done a great deal with the lovely people of Henry Lloyd next door to us - so this summer you weill see our staff in gorgeous pale grey, very posh Henry Lloyd Polo shirts........... pictures to follow.
We are almost staffed us for summer as well - so if there are any of you out there still looking for summer work - make sure you're quick to contact us!!
So on this very vile day - I'll wish you a happy weekend from all of us here at the Vic,
|Fish sharing Platter|
Thursday, 4 April 2013
Good afternoon my lovely people, and belated Happy Easter greetings to you all! Yet as I sit at my dining table typing this, I can barely believe that it's snowing out there...........
What awful, horrible weather we're having - and I don't know about you but I am craving warmth and sunshine!! The first person to moan about the summer this year WILL get a slap! Having said all of that, the Victoria Inn has enjoyed an exceptionally good trade - with all tables, upstairs and downstairs regularly being fought over - but with staff turning them over with exceptional speed and professionalism.
Prosecco has been a huge seller this weekend, as has our new light lunch menu including new Pulled Pork Rolls, sharing platters and Dipping Camembert!
Great entertainment with the Old Gaffers, a young Barbershop quartet - BarberBay, and Mark Fraser who offered 2 interactive book readings Easter Sunday & Monday for everyone
1 to 100.................. It was apparently hard to say who enjoyed the readings more; the children or parents!! Here's a really short YouTube clip which doesn't quite do the session justice - but is a good indication of the type of mayhem that happens!
Still busy even now, and I'm so glad that we offer food all day!! Proving to be soooooooooo popular. I'm saying this all with the great authority of my SOH as I happen to still be off sick and will remain so for at least another week or two. So on that note I have decided to write another blog about my Asthma, keeping my professional and personal life a bit more separate. The link to my other blog is here http://ashortintakeofbreath.blogspot.co.uk/ and its up to you if you want to follow it or not. I hope you will, as I hope it will educate, help others and follow / aid my journey through what I hope will be an eventual recovery.
SOH has just returned home with the cheery news that we only have a couple of free tables tonight - so despite the rubbish weather, the Victoria Inn remains a great pull!
I think that will do for this posting - next week we have 2 interesting meetings happening, which I'll hope to be able to tell you about next time. Till then, keep warm, keep dry, stay germ free! You never know - we may have a little warmer weather next time I write!!
Thursday, 14 March 2013
|Wyleigh dog deciding what to have|
Well, I don't know about you but I'm starting to think Spring is never going to arrive....... I can't recall a time I've been as cold as I have been again this week!
Monday, I was so cold I 'worked from home' (read into that what you will!) and don't think I got warm till nearly tea time - having to take the dogs out for a walk didn't help matters, as its never a five minute event! But today the weather showed signs of being fairly good and it was!! I even managed to get my absolutely filthy car to be given a clean whilst I did some shopping late this afternoon. But tonight, its gone back to being so cold and icy winds again - aren't you fed up with it? I most certainly am.
The road is closed for another couple of days as the Harbour Hotel (currently being re-furbished) is having works done that needed the road to be closed, but the hotel are announcing they are opening in August. It will be great for us, as we get quite a lot of custom from their customers.
But it has to be said, that although the weather has been ridiculously cold business has been remarkably buoyant........ I think its the fire that draws people in - we always make sure its a good, big, roaring fire and we always have the candles lit - it all adds a certain charm to our already great pub.
Even in the afternoon we've been serving Fillet Steaks! Talking of food we've been putting the finishing touches to a new light lunch menu in readiness for Easter - we went to a trade show last week and we always get some ideas from those things. Putting some completely new stuff on - but not unveiling till the last minute..................
Last night we had our working kitchen re-modelled in readiness for the busier season. Now we have a much bigger Kitchen team, and we're serving food from 12 to 9 we need to to ensure a smoother flow for the cooking and clearing. My darling SOH thought he and the other workmen would be away by about 2 this morning but didn't get home till 5! I was not impressed and we had to miss a great Brewery course because of it, but the kitchen looks good! Still a couple of things to tackle - there's NEVER enough space, but now its all about being creative with what space we do have.
A function here at the pub on Saturday and took a booking for a wedding in April! Lovely stuff................
Sunday, 10 March 2013
|My Darling Mum holding a cuddly toy from me|
My own Mum has been dead some 18 years this year, and being a Grandma has made me very thoughtful about life, heritage, family etc. The reality is that in maybe 100 years or even less I will be just a few faded photos and maybe the odd spoken about memory - so in this world of growing technology I would like to use this space to put on record what I know about my Mum - Ena Elizabeth Mary Morley (nee Williams, nee Terry) and pay homage to her life so that if relative in years to come fancies having a look at their strange (maybe disjointed) family tree they might find this!
