Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Christmas et al.............

So then - Christmas is over and the New Year is ohhhhhhh just under 12 hours away! I have to keep this short as we are full to the rafters downstairs in the pub - but truth be told I have the hangover from hell today, so actually unable to contribute much to this morning atall!!

I have actually been in the working kitchen with a sharp knife chopping cheese for the pub 'nibbles' tonight, but apart from that - I am as they say 'out of the game'........have decided that Gin, Champagne and Tequila just do not mix!

Christmas here at the Victoria Inn was totally and utterly amazing, starting with pressies between us and the staff and a small glass of Champers to get everyone in the mood. We then very successfully fed 42 guests a five course meal up in the main restaurant and the pub downstairs had people queuing to get in and where most of them stayed until I chucked them out at half 2! We ourselves had our Christmas Day meal at about 7 and then fell into the sleep of the dead - after having watched Mama Mia the movie and wishing we hadn't bothered.......

Our guests came from all over the world to eat with us - Australia, Canada, South Africa, Holland, Scotland etc etc, we were also very fortunate to have Father Christmas visit us at lunchtime (with a very curious Australian accent) and the compliments on our day were fantastic. SOH and I are so very proud of all our staff - none more so than James for his glorious utterly fabulous cooking and Glo for having organised everything too within a cats whisker. We are gearing up to do it all over again tonight, but this time for 52 guests and a pub full of revellers.

Tim and I hope you all have a great New Years Eve - and I'll write again when things have quietened down a little next week. X x x x

For now though, me and my hangover are off to eat and then sleep for an hour or three whereupon tonight I shall be transformed in to the hostess with the mostest - I hope!!!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Nearly Christmas.....

Hoorah - it's nearly here!! Christmas that is......

Sorry I've not been on here to tell you all thats been going on, but the buzz of Christmas is well and truly here at the Victoria Inn - so not toooooooo much time on my hands!! Well then, where shall I start - well the week started with a Carol Service round the tree thats just outside our pub in the car park - a good couple of hundred people attended and many of them found their way into our pub.. ... A great atmosphere was in the square and it's fantastic that just three months in to our arrival we already have people greeting us by name - everyone's just so welcoming.
A fantastic atmosphere was also inside the pub - until a customer decided our tree looked better on it's side on the floor than upright and fully decorated...!!! Nothing that wasn't quickly put right. Mysteriously - some of the prettier baubles have disappeared as well........... mmnnnn.!! Oh well, just another excuse for a trip out and a bit more shopping! The 'Fat Face' girls came back for their Christmas meal that night as well - and as usual, those girls really know how to enjoy themselves!
Wednesday evening I visited our Church (Holy Trinity) for a Christmas Cornucopia of carols and readings by the Alvington Singers (a chamber choir made up of individuals from the South Hams area) and blooming good it was as well........ a couple of carols I had never heard before and also some great readings. A fabulous way to feel even more festive.
Thursday saw myself and the staff busily preparing for the Harbour master's Christmas bash on Friday- thanks be for Gloria (my bar manager) who used all her skills to turn our (fairly dark) upstairs restaurant into a dazzling seating area with every nook and cranny clean and every bit of glass and cutlery positively glinting in the coloured fairy lights. James meanwhile was downstairs firmly ensconced in his kitchen working his magic on the food. The Harbour master's party was REALLY well behaved........ I had expected raucous behaviour and had hidden the garden gnomes safely away - but they were models of good behaviour - if not quite sobriety!!
Saturday was fairly quiet - and SOH and I had the chance to relax with Strictly Come Dancing - I was screeching for Tom to win........and then we had a wander out and a little time for just the 2 of us. Just as well really, because today the Christmas holiday makers started to arrive and we had every table taken in the pub by 1 o'clock. I have already met a couple of the parties that will be sharing our Christmas Day with us - and they are delightful, so I'm looking forward to that even more now. We're ready for the big event - table plans have been written, James knows who's having what to eat, Tim has ordered in loads of beer and wine (just for me!!) I'm just holding my breath that all goes well.....
I doubt I'll get the chance to blog again this side of Christmas, so to all of you who read my ramblings I'd like to wish everyone of you a very, very Merry Christmas - eat and drink as much as you like, (calories don't count at this time of year) enjoy time with your families or if alone enjoy the peace and quiet(!), watch all the soppy old films for the umpteenth time - and spare a thought for us and my staff...........
Merry Christmas everyone, much love - Liz x x x x

Sunday, 7 December 2008


In all the stupid psychological tests I had to undertake as I climbed the slippery pole of leadership when in my career in Local Government, there was never much change in their analysis - Talkative (school reports always said that all those years ago!!), friendly, makes decisions, good team player etc etc....... reflective!! It's the reflective bit I want to talk about this evening as yet another week draws to a close.

I wasn't sure I should or would talk about this in my blog - but on reflection I think it right and proper to talk about the tragedy that befell my newly adopted town. That being the loss of a young local fisherman.

In our lives we take so much for granted - especially in this age of 'want it now - got it now' and like so many I am hugely guilty of that. Since I've been here in Salcombe, I've consistently chatted on about the area being so beautiful, the view of the sea, fabulous produce etc, yet not really giving huge thought as to how that produce gets to our plates - in particular the fish.

I've watched the boats going past our window and out to sea in all weathers, walked down by the quay and watched them unloading their catch and marvelled at the smells and the sounds. But this week really bought home to me the potential danger that these men put themselves in to get fish or crab on to our plates. A young man of 31 - Nick Atfield was killed in a truly tragic accident after having been out at sea getting the catch of the day and then unloading the boat of its catch, a job he had done for many years, and which countless other fisherman do every day - it's not necessary to go into the awful details.

Now I don't believe I ever met Nick, but he has been spoken about with real affection by his colleagues, other fishermen and townspeople who knew him. It has made me acutely aware that there is far more to my new life other than the views and our profit margins, and tonight, as I watched a fishing boat go out of the harbour I wished them silently a peaceful journey and a safe return.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Christmas is coming..........

