Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Anonymous bloggers

Hello dear friends - but especially the gutless person who is taking time out of their very busy day to regularly say (anonymously - of course!!) what rubbish this blog is, our new pub is and also how very good the new landlords are at our old pub the Golden Lion.

I say anonymously - but actually:
1) I have a hugely good idea who you are Mr...... it was nice to speak to you the other night, AND
2) I have Google Analytics on my blog - the advanced type which tells me how long someone logged on to the site for, what pages they looked at and for how long etc etc. But far more importantly it pinpoints EXACTLY where the person is in the country when they access this blog...........So you have been warned!!

I suppose if you write something like this you do lay yourself open for criticism (and cranks / sad losers as well) but also valid stuff (cheers Jim - I changed the spelling of your name!) all that is perfectly ok - but if you don't like what I write........ don't read it. So on that basis and now I've got that off my chest ..... I'll move on and you can choose to read or not:

I have been away to Portsmouth this last weekend for nice reasons this time - catching up with my very good friend Tanya and also spending time with my lovely son Paul and his wife Caroline...and then to see my fabulous respiratory consultant in Southampton - Dr K. I'm not sure if it's because Salcombe is just so blooming lovely but both Pompey and S/ton looked so dirty and scruffy, also it was a real shock to see so many of the shops closed in both towns - also the number of really good old pubs that have shut down! The Jolly Sailor in Southsea for one - well I never!! Really very sad to see so much of our heritage hitting the skids..... I did a little retail therapy (of course!) and most of the shop assistants couldn't be arsed to serve me either - oh it does make me mad....

Then after my hospital appt a quick hop and a jump to Winchester and my other great friends Colette, Ems and briefly John - so lovely to see you all, and then supper in the Golden Lion and a great game of poker with my old poker playing mates! It was nice to catch up with Brid and Derek the new landlords of the Lion - and it was lovely to see the old place in safe hands. Of course no visit to the Lion would be the same without sharing just a few gins with my very best male friend Mark - it was just like old times!! All of the catching up was just great, but I can't see me ever moving back to a City - it all felt too dark and stifling - so it was great to see Salcombe come in to's nice to be home!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Memo to self

Memo to self - stop being so crabby!! I'm a whole lost less tired now - and it makes things a lot less tiresome when I've had a rest from the pub occasionally - even if only to clean and iron!

Firstly, - have just come back from a last minute stroll tonight with Beth - how many other parts of UK could you go out safely on your own (a woman in particular) at this time of night - I certainly wouldn't have done it in Portsmouth and nor even so called posh Winchester for that matter. Secondly, I don't have to get up in the morning to go to some crappy office and pretend to like people I don't, and lastly - I've just been reminded of a great music festival in Salcombe in the summer - hoorah - Life just doesn't really get better......I wonder if the newly formed gospel choir I've just joined from Holy Trinity church will be good enough to make a guest appearance next year - just a thought people!! Night night - sleep tight x

A dogs life (in Salcombe...)

When I started this blog it was to talk mainly about my new life as a pub landlady, but I think every now and then I have veered away from the nuts and bolts of the job as I don't want this blog to be seen as primarily free advertising for the Victoria (yes of course there is that element, before anyone sends me back a message saying thats what it is really!!) and then secondly life is so blissfully idyllic here - it's really hard not to wax on about it......... however, there are the times that being a publican seems to be one long headache after another! So to any aspiring landlords or landladies I say read on!!!

There is no doubt that whilst I love this job - and I really truly honestly do - 99% of the time -there are the days when you seem to a) have no life, b) have no difference between night or day, weekday or weekend, and c) utterly believe that the 'Law of Sod' was written with you in mind!

Firstly, we have had a great weekend business wise this weekend - Valentines Day on a Saturday coupled with the start of half term - so, should have been the start of a good week and smiles all round.......... ah no - this is where the law of sod comes in!

The perennial problem as an employer is staff - the usual problems - not turning up, having life 'issues' affecting performance or generally not performing as you would like etc, our weekend started with a staff shortage through sickness - and this meant our fabulous remaining team pulling together, coming in on days off or doing extra hours to cover absences with SOH and I covering all the other bits in between as well. Thus, my Saturday proceeded to get worse with not only a member of staff going sick on one of the busiest weekends of the year, but a lady emerging from the loo's in the first hour of being open to inform me that 'the ladies is bubbling up and making funny noises'........ and another voice from the second loo saying roughly the same thing! Then as if that wasn't bad enough - water (clean - thankfully) started to come up from the manhole in the corridor......mmmmnn, let me just check the date - not Friday 13th was it!! Aaaarghhhhhhhh!!! Jet pressure people called out and after much looking, sighing and so forth, all was pronounced clear and we struggled on manfully (and womanfully) and made a huge success of Valentines night for all the lovely people who had booked to make the evening special for their loved ones..... SOH and I? Well, we exchanged cards had a quick kiss and had some of what food was left over from the evening.......

Sunday - the law of sod re-visited us... How? Well, Sunday - the second best day of the early season - that was a crackingly good day for the dishwasher in the working kitchen to stop working! So, not only were there less of us than should have been front of house - we also had to do ALL the washing up by hand! Nearly 90 covers worth........ 4.30p.m and we're still trying to clear up and make the kitchen fit for evening service and the bar and restaurant which vaguely resembled a bomb site at one stage ready for the evening onslaught. By the way - did I mention that you often don't get to eat when you're very busy in this game - so no lunch for us!