My Mum was born back in 1913, in Selsey in Sussex. Therefore growing up a little girl during the First World War 1914/18 - I'm always hopeful she knew little of it and that her childhood was not blighted by such awful atrocities as were witnessed by many with their men returning completely changed both mentally and physically.
My Mum never, ever, ever used to like talking about her childhood or her younger years - I do know that she was 'In Service' from about the age of 14 to a Jewish family. Consequently she never had a good word to say about Jews, or Catholics (heaven knows why!) or for that matter Religion as a whole.........(I don't know what she'd think about MY return to God!!). One of her more favoured sayings was from that hard working era I'm sure: 'Hard work never killed anyone - but why give it a chance'! (or words to that effect!).
She was a young woman during the second world war, with a failed marriage and a young son - life was I believe very hard for her, and I think this is why she would never, ever discuss the war or much about her younger years with me. She had a Brother who went down with HMS Hood when she was sunk - that's as much as I ever knew!
Working as a BAR MAID (it must be in my blood!) she met my Dad! Ernest Samuel Williams - a Welsh miner (Port Talbot, South Wales) who fought in the war in what was then Ceylon and the D Day landings, but came back to Portsmouth as a Postman - and I was the result!!
A very late unexpected mid life baby........ Christened Elizabeth, I was always told to say that this was my name and it was never to be shortened - sorry Dad, I'm Liz to everyone! Sadly, my Dad passed away when I was 8 and I don't think my Mum ever fully recovered. She became very bitter and angry with life, but made her life through me.
Despite being really quite poor (we had a 2 up 2 down - with a tin bath behind the kitchen door for a weekly bath!) I never went without anything if she could help it. I always had sweets every week from Woolworths, and yes there were school trips abroad later on that she couldn't afford, but my twice yearly treat was to go to a clothes shop where she would buy my summer and winter clothes - even now I can still smell the cottons. What I didn't know then was that the man who called every Friday night was coming round for his little book with money in to pay for them...........! An early Barclay Card maybe???
She insisted we had Butter - never Margarine, and I can always remember the Christmas that the kitchen was filled with feathers from a plucked chicken we were having as a treat for Christmas. I can also remember one of the few times she cried - the Aberfan disaster in Wales - and holding me tightly as she wept for those poor children buried in a slag heap.
Another marriage loomed large to a widower called Jim, whom I almost instantly disliked but learnt to love. This marriage meant we had to move to a rougher part of Portsmouth called Portsea, where once again she continued to work her socks off - this time in a bakery. The treat was the cakes and bread that came home from her shifts, but I never felt she enjoyed her time there.
No more than I enjoyed living there either, remorselessly bullied because of her insistence that I spoke correctly, was polite, worked hard at school and continued to enjoy my love of English and Music. None of that made me a hit with other girls!! However, that insistence paid off when I got employment because of just those characteristics.
My Mum later went back to bar work in a Sailors club, and euphemistically 'liked a drink', a lover of Famous Grouse she would only ever have a double, because a single 'made a fool of your mouth'!! She was highly intolerant of many things and people (see above!) and believed in speaking her mind and 'telling the truth and shaming the devil'(!!)
She instilled in me the virtues of honesty and hard work that have held me in good stead all of my life. There is no doubt that I WAS her life, I could have married royalty but no one would have been good enough for 'her Elizabeth'.
In tough times of my life, she was always there for me with kindly words, more than the odd fiver or so to 'put in your purse my girl' and in her later years as age and ill health took their toll, she softened and became less angry with the world - and looked to me for re-assuring hugs herself. Never ending a visit without the words; 'Love you lots' to each other.
Right up to the end she retained a razor sharp brain - able to do mental arithmetic and loved the programme Countdown, often outdoing contestants. A caustic wit never deserted her and she spoke sharply of living in a home at the end with 'Old People'!! An avid watcher of Snooker (she could name any of them!) and a deep distrust of anyone I was friends with.......!!
She took me to my first ever concert to see the Batchelors: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuHFQ7KZOKA This song remained a favourite of hers, and even now I can't listen without shedding a tear.
Ena Elizabeth Mary was my Mum and I loved her, so for all of you out there on this Mothering Sunday - love your Mum's too, don't just buy flowers or make the special effort today - do it all the time, and always remember to tell her how much you care.
Love you lots Mum xxx