Hoorah - it's December and it means it's time for the Christmas decs!! So they're up!! Oh we've had great fun over the last two days - we started with the downstairs dining area, and my lovely daughter-in-law Caroline being all arty with the decorations and not letting me go over the top with tinsel (as if I would!) then our equally lovely barmaid Carol being all artistic with the windows and the comfy seating area...........
The Christmas tree arrived yesterday, and that is now up directly in front of the pub entrance, and the fabulous Glo was responsible for turning it into the vision of gorgeousness that it is.........
SOH (Scrumptious Other Half - Tim) was up and down steps
dressing the main bar with gorgeous little twinkly lights, a little
subtle tinsel (yes - I really can be subtle you know!) here and there,
a fabulous 'bower' over the real fire - with gold fir cones that I
collected from a hill top in our first year in Winchester in our old pub and
generally we have turned the Victoria Inn into a classy, soft and
gentle oldey worldy pub - like something out of a Dickens novel...
I felt quite romantic putting up the decs - not so sure that SOH felt the same as he climbed the steps for the umpteenth time to ' just move the lights a little this way'...........

Then James (our fab chef) showed another side to his genius by painting a small mural above the servery...... not sure the photo's do it justice - you'll just have to visit to see it in all it's glory...but he is one very clever fella - not only is he a fabulous chef - he's also a bit of a Van Gogh on the quiet!

Its panto time here in Salcombe - so we're attracting a few 6 o'clock customers for pre Panto meals and drinks - Oh yes we are!!! Thats quite good fun, as they are in good spirits to start with, and after an hour or so with us, they're ready for the panto.

All in all - it's been a pretty eventful week ......... business is still quite fair (thankfully!), we had a great review in our local paper which has bought in quite a few extra local customers, the lights were switched on in the town as well, and a visit from my lovely son and his wife brightened our week as well!

What didn't brighten our week was two days of flooding in the ladies loo's............ but a great couple of plumbers made everything ok, so all's well that ends well - I hope!!

Friday, 28 November 2008

End of the week...........

Friday! My goodness where does the time go in this business?? Well - it's been a blooming good week actually............ starting with a magnificent 60 covers (thats restaurant speak for meals served / tables taken!!) on Sunday - our week goes from Sunday to Sunday in this business, so that was the most excellent beginning! On Tuesday the BII South West region had their Chairmans pre Christmas lunch with us and everything went absolutely magnificently, and we had the lovliest e mail from Chairman Keith de Bruin thanking us and our staff for such a good time......... and the rest of the week has gone quite well also.

In a planning meeting the other day with Glo and James they both said how well we are doing for customers compared to last year - more locals are venturing in, guests love our new comfy seating area - that has proved to be a real winner - so we are more than happy some 9 weeks in.

I have to say though I am actually quite tired today, but it has been a 'bit of a day' today! Every man and his dog has been in today to do something to the building - the heating engineer for the fourth (or is that the fifth??!?) time since we moved in - but it is apparently all fixed now (!), the builders - who when the velux window was out in our living room and the new one not in - had to cope with a heavy shower which invaded the lounge in our flat and then slates falling off the roof left, right and centre if they so much as breathed on them! The gardeners who pressure washed the side entrance of the pub and removed about three inches of sludge and finally the contractors to look down drains....... So I'm a bit tired, slightly less hypothermic than I was an hour ago, and polishing of the Christmas chocs as I type :( It's the perfect day for a chocolate overdose.........

Very, very pleased to report we're FULLY BOOKED -hoorah- for New Years Eve and about 75% for Christmas Day, so that is quite amazing - particularly as we're not even in December yet and we haven't actually marketed the events (save a chalkboard outside the pub).

Of course, what was not so good this week was the Chancellor's amazing decision on duty tax yet again - so we have a great poster of him on the door telling him he's barred.......... unlikely to venture down here of course - but it's about making a show of unity as an industry, and it's proved a discussion topic for the customers. Mind you - what would we do if he did come down and enter our pub??? Mmnnnnnnnnn.......

I've also been busy signing petitions and taking part in on line forums.......... quite whether that will do any good - who knows, but nice to see our brewery St Austell being pro-active in putting their voice of disapproval behind the rise as well.

Talking of the brewery we had an invite through the post today to their annual Dinner / Awards bash in January in Cornwall...... hoorah - an excuse to dress up and have fun - oh yes, of course we're going... would be rude not to! Tee hee......

Lastly, we have a new beer on - now as you may know, I'm a Rose wine, Champagne or G & T lady - but our new St Austell beer is Black Prince and I love it!! It's a slightly sweet, dark beer and utterly drinkable. So thats the week in a nutshell really - off to wrap up Christmas pressies tonight, and my lovely son visiting to look forward to next week.

Enjoy your weekend my lovely friends................

Saturday, 22 November 2008

How are we doing??

Thought I ought to write a bit more about our pub the Victoria Inn rather than just Salcombe - otherwise you readers are going to think I'm having the life of reilly here .......... well I am but in between all the breathtaking scenery, fantastic shops, great people etc etc - we are actually working incredibly hard! HONESTLY!!!!

I feel incredibly privileged to working with such a great bunch of people..... in a previous blog I wrote about the kitchen team, but now I'd like to introduce you to the rest of the gang. Firstly there is Gloria - Glo - to all and sundry. Glo is the Bar Manager and she is just fantastic........ she makes sure that all the staff are in place on the rota, that everyone knows what they are doing - but more importantly - she makes sure that staff look after customers and that our service is fantastic...! Everyone loves Glo - staff and customers alike - she always has a smile, she works incredibly hard and can always find jobs for the staff to do (great news!!). Glo is very camera shy, so if you want to see her - then you'll just have to come in and see her in person!

Working with her is Karen - she is our Princess Diana person in the nicest sense of the word - quietly spoken, given to smiling shyly from beneath her fringe and a really sweet natured person. When she gets the giggles it's really quite contagious!! Her customer service skills are first class......

Next we have Carol - a red head with a great personality and a really super young lady. Fantastic with the customers - absolutely nothing is too much trouble for her and she is a huge asset to the team. Get Carol and Karen together and you're likely to hear peals of giggles as they discuss boys and goodness knows what else......... Then we also have Fay who works just a few hours for us at the moment - and she's great as well. Lastly, but not least and hugely important is Jackie - our cleaner. We are ALWAYS complimented on the cleanliness of our pub and Jackie can be rightly proud of the work she puts in to ensure that this is the case.

So thats the team so far folks - as the Christmas season dawns upon us, we shall endeavour to give Fay a few more hours to help out and shortly we shall be having a young man join our female front of house team - more about him as and when he starts. All parts of a pub team are really important and if one bit isn't right - then it has a huge knock on effect all round - if the food isn't great, then all the best customer service in the world won't matter one bit - BUT - the front of house service is a vital part of us being a success - I always say (in my very best David Brent mode!!) you NEVER get a second chance to make a first that first smile, that first interaction and the last good bye have always, always got to be spot on and perfect! I think we're getting it right, and we are very proud of all of our staff.

