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!!