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................