So then - what about the customers............ well they seem to be liking us and our approach! Apart from the obvious fantastic beers, fab choice of wines and of course the utterly wonderful food, there is the welcome board (from all of us - including Beth), the soft furnishings we've brought in to the bar and restaurant, the candles -loads of twinkling coloured lights - for which we have been very slightly teased by some of the locals (and which do cost us a small fortune every month!!) - but they just give a really gentle warm glow to the pub. Then lastly, the soft, very slightly jazzy, middle of the road music we have on in the background.

We have been extremely fortunate in that for a late November we are actually still quite busy and already seeing many repeat visitors such as our lovely guests in this picture: Bally, Mona, Ro & John - frequent visitors from Bristol and enjoying a couple (!) of hours in our lovely newly designed cosy seating area - just in front of the woodburner.

There we are then - 8 weeks into our new life and so far so good - the only way is onwards and upwards hopefully......... Next week, we have a big BII Christmas lunch for the South West region, for which we are fully prepared and both Tim and I are looking forward to hosting this event. But for now, a busy Saturday night beckons - so I'm off to get my gladrags on and get behind the bar to welcome our guests. See you soon with more ramblings my lovely friends..............

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Ahhh - Salcombe by the sea

There are times in our lives when words fail us - and trust me, for me , thats an absolute rarity!! All those who know and love me (!) are nodding their heads in agreement at this point.........

But yesterday was one of those days when my jaw dropped to my bottom and stayed there for some time. One of our customers we are getting to know is a great young man who goes by the name of 'Tricky' - I'm pretty sure that's not because he is (tricky that is!?!) but because he seems to be a very pleasant, genuine and kind young man - and as well known in Salcombe for his lovely dog 'Frodo' as he himself is known as the ferry man to Portlemouth as well as a life boat crew member.

He very kindly offered the other to take me out to sea on one of his ferry journeys (every half hour - on the hour!) and let me see Salcombe from the sea. So, yesterday when the sun was shining and the wind was a gentle breeze, I took him up on that offer - and thats when the jaw dropping moment happened.........

Now, Salcombe from the road as you're driving in is really quite beautiful, but Salcombe from the sea - WOW!!!!! Firstly it stretches far higher and is far bigger than you can see from the roads, but secondly - the scenery around Salcombe is positively breathtaking. Looking down towards the estuary opening there is the most amazing channel for boats to manouvre with some dastardly rocks that would ground an inexperienced sailor in minutes, yet look how fantastic the sun is shining on the water on a mid -November day and just beyond that is the open sea. Close your eyes and smell the sea - try hard enough and you really will!

Around Salcombe on the Portlemouth side of the water I could both see and hear sheep and cows from the ferry and saw a bit closer the luscious, greenest grass that they graze on. Up there somewhere - thats where our vegetables come from on a daily basis.
Then there are the houses - beautiful sea facing houses with big windows and boat houses, and houses that are just dots from Salcombe revealed themselves in all their glory.

Starting to swing round I saw further down the estuary to Kingsbridge - more little boats, huge seagulls and to my greatest surprise - SWANS! Three of them moving gracefully and effortlessly through the water - Tricky told me that they are so tame they can take food off sailors / visitors.

Of course, there are lots of empty moorings / buoys (still not sure of all the technical terms for all the sailing stuff yet!) but dozens of the yachts are parked up safe and sound in the car parks for the winter......... thats another story all together - and maybe a picture as well.
But then we turned round to come back into Salcombe - and thats when the sheer beauty of Salcombe just hits you............ no postcard, no description (and I'm sure my photo's won't do it justice either) can describe the view of Salcombe from the sea -it's just the prettiest place I've ever seen.
You can see some of the fabulous shops along the main street, as well as the hotel and guest houses, scanning the view you can also see the lifeboat on its mooring as well as the fishing vessels going in and out on a regular basis and then of course you can actually see the Victoria Inn from the sea as well...........

There we are nestled in the middle
of the high street, the cream building just behind the cars at the front of the picture - what a great spot eh??! When I get up in the morning to make a cup of tea - I can see all over the harbour from my kitchen window - jealous? You should be!
So there you are - my jaw dropping moment, after the remembrance day service in Salcombe which gave me a sense of community - yesterday gave me a real sense of warmth and love for a place I've only known for a little while and yet I feel like I've lived here for ever already! Salcombe - I'm falling more and more in love with you every day.............

Monday, 10 November 2008

Part of a Community

Now I know that I was going to talk about our new pub and the team etc etc - but I just HAVE to tell you about yesterday here in Salcombe. It was of course Remembrance Sunday, and in common with most of the UK and indeed abroad - the fallen heroes of many wars were remembered.

As a Portsmouth girl born and bred - I have been to many similar services, growing up near the Naval Dockyard it was hard not to be involved in such things. I've seen ships go out to the Falklands - and I've seen them come back, some with men that didn't return and ships that had been damaged in the conflict as well. But in everything that I've witnessed in Portsmouth, I have never witnessed a service as moving as the service held here up on the top of Salcombe town yesterday.

Firstly. it was the windiest day imaginable (although mercifully the rain held off for the service)and the sea behind us was as rough as rough could be - the little boats moored out were bouncing around like corks, the seagulls were cackling and seemingly enjoying the freedom of riding on the wind, and the few trees around were bending as if in movement with the wind.

At 10.00 the street and square opposite the pub was filling with men in uniforms and medals, dignitaries in suits and bowler hats, ladies in their hats. The RNLI was assembling in their mufti as were the Fire Brigade and Police etc. Lots of young children and families as well. There was the most amazing atmosphere - certainly not one of a party but of a quiet pride in the event about to happen. I took my place up by the memorial and was pleasantly surprised to be welcomed by people who I already knew by sight. At the appointed time the march past started and up the hill they came - the elderly wearing their lines of pride on their faces as well as the medals on their chests.......... not quite a march more of a dignified walk (its a gentle hill - but I can imagine not quite so gentle when in your 80's!) accompanied by not quite a marching band but music from a radio - and that was the start of the most touching, compassionate, deeply moving services it's been my privilege to attend.

The pride of those taking part was palpable - the air of remembrance held heavy as faces old, lined and weathered looked out to sea and clearly remembered other times and comrades no longer here. The vicar spoke clearly against a howling wind and hymns were sang with as much gusto as possible. Many wreaths were laid - and all sections of the community were represented - but what tipped me over the edge were two things - the maroons to signify the start and end of the 2 minutes silence - the sound of them resonated around the hills and coves......... the hairs on the back of my neck stood to attention! Then the fabulous old gentleman resplendent in uniform playing the Last Post on his bugle - barely enough puff to make it - but he did! That was it - tear drops fell on to my cheek!!

