Monday, 16 February 2009

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, etc.....so 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..........

4 comments:

ookevin said...

Keep counting all the money your making - soon forget about the hassle!

Liz said...

Mmmnn - counting 'all' that money doesn't take long - just yet!! :)

Anonymous said...

Well - we were in both Saturday lunch and dinner and you never would have known their were problems 'backstage'. As my husband and I said to you at the time, we could tell a difference in the place as soon as we walked in back at October half term - you are doing a tremendous job and long overdue for probably the nicest pub in Salcombe. Thanks also for squeezing us in on Valentine's evening - we had a wonderful evening!

Liz said...

Thank you so much - your comments are very warmly received! I'm pleased to say that (hopefully) these various issues are now sorting themselves out..... taking on some lovely new staff to ease things in that direction and replacing clapped out equipment!!
Liz x