Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Goodbye '09 - Hello '10 and a clean slate!

That's it then - Christmas is behind us..... after all the rushing around, organising parties and trying to achieve a really great Christmas for everyone, it's gone in the blink of an eye! Was it a great Christmas?? Well, it was certainly one of the best I've personally had in many years, and trade wise we're happy with what we achieved. We had excellent feedback from all our parties - and we'll have to work hard to do as well if not better next year.

SOH and I opened the pub for a couple of hours in the lunchtime on Christmas Day itself and we managed to have a thoroughly great time together. Lots of locals came in and wished us well and a fair few holidaymakers as well....... so it was worth opening business wise AND we got a fair bit of the day off together relaxing and enjoying the day ourselves - even better.
SOH made a fabulous job of cooking the lunch (Duck, actually!) and the Christmas pud that Chef made for us last year (that never did get eaten!) was absolutely better than fantastic this year!! On top of that, ALL the staff got the Christmas Day off as well - so I think we may try and do this again next year. Boxing Day was a little quiet - there were definitely not so many people around this year, but since then, we've just been totally non-stop......
We look forward to tomorrow night to a fully booked restaurant (about 65 diners) and hopefully an excellent party atmosphere. New Years day when most people will be nursing hangovers we'll be putting on another excellent curry buffet lunch, cater for a big pre-wedding party in the evening as well as several large bookings - oh, yes, and open Captain Morgans as, no real celebrations for us until in to the New Year!
So as we look to the New Year, I'm not going to do the usual round up of what a good/crap/ sad/mad (include your own words!) year '09 has been, because on reflection and taken in equal measures it's been no worse and no better than many other years.......... just the good and the bad seem to have been more condensed with moderately more bad than good - on the whole!!!
I'm doing a fair bit of reflection stuff right now (don't we all at this time of year?)- I want to enter 2010 and my new life as Mrs Hore starting in March with all and any regrets behind me and a new and clean view on my future life in front of me. I think regret is a wasted emotion, but only a truly heartless individual can live life with no regrets completely. So, with a look to the future, I just want to wish for a few individual loved ones:
A year of tranquility and happiness for my darling son Paul and his wife, and the real hope that we get to spend more time with each other in 2010
That 2010 is the year my best friend Tanya finds true love and happiness - and that I eventually get to buy a new hat(!)
Better health for my 2 brothers and their respective wives and partners
As for Tim and I - well what more could I wish for than I already have?? Absolutely nothing thank you God! I have a fantastic life, a job that more than provides for us, in the most beautiful part of the country. I have the love of a good, kind man, a fabulous family, great friends and a puppy who adores me!! All I would like is to lose 4 stone in 80 days, achieve the looks of a supermodel and I can walk down the aisle in March with a smile on my face.........I'm joking (just!!)
I'm really happy and contented with my life and I just look forward to 2010 with optimism and a light heart - I hope you all do as well............
Happy New Year my lovely blog companions..... x x x

Friday, 18 December 2009

A quick one......and some news!

Blog entry that is...!!! Well, what do you know? I'm actually ready for Christmas....finished writing the remaining cards tonight, pressies wrapped and ready to give, Duck ordered from our local butcher Paul Coleman ready for Christmas Eve - and I say, Christmas - I'm ready for you now! We are opening the pub on Christmas Day from 12 - 2.30 ('ish SHO says!!) and I had only 2 proviso's on that - 1) I wasn't cleaning the pub first thing in the morning on Christmas Day - I'm not, our darling 2nd cleaner is doing it, and 2) I'm not cooking Christmas lunch - I'm not, SOH is doing it..... so actually, Christmas Day should be a bit of a laugh!!

Our Christmas parties are going down a storm so far - everyone, without exception has been very happy - the first pic here is of the tree in our upstairs restaurant (the one thats being totally re-furbed and re-vamped in the NY) used for a large party last night and another one tomorrow. In fact, our party tonight have already said they want to book for next year!! Not bad is it??

The food thats been going out has looked and smelt amazing! This is where my head chef James excels himself and he and his team really produce the goods! This is a picture of James and Matthew - our young but enthusiastic and hard working KP! But all the staff play their part in getting things ready for parties - I don't know where we'd be if it wasn't for Glo my Bar Manager, she has such a great eye for detail and makes sure that everything works like clockwork! Lastly, here is a picture of two of the bar team - Karen and David - looking very smart don't you think??

Rosie continues to be Rosie bless her - as I type this she is trying to savage one of my trainers, and nearly knocking herself out in the process! As mad as a hatter, she has today shown the first signs of being a normal puppy - in fact she got barked at by an older and much larger dog in the bar - the first time so far, and she appeared most offended that there was someone in the world who didn't seem to love her!

Now then, what was my news.... oh yes, Tim and I, and 2 very good friends have gone into partnership to buy Captain Morgans in Salcombe.... an absolute Salcombe institution!! A cafe that does great breakfasts etc and a good day time trade - so I guess this is a bit of a pension investment for us all, and gives us even more of a tie to Salcombe as a future retirement place!! Before anyone e mails me with concerns - here are the answers ('cos I've already been asked these Q's a dozen times!!)

> no we're not changing anything drastically in the Cafe,
> yes, the pub is our primary business,
> no, the cafe is not connected to the pub - only by way of us running both
> no we are definitely NOT leaving the Victoria Inn
> no, we are not changing the menu hugely - just some of the methods of cooking
> no, our committment to the Victoria Inn is as strong as ever

We've simply bought a great Salcombe business and we're going to make it even better..........