Then I realised in one single moment - we are now part of a community........... hardly any holiday makers here at this event- just good, decent Salcombe people remembering their loved ones, and we are now part of that community!

Thank you Salcombe - we love you....x

Monday, 3 November 2008

James and the kitchen team

I'm going to start introducing you to the Victoria Inn proper and in particular the fantastic staff who work with I'll start with the people who prepare, cook and then clean up! Of course - I mean our Chef and his boys.

Ladies and Gentlemen - I proudly introduce our Head Chef James Chapman........... James is singlehandedly trying to make me fatter than ever.......! He is the most amazing chef and has worked sooooooo hard to encompass our vision for what we want our reputation for food in this pub to be. That is good honest food - great products (local where possible), cooked simply and elegantly - with amazing flavours, using great local fresh fish - our cod and chips in our own beer batter just fly's out the door when on the menu, and we've had Skate Wings, Turbot, Dover Sole, etc - just incredible.

We wanted our food to be reasonably priced so we appeal to the townspeople - not just the tourists, and we wanted it to be real British pub food - but cooked to perfection - from that has come the most amazing Steak & Kidney pies, Venison Bourginnon, Pork Fillets - and the Sirloin Steaks are out of this world............ as for the Sunday Roasts and the gravy he cooks up from scratch - well! Don't even get me started on the puds he makes - tonight I had Baked Chocolate Mousse with a Berry Compote and Ice Cream, his homemade Cheesecake is just delicious and as for the baked pears - well!!!! So - the man is amazing - and we are incredibly happy to have him working with us.

As for his team there is the lovely Marcus- 'Sparky' to us and all who love him! He's Sparky because he's a trained mechanic, but took a change of direction career wise - great lad, hugely hard working and very proud of what he does. He looks after the veg, salads and lunch sandwiches - and has the makings of a fine young chef if he wants to pursue his career in this area.

Lastly but not least - the fabulous Gavin! Gavin is the KP, runs errands to the Butcher, the Baker and anyone else for that matter, keeps everything sparkling clean and makes a great contribution to the running of the kitchen. So all in all we have a fantastic kitchen team who are quite rightly giving us a reputation for great food.

In our first five weeks we've had teething problems just like any other new business, but I can count on one hand the people out of several hundred guests who have made complaints - and the others who have been absolutely fulsome and complete in their praise. So that is our fantastic kitchen team - bet you're hungry now.............

By the way all the photo's here are from the magical eye of Lisa Beany Photography when she visited us last week with her amazing array of cameras and equipment to take shots for us - have a look at her website - you'll be amazed -

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Connected at last - hoorah!!

Hoorah - we are at last connected to the internet.............. I was beginning to think it would never happen! Many many thanks to the very kind shopkeepers and coffee shops in Salcombe who let us in to check e mails etc - but finally I'm sat in my new living room in our new home here at the Victoria - Hoorah!!!

So now the hard work starts for me - I shall over the next couple of days start to change and update the website - I'm going to start by introducing the staff, showing the menu's and wine lists. Then I want to start a 'doggie' gallery of all the great dogs that are visiting us, and reflect some of the comments that guests have left on the feedback cards - good and challenging(!).

So lots of things to do - so much I want to achieve - but how do you eat an elephant - a small piece at a time................ here's a photo to start it off then. Looking forward to telling you all about our new life and showing you the pictures to go with it.............

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Settling in

And so we are............ settling in that is! We are having the most amazing time here in Salcombe - the views in the sunshine are breathtaking and the sound of the yachts tinkling in the wind is amazing! The Victoria Inn pub is just fantastic and we are gradually finding all the little nooks, crannies and oddities that make her special. The fire in the huge grate is lit and blasts out some REAL heat - phew! The log burner is the next big test.....

Local people and traders have made us feel so special and welcome and I love walking down the high street saying hello to a variety of people who know me by name but me and my memory will only ever (probably) know as love or darling............

Some local 'lads' have been back in a couple of times, and locals have eaten with us - so all in all a good start as far as attracting local people back in. The tourist element has been really quite good and staff reliably tell us that trade is not normally this good at this time of year! Half term next week so it should continue for a while yet. We are ALREADY half way booked for Christmas Day - unbelievable!!!

As for BT - don't even begin to wonder - suffice to say I'm sat in the fabulous Salcombe Coffee shop doing this blog - I dispair of them EVER getting us access :(

My lovely Tim (SOH) and I are enjoying setting up the business together and are working quite harmoniously - well almost.....?!? The office we share is something of a bone of contention, but our very good friend Jo will be staying the weekend with us and her organisational skills will be put to the test - once again!! I miss M & S and Sainsbury's - but withdrawal symptoms are gradually de-creasing, and the local shops - butcher, grenngrocer and fishmonger are quite amazing!! I miss my old localas - but I know there are new locals to make friends with.

So dear friends - until the next time... :)

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

2nd week

Phew what a week its been.......! Mostly great but certainly frustrating and still hugely stressful - all thanks to BT & HSBC...! STILL no computer access at home (this Friday is connection day - maybe!!!)and can you believe it I sat talking on the to HSBC for almost an hour on Monday refusing to get off the line until they sorted out our issues. SOH had been dealing with the bank - but as I said to the them - Tim is a lovely man - but I'm not nice at all, particularly when money is concerned! Is it all fixed? Almost.

Apart from that - we are settling down in our new home and I'm sure we've made the right move. Locals are great and some have been back in after our open evening last week - by the way nearly 100 people turned up and whats more STAYED!! Lots of visitors still around, and on Monday about a dozen Plymouth based sailors - great, reminded me of Portsmouth - and they drank, oh boy did they drink....... hoorah!!! James is cooking some great food and I shall look like a telly tubby if I keep eating as I am :) Glo our Bar Manager is just fab and I think I have found a new friend!

Lisa Beaney came to photograph us all yesterday - and she made us and the pub look beautiful (difficult job on me but easy on the pub). Even a pic of 'Bobby' a visiting gorgeous little dog......... I'll put some photo's up as soon as I have access at home. Lisa is sooooooooooo talented you really must check out her web site - thank you Lisa we love you more than ever!!

