Sunday, 29 March 2009

Its been a while........

Hi everyone...... sorry it's been a while since I last posted on the blog, but flip me I've been poorly again!! This is getting to be an annual occurrence!! Really nasty bout of Bronchitis needing 2 lots of anti-biotics and still on Steroids and the occasional Nebuliser have really laid me low again.......... I'm getting really sick of it. Poor SOH has taken a bit of a battering from me as those of you who know and love me (!) know I don't take very easily to being ill - Oops! Bless 'im!!

I'm also learning as a self-employed person (not a Local Authority wallah) that being ill in a business like ours is not the best thing to be, and despite being constantly told to 'go upstairs and rest' (maybe short hand for 'for God's sake go to bed!) I didn't find it that easy to do. Anyway - I think I've turned the corner, and the only way is up - hopefully. Have to say the health care here in Devon is fantastic!

So then - what have we been doing in this mad run up to Easter. Well, the garden is done - the Holly tree's have been cut and shaped - wow, the amount of light getting on the garden now is incredible - so our lovely lady gardener boss Judith says expect everything to grow really madly! Planting is done, tubs are sorted, and climbers are in place. I think I've told you previously that benches were delivered as were the parasols and all in all the garden looks fabulous!

External painting is almost completed - and we must have had the best painters in Devon - led by a woman (need I say more!) and several customers have asked for their details - all in all a great job! The old tatty window boxes full of about 18months worth of rubbish plants (all dead and manky - get the picture) have been taken to be re-potted with bright Red, Orange and Yellow assorted plants - they will make an appearance late May, once we can be sure that their are no more frosts.

To go with our newly painted exterior, we've placed 2 very fancy silver pots with 'Box' plants in at the front entrance with our lovely new poppy red doors - oh we do look posh!!! The black boards have been re-written, and I knicked a brilliant sign idea from one of our trade papers that reads 'Man Creche - ladies you can safely leave HIM here while you go shopping'. You would not believe how many people look and laugh at the sign or even better look and come in to the pub to eat or drink!! We've even had people taking photo's of it.... That's taught me a lot about attracting our customers. Talking of customers, you can definitely see more of them about in Salcombe at the moment and there's a real buzz in the air, we have been hugely busy the last 2 weeks - although we could have had a better Mothers Day if it had rained - ah well, ces't la vie!
Staff recruitment has been in full swing - just have to have the staff in place to deliver from our business plan and right now I think we're up to about 14 plus a couple of spares. We have a super new 2nd chef - Jem - great dry sense of humour and an all round nice guy! Carol has gone into the kitchen as KP and what a great job she's doing as well - she absolutely has the makings of a good cook!

What else? Oh yes, finally put all our Spring / summer menu's to bed - just some sitting in a pile waiting to finish off properly - and wine menu's updated as well. These come in to being on Wednesday 1st April......... again - all been planned like a military operation! Seagulls are driving us nuts - it's like having a herd of galloping wilderbeast on the roof at 5 in the morning - and whilst a plastic (albeit - scarily lifelike) foot high Owl scared them off for oh let me see - at least 3 days, they are back with a vengeance. Water pistols don't work, waving scarves at them make them look at us in disgust, and hitting a cardboard tube on the wall only makes them cackle more!! A 12 bore shot gun is looking a good alternative..........Whereas the little birds that we've been encouraging with wild bird feeders are a complete joy - the Robins are plentiful and loads of others I haven't got a clue what they are - SOH says he's seen some thing with a long tail and beautiful colours..........?? lol!!

Now then, talking of all things feathered.......... we have a huge surprise for Salcombe......... we are having Chickens in our back garden!! Yes Chickens! 8 of them..... SOH has been putting up the hen house and run today, and they should come to their new home next week. Just in time for Easter - NOOOOOO not for eating, just for their eggs and for the 'Ah' factor with our little kiddie visitors. Environmental Health Officer has given the ok, and we're not having noisy Cockerills so the neighbours should be ok, and as long as I don't have to touch them - I'll be ok as well.......