Testamanet to how all of our team pulled together is that when the evening guests started to arrive at 5.30'ish, no one would have ever guessed for one minute that we would have been in such chaos less than an hour earlier. 11.15 last night saw us sitting down to pull together the end of week paperwork and get ready for the stocktaker coming this morning at about 8.00a.m. Bed beckoned round about 0100, and I was still wide awake about 2 with my mind going over the list of things to do this week.....

So what is it that counteracts all of that and makes you realise that for that 99% of the time its a great life being a pub landlady? Well, it's the customers who've said this weekend what a great time they've had, it's the three little children who sought me out to say thank you personally for that extra packet of sweets I gave them, it's reading the customer satisfaction cards that say we're the best pub in Salcombe, its making plans for the summer and our garden as we have been doing again today - and it's walking Beth this morning, looking at the sea and looking back at our pub and being proud of what we've achieved so far..........

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

What bliss....

I can't say that an early start of 0645 is the best way to start a day for me, but, that was the start to my day today. The reason for such an early start? SOH had a BII (British Institute of Innkeeping) meeting in Cornwall, so I thought it would be the ideal opportunity to get a good full day under my belt. And what a gorgeous start to the day - a sunrise that made me thankful to be seeing it. The most beautiful colours filled the sky - so I thought I'd make the most of the day and surprise Beth with an early walk.......Salcombe has very high tides this week, so it was also the opportunity to see the estuary in full flow. By the butchers you could see that the tide had come up into the road by the sand remaining there. Round by the lifeboat station, the sea was lapping over into the road - and it was totally incredible to observe the sea so high - it almost felt at one stage that there was no gap between us and the water, really amazing.

This week we also saw the sea come over the car park in front of us for the first time ever - it bought out a little bit of nerves to see the waves hitting the car park floor - but also a sense of great wonder that this could happen right in front of my eyes - only to recede within the hour. Also, the smell of the sea has been really strong this week as well. Seagulls seem to getting in more evidence this last week as well, and we are starting to wake up to the shrill cry of them perched on the roof just above our bedroom ceiling!! Noisy buggers.............. the builders will be up there this weekend doing some repairs to the chimney so I'm getting them to put some seagull deterrent on the roof - namely, spikes!!! Locals have laughed and said that won't deter them! We'll see......................

In the pub, it's been a little quiet the last couple of weeks, but with snow and gales, hardly unexpected - but half term is nearly upon us and already we can see a rise in the cars and visitors. We are virtually booked for Valentines night and not a shred of advertising....unlike some places advertising varoious incentives:) But we have bought plenty of flowers to enable a little posy for lady guests on the 14th - Tim's idea and a great little touch...... let's hope he remembers Valentines day for me!!!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

RNLI - SOS appeal

You have no idea how long it's taken for me to get that collage of pics on to this blog!!! Aargh..........I've never professed to being a technical whiz but blimey there must be an easier way!!!!

Anyway - the SOS night was an amazing night.... we served 100 portion of sausages in the first 45 minutes - our pub resembled a canteen at one stage. Our thanks go to St Austell brewery for donating the top prize of a digital camera, we ourselves gave chocolates, champagne and voucher for £25. Everyone in Salcombe was very generous - from the local bookshop to a large chain - people gave willingly and we raised £363. But it was more than getting money out of people and making money ourselves in terms of business, it turned into a full scale community event and we personally made many new friends! All in all we guess there must have been about 150 people attended the event. I love the lifeboat lads - they are such a nice bunch - and when you think that they give their time free of charge, go out in really dangerous conditions and have no national funding from government (hmm probably not a bad thing!) then the job they do is just amazing!! So a huge thank you to everyone who helped make it such a success.

RNLI - SOS appeal 30th January 2009

Posted by Picasa

Monday, 2 February 2009

Odd happenings in Salcombe

Salcombe is doing funny things to me......... firstly I've started going to church for the first time in over 40 years! It's a long story, but I fell out with God some 32 years ago, and have never quite thought He was with me since... but actually, whether its the spirituality of living right by the sea and the country - or whether it's an insurance policy at my age(!) I think I'm quite enjoying getting to know Him again....

Secondly, I found myself at an aerobics class tonight (cheers Deana - who by the way told me that lycra is banned from this class... thank goodness for that - there is none available without being made to measure in my size!) for the first time in nearly 10 years... I'd like to say it was great and I thoroughly enjoyed it - well I did, in a strange sadistic sort of way! But boy oh flipping boy do I feel old and knackered tonight... I was there doing it first time round with Jane Fonda 'going for the burn' years and years ago - when she was de-crying plastic surgery and saying we could all grow old together - well of course they don't do that now (and neither did she - lying ***!!) its all gently bently stuff, and there's no 'burn' - no of course there's not - there's just the burning realisation as you lay on the mat in yet another church/school/community hall (believing that at any moment you're going to have a heart attack) still trying to show you can do it as well as the other women that a) you're years older, b) the diets you've tried have never worked and c) you're more unfit than you ever were..... :( So of course, THIS diet is going to work, I AM going to start power walking from tomorrow - and while I'm doing that walk - well I might just have a word in HIS ear to help me make it work this time....

Next entry will be about the RNLI - SOS appeal last week which was a massive success, but some pics are on the pub website already and facebook for those that belong to that particular form of communication and can't wait for my next ramblings.