Anyway, thats all for now - almost at the end of my half hour session - more as soon as possible x

Monday, 6 October 2008

Hello Salcombe

We've arrived - we're here in sunny (!!) Salcombe................. and what an odd few days its been as well............. I'll try to sum it up briefly. Very stressful, extremely tiring, hugely exhilarating and some fun thrown in for good measure.

We still have no internet access (Thanks BT) so I'm in yet another internet cafe - but this time in our new home town. So this is brief today to say the least. Our new pub the VICTORIA INN is absolutely fantastic... what a place. The staff are amazing - they have welcomed us most warmly and kindly. The location is to die for - I have never seen such amazing views of sea and countryside all in one place. The people in the town have been SOOOO welcoming, we apparently even got a mention in Church yesterday! All the shopkeepers have said hello and wished us well - as have the other publicans. Trade has been amazingly good considering we have come in at end of season and yesterday my gorgeous SOH cooked almost 60 lunches - I was so proud of him and the team.

Then today - we got our first New Year booking.................. hey hey!!!! :) Beth is a bit lost still as she still can't quite fathom out where she is and where she can lay her head with ease just yet - but every day will make it easier for her. Thursday is our 'official' welcome evening - so we look forward to that with great excitement.

Thats all for now - but there will be loads more to tell as the weeks go on and my internet access becomes easier.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

This is it.........

This is it then - our last weekend of freedom before heading off to sunny Salcombe and our new life at the Victoria Inn, and crikey what a great 2 weeks of freedom we've had!!!

SOH and I have travelled the length and breadth of England (it feels like it anyway!) to see brothers and cousins and neices etc. We've eaten - OH MY, how we've eaten......... 4 and 5 meals a day, we've drunk - OH YES, we've made great inroads in trying to personally stop the demise of the drinks industry - and we've generally just had a great time together!!

Some favourite times were :-

Being woken up by Cows and Peacocks when we stayed on a farmhouse, AND the great British breakfast that Pat and her husband cooked for us!
Our luxurious stay in Stratford on Avon - a 5 star hotel where a glass of wine was almost £8......!
A fabulous but almost surreal meal at a Malay restaurant in Stratford
Seeing my son and his wife and failing miserably in not crying when we said goodbye

Lastly - just having the luxury of time together for SOH and I without an eye on the clock for opening / closing etc etc...........

So now, it's the great tidy up at Marks who has so kindly put up with us for the last few days, and then off we go on Monday. We firstly have a night with our very good friends Janice & Les in their fab B & B in Salcombe - then in to the pub first thing Tuesday for the handover, a momentous day indeed!

We are both excited, a little nervous but looking forward tremendously to the new challenge and adventure ahead of us. Wish us well, and I'll put the next instalment on when we have computer access up and running.

Monday, 22 September 2008

If its Monday - it must be Stratford upon Avon!!

Thats what life is like at the moment - SOH and I have driven miles over the last few days.. from Weston Super Mare to Preston to Manchester to Preston to Stratford, where we currently are in a splendid 5 star relaxing and looking forward to our future.

Have paid £5 for an hours internet access so could be cut off now at any minute................

Its really most peculiar not having a daily purpose - but we're really enjoying this planning phase. Today we have finally finished the wine list - and wow what a list it is........ SOH certainly knows his stuff! Apart from that - we are busy enjoying good food, lovely wines and fantastic puds - have got lots of ideas now for the Victoria Inn!!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


Well then - technically SOH and I are homeless, jobless, dogless and with no income for the next couple of weeks, now this really is a weird feeling!! Beth has gone on holiday to 'Auntie Jo's' by the way.

We 'came out' of our pub The Golden Lion yesterday - blimey what a performance that was as well........ firstly though all of our furniture went in to store on Monday - we used Bishops Waltham Removals and I must say they were a cracking bunch of blokes. To say I was a bit stressed is quite an understatement, but they totally took charge and had everything packed and off by 1.30. So Monday night saw SOH and I asleep on the sofas actually IN the pub itself - the worst and most uncomfortable night I've spent in a long time! Only a few hours sleep and the big 'coming out' day arrived......... it was very weird knowing that the home I've had so much enjoyment, love and laughs in was being handed over to someone else.

By mid morning many men in suits counting, writing and talking - and much tea and coffee making by yours truly! However, by early afternoon it was all over and the Golden Lion was no longer ours..... After weeks of feeling emotional and bursting into tears at the slightest thing - I was almost relieved to hand over the reigns! So to Brid & Derek, new licencee's - lots of luck and love - we hope you'll be as happy and have as much good fortune at the Golden Lion as we did..........

A fantastic meal last night with our best friends Mark & Jo at the Hote du Vin, finished off one of the oddest days of my life, and today we have been to the Boat Show at Southampton where we met some business peole exhibiting from Salcombe and our photographer friend Lisa who was busy taking photo's for the show organisers and discussed with her what we shall do for photo's for our new pub - the Victoria Inn................ very exciting!! So now we have some time off and time to visit friends and family, I'll log in when I can and update you on developments as we lead up to taking over the Victoria down in Salcombe. Here's to good weather and even kinder traffic!!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Thank You Friends.......

Well - thats it then - Party Over................ and sore heads all round!!! SOH & I were given the most amazing send off by our friends here at the Golden Lion - estimated to be over a hundred people at one time and because of good weather the garden was put to good use as well.

What an amazing, incredible, fantastic night. I cried (buckets), I drank (almost as many buckets of Bombay Sapphire - of course), I sang (no party is complete without me singing), I ate (a little - too busy singing), and just had the bestest party of my life!!!!!!!!

We received dozens of cards, boxes of chocolates, bulbs for the spring, an amazing Gargoyle (which will sit near the childrens play area in the Victoria Inn.......!!) beautiful collectors figurines and the most incredible collage of all our friends and staff.

Highlights had to be: seeing so many people come through our door AND stay........ not just fleeting visits, Butch taking off his top and dirty dancing with me (photo's to follow!!), having people say the loveliest things to us during the evening, almost all our old staff coming to see us for the evening - and from quite long distances as well - and generally feeling the most loved people in the universe - to all and any of you that read this blog - thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!! x

Now of course comes the final preparation for the removal tomorrow of all our wordly possesions into storage for a couple of weeks - so I have to go as there are still trillions of things to do. I'll write as and when I can - wish us well for the next few days...........

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Party on!!!!!!!!!

Oh my God....... this is it - Saturday!!! Party time in a little over 18 hours :) Hoorah. I just can not believe that its come at last. All of my favourite people will be there, and I have taken the pledge not to get plastered!!! Mmmnnn........ one of my loveliest locals Steve (Jaspers - daddy) is apparently opening a book on my first 'sideways shuffle'.......