It's very exciting - could have done with the transaction NOT completing Christmas week - but hey, stops life getting boring!! So - we'll have the pub, a re-furb, a marriage and a new business for 2010!!!!!! Phew..........

So then, here's to Christmas Day then dear blog readers - I hope it brings you all you wish for, and that the world enjoys a peaceful and quiet festive period, and time to reflect on why we celebrate Christmas at all. Here's to happy times with family and friends or simply the opportunity as with Tim and I to enjoy a little quiet time together.
Love and prayers to you all - Liz x x x

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Firstly here is a great new picture of our Rosie - now coming on for a little over three months old - and boy she's not going to make 4 months if she's not blooming careful........... before I go on though, this and the pic of all 3 of us is by my great friend Lisa Beaney from Sussex - Her and her husband Phil visited us last week and took a couple of photo's of our new 'treasure' and she even manages to make me look ok...... a major feat in itself! But she's doing our wedding pics - so have booked in a couple of pre-wedding hours with her to perfect my (our) smiles! Mind you, SOH always looks good in a photo. You really must visit Lisa's site - she has the most amazing pics and there are a couple of great ones (for which she's won awards) which she is framing and selling as limited editions....... they are pretty amazing - I love the old couple feeding the birds!

Anyways - back to our naughty Rosie............. how can I put this??? She's the naughtiest, most contrary, stubborn puppy I've ever know and yet she's also the most adorable with it. I / we are severely sleep deprived at the moment - she has no concept of going to sleep at anytime that's half normal - at least not until she's yelped and muttered for a good hour and then she is wide awake and doing the same at about 7.00 in the morning. My own son Paul never kept me awake as much as she is doing!! Oh mind you - when I was in hospital after having him I did have to be woken up when he was by the side of me crying and said no thank you when asked if I wanted to feed him!!

Anyway - I digress - back to Rosie yet this week she's been out on her lead for the first time. Oh deary me - she wasn't keen on that idea - and I will forever have this picture of her sat on the pavement, with a stubborn look on face, looking at me as if too say ' you want me to walk'???, just soooo funny!! So, my spare hours are sat scouring Puppy Training sites for behaviour tips....... :(

What else have I done this week - well, my lovely Church - Holy Trinity, Salcombe is 're-ordered'...?? I think that's the correct title?? Well, there have been major re-furb works on the inside and a glorious wall of glass has been put in, with a couple of rooms up stairs, fab new kitchen, loos etc. New flooring, lighting and chairs in the main bit of the Church (expect there's a name for that as well, but don't know it - sorry Daniel!) and it all looks rather gorgeous. We had a great opening afternoon on Saturday with loads of people attending, the Gospel choir sang (I didn't as have been to busy to go for a while) the children from the local primary school played steel drums and sang and a fun time was had by all. I wasn't up early enough to go to Sunday morning service but I did go to the evening service and it was a Candle service......just beautiful! It was very calming and I had time to pause and to reflect and to be thankful for being in such a beautiful place in my life - both spiritually and physically.

The weather in Salcombe has been diabolical now for ever - at least it seems that way! It's certainly affecting trade severely this week - but our Christmas parties start this weekend and we have lots of them..... hoorah!! After cancelling our gala Christmas and New Years Eve dinners due to lack of demand we are now fully booked for NY and reasonably booked for Christmas Eve... amazing!! Christmas Day we are opening 12 - 2.30, and that's just Tim and I - so should be fun... staff get their first Christmas Day off in for a long time (14 years I think for James our Chef) and I get to have lunch cooked by Tim!! The dec's are up and the pub looks very festive.....

Wine training was booked in for today, but the brewery lady was unable to make it - so SOH, at about 30 minutes notice took the training instead........ I must say he's bloody good at training!! He loves doing it and I think when anyone loves doing something it shines through - well, it certainly does with him. The pic is of our team making tasting notes, smelling, tasting and spitting :) They really seemed to enjoy it, and lets put it this way.... 2 came in from a day off and one took a day off from a paid job to do the training, so I'd say they love the training and their job wouldn't you?!?

Tomorrow, (Wednesday) we're up for being visited and judged for St Austell Wine Pub of the Year - I'm really nervous about it, as I'm no wine buff and I don't know what they'll ask or do or expect, but I've had staff cleaning and polishing to within an inch of their lives, so at least we pass muster on that front! I'm not expecting to win it, but to be even shortlisted in our first year is a real surprise - so we're more than happy with that! I've also submitted an application to a national trade magazine for us to be Customer Service Pub of the Year - 1st stab at anything like that - but I won't hold my breath on that one.......but we'll see.

Had 2 Trip Advisor reviews this week - one bad and one really great........ gets very confusing at times. We get loads of compliments to our face about the service / food etc but I still get so upset when people will go to the lengths of writing something on a review site, seen by a potentially massive audience but won't say anything to us when they're here at the pub - that's 2 like that now! As good as the good review was (and it was really lovely and positive!!) I always feel bad reviews can do so much damage, but as Jim our area manager is always saying to me I have to learn to get any criticism in perspective, learn from it and move on........ I'm trying Jim!!

On that note - I have to write a blog for the Good Pub Guide and I try not too duplicate what I write on here, so if you want to read that you'll have to look at their website

Till next time then my lovely friends - I'm off to start building an ark if this weather continues...X