I'll just ask you to picture this (before I stop waffling on) - I'm 50 something, and if I've been on a farm twice in my life (thats 2 times too many)! So last week , SOH and I visited a farm / shop to look at the hen houses and the chickens themselves - great all caged up and clucking away. Oh no - sir, out in a big yard - yes, more hens were caged up but huge (and I mean HUGE, great big horrible red necks and EVIL eyes!!) Turkeys, Ducks and God knows what else were running around at my feet!! I was screeching like a baby for them to get away and SOH and man behing the window were P'ing themselves laughing at me!!! I'm so much more at home in Selfridges or M & S...............

I'll write again as soon as our little babies are at home and tell you what we're naming them etc, till then, I've a million things more to do today before turning in for the night.............

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Here comes the Spring

Well - there's a distinct buzz in the air of Salcombe - mostly the banging of scaffold going up and coming down in the street, shopkeepers weilding paint brushes and sweeping and cleaning as the shops prepare themselves for the Spring and the invasion of visitors........... and we at The Victoria are no different! This week has seen our painters come on site - and what a great job they've done as well. The back and sides of the pub have been painted and what a difference it has made - all clean and lovely! The doors have been painted a bright cherry red and already I've had favourable comments from a couple of customers. Our scaffold goes up early Saturday morning for the front outside of the building to be done. With a bit of luck and good weather we shall be ready for the Easter visitors.

Our new benches have been delivered and alongside that the lovely Bay Leaf gardeners have been back and have pruned, planted, cleaned, shifted benches and put them back again. All our prasols have arrived courtesy of St Austell and Magners and I am proud to say that today our newly re-vamped garden looks just splendid...................... here are some photo's to give you a flavour.......

Next job for me now is the big publicity push to get people to 1) Know we have a lovely garden and 2) Use the blooming thing................. lol!! Till next time friends.. x

Friday, 6 March 2009

Where does the time go to....

Well I don't know - where does the time go to? We have been here just on six - yes 6 - months...... we can hardly believe it, the time has just whizzed by!! And goodness me - we've enjoyed every (well almost) minute of it...... Currently we're preparing for the Easter holidays, and we're planning like a military operation. Come to think about it we're also doing our bit to kick start the national economy as well by purchasing lots of new items for the pub, starting with kitchen equipment:

A 'cold room' - this replaces the numerous fridges and is far more economical as well
An additional shallow fryer - we're doing kilo's of fresh Cod (and chips) every day
A new ice maker - I never thought the day would come that I would get excited about Ice-Cubes!! But the new machine makes lovely little square ice-cubes that stay hard - lovely!!!! :)
Then this week saw us make our almost monthly pilgrimage to 'TRAGO MILLS' - for the uninitiated Trago is a cross between Primark/Matalan/Wilkinsons and has anything and everything and quite a lot at a really good price. So, we invested in more crockery, wooden boards (sharing platters), wooden spoons (garden table service), wooden skewers (marshmallow and fruit - summer dessert menu) etc, etc, etc. We also went to Expo West in Cornwall - our second one in a few weeks - but this was undoubtedly better. A lot more stands and once again more money spent - this time on baby seats. Really lovely handcrafted jobbies from Sweden that fit onto normal chairs - with a tray or without - either way we won't now have high chairs blocking the area. Oh yes - and even more crockery.........

Last but not least in our spending spree this week has been the purchase of two very large, very scary (and incredibly, horrifyingly realistic!!) plastic OWLS...... one for the top of the pub and one for the garden. We are reliably informed that they will help keep the seagulls away.......... mmmnnnn, we'll see.

I seem to have done this post in backwards order - but last Saturday saw us make our entrance into Salcombe high society (!) by attending a charity function in Malborough - the village next to ours. The charity was Kingsbridge Triangle Centre - for Cancer sufferers / support. Debs, the organiser did the most incredible job in organising it and hosting it - and we both made many new friends.

We had an amazing time - needless to say I got absolutely legless (SOH didn't do so bad either) we danced like demons possessed, and I bid on two items that cost me £290.......a teeth whitening session at the local dentist - that's good, and a 1 hour session with a personal trainer - that's not so good - don't know why I did THAT one and have already sold it on!! Sunday saw me fit for nothing and I moped around most of the day feeling thoroughly ill and very sorry for myself! The pictures on this post are before and after - the after is of me on Sunday morning - feel free to use it in any anti alcohol project you may like to use as a possible deterrent...... Scary - isn't it!?!?!...

Till next time friends ............ X