Talking of lovely locals my fabulous Friday night boys were in tonight for the last time - Steve (Jaspers Daddy) Butch & Tony........... they are the core of the group, sometimes more of them but always this threesome, or as they dubbed themselves tonight 'The Committee'.

Ok - time for a bit of politics.........when the Government raise taxes, or they want to stop binge drinking by letting the big supermarkets sell booze at stupidly cheap prices (note my sarcasm dear reader) then all they are really doing is hitting people like 'The Committee'. Good, honest , hardworking blokes - who on a Friday night after a tough week spent shovelling, carrying and working out in all weathers - grafting for an honest bob, just want a couple of quiet pints, a laugh and to relax - not get roaring drunk on alcopops!! I'll happily serve all the best food and wine in the world, and often to people with more money than I'll ever see but who will probably never know what its like to graft like these blokes - but my heart will always be with people like 'The Committee'. Gets off soapbox.................. My dear Friday night boys - I'm really going to miss you all....... thanks for the laughs!!! x

Another last - my last massage with my aromotherapist tonight - the amazing, wonderful, pretty and kind Colette - oh I will miss her magic touch and our chats. She has become the most amazing friend to me and is someone I will miss very much (you too Ems x ).

Its felt a bit like the last day of term at school today - no more cooking in the pub (except for our buffet) and the atmosphere has been really giggly and silly - gales of laughter all round tonight in the bar at virtually nothing - a rehearsal for the party!! Packing all but done - SOH's office (laughs out loud at the term Office........) to be done tomorrow, and then only bits and bobs left to do!! So - we're nearly there.........................

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

My pride and joy

Alongside the stress and upheaval of moving, the joy of new adventures to come - there is of course the downside of leaving friends and family. None less than my pride and joy - my boy! My lovely son Paul who has always encouraged me to be more than I am and who is always so proud of my achievements in his own quiet way........ I shall miss being only a few miles down the road from him! But with that also comes the joy of knowing that instead of the odd snatched hour or two - there will be whole short breaks, which mean we get to go out and have fun together.............!! Oh - and I get to go out shopping with his smashing wife Caz.......

Yet more packing done today - heaven help me, how much more can there be???

Fantastic lunchtime trade today - we are slowly but surely running out of food - which is great in preparation for closedown of the kitchen on Friday, but its certainly giving our cook Jane some food for thought to be inventive with what food we have left! Tee hee! Then just to top it all - a party of 12 booked in for Friday lunchtime - on TOP of the normal Friday crowd............. I think meltdown time might be beckoning in the kitchen!! Hey ho - its all much needed business - never say never until the last morsel of food has gone!

Monday, 8 September 2008

This is tough

This moving lark is proving to be tough! I work in a really organised methodical manner - SOH doesn't! I will throw all sorts of little odds and ends out - he won't. I pack in boxes and then seal properly - marking where the boxes have to go when we get to the Victoria Inn, Salcombe - oh and the boxes really do contain what the label says......... SOH has a tendency to throw all sorts in the boxes, mark as spare room and I just know that they'll stay in that box for weeks when we get there!! Growl.................

Apart from that - great excitement today as our stationery was ready for collection - and wowee.......... ain't it posh!!!! John S - you're a superstar.......... The logo looks fantastic, and a watermark of the logo on the stationery just adds a certain style and class to it - brilliant. Christmas and New Year menus are next to be worked up for printing. Also placed the order for our shirts.

Spoke with a fab lady at Salcombe Tourist Information centre and discussed advertising with her - more money to spend out, but you have to spend to save sometimes - and this will be one of those occasions. Also spoke to our website designer - and pleased to say that this is also going to plan.......phew!

Lastly, our friends Les and Janice at Little Hill guesthouse in Salcombe also e mailed to confirm out date with them on the 29th - the night before we move in........ now for any one reading this and wanting a lovely guest house to stay in when visiting Salcombe - well you can't go wrong with this lovely couple, and Janice does a fab breakfast!!!

So there we go - oh yes, and got knocked out early tonight playing Poker.......we'll definitely try and introduce this in Salcombe - I like my game of Poker. Now I have to go and try to work up some 'blurb' for the tourist info site etc......... more typing :)

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Our last week

Well - this is it, the start of our last full week......!! Crikey, I have no idea where the last few months have gone and now the move is upon us. Have we finished packing - have we heck, but we have made a really good dent in it, and just a couple of solid days will do the trick.

Its been a stressful couple of days, so much to think about and to do! Anyone moving house knows how awful it can be, but try coupling that with keeping the business going - right up to the last day, as well as planning for the new business and the stress levels increase by quite a lot. I have to admit I've shed a few tears as there have been days when it's all got a bit much, and the knot in my stomach seems to get bigger by the day, but SOH keeps me calm and constantly re-assures me that all will be okay!! I hope so............... I think I'll be ok once all our belongings have been removed and put in storage, and then everything else should seem easier.

This is our last Sunday lunch here at the Golden Lion - I'm not cooking just being the pleasant hostess and saying good bye to some Sunday regulars who've eaten with us almost every Sunday we've been here.

So, have to go now, back downstairs to the bar to do my job - more later in the week when I get time............ :)

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Oh my head.......

Hoorah........... the flyers for our 'Hello & Welcome' party at the Victoria Inn have arrived for the 9th October, so I have spent an hour or two on the phone to councillors etc in Salcombe inviting them personally to our bash, and then following up with an e mail!!!! Its so exciting, and they all sounded just lovely! As for the flyers - well, they are just as I hoped they would be.

Apart from that - its been a normal day, quite a good lunch hour, fairly steady. Last night was horrifically busy - but then it always is when staff have time off - its almost like a magnet for customers..........

I have been out spending money (even more money as SOH would say) on furnishings for our new home, we haven't done an ounce of packing - YET, but we will do some tonight....... maybe(!). Actually, after a huge concerted effort by us both yesterday, there is still lots to do, but no-where near as much as I feared.

Tomorrow, I'm assured that the embroidered second draft of our logo will be here - we can ok it and then get the uniforms started. Also advised that all the stationaery has gone to press today, so that will be here soon as well - so all in all and touching lots of wood all is on plan and looking fabulous!!!!!

All apart from the weath forecast for Saturday here in Hampshire - forecast is very wet, very windy and cold. Why am I bothered?? We are operating 2 outside bars at a big local event - the Littleton & Harestock Show, thats why I'm keeping such an eye on the weather......... fingers crossed it won't be as bad as feared!

Hence - oh my head - far toooooooo much going round in it................. back later!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008


Well then - two weeks today - Tim & Liz at The Golden Lion will be no more.......!!! Yikes!! Thats it - two weeks, 14 days, 336 hours.......... am I counting?? You bet!
Our flat is like an obstacle course, my legs have more bruises per square inch than any premier division footballer, we are both going through headache pills like there's no tomorrow and as far as I can see we will NEVER be ready for the removal men on the 15th..........for those of you doing the maths - our furniture and wordly possessions go into storage on the 15th and we finally handover on the 16th.

On top of that, we are still keeping a relatively busy pub going, an outside bar event all day Saturday, then our farewell party on the 13th - so all in all, still lots to do yet.

So where are we going then....???

We are off to the Victoria Inn, Salcombe, Devon. A delicious seaside pub in a gorgeous part of the world - the front door of the pub is literally less than 30 seconds walk from the estuary, where loads of little sailing boats are moored along with RNLI lifeboat - just picturesque and idyllic.

Its a large pub, larger than the Lion because the Victoria Inn has a 60 seater restaurant upstairs with a massive garden on a couple of levels. A St Austell owned pub with fabulous real ales - say Tribute to anyone who like real ales and they will nod appreciatively! It's already a very good pub, with a good reputation for its food and ambiance - what SOH and I will do is add our own little bit of magic.

It's just SOOOOOOOO exciting at the moment...... we've visited a few times now and the staff seem fantastic, the other business folk seem really nice and the people who live there have been really friendly! So we just can't wait to crack on with it now! I'll tell more over the next few instalments....... In the meantime, the photo's opposite are just a couple of many that I've taken - we will be getting our very good friend Lisa to do the professional ones!

Right now, its back to a bit more sorting and tidying, and then I'm taking SOH out for a curry and a pint at our favourite place in Winchester. More later................

Friday, 29 August 2008

Today its the Egyptians

Well, I'm starting to feel like an English consulate outpost................ today it was the turn of the Egyptians to visit us..!! Lunchtime started off with a regular business customer turning up with half a dozen Egyptian businessmen - thank goodness SOH had just made a fabulous Chicken Passanda this morning, as all six decided to have the curry of the day. Again, in keeping with our Japenese visitors this week - what charming gentlemen......... so polite and well mannered, a delight to serve.

It was really quite lovely also to hear them in the garden speaking in their language and smell their delicious foreign cigarettes (I don't smoke by the way!) but I was transported back to my holiday / recuperation this year to Morocco - not in the middle of Hampshire.

Tonight, my Friday boys are celebrating a birthday amongst them and the pints are flowing well - but they're great 'salt of the earth' lads, always well behaved and they know I have a low tolerance for swearing in the pub (unless it's me......... :) ) and I've had a lot of 'sorry Liz' in the last half hour or so!! Bless 'em..........

But I'm glad we're busy, not just for the obvious financial reasons, but my stress levels are starting to rise because of the move, so it's great to be kept occupied. Our flat is just full of boxes packed with our belongings, empty boxes waiting to be packed, new furniture and more bubble wrap than I know what to do with. Working really hard with a designer on the website for our new pub and writing lots of peices to promote how wonderful we will be!! On top of that, we are keeping this buusiness going (and quite well thank you!) thinking of menu's and food idea's for the new place, as well as what fabulous wines we're going to stock. I should be sleeping like a log I'm so tired but the minute I close my eyes my head is just buzzing with all sorts of things..........

So - where are we going and when?????

Sorry, you'll have to wait - thats this weekends blog post!!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Japanese tourists

What an exceptionally busy day today........... music of course to the ears of our bank manager and accountant, (both if whom we've been talking to over the course of the last couple of days in readiness for the move), but completely knackering for us right now!

Ah yes 'the move', I really will be telling you very soon about where and when etc - but right now, the Golden Lion is taking up our every ounce of energy!!

Its all really hard work here at the moment as our cook has taken 2 weeks off for the school holidays and while SOH has been taking most of the shifts in the kitchen, I have been either clearing up after him or taking the remaining shifts. I'm really OK when its Sunday lunch or when the orders come in 2 or three at a time, but anything more than that and I've been known to turn round on the spot for 2 or 3 times as I try to pull it all together........... hugely funny for anyone who should watch me (if they dare!!) but not funny for me. I get really anxious with it all - and as I sit here typing tonight I have a thudding headache and a really stressed sore stomach........still, it affords me all the more empathy with kitchen staff!

As well as the normal lunchtime trade we have had 14 Japanese tourists here today on a scheduled stopover before the Queen Mary cruise out of Southampton - and SUCH delightful people. I learnt the only word of Japanese I now know - 'konnichiha' - 'Hello, and there was an awful lot of smiling and bowing - on both sides!! After lunch there was the obligatory photograph taking of me - with them, and of course looking like a hot, sweaty creature from the deep after a lunchtime in the kitchen....... :(

I just have this vision of these photo's being shown - and there have been various groups over the last couple of years: South African boys cricket team - such darling polite boys: various American groups - mostly quite charming: and Italians - chic, sophisticated (made me feel like a mongrel at Crufts next to the women) around parts of the globe and all people will see is a picture of a harassed English woman in a striped pinny smiling slightly manically....................

One very positive side of today was a contact with the coach driver of the party who was very impressed with their visit and who may be interested in putting more trade our way - particularly so in Devon, where he takes countless German and other EU walkers.........mmnnn....... but all and any extra trade is welcome trade - so a contact worth following up in a few weeks.

So, another day comes to a close - have just made up diary with staff and realise we only have a little over 2 weeks before we finish................ crikey!! I think I may just have a glass of wine tonight!! Tomorrow is another day.........................

Monday, 25 August 2008

Bank Holiday - what Bank Holiday??

I have learnt very quickly that our life in the trade is very different to most peoples lives...... a bank holiday used to mean (for me, certainly in years gone by) a stroll out, a pint or 2 and a meal - some gentle retail therapy and even a holiday if lucky. What does it mean now? Peeling more spuds and carrots etc and staying open longer on the off chance we'll be busy...!!! Well today we weren't - busy that is!

It was a quiet lunch time, few cars passing on the road, even fewer stopping in our car park. The weather is damp, cool and not at all conducive to customers sitting in our gorgeous garden. So a quiet Bank Holiday Monday (blimey - last one before Christmas - Gulp!)

Tonight promises to be a different matter with a few bookings already, and doubtless some of our poker players will want to eat first as well.

Ah yes, Monday night is.........Poker night. We started this Poker last year - its run by a national firm called Red Tooth poker, it's free to play and its mostly anywhere between 20 and 30 people who will turn up tonight to play for a couple of hours. Even I play, and I had never picked up a card until we started it. Occasionally I do quite well - I've even been known to win a couple of times, but generally, I'm a bit too rash in my betting!

So can't stop tonight to 'blog' for too long, far to much to do in the pub to get ready for 'the boys'. and SOH is looking as though he needs my helping hand in the kitchen. Wish me winning hands tonight...!?!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Hungover - oh dear!!!

Mmnn, well it's been a bit of a tough day today - being hungover didn't help!! If you live a 'normal' life - you might have a glass of two or wine at the end of a busy day? Yes??

Well, living in a pub it's very easy to have that one or two glasses of wine, or something off the 'top shelf', or even maybe another couple of glasses of something......... I guess it's a bit like working in sweet shop and wondering what delicious chocolate to have next... well I very quickly discovered that having a drink at the end of every day is

a) not clever

b) makes me fatter than usual

c) makes me feel more tired than ever

d) makes me poorer - believe it or not we do pay for our drinks - honestly! Thats how some publicans go broke!!

So most weeks I'm really disciplined I don't drink Monday to Friday, occasionally I might, but certainly never ever when I'm working behind the bar or in the kitchen (soused chef and all that).

But your social life in this business IS your friends and customers on the other side of the bar, so last night one glass of Rose wine with our very good friends led to several! Oh dear...... this morning, not a pretty sight :(
And of course, what do I have to do on Saturdays? Prepare veg and meats for Sunday - rest assured not the easiest thing to do when you're suffering with a head full of men playing drums.........

Apart from that it's been a very full on sort of day - mostly in the kitchen, but also helping SOH get the car and trailor ready for an outside bar event that he and our best mate Mark are doing near Salisbury tonight. A late night for them tonight - probably not home till 1'ish and then time all is unloaded and locked up it'll be closer to 2 or even later. Hopefully I'll be in the land of nod, as I have to be up for 6 (groan)tomorrow morning for a local car boot sale to try to get rid of a lot of the tat - no, sorry - absolutely fantastic items of heritage and distinction that are now surplus to requirements due to our impending move!!

So while most (if not all) of you are tucked up enjoying a Sunday morning lay in - Sarah (lovely lady and a good friend) and I will be wrapped up warm (it is summer in England after all - bank holiday as well) clutching our coffee's and fighting of the hordes of well heeled Winchester toff's trying to pay as little as possible for some actually quite decent stuff.............with a bit of tat thrown in!

So enjoy your weekend lovely blog readers, tomorrow is another day!!

Friday, 22 August 2008

A typical day??

So what is a typical working day for me........?? Well, it's usually Tim (scrumptious other half- SOH) (thats us at Balmoral Castle, our second residence don't you know..... )waking up and letting our cleaner Sean in about 9.00a.m, that might sound heavenly and late for a lot of people - but what you mustn't forget is that our day generally doesn't end till gone 1 or even 2 in the morning.
If I'm lucky (which is quite often I must admit) I get coffee bought up (not by the cleaner!!) by SOH and I get a good half hours lay in........... bliss. Then I usually do the mundane household chores while SOH does the pub stuff of reading the paper, opening post, leaving it laying around etc etc :)

After that it's pretty much like today - meeting the public - making sure they get a good pint and that the food is great and served swiftly, as many are on their lunch breaks. Quite a few family's in today with young children - nice well behaved children - our favourites........

We also like to have a good team spirit amongst the staff - we've been very lucky in having had great young people, so today has been good humoured banter again between Luke and I - recently returned from Thailand, and Ryan - a promising young thespian. Our staff are mostly University students and all have stayed with us for much of their time at Winchester Uni.

Today was also a cause for celebration as our kitchen assistant Jade, working with us during the holidays got all C's in her GCSE's - so cards, kisses and pats on the back for her!

I particularly like Fridays at the Lion as we get a lot of office workers who have that 'Friday feeling' in the lunchhour, and then my Friday night workers any time after 5.30 who also like to start off the weekend with a pint or 4. The weather's been much better today so the garden has been well used.
Then most afternoons when we've cleaned down - its a discussion on evening menu's, walk the dog (Beth) and feet up for an hour - hopefully! At the moment almost every afternoon is taken up with packing and making plans for Devon. I will tell more about the Devon move - the where, when etc in future posts.

Today, the topic for discussion has been shirts/blouses/logo' many - more importantly how much (!) and will they be ready on time for the opening on 1st October!

Tonight, I'm in the kitchen - again - with Luke at my every beck and call...........only joking - we make a great partnership and he keeps me calm and good humoured as the orders start to flow in. Lovely O'Hagans sausages and SOH's Thai Green Curry on the specials menu tonight - so wish me a busy (ish) night, and I'll be back tomorrow.

Now then - where's my apron gone...........................

Thursday, 21 August 2008

The start of my journey........

This is our curent pub - The Golden Lion in Winchester........... I say current pub as we are shortly to move to a pub in Devon, more of which to come shortly.

I thought it would be fun to write about my days and nights (very long days & nights....!) as a pub landlady. Over the next couple of weeks I'll be telling you what it's like to leave a pub where we've made lovely friends - worked the hardest I've ever worked in my life and how it feels to move on to somewhere new with all the challenges involved! if you read this - I hope you enjoy it and that occasionally it either gives you food for thought, makes you laugh or even want to run a pub yourself (or not - more likely!!).

A little about me first - I've not always been a pub landlady - oh no! In fact I'm really quite new at it - full time now for only 8 weeks - is that really all it is? It seems a whole lot longer..........

I've always kept my own career separate (spent most of my working life in Local Government, managing people and projects, and ensuring great customer service) only dabbling now and then in the pub when we were busy or when I actively wanted to manage big functions. But I guess its a bit like anything you really enjoy doing, it sort of took over my life and decisions had to be taken - so out went the old career and in came this new one!!

But it's not just me of course - there is my scrumptious 'other half' - Tim. He's been in this trade in one form or another for a great many years - so with his experience and business acumen, I can only learn the best from him, bring in my own expertise and become the dynamic duo!!

So as the weeks go on - sit back and enjoy my ramblings. I hope you'll come to realise the hard work that goes on behind the bar of a pub to let you enjoy your time on your side of the bar.

And with that - its time at the bar Ladies & Gents........... time please!! (